Two Gators selected in first two rounds of ESPN’s latest 2023 mock draft

ESPN’s Jordan Reid released his post-New Year’s 2023 mock draft on Wednesday and Florida has two players projected to come off the board through the first two rounds of the event: quarterback Anthony Richardson at No. 9 overall to the Carolina Panthers and offensive guard O'Cyrus Torrence at No. 17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Richardson’s draft stock has been debated plenty, but there’s still no consensus on where a clearly talented arm with a mildly worrisome injury history who could probably use another year of prep should go. His physical tools should keep in the top two rounds, but the question is whether Florida’s Jekyll and Hyde quarterback can be trusted as a franchise building block.

He’s not a four-year starter, or even a two-year starter for that matter, so his final draft spot will likely come down to which team needs to take a chance on a quarterback. Carolina fits that bill.

“Most scouts around the league agree that Richardson will be one of the toughest evaluations in this cycle …” wrote Reid. “… A lot of questions loom in Carolina this offseason, and one of the biggest is the future outlook under center. Richardson will need patience, proper development and a franchise that avoids constant staff turnover. If the Panthers can maximize him, they can stabilize their QB position. Only Houston has a worse QBR over the past three years than Carolina.”

Torrence is a more sure bet to go in the first round, but the offensive line market can be finicky and the tackles always receive more favor than the guards. Fortunately, it does get much better at the guard position than Torrence.

Whenever a team has all its reach picks stolen from them, they can grab Torrence in the first round and rest content knowing they have a potential starter for years to come.

The Steelers have historically gravitated toward wide-bodied interior blockers, and Torrence fits the mold at 6-foot-5, 347 pounds. And he uses that frame extraordinarily well in multiple areas, displaying a skill set that translates well to the Steelers’ power-running scheme.

Florida should have a decent number of players turning pro aside from those two, including defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr., safety Rashad Torrence II and linebacker Ventrell Miller among plenty of others already declared.

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