Two Gators among The Athletic’s ‘most intriguing’ early entrants into the 2023 NFL draft

Players leave college early every year to embark on their professional careers, and the 2023 draft features a pair of Gators that are forgoing significant time at the University of Florida to try their luck at the NFL.

On Monday, the deadline for college players to enter their name in the NFL draft passes, so The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner put together a list of the 15 most intriguing underclassmen that have declared for the 2023 draft. Former Florida quarterback and potential first-round pick Anthony Richardson naturally made the list and defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr. also joined him.

Richardson is, of course, one of the most interesting prospects in the draft due to his obvious physical talents and lack of time spent as a starter. The combine should be the perfect showcase for him to dazzle, but it will be hard to judge Richardson’s readiness for the NFL after just 393 snaps for the Gators over two seasons.

Baumgardner warns NFL teams looking to hit the jackpot on Richardson that he’ll be a work in progress that isn’t likely to take over the starting job in Year 1 of his professional career.

“One of the hardest evaluations in the entire class regardless of position,” Baumgardner wrote. “There’s not a physical trait a modern quarterback needs that Anthony Richardson doesn’t have, and Richardson’s testing numbers should only confirm as much. He is a giant athlete with twitch, explosion and arm talent. If everything clicks, he could be an offense’s dream…

“… If your franchise isn’t ready for a player like Richardson, you can’t draft him. If you have a developmental plan, though, he could be a massive steal.”

Dexter, on the other hand, has had time to show scouts what he’s capable of, and there are those who believe he could wreak havoc at the next level. He’s appeared in every game for Florida over the last three years, but he’s lacked consistency at times.

“There are moments from Gervon Dexter’s career that make your jaw drop. He is a terrific combination of size, power, body control and agility, and his flashes are some of the best in the country. He has game-wrecker potential as an interior pocket pusher who also can hold up against the run.

His consistency as a player, however, just isn’t anywhere near where it should be or where it will need to be, if he’s going to find his ceiling at the next level.”

If Dexter can prove that he’s disciplined and get into top shape leading up to the draft, a strong combine showing could help boost his stock. Otherwise, he’s likely to be picked in the middle rounds of the draft.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire