Here’s what SEC coaches think about Florida’s 2023 draftees
The 2023 NFL draft is in the books and there is no shortage of analysis and post-event commentary. ESPN recently caught up with coaches from around the NCAA to talk about various draft topics, and the Florida Gators came up more than once.
Of course, Anthony Richardson was the first topic to come up. The Indianapolis Colts made him the fourth overall pick of the draft despite just 13 starts on record at Florida.
“He’s a great talent, and if they can get him to improve the accuracy and the decision-making, then he’ll turn out to be incredible,” a defensive coordinator who faced Richardson told ESPN.
One SEC coordinator compared Richardson to a “bigger version of Mike Vick,” and noted that Shane Steichen’s scheme in Indianapolis should fit the new quarterback’s skillset. The goal is to repeat the success Steichen has with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia as an offensive coordinator.
Richardson wasn’t the only reason Florida came up in the draft conversation, though. The Gators saw six players selected in the 2023 draft, which was good for the fifth-best number overall nationally. Florida was nowhere near a top-five team on the field last year, which naturally led to questions from coaches.
“It’s an interesting situation to study,” an SEC coordinator said. “You can say coaching or whatever you want, but Napier at Lafayette was a phenomenal coach. Are there other factors that don’t allow a team like that to win? … How do you have three guys drafted off a defense that was one of the worst in the country?”
One defensive player coaches see succeeding is linebacker Ventrell Miller, who is staying in the Sunshine State after being picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He’s a mauler,” said a defensive coordinator who faced Florida. “He’s a big, physical player, really good.”
The end of the draft cycle marks the end of a whirlwind first year at the University of Florida under head coach Billy Napier. Increased stability within the program is expected as Napier’s culture change takes over (it already has), so next year’s draft should be a bit more traditional.
More NFL Draft 2023!
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Las Vegas Raiders select LB Amari Burney in 6th round of 2023 NFL draft
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