Near the top of most lists for all of this year’s NFL Draft season, former Florida Gators defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd has become the No. 1 player on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board. Floyd has already established himself as a top-five pick in next month’s draft, but as he continues to impress, the chances of him being selected first improve.
Fans love to hate Kiper. If he doesn’t believe a player from your school is worthy of a top pick, you can’t stand the man and don’t believe he knows anything about, well, anything. If he does have your favorites among his top players, then it’s no better because that’s his job and he’s just regurgitating what you already knew. Basically, he can’t win.
Regardless, of how you feel about the man and his methods for ‘guessing’ the outcome of the NFL Draft, he does his homework and evaluates each year’s prospects to a level of detail few others do. And, of course, as Florida fans, we can now praise the man for his unmatched expertise and intelligence. There’s a player atop his board with a Gators logo next to his name.
Being atop Kiper’s Big Board doesn’t guarantee that Floyd will be selected No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. First of all, the Chiefs are thought by many to be leaning toward an offensive lineman (but they could take the best overall player regardless of position, which they should probably do). Second, this is a year without a definitive top choice. But Floyd does have a chance to be the highest Gator ever selected in the draft and that’s something for us to applaud.
Florida has had three former players go No. 3 overall, but never been able to jump into the top two. Those three are extremely recognizable.
- • 1967 – Steve Spurrier – QB
• 1978 – Wes Chandler – WR
• 2001 – Gerard Warren – DT
Floyd could join those three at No. 3, or make a name for himself all alone as the only Florida player to ever be selected in the top two. And—orange and blue glasses aside—he’s worthy. He has the size, speed and overall talent to succeed in the NFL in either 4-3 or 3-4 systems. Throughout his Gators career, Floyd was moved from defensive tackle to 4-3 defensive end to nose tackle to end in the 3-4. His versatility and ability to excel wherever he lined up has made him one of the better players available. Whenever he goes, we won’t be waiting long to hear his name.
Oddly enough, the baseball program’s highest drafted player also went No. 3—Mike Zunino one year ago. The men’s basketball program bests both football and baseball by one spot. Neal Walk went No. 2 overall in 1969.