State of Florida Gators Football: 2012 NFL Draft and the Future of Florida Football
It’s been several days since the NFL’s version of the good old fashioned “meat market” has wrapped up, and with the dust settling it’s time to take a look at where this year’s Gators have landed.
2012 was rather quiet for the Orange and Blue, and entire state of Florida for that matter. You know it’s a down year in football for the Sunshine State when a punter is selected before any player from the Big 3 (Florida, FSU, and Miami).
With the 70th overall pick, the nearby Jacksonville Jaguars selected Cal’s Bryan Anger. Leave it to the Jags to select a punter in the top 70. On another note, the kids a beast. Career stat line: 72 fair catches, 89 punts downed inside the 20, and just 22 touchbacks.
The Gators have been well represented over the past 20+ years, with a player being selected in the first three rounds every year since 1993.
Enter a coach retiring, reinstating himself, retiring again, a new coach, new offensive coordinator, another new offensive coordinator and you have the perfect formula for a few off years in your football program. Sounds like the cupid shuffle of coaching staffs, and it felt like it too.
If you want to count him, Janoris Jenkins was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 39th overall pick, but I like to throw that one out the window for this year’s sake of the draft. Claiming a former player is reaching at best. We don’t get to count Cam Newton’s Heisman Trophy.
A total of two Gators were selected this year, Jaye Howard (114th) and Chris Rainey (159th).
Rainey will join former Gators Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert as a Pittsburgh Steeler, whileJaye Howard heads out west to play for the Seahawks and former USC coach Pete Carroll.
Three more un-drafted Gators would eventually land with NFL teams. John Brantley (QB) and Deonte Thompson (WR) both signed with the Baltimore Ravens, and William Green (DE) signed with the Cleveland Browns.
What does this mean for the future of Florida football? One thing’s for certain, you can see the lack of talent Muschamp had to work with in year one (at least compared to the national title caliber teams of the past few years).
When you are battling against teams averaging two, three, and four players being drafted in the first round, and your team is pumping out late round or un-drafted players, you have an uphill battle on your hands. It was unfair for anyone to think the Gators could compete with the likes of LSU and Alabama this past year, and that’s just the truth.
For Gator Nation, give Muschamp some slack, let him implement his system, and let’s sit back and enjoy the ride. Texas didn’t name him coach in waiting for no reason. He has out recruited nearly every school since coming to Florida, and will field one of the best defenses in the country next year. Add in new fiery OC Brent Pease and we could possibly have something special on our hands.
Only time will tell, but hey it could be worse, we could be that school out west.
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