Dooley’s Dozen: 12 Gators we thought would be better in the NFL
Now that the NFL draft is over and the talking heads switch gears from nit-picking to analyzing the picks, we all know that one thing is true about the Florida players who are changing addresses.
We have no idea how good they will be at the next level.
We think we do, but we don’t.
There are very few sure things in the NFL. The side of the road is littered with busts. On the other hand, there are a bunch of guys who we can’t believe got drafted who will become All-Pros.
Like recruiting, it is an inexact science.
It’s easier to look back sometimes. So, in this Dooley’s Dozen, we will do just that with the 12 players we are a little surprised didn’t have better NFL careers.
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The guy had his issues. But he was so good at Florida when he was eligible to play. Cleveland even traded up to get him in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. But the issues followed him including being late to meetings. He only lasted 20 games in the NFL.
If you are from my generation, you were probably a big fan of Dupree, especially the big game he had against Georgia after suffering a personal tragedy. He was an All-American in 1964 and yet went undrafted and returned to Macclenny to settle down and manage a car dealership.
He had a great career at Florida, 25 career sacks and the school record for fumbles caused in a career. The Browns took him with the 21st pick of the draft. But he blew out his knee early in his career and finished his career with one start and 31 games played.
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Jackson still is tied for the most receptions in a season even if there were a lot of bubble screens in the mix. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft by New England, but finished his career with 14 career NFL receptions and even tried the United Football League at one point.
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When Alex Brown broke the single-season sack record in 1999, it was Richardson who had set it 10 years earlier. Huey was a different cat who really disliked the media. He was taken by Pittsburgh in the first round of the 1991 draft even though he wasn’t built for a 3-4 defense. He never started a game in a three-year career with three different teams.
Foster Marshall, Jr./Florida Times-Union
I must include my favorite Gators player of all time because he is in the argument for the greatest Gators receiver of all time. But those miserable knees kept him from being drafted until the 15th round in 1972 and he never signed with Dallas, instead pursuing a law degree where he has done quite well.
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Sorry, guys, we know you love him, I do, too. But he was a first-round pick who started only 16 career games and only threw 14 touchdown passes while playing for four teams. We won’t even get into the Jacksonville circus.
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Powell was one of the highest-rated recruits to ever sign with Florida, an incredible athlete who could get after the passer and cover receivers. But he had a severe knee injury in a spring game and hurt it again during rehab. His NFL career was all of two career tackles.
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Going way back on this one, but Heckman was one of Florida’s first All-Americans playing both ways on the line. He wasn’t picked until the 10th round in 1958 and never played in the league.
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A tremendous linebacker who is second all-time at UF in sacks and tackles for a loss. He was picked by Philadelphia in the second round in 1986 and started nine games as a rookie. But he only played three games his second year after missing time while in a drug rehabilitation program and was done.
AP Photo/Horace Cort
As you probably know, Bill was an All-American in 1966 and went on to be very successful including a stint as Florida’s athletic director. He was selected in the fourth round by New Orleans in ’67, but had a two-year military obligation in the Army to fulfill and when he returned he didn’t make the final cut in New Orleans and started a coaching career.
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Now, you’re really getting angry with me. But I thought Spikes was a cannot-miss NFL player — even if he was a little quirky. And after New England took him in the second round, it looked like it was the perfect fit when he started in the Super Bowl as a rookie. He did play a total of 78 NFL games, but I thought he would be better.
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