Gators: Draft indicates why change was needed

It isn’t just about one year really. A two year look at the players that exited the Florida Gators and were drafted into or made it to the NFL, and you have everything you need to know about why change had to be made at the helm of the organization.

A lot will say that it is a horse that doesn’t need to keep being beaten, but if there was any doubt that a change needed to be made at the head coaching position at Florida, the proof came in big numbers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

In a three day period, eight Florida Gators were drafted. DE Dante Fowler (1st round) Jacksonville Jaguars, OT D.J. Humphries (1st) Arizona Cardinals, OL Chaz Green (3rd) Dallas Cowboys, RB Matt Jones (3rd) Washington Redskins, OL Max Garcia (4th) Denver Broncos, LB Neiron Ball (5th) Oakland Raiders, OT Trenton Brown (7th) San Francisco 49ers, and WR Andre Debose (7th) Oakland Raiders all went among the top 256 players eligible.

Even further, three players Saf Josh Shaw (4th) Cincinnati Bengals, OL Ian Silberman (6th) San Francisco 49ers, and TE Gerald Christian (7th) Arizona Cardinals were on the roster under Will Muschamp’s staff and found themselves elsewhere.

It’s a prime example of a program that couldn’t or didn’t utilize talent. Eleven players that 32 pro teams find good enough to draft to their teams and they weren’t good enough to win more than 10 regular season games in the last two years combined. Something has to give. The 11 players almost doubled the regular season win total for 2014.

But it actually goes further than that. Just take a look at 2014. A year ago, four players were drafted and another four were signed to free agent contracts for the season. DL Dominique Easley (1st) New England Patriots, CB Jaylen Watkins (4th) Philadelphia Eagles, DE/LB Ronald Powell (5th) New Orleans Saints, and OG Jon Halapio (6th) New England Patriots head their names called a year ago during the draft, while HB Trey Burton (FA) Philadelphia Eagles, OL Jonotthan Harrison (FA) Indianapolis Colts, CB Loucheiz Purifoy (FA) Colts, and CB Marcus Roberson (FA) St. Louis Rams signed contracts and all but Halapio and Purifoy remain with NFL teams at this time.

Nineteen Gators in two years under Will Muschamp and company including seven offensive linemen, a running back, an H-back, a receiver, a tight end, three defensive linemen, a linebacker, and four in the secondary. There was talent all around the field… 19 players and 10 regular season wins (in 2 years).

If there is an excuse it is the injuries. They are documents, but of the 19 above, seven had a full year injury or one that almost kept them out for a year.

Still, part of being a great CEO is not letting the better players on the roster get away. Clearly that happened with the three transfers that were drafted on Saturday. Let’s not forget offensive lineman Matt Patchan, who transferred to Boston College. He didn’t get drafted in 2014, but was signed to the practice roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago and resigned again for 2015.

The offensive line numbers are amazing. Muschamp always talked about the importance of recruiting the lines of scrimmage and that the Southeastern Conference was a ‘line of scrimmage league’. Given he wasn’t really responsible for recruiting most of them, it would be hard pressed to find any program in America that had eight offensive linemen in the last two years that were either drafted or made NFL rosters.

The play of the offensive line certainly didn’t show the evident talent, at least not until Mike Summers got his hands on them a year ago when most people that follow the program really saw the progression of the unit. Again all of this shows just how not ready Muschamp was to be the boss and make the hire along the line of scrimmage, until he found Summers.

Twelve offensive players among those drafted in the last two years or free agents that made teams a year ago and the offense ranked 97, 117, and 93 nationally for all of that talent. It makes you fully expect that transfer quarterbacks Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech) and Jacoby Brissett (NC State) will be top three round picks a year from now.

It would be just more proof of what we have learned in a big way after this weekend. The program was in terrible hands for the last four years. Proof we really don't need anymore.

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