Six More Gators May be Drafted Today

Three Gators were selected in the first round of the NFL draft, but many more will follow today and Saturday. With rounds two and three beginning at 6:00 p.m., there are as many as half a dozen Florida players who could learn their new employers this evening. Trying to figure out which one will go next is a tricky proposition, but most of them will definitely be chosen tonight.

Not many pass catchers were selected on day one. That was disappointing news for wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Aaron Hernandez. Only two WRs went on day one, with Jermaine Gresham of Oklahoma the only tight end. Once teams begin to select players at the wide receiver spot, Cooper is part of a group that's considered just behind Notre Dame's Golden Tate and Arrelious Benn of Illinois. The Baltimore Ravens weren't able to draft receiver Dez Bryant in round one and are still looking for a young receiver at the position. They brought Cooper in for a visit, so he may be a possibility for them in round two.

Rob Gronkowski of Arizona was projected as a possible first rounder by some draft gurus, but there have been questions raised about his back. It's likely he or Hernandez will be the next player chosen at the position. One potential bad break for Hernandez was Detroit's trade with Minnesota to get running back Jahvid Best. The Lions, who brought Hernandez in for a visit, now have just one pick before 128 as a result of the deal and are thus much less likely to select him

Four Gator defenders have a chance to go today, with two of them virtually sure to do so: defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham, linebacker Brandon Spikes and safety Major Wright.

Pass rushers are always at a premium in the draft, and since the salaries are much less from here on out it should be time for someone to take a chance on Carlos Dunlap during the second round. Teams which could choose him include Oakland at 39 - Al Davis drafts off athletic ability more than performance - Carolina at 48 and Cincinnati at 54. Dunlap has been hurt by questions raised about the consistency of his effort on the field, but his measurable physical gifts are going to be too good to pass up much longer.

While Dunlap's value has faded during the buildup to the draft, no player may have improved his status as much as Major Wright. Chicago is known to be a big fan of his at the 11th spot of round three, but if USC's Taylor Mays and USF's Nate Allen go early in the second round Wright may go sooner than that. Tampa Bay is also looking for safety help and may take Wright earlier in the third if they don't use one of their two second rounders at the position.

What teams think of Brandon Spikes is hard to get a read on. His 40-time was damaging, yet there's no question he makes plays and is an effective leader. Odds are that some team will decide to pick him based on his productivity in the third round, with his hometown Carolina Panthers one team that may be a possibility to do so along with New England.

Some teams are thinking of Jermaine Cunningham as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense, while others will look to keep him on the end. He's the player of these six most likely to last until the fourth round because of the uncertainty regarding his position, but has a chance to go in the third. Teams known to have interest include Baltimore, Buffalo and the Miami Dolphins.

The draft starts at 6 tonight, with the final four rounds tomorrow.


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