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Former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes opens next chapter of his NFL career in Buffalo.

Monday May 5, 2014Gator Made: A look at how Florida's NFL Draft picks have fared past five years

Former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes opens next chapter of his NFL career in Buffalo.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The NFL Draft starts Thursday and the Gators are expected to have several players taken over the seven rounds.

While the Gators are unlikely to have a player selected in Thursday night’s first round according to the countless mock drafts available online, defensive tackle Dominique Easley (photo, left) and defensive backs Jaylen Watkins and Marcus Roberson are listed among the top 100 players available by various analysts.

Dominique Easley

Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, tight end Trey Burton, defensive lineman Ronald Powell, center Jonotthan Harrison, guard Jon Halapio, receiver Solomon Patton, defensive tackle Damien Jacobs and linebacker Darrin Kitchens are others with a chance to get drafted or sign with a team as a free agent.

Several of the Gators available in this year’s draft mark the first players signed at Florida by head coach Will Muschamp to enter the draft. Roberson and Purifoy were members of Muschamp’s first recruiting class in 2011 and Jacobs was a junior-college transfer signed by Florida after Muschamp took over the program.

With the clock ticking toward the start of the 2014 draft, here is a look at how the Gators selected in the last five NFL drafts have fared:


Sharrif Floyd, DT (1st Round, No. 23 overall, Vikings): Had a solid rookie season with 19 tackles and 2 ½ sacks. Primarily a reserve, Floyd started one game as a rookie and is expected to play a bigger role in his second season.

Matt Elam, S (1st Round, No. 32 overall, Ravens): Made an instant impact for Baltimore by starting 15 games and finishing with 77 tackles and one interception. 

Jon Bostic, LB (2nd Round, No. 50 overall, Bears): Started the season as a reserve but moved into the starting lineup due to injuries and produced 57 tackles, two sacks and an interception.

Jordan Reed, TE (3rd Round, No. 85 overall, Redskins): A productive rookie season (45 catches, 499 yards, 3 TDs) was cut short due to multiple concussions.

Jelani Jenkins, LB (4th Round, No. 104 overall, Dolphins): Played primarily on special teams but improved as season progressed; played in every game as a rookie.

Mike Gillislee, RB (5th Round, No. 164 overall, Dolphins): Played in three games, carried only six times for 21 yards following a 1,000-yard season at UF in 2012.

Caleb Sturgis, K (5th Round, No. 166 overall, Dolphins): Earned starting job as a rookie and finished 26 of 34 on field goals and made all 33 extra-point attempts.

Josh Evans, S (6th Round, No. 169 overall, Jaguars): Had a solid rookie season. Played in 15 games, started 11, and finished with 58 tackles.


Jaye Howard, DT (4th Round, No. 114 overall, Seahawks): Has yet to make much of an impact. Played in two games as a rookie with Seattle, and then was cut and signed by Kansas City, where he played three games last season.

Chris Rainey, RB (5th Round, No. 159 overall, Steelers): Good rookie season on special teams with Steelers but was released after off-the-field trouble. Signed midseason by Colts in 2013 and played in two games.


Mike Pouncey

Mike Pouncey, OL (1st Round, No. 15 overall, Dolphins): Considered one of the NFL’s premiere centers who has started 46 games the past three seasons. The Dolphins picked up a 2015 season team option on Pouncey (photo, left) last week.

Marcus Gilbert, OT (2nd Round, No. 63 overall, Steelers): Has started 34 games in his first three seasons, including 16 in 2013 after suffering a season-ending injury in 2012.

Ahmad Black, S (5th Round, No. 151 overall, Bucs): Played in 24 games for Tampa Bay over three seasons before being released late last season. Black is currently a free agent.

Maurice Hurt, G (7th Round, No. 217 overall, Redskins): Missed 2013 season due to knee surgery. Hurt played in 21 games with nine starts during his first two seasons.


Joe Haden, CB (1st Round, No. 7 overall, Browns): One of the NFL’s top cornerbacks. Haden has 13 interceptions in his first four seasons in the league.

Maurkice Pouncey, C (1st Round, No. 18 overall, Steelers): An All-Pro in 2012, Pouncey played in only one game last season due to an injury. He is expected back in the starting lineup in 2014.

Tim Tebow, QB (1st Round, No. 25 overall, Broncos): Led Denver to a memorable playoff win in 2011 but was traded to the Jets to make way for Peyton Manning. Playing sparingly in New York and was released prior to last season. Signed by New England but was cut in camp. Tebow is now working as an analyst for the SEC Network, set to launch in August.

Jermaine Cunningham, DE (2nd Round, No. 53 overall, Patriots): Played three seasons for New England prior to splitting 2013 with San Francisco and the New York Jets. He is expected to compete in camp for a backup spot at linebacker. 

Carlos Dunlap, DE (2nd Round, No. 54 overall, Bengals): Became a full-time starter in 2013 after three seasons as a reserve. He finished with 39 tackles, 7 ½ sacks and forced four fumbles.

Brandon Spikes, LB (2nd Round, No. 62 overall, Patriots): After four seasons with New England, Spikes signed with Buffalo in the offseason. He has 286 career tackles in 51 games.

Major Wright, S (3rd Round, No. 75 overall, Bears): Spent the first four seasons of his career in Chicago as a regular in the Bears’ secondary. He signed with Tampa Bay this offseason.

Aaron Hernandez, TE (4th Round, No. 113 overall, Patriots): Was one of the NFL’s top tight ends his first three seasons in the NFL, Hernandez is no longer in the NFL for reasons that made national headlines last summer.

Riley Cooper, WR (5th Round, No. 159, Eagles): Had his best season in 2013 with 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. Cooper has 93 catches for 1,514 yards and 13 touchdowns in four seasons with the Eagles.


Percy Harvin, WR (1st Round, No. 22 overall, Vikings): Traded to Seattle prior to last season and showed why he remains one of the NFL’s most dynamic players when healthy with a kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Harvin has played only 10 regular-season games the past two seasons.

Louis Murphy, WR (4th Round, No. 24 overall, Raiders): Played three seasons for Oakland before signing with Carolina in 2012 and the New York Giants last season. Murphy recently signed with Tampa Bay. In 71 career games, Murphy has 121 catches for 1,744 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cornelius Ingram, TE (5th Round, No. 153 overall, Eagles): A torn ACL during his first camp with the Eagles derailed Ingram’s NFL career. He later had stints with Detroit and Denver but failed to make either team.


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