Florida is tied with LSU with six receivers drafted into the NFL since 2005, tops among the collegiate ranks. The Gators can now claim one step further with the success those receivers are having in the National Football League.
Three of the six are starting for their respective teams right now and are making big impressions with those teams. Rookies Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy are creating big splashes in Minnesota and Oakland respectively, while Andre Caldwell continues to make a lot of noise in Cincinnati.
On Sunday, Caldwell who starts for the Bengals, caught the winning touchdown pass with 18 seconds remaining in the game as the Bengals came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20. He also led the team with six receptions for 52 yards and five kick returns for 104 yards.
Harvin, continues to be a playmaker with the Vikings like his days as a Gator. He had four receptions for 51 yards and returned four kickoffs for 180 yards. Harvin's 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is the only kickoff returned for a TD in the NFL this season and regained the lead for the Vikings late in the third quarter. Harvin also had two third-down conversions in the last minute to keep the game winning drive alive for the Vikings. His 12 receptions and two receiving touchdowns are tops among all rookies. Harvin's 35.8 yards per kickoff return ranks first among all NFL players that have more than one return
Murphy started for the Raiders and was the favorite target in the loss to Denver. He had a team-high 25 receiving yards on two catches, both of which kept Oakland's only scoring drive alive. He is averaging 17.3 yards per catch and 46.0 receiving yards per game.
As Meyer continues on the recruiting trail, he can point to the three most recent products of wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales and the Florida system as instant successes in the league.
In all, 27 former University of Florida football players were on rosters for the third week of play in the National Football League. Thirteen players earned starting positions, while 22 saw action. Here is a rundown of the Gators in action in the NFL.
QB Rex Grossman (Houston) did not play
RB Fred Taylor (New England) rushed for 105 yards on 21 carries and caught one pass for for yards in the Patriots win. It was Taylor's 49th 100-yard rushing game of his career and moved him into 15th place on the all-time NFL's career rushing yardage list with 13,447 yards.
WR Jabar Gaffney (Denver) started and led the team with 37 receiving yards on three catches in the Broncos 23-3 win over Oakland.
OT Cooper Carlisle (Oakland) started at right guard in Oakland's 23-3 loss to Denver.
OT Max Starks (Pittsburgh) started at left tackle for the Steelers in a last second loss to Cincinnati.
DT Marcus Thomas (Denver) had one tackle in the Broncos 23-3 win over Oakland.
DT Gerard Warren (Oakland) started and had one tackle and a pass deflection in a loss to Denver.
DE Alex Brown (Chicago) started and had one tackle in a 25-19 win over Seattle. His 113 consecutive games played is the second longest active streak for defensive ends.
DE Derrick Harvey (Jacksonville) started at defensive end and assisted on two tackles and deflected a pass in the jaguars win over the Texans.
DE Jevon Kearse (Tennessee) started for the Titans, made a tackle and recovered a fumble on the second play of the second quarter. The Titans would score on the resulting possession, but fall to the New York Jets 17-24.
DE Bobby McCray (New Orleans) had one tackle versus the Buffalo Bills.
DE Ray McDonald (San Francisco) blocked a field goal which was caught and returned by a teammate 59 yards for a touchdown, but the 49ers fell to the Vikings 27-24.
DE Jarvis Moss (Denver) was not activated this week versus Oakland.
LB Channing Crowder (Miami) started at inside linebacker for the Dolphins and finished second on the team with six tackles in a 23-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
LB Andra Davis (Denver) started at inside linebacker for the Broncos who held Oakland to under 140 yards of total offense. Davis was third on the team with three tackles.
LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta) started at outside linebacker and was second on the team with 11 tackles, two of which were for a loss. The Falcons lost to the New England Patriots 26-10. He is tied for seventh in the NFL in tackles with 28.
LB Brandon Siler (San Diego) had only one tackle on the day but it prevented the Miami Dolphins from scoring late in the first quarter. Miami fumbled out of bounds in their own end zone on the next play and San Diego scored on the ensuing drive.
S Marquand Manuel (Detroit) started at strong safety and had four tackles before being injured in the third quarter of the Lion's 19-14 win over Washington.
S Reggie Nelson (Jacksonville) started at free safety and recorded six tackles in the Jaguars' 31-24 win over Houston.
CB Keiwan Ratliff (Pittsburgh) registered one tackle in Pittsburgh's loss to Cincinnati when he wrapped up former Gator teammate Andre Caldwell on the game's opening kickoff.
CB Lito Sheppard (N.Y. Jets) was not activated for the Jets' 24-17 win over Tennessee due to an injured quadriceps.