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Gators' streak of NFL First Round Draft picks comes to a close tonight



Florida's streak of five consecutive seasons with at least one first round selection in the NFL Draft is expected to come to an end tonight.

No Florida players are forecast to be first-round choices in the NFL Draft, which begins tonight.

When former Gator center Mike Pouncey was selected at No. 15 overall last season, he continued a streak of five seasons for the Gators with at least one first round pick. He was the 43rd Florida player to be selected in the first round – the sixth offensive lineman. The Gators have had a player selected in the first round in 12 of the last 15 years.

In fact, it's a down year for Florida's Big Three - Florida, Florida State and Miami. It's possible none will have a first round selection, which would be a first since 1980. Florida coach Will Muschamp said he can't speak for the other schools, but he thinks it's a fair assessment when analysts and experts say Florida's program is in a down period.

"I know where we are,'' Muschamp said. "You look at last year’s draft and we had three guys drafted, I believe. More than likely we’ll have two drafted (this year). I hope Deonte (Thompson) gets drafted but if he doesn’t it’s probably better. Once you get in those late rounds, you’d rather almost be a free agent so you can go somewhere and know you’ve got a better shot. And like I’ve said before, I’m not asking for anybody to be patient, I’m asking for somebody to be realistic. We’ve dipped in talent. You look at our upper classes you’ve got seven seniors and we’ve got 14
coming up next year. Our junior class has got a bunch of good players – a bunch of really good football players. And our sophomore class has
got some good players. This class we just signed I think is a bunch of good football players. The six we had at midyear are all really good
football players and I’m really glad they are on our football team. Again, let’s be realistic on why we are 15-11 in two years.''

Former WR Chris Rainey and DT Jaye Howard are expected to be drafted in the mid rounds - most likely late on day two or early day three of the draft, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said.

The NFL Draft first round will be televised live, tonight at 8, on ESPN.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:17am]


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