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Gator Rookies in the NFL in 2021…

As a dedicated Florida Gator fan, and as I’m sure is the case with fans who closely follow any college team, it’s always a great pleasure to see your guys transition into Rookies in the NFL. Under the guidance of the fresh coaching staff, led by head coach & quarterbacks expert Dan Mullen, the Gators have had a good run in the last few seasons. Good form in college, means more eyes from the NFL in your direction. As a result of that good form and in turn the NFL’s interest, your recruitment as a college outfit is better supported, as potential high school talents see the percentage rate of college players turned pro from your program. It all works in one big cycle, and today, I wanted to take a look at the NFL talent the Gators produced this year, where they landed, and the opportunity they have to continue to live through the Gator standard, and represent the University of Florida at the pro level.

Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons – Tight End

A man who needs no introduction. Kyle Pitts took the college scene by storm in the last two seasons, with his dominant performances, and particular connection with QB Kyle Trask.

Pitts is clearly going to be favoured as a pass catching target in Atlanta, especially considering the since departed Julio Jones, following Pitts selection in April. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how they line Pitts up, but expect to see a total mixture of reps. I’d like to see him take 50% of his snaps from an outside receiver position, almost directly replacing Julio Jones role. Pitts will be a match up nightmare for just about anybody, with his unique size and speed combination. Crazy to consider that Pitts is still only 20 years old…

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I have absolutely no doubts that Kyle Pitts will be a major success, and even more so in an air raid offence like Atlantas. Question is, how early do you bite in Fantasy… Let us know @UndraftedTN

MORE: Kyle Pitts Rookie Profile

Kadarius Toney – New York Giants – Wide Receiver

You’ll struggle to find many players who improved more than Kadarius Toney did in 2020. His touches significantly improved due to the prior years receiver class all moving onto the NFL, and Toney suddenly became the second target, behind Kyle Pitts. Kadarius Toney’s highlight tape is seriously one to watch. His cuts, turns, jukes and general movement in his routes, and as a ball carrier, are second to none.

If he transitions well into the NFL, and becomes a primary target for Daniel Jones in the slot, in the same way Odell Beckham was for Eli Manning in New York, then Toney will be a household name around the league before too long.

Everybody is looking for their own Tyreek Hill type talent, and Kadarius Toney has everything it takes to become that type of utility receiver for the Giants. New York fans should be very excited about the potential here, and i’m thrilled for Toney as a first round selection. Well earned!

Kyle Trask – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quarterback

There is NOBODY who won more in this years draft than Kyle Trask. Gator fans are familiar with the story, two star recruit, the Gators his ONLY division 1 offer. He waited his turn, waited some more, could have transferred, didn’t. Got an opportunity with Feleipe Franks got hurt, and never looked back. Kyle Trask has worked tirelessly on his craft, and turned himself into a genuine prospect at the next level.

So considering what he’s been through, how hard he’s worked, and how much patience he had to show, the fact that he was then drafted in the second round by the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Bucs, and gets to now go and work with none other than Tom Brady, the best of all time, every single day… is unreal. I couldn’t be happier for him. What an experience that is, and whatever happens from here on out, nobody can take that away from him. If Brady plays a couple more seasons and Trask is then poised to take over, with all that knowledge from Tom in his notepad, he’ll be ready.

Congratulations Kyle Trask sir, you won the draft.

Marco Wilson – Arizona Cardinals – Cornerback

The Cardinals appear to be building something down in Arizona, but with the departure of long term Cardinal veteran Patrick Peterson, there’s a void to be filled. Which means opportunity. Now i won’t mention the shoe incident, but Marco had his moments this season… He has work to do to become a polished corner back, but with that being said, his off season work to get in shape, and improve his athleticism, earned him a spot in the 4th round of the draft.

Marco touched the top of the vertical bar, ran a 4.34 40 yard dash, and benched 26 reps on the bench press workout. Marco Wilsons father is a DB coach, and his older brother Quincy, who was a second round pick out of Florida, currently plays for the New York Giants. Wilson has all the tools, as he clearly showed, and the Cardinals will now be looking to tidy up his technique and discipline, allowing him to excel at the next level.

Evan McPherson – Cincinnati Bengals – Kicker

Something else we can boast as Gator fans… the ONLY kicker to be drafted in this years draft, and not only that, he was selected in the 5th round. Evan has been extremely consistent, and we didn’t miss a beat after previous kicker Eddy Piniero also transitioned to the NFL.

Evan’s viral video knocking the lid off a bottle with a kick from a million miles away might have put his name on the map, but his elite kicking, calm attitude and consistent delivery earned him his draft spot. Wishing him the best of luck with the Bengals.

Shawn Davis – Indianapolis Colts – Safety

Davis could be a monster, and with Malik Hooker moving on this off season, there’s a void at safety, and so a spot up for grabs for whoever impresses the most during camp. Davis has great tracking skills and has picked off a fair few passes in his time as a Gator. For me, he was our most consistent safety, which was an area we struggled in over the last couple of years.

Davis will make a great run stuffing safety, and hits incredibly hard. He’s at his best coming downhill on run plays, and can struggle in man coverage, so might be used in package situations from the strong side. Either way, Davis will certainly contribute to the Colts this year, and I’d imagine we’ll hear about him crushing someone on a kick return at some point. I really like the upside with Shawn Davis, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on, and he plays the game with real passion.

Tedarrell Slaton – Green Bay Packers – Nose Tackle

Slaton will fill a need as a rotational nose tackle in the NFL. He quite often stuffed the A gaps for opposition running backs, and has done enough to land with the Packers in the 6th round. Going to Green Bay will be good for him, where he can learn from and work with star tackle Kenny Clark, and begin to take elements of his game in order to improve his own. Slaton has the tools to add depth to a roster in the NFL, and I’d like to see him earn some more regular reps as he matures.

Stone Forsythe – Seattle Seahawks – Offensive Tackle

The Seahawks took a chance on Forsythe in the 6th round, who has been one of the more consistent players on the offensive line for the Gators in recent years. Despite our recent success, the offensive line has probably been our weakest position, while rival teams like Georgia and Alabama produce blue chip 5 star talents on the line every single year.

However, Forsythe was pretty good for us, starting 25 games at left tackle. As a pass protector he was very good, and possesses great length and hands as a blindside blocker. However as a run blocker, not so much. He has a lot to work on in that element of his game if he’s to become a starter in the NFL, as in order to do that at the next level you’ve got to be able to do it all. But he’ll work with the Seahawks, and I hope he earns himself a roster spot and rotates in during his rookie year.

Undrafted Free Agents

Trevon Grimes – Philadelphia Eagles – Wide Receiver

Grimes was unfortunately released by the Eagles a couple of weeks ago after he picked up an injury to his knee in rookie camp. Undrafted guys very rarely get to keep their spot if they get injured, and so he is on the hunt for a new team. At 6’4, Grimes offers you a 1 on 1 highpoint scenario and in my opinion is actually criminally underrated. His downside is that he can be a little rigid in his routes but on another college team he could have been WR1 and got more targets/highlights. I like Grimes and he deserves his shot. Look forward to him landing when he recovers from the injury!

Brett Heggie – New York Giants – Offensive Guard

Heggie is a real character. Just a lovely dude. I’m sure he’s working his tail off and I hope at the least he finds his way onto a practice squad and gets his chance to elevate his game, and find himself on a roster. Good luck to you Heggie!

Donovan Stiner – Pittsburgh Steelers – Safety

Stiner is a strange one. He had flashes where I thought he could really jump up to a new level and offer us something dangerous on the back end. But it was only flashes. With him it seems to be consistency. But again, he seems to be enjoying life with the Steelers, I’ve seen him posting on socials, working hard and getting it in. It’d be amazing for him if he makes the roster, but even if not. I’d like to see him tidy up his game a little, find a consistency and get on the field regularly!

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