The Florida Gators’ 2020 season opener is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, September 26th, as they travel to Vaught Hemingway Stadium to square off against Ole Miss. The Gators, who are ranked fifth in the nation heading into the 2020 college football season, are often overlooked, given that they play in a star-studded SEC featuring the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. This year, the Gators have a roster littered with legit NFL talent, and the list of top Florida prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft is headlined by an explosive, game-breaking tight end.
Before we take a deep dive into Florida’s top 2021 NFL Draft prospects, we must review a few players on their rosters who hope to be mid-to-late rounds picks next April.
Other Gators prospects to watch
Shawn Davis, Safety
Davis might not possess the prototypical size for the position, but he is a smart football player who displays great route recognition and range. Tony Pauline states: ” Several scouts that I’ve spoken with love Shawn Davis and grade him as a top-75 pick”. For my money, this seems a little rich, but it is likely that Davis finds himself selected in the middle rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ventrell Miller, Linebacker
Miller is quick to the football, thanks to the upper-echelon closing speed he brings to the table. Against the run, Miller is stout and is a strong fundamental tackler. His size and instincts will be red flags against him, however, as the tape shows that Miller can have a slow trigger, and at times is washed away in run support when bigger offensive linemen get their paws on him.
Jeremiah Moon, Edge
Moon displayed some pass rush talent in 2019, accounting for three sacks for the Gators’ defense. He won’t give you much against the run but should have a future at the next level as a situational pass rusher.
Tedarrell Slaton, Defensive Tackle
Slaton is a mammoth of a man, possessing the size and stature to eat double teams with ease. At times, he is immovable, which allows him to anchor effectively. He plays the game with a motor that never runs cold and should be in the discussion to be a third-round selection in 2021.
Trevor Grimes, Wide Receiver
Grimes is a big-bodied receiver who consistently demonstrates the capacity to run effective routes. He has reliable hands and displays the ability to win the contested catch. The 2021 wide receiver group is deep, but if Grimes can live up to his billing as a former top-50 recruit, he could see his draft status soar.
Top Florida Gators’ prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft
Kyle Trask, Quarterback, Redshirt Senior (6’5″, 239 pounds)
The top three 2021 quarterback prospects are set in stone, and I don’t see that changing, as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Ohio State’s Justin Fields are brilliant prospects. With that said, Florida’s Kyle Trask is clearly in the running to be the fourth quarterback selected next April.
I’ve previously highlighted Trask’s strengths, stating, “Trask has good football intelligence and plays the game with a lot of passion. He has a quick, smooth release and throws with anticipation. He demonstrates moxie under pressure, allowing him to read through his progressions.”
Trask has prototypical size for the position and brings a lot of juice in terms of arm strength. In a quarterback-needy NFL, prospects like Trask tend to get selected way earlier than anticipated.
With that said, there are many in the draft community that view Trask as more of a game-manager. The 2020 season is paramount for Trask, as he could cement himself as a top-50 selection with a good season or push himself into the middle rounds of the 2021 draft with a poor season.
Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Junior (6’6″, 239 pounds)
While Penn State’s Pat Friermuth might be the most complete tight end prospect in the 2021 draft class, you can’t deny that Florida’s Kyle Pitts is the most explosive. In 2019, Pitts was a bit underwhelming, only hauling in 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns. But don’t let the box score scare you, as Pitts possesses God-given traits that will have NFL front offices salivating.
Nick Farabaugh has raved about Kyle Pitts, stating: “My argument for Pitts is that he fits the modern NFL better than any other tight end I have studied thus far in the class. Pitts is Evan Engram all over again. Here we have an absurdly athletic tight end that stresses the middle of the defenses with ease. He can bust seams, he can work over the middle of the field and break tackles, he can win above the rim, and if the call is right, he can take one to the house.”
Pitts has the ingredients to be one of the top tight ends in the NFL and has the athletic profile to blow the roof off of the Scouting Combine, which is a recipe for success. I do not see a scenario where Pitts makes it out of the first round. I imagine teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints would love if a player the caliber of Pitts fell to them late in Round 1.
Marco Wilson, Cornerback, Redshirt Junior (6’0″, 190 pounds)
I am going to warn you now: Don’t sleep on Florida cornerback Marco Wilson being an early Day 2 draft selection in 2021. Wilson plays a physical brand of football and excels in man coverage. He has good instincts at the position. Combine that with brilliant fluidity and speed, and you have the makings of a legitimate starting cornerback at the next level.
With C.J. Henderson now playing his football on Sundays, Wilson is the top cornerback in Gainesville. If he can showcase the ability the play a high level of football against the nation’s top wide receivers this season, Wilson can help his 2021 Draft stock.