Florida Gators with NFL Draft decisions: Offense

The Florida offense only has two serious threats to depart early and enter the NFL Draft.

Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson

REASONS TO GO: Athleticism and skills aren’t a question with Robinson. Those were evident in a major way during the 2014 season, as he had 53 catches for 810 yards and seven touchdowns despite subpar quarterback play. This year, the numbers haven’t kept up with his sophomore season. Robinson has 47 catches for 505 yards and two touchdowns. The number of receptions is in the same range, but Robinson is simply averaging 4.6 yards per catch fewer than in 2014.

An NFL team will take a flier on Robinson because of the athleticism, it just comes down to what round his NFL paperwork says it would come. The receiver has also been suspended four times in three seasons. The seniors on the team voted to allow Robinson back on the team for the SEC Championship Game. It could be in Robinson’s best interest to leave now and make money to avoid risking his status any more if another suspension hit. The junior also made plays as a gunner on the punt coverage unit against Alabama, and that could be somewhere he gets a chance in the NFL.

REASONS TO STAY: The drop in statistics could hurt Robinson. Despite Robinson leading the Gators in catches, freshman Antonio Callaway has turned into the big-way threat for the Florida receivers. The 300+-yard drop in receiving yards wasn’t ideal. Some of the decrease has to do with quarterback play, as Robinson has two catches for 28 yards in his last three games played.

Running back Kelvin Taylor

REASONS TO GO: It’s hard to blame any running back that leaves after three years of college. The shelf life for a running back in the NFL seems to get shorter every year, and any hit a running back takes could be his last at the next level. Taylor played five years of varsity football in high school, starting in the backfield while rushing for over 1,500 yards and 28 touchdowns as an eighth grader. The large number of hits he has taken already in his career make a strong argument for him to leave now and start making money in the NFL.

Taylor also has put together a strong junior year. He’s 15 yards from being the second Florida running back to reach the 1,000-yard plateau in the last 11 seasons. Taylor has made that happen despite inconsistency on the offensive line. The inexperienced unit has struggled at times this year, especially in run blocking, leaving Taylor limited holes to run through. He’s currently sitting at 985 yards with 13 rushing touchdowns.

REASONS TO STAY: The only reason to come back would be if Taylor wants to improve on his numbers behind a more experienced offensive line in 2016. The Gators should be better up front after playing multiple freshmen and sophomores on the line this season, which should mean more open holes in the running game next year.

Other than getting his degree, there aren’t a lot of other strong reasons for Taylor to return. He has taken major strides since his freshman year in pass protection and catching the football out of the backfield. The top-end speed that’s missing from his game seems unlikely to pop up next year, so it might make more sense for Taylor to leave now and start to get paid.


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