Kan Li / Scout

Jim McElwain says he owes a lot to Gator NFL Draftees

There was a five year hiatus for the team that has played in the SEC Championship Game the most. That drought ended two years ago when Jim McElwain took the helm of the Gators and guided them to Atlanta as the SEC East champions and repeated it again this past season. McElwain knows that the players that we see go in the NFL Draft over the next few days are the reason for the success.

McElwain says he will be playing close attention to the draft, especially his Gator players that will have their name called by the 32 NFL teams.

“I know sitting in draft rooms, they are long days,” McElwain told a crowd of reporters on Tuesday. “You know you get a pick and then you sit there and wait and wait and shoot, you might not have another pick for two days. But, obviously the interest will be high, especially when our guys’ names get called.

“Those guys, what they’ve put in and what they’ve done for the Gators in the two short years that we’ve been here… being a part of two championships and getting the team back to Atlanta two years in a row and no one expected them to. I owe a lot to those guys.”

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McElwain says he does look forward to the Draft and all of the drama that surrounds it while it is happening.

“You know one of the greatest 30-for30’s I think was that Elway to Marino one. I think about even watching that when it was actually happening. I think for us it has more to do with the Gators that are going to have the opportunity to fulfill a dream and in talking about that this weekend. There are a lot of things happening.”

McElwain says that his staff is a pretty valuable resource for the players because a few of them have worked in the NFL and can provide a little advice on things that come up before the draft.

“You know we’re fortunate that we have a lot of coaches that have had NFL experience on our staff,” he said. “Them being able to come in and ask questions about the process itself is something I think we’re able to help them with.”

McElwain is certain that the players that are getting all of the attention before the draft are guys that will do things at the next level. He points to Brian Poole from last year who wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but had a terrific Pro Day in Gainesville. Then Poole went undrafted and became a free agent. He showed everyone last year when he made the Atlanta Falcons team and performed well.

“You know, no and yet we obviously field so many calls about these guys. I can say for each one of them, they did some great things for us. I know this, the confidence that they have, I know what kind of players they are. They’re going to go make whatever team, that they go to better, whether they go day one, or undrafted free agents. I mean, let’s look at Poole. This guy started in the Super Bowl as a Nickel. No one even talked about him going through the draft. I know their exposure and what they’ve done as Gators is something that is going to help them at the next level.”


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