Trades were frequent, and in some cases surprisingly inexpensive for teams who chose to make the moves. Some of the more noteworthy items for Florida fans include:
For the first decade of Jacksonville's existence, there was a perception among some fans the franchise did not welcome UF players. There were very few Gators on the team's early rosters, and fan favorite Chris Doering was cut after being a sixth round pick. Despite the Jaguars drafting Fred Taylor ninth overall in 1998, their decision not to select Florida's higher rated (at the time) Kenyatta Walker in favor of Georgia's Marcus Stroud in 2001 renewed the suspicions of those fans.
No one should be thinking that way now after Jacksonville selected Derrick Harvey, giving them a Gator in the first round for the second consecutive year. The Jaguars were aggressive in their pursuit of the defensive end, moving up from pick 26 to Baltimore's eighth overall spot in return for three second day draft picks. Harvey joins safety Reggie Nelson as members of Florida's national title team defense playing their pro ball in Jacksonville. Interestingly enough, the Jaguars likely wanted Harvey in large part because of the departure of former Gator Bobby McCray to New Orleans as a free agent.
A year ago the SEC had eleven players chosen in the first round, by far the most of any conference. This season, only six players went in the first round. That put the SEC in a tie for second with the Pac-10, one back of the ACC. At the elite level, the SEC did dominate with four of their first rounders coming in the top ten picks. No other conference had more than two. Since the conference expanded in 1992, the SEC averages 6.19 first rounders per draft.
RECORD GUARANTEED TO BE BROKEN TODAY
With Harvey's selection, Florida has now had 45 players drafted this decade. That ties the school record set in the 1990s. Wide receiver Andre Caldwell is expected to go during the third round of today's draft, which will officially set a new standard. Next year's squad is likely to add quite a few more numbers to that total as well.
FLORIDA'S BIG THREE - UF, MIAMI, USF?
As has been typical, three Florida schools all saw players go in the first round. UF had Harvey at eight, giving them the highest player chosen this year. Miami barely kept their record setting streak of consecutive years with a first rounder alive, as Kenny Phillips went to the New York Giants with the final pick. The third team with a first rounder was USF, as Mike Jenkins was selected by Dallas in the 25th spot. He becomes the only Bull ever drafted in the opening round.
As for FSU, they are still waiting for one of their players to come off the board. It's the first time no Seminole went in the first two rounds since 1996. Even former FSU players couldn't crack the first two rounds, as Miami traded running back Lorenzo Booker to Philadelphia for a fourth round pick.
ODDS AND ENDS
The team that came out looking the worst on Saturday may have been ESPN's broadcast team. The NFL Network's coverage absolutely destroyed them. NFL-N's Adam Schefter routinely broke news about upcoming picks minutes in advance while ESPN couldn't even handle being on camera for some team's selections in round one. Keyshawn Johnson completely drowning out commissioner Roger Goodell's onstage salute to the military was typical of the subpar performance level of the talent on the main set. The network that invented televising the draft needs to seriously rethink its formula before next year.
It was a strange draft for wide receivers. None went in round one, then ten went during the second round. Some familiar names expected to go soon besides Caldwell include LSU's Early Doucet and Michigan's Mario Manningham.
Pro Football Weekly does a great job covering the draft on their site, but the graphic they featured on the front of their webpage as "Next Rookie of the Year?" Saturday night might have given Gator fans an anxiety attack. Despite saying Derrick Harvey's name, the picture featured was clearly Percy Harvin. Odds are, that will be an appropriate graphic next season.
The Heath Cline Show airs daily from 11-1 on Gainesville's Star 99.5 FM
Draft Thoughts - Day 1
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