It was a busy weekend for Florida with linebacker Jarrad Davis (Detroit Lions) taken in the first round on Thursday. Safety Marcus Maye (New York Jets), and corners Quincy Wilson (Baltimore Colts) and Teez Tabor (Lions) were drafted in the second round on Friday, while linebacker Alex Anzalone (New Orleans Saints) also heard his name called on Friday in the third round.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio knew enough about Florida left tackle David Sharpe to go after him in the fourth round. Del Rio is the father of Gator quarterback Luke Del Rio and spent the draft pick on Sharpe who was one of five Gators that left after their junior season and all five were drafted.
Sharpe was the only offensive player on the roster in 2016 that started all 13 games the Gators played. He started for two seasons and was only on campus for three years. He has certainly shown big time play in his time at Florida, but consistency was an issue at times. Del Rio and the Raiders evidently thought he merited enough to take him at such an early time in the draft. Sharpe was the only offensive player drafted off of the Gators’ roster.
At the start of the sixth round, Caleb Brantley had his name called as he was selected by the Cleveland Browns. Brantley earned second team All-SEC honors as a junior and led the team in 2016 with 9.5 tackles for loss. Brantley was headed to a higher draft status last week before an off-the-field incident occurred and that incident has blurred his future for the moment anyway. If exonerated, the Browns likely got a huge steal.
Joey Ivie is now a Dallas Cowboy after Jerry Jones and company decided they wanted the big plugger of a defensive tackle in the seventh round of the draft. His relentless motor has always been the descriptive for Ivie who started 11 games in 2016 and missed two due to a thumb injury. Usually a two-gap tackle he finished with 26 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and seven quarterback hurries.
Along with three selected, in the draft, a quartet of Gators were taken as unrestricted free agents, shortly after the draft was done. Quarterback Austin Appleby will join Ivie with the Cowboys. Running back Mark Herndon will join Brantley with the Browns. Receiver Ahmad Fulwood will join Anzalone on the Saints. Receiver / defensive back Chris Thompson and all of his speed signed on with the Houston Texans.
The draft was a significant one for the Gators. It was only the second time in school history that five Gators were selected among the first 76 picks of the draft. The Gators have the most first round draft picks (49) in the SEC since the start of the common draft era (1967). At least one Florida player has been selected in the draft since 1952, the longest streak in SEC history.