Two Gators Selected in NFL First Round
Former Florida safety Reggie Nelson and former defensive end Jarvis Moss were selected in the first round of Saturday's NFL draft, the first time since 2001 that the Gators have had a first round selection.
Moss was the 17th pick in the draft, chosen by the Denver Broncos. Nelson was selected at No. 21 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I'm going crazy right now,'' said Nelson, who watched the draft from his home in Melbourne with family members and his oldest daughter. "I have been up since 5:30 in the morning. I couldn't sleep. I was trying to do stuff to stay busy. I am really happy to be a Jaguar and add another Gator to the list.''
With the selections of Moss and Nelson, Florida has now had 37 first round draft picks in school history. It was the ninth time in school history the Gators had two first-round draft picks, the fourth time it was two defensive players.
Moss is the highest Florida player taken since offensive lineman Kenyatta Walker was taken as the 14the pick in 2001. Gerard Warren was the third pick in that draft.
"We're very close to those two guys,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said Saturday evening. "They are hard workers, they love the University of Florida, they love the game of football. They walked away early (bypassing their senior seasons), but they did what was best for their families.''
Moss, who was ill with a lingering staph infection and down to 216 pounds when Meyer took over in December 2004, turned out to be one of the Gators' best defensive players in 2006.
He was suspended for the Gators' home-finale against Western Carolina for testing positive for marijuana, bringing his character into question with many NFL teams.
"I stepped out of line this last season at the University of Florida, testing positive for marijuana,'' Moss told the Denver media. "It was a real mess and a (negative) moment of my life. People looked upon me as a real high-class guy, and it really hurt me a lot. I had to step back and look at myself and figure out what I really wanted, but I learned from it. My coaches felt bad for me like a family member would. We got through it and started focusing on different things. I am just going to look forward. The Broncos don't have any issues with me. I am excited about this day and to be drafted.''
Moss also said he was hoping the marijuana issue didn't hurt him, but it did and he had to prove to NFL teams he wasn't going to be a problem.
"I was really hoping that it didn't hurt me,'' he said. "We are all young kids, everyone has tried it and people do it, but everyone doesn't get caught for it and obviously I did. I admitted to it like a man and faced my consequences.''
Meyer refused to comment on Moss' drug issues. He reiterated his support for Moss.
"He's a guy that made a mistake, but he's not a bad guy,'' Meyer said.
The SEC led all conferences in Saturday's draft with 11 first-round selections, followed by the Big Ten (6), Big East (5), Big 12 (4) and ACC (3).