2017 NFL Draft Notebook: Davis widely projected as first-round pick

Landon Watnick, Beat Writer
Inside the Gators

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After not participating in drills during the NFL Scouting Combine in February to nurse an ankle injury, linebacker Jarrad Davis boosted his draft stock with a stellar performance at Florida's Pro Day in late March.

Now, there's a good possibility that Davis could see his name called a week from today on the first day of the 2017 NFL Draft, set to run from April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

Two of the teams who have reportedly brought in Davis for visits over the past month have been the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins, who both have needs at the linebacker position and could use a linebacker with impressive closing speed and pursuit like Davis. About two weeks ago, the Steelers hosted Davis, among a number of other players. The Dolphins reportedly hosted Davis last week.

The Steelers hold the 30th and 62nd picks in the draft, while the Dolphins will select 22nd and 54th. Three more teams who have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Davis have been the New York Giants (23rd, 55th), Detroit Lions (21st, 53rd) and Oakland Raiders (24th, 56th).

An array of NFL Draft analysts are projecting Davis to land in the first round next Thursday. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has Davis going 22nd to the Dolphins in his latest mock draft, while ESPN's Todd McShay has Davis landing with the Giants a pick later.

CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler and Will Brinson, and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah Lance Zierlin, all have Davis going 24th to the Oakland Raiders.

If Davis and/or any other Gators are selected in the first round of the draft next Thursday, it would be the 10th time in the past 11 years that Florida has seen at least one former player land in the first round of the NFL Draft. Since 2007, the Gators have had 15 first-round selections.

WHERE WILL WILSON AND TABOR LAND?

After Wilson pieced together solid performances at both the scouting combine and at Pro Day - coupled with Jalen "Teez" Tabor struggling at each of those events, especially in the 40-yard dash as he claimed he has battled through a minor hamstring injury - the chances are next weekend that Wilson could hear his name called before Tabor's.

The projections read that way as well. Most current mock drafts have Wilson as a first- or second-rounder, with Tabor landing in the second, third or even fourth round.

McShay appears to be much higher than fellow ESPN analyst Kiper on Wilson's draft stock, as McShay has him going 28th to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round while Kiper has Wilson pegged as an early selection in the third round (66th, San Francisco 49ers).

Jeremiah has Wilson, one of best press-man cornerbacks in the draft, going 29th to the Green Bay Packers in his latest mock draft.

As far as Tabor, McShay has him going 56th to the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the draft, while Kiper didn't include Tabor in his three-round projection. Notably, NFL.com's Charley Casserly still has Tabor going in the first round - 29th to the Green Bay Packers, in his latest mock draft.

The Miami Herald reported that the Dolphins (22nd, 54th, 97th) are among the teams who have met with Tabor this month.

MISCELLANEOUS DRAFT NOTES

-- A broken arm kept safety Marcus Maye sidelined from action during the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, but a strong outing on Pro Day has NFL teams considering Maye more heavily. Maye, an athletic safety who has performed well in the box over the years, has seen his name pop up more frequently now as a second-round selection in recent mock drafts. Kiper has him going 43rd to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round, while McShay has Maye pegged as the No. 50 selection to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round.

-- It'll be interesting to see where defensive tackle Caleb Brantley lands in the draft - and whether a controversial incident from a week ago will play any factor in his standing. Kiper and McShay still have Brantley going in the second round, with Kiper projecting him to land 48th overall with the Minnesota Vikings and McShay having Brantley at 55th to the New York Giants.

-- Many have considering Alex Anzalone as a mid-round pick in this draft following highly impressive performances Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, despite his past injury history. Both Kiper and McShay, as well as other draft analysts, appear to be high on Anzalone, too. Kiper has him at 94th to the Steelers in the third round, while McShay has Anzalone going 97th to the Miami Dolphins.

-- How many Gators will be selected in the 2017 NFL Draft? With David Sharpe and Bryan Cox Jr. potentially landing as mid-to-late round picks - and Joey Ivie possibly going as a late-rounder - Florida could have a good number once again this year. If nine Gators are selected in this year's draft, it would mark the first time since 2010 that Florida has that many players selected and would tie for the second-most in program history. UF had eight selections in 2015 and seven in 2016.

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