Could be a Slow NFL Draft for Gators

There are several things I look forward to with the annual NFL Draft. First and foremost, I can't wait to see what happens with the Florida Gators who are making the transition to the next level.

Next it's on to the New York Giants, my favorite team and the Jets, my number two. Add in the three NFL teams in Florida and the other players I've seen in person and draft day(s) are really special.

Well this year my favorite part of the draft will offer up very little. After seeing nine Gators get picked last year it could be that only two members of the '07 Gator Football team hear their name called at all. Those two will almost certainly go in the first two rounds, but after that it may be nothing but free agents.

Derrick Harvey ----- As Heath Cline detailed, Harvey has gotten a great deal of interest and his superb individual workouts have him in the top 20 for certain. Harvey will the seventh Gator defensive end in seven years to get chosen by the NFL and should be a good one at the next level.

Bubba Caldwell ----- When he signed out of high school Caldwell was considered a "can't miss" superstar, but since breaking his leg two-and-a-half years ago things have been challenging for the younger brother of Reche'. Still Bubba had an excellent season last year catching 56 passes for 761 yards and seven touchdowns. He is likely to get called somewhere between pick 25 and pick 50.

Two Picks Would Match Worst in Years

If only two Gators get drafted this weekend it would tie the 1993 NFL selection process as for the fewest Gators chosen since Scott Brantley alone got drafted in 1980. That '93 draft was really bad for UF with Lawrence Hatch going in the sixth round and Will White in the seventh.

More recently there were just three Gators drafted in 2005 (Channing Crowder 3rd, Ciatrick Fason 4th and Reynaldo Hill 7th) and three in 2006 (Chad Jackson 2nd, Jeremy Mincey 6th and Dee Webb 7th). In 1995, '97, and ‘01 the Gators had just four players chosen, but there were two number one picks in each those years.

This year's NFL draft won't be a special one for the Gators overall, but I can assure you it will be for the two guys getting called on Saturday. And looking ahead depending on what certain juniors decide next year might be another draft bonanza for former Gators.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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