Two More Gators Drafted on Final Day

The Florida pipeline to New England continued Saturday, but the Gators were not able to set the school record for most players chosen in a draft. Tight end Aaron Hernandez and wide receiver Riley Cooper were the final two players chosen to give them a total of nine for the three day event.

Aaron Hernandez became the third Gator selected by the Patriots during the draft, selected as the 113th overall player during the fourth round. He joins teammates Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes in going to play in Boston. It was a surprising development because New England had already selected tight end Rob Gronkowski earlier in the draft and signed veteran Alge Crumpler in free agency. Hernandez expressed his happiness with the Patriots picking him, as it takes him back near his home in Connecticut.

The Patriots apparently like signing Gators so much they even turned to veteran players as options, reportedly agreeing to a deal with Gerard Warren (still the highest drafted UF player of all time) after the draft had concluded.

Riley Cooper had to wait a couple of rounds longer than anticipated, but he eventually got the call he was waiting for as well. Philadelphia chose him with the 159th overall pick during the fifth round. He joins a group of young players at the position that include rising stars Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson.

Forty-nine SEC players were selected overall, leading all conferences. More will sign as free agents, including some from the Gators. While teams have not released official free agent signing lists at this point, reports from Buffalo indicate David Nelson will be signing with the Bills. Kick returner Brandon James and linebackers Dustin Doe and Ryan Stamper are also expected to join teams for training camp.

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