Second Draft Day Full of Unpleasant Surprises

Day two of the NFL Draft proved a disappointing one for all the remaining Gators with a shot at being selected. Each fell considerably later than most pre-draft prognostications, but they'll still get their shot at a pro football future. Some have promising situations to begin their careers, while others have more of an uphill battle.

The first Florida player to be selected on the second day was wide receiver Louis Murphy. He has been billed by draft analysts as a late second to early third rounder coming into the weekend. Instead, he had to endure 18 players at his position getting their name called before his. Oakland finally ended his wait with the 24th pick of the fourth round. It was a surprising move, considering the Raiders had already spent the seventh pick of the draft on Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey. Murphy had visited Oakland prior to the draft, so he knew there was legit interest on their part.

"Me and the receivers coach hit it off," said Murphy on a Raiders conference call Sunday. "We talked and he really wanted to coach me and I didn't think I would get a chance to work with him."

Murphy will clearly get a chance to play early. Other than him and Heyward-Bey, the Raiders receiver options are as follows: Javon Walker, Drew Carter, Chaz Schilens, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Arman Shields, Todd Watkins, and Jonathan Holland - not exactly a roll call of greatness.

It wasn't clear after Saturday's first two rounds whether Cornelius Ingram was still on the board due to being a tight end (with only two drafted in the first two rounds) or whether his knee was the issue keeping him unselected. When Ingram slid all the way to Philadelphia in the fifth round at pick 153, it became obvious that concerns about his recovery from last year's ACL injury had become a major issue. Nine tight ends were selected before Ingram, despite him being a consensus top five player at the position. The Eagles did not have a pick in either the third or fourth round, but they got the kind of value they would have if they made a choice there by choosing Ingram.

Tackle Jason Watkins was expected to be drafted sometime Sunday between the fourth and sixth round, but it didn't happen. He has since reached a free agent agreement with the Houston Texans, one of the teams he'd met with privately in the lead-up to the draft. The Texans drafted Alabama's Antoine Caldwell for their center spot but otherwise ignored the offensive line, so Watkins has a reasonable chance to claim a spot on their squad. Watkins' fellow offensive tackle Phil Trautwein also signed as a free agent, going to the St. Louis Rams.


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