2020 NFL Draft: A Florida Gators-Centric 7-Round Mock Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft is set to kick off on April 23rd, only two weeks from Thursday.
For the Florida Gators, there is a chance seven or eight players are selected, with several taken within the first four rounds. While this year's class from Gainesville isn't the most top-heavy, plenty will likely earn a shot at making their case of being one of 255 selected come draft day.
Using TheDraftNetwork.com's proprietary mock draft simulator, we took a look at just how many former Gators were selected and when they'll be projected to fall.
The mock draft settings were based on The Draft Network's predictive draft board, which is set and changed throughout the draft season as more information flows in.
Let's take a look:
Round One, 17th overall: CB C.J. Henderson, Atlanta Falcons
It should come to no one's surprise that the supremely talented former Gators cornerback was the first member of the 2020 class to be selected.
After three seasons at Florida, Henderson unsurprisingly declared early for the NFL Draft after performing at a high level since he was first stepped foot on campus in 2017. Appearing in 30 games over the last three seasons, Henderson tallied 93 tackles, six interceptions, and 20 pass breakups.
The Miami (Fla.) native was selected First-Team All-SEC by the coaches poll in 2019 and looks to field a fantastic career in the NFL. After running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine earlier this year, Henderson's stock has shot up, slated to go no later than 20th overall in this year's draft.
After releasing veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant, the Falcons are looking for a change of guard in the defensive backfield. Henderson would fit right in, in former Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's defense which plays a heavy dose of man coverage while also playing to the skillset of his defenders on the outside.
Round Three, 78th overall, DE/OLB Jonathan Greenard, New York Jets
As a graduate transfer from Louisville, Greenard was everything the Gators could have hoped for, and more. Accumulating 53 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks in 11 games of action, Greenard checked all the boxes for NFL scouts at a production standpoint.
At 6-foot-3, 263 pounds, Greenard was able to showcase his versatility, playing the Gators' Buck end position, typically playing standing up or down in a three-point stance off the edge of the defensive line last season. While his 40-yard dash time of 4.87 seconds left something to be desired at the NFL Combine, Greenard was one of the top edge rushers at the Combine in more important athletic tests relative to his position.
Greenard falls to the Jets in the third round of this simulation, but considering this year's class is particularly weak at the position, he is liable to go a full round earlier. The Jets will need a pass rusher after accounting for 35 total sacks on the year.
Round Four, 110th overall, WR Van Jefferson, New York Giants
Due to this being a particularly strong class, read: historic, at the wide receiver position, Jefferson falls to the Giants in the fourth round of this simulation.
Jefferson's route-running skills at Florida have been well documented. The son of a former NFL wide receiver, and current wide receivers coach, Jefferson certainly has a leg-up on the current crop of receivers near his draft slot.
The current knock on Jefferson, which could impact his draft position, is the injury he suffered to his foot, ultimately forcing him to miss the NFL Combine as a result.
After transferring out of Ole Miss to the Gators as a graduate transfer two years ago, Jefferson accumulated 84 receptions for 1160 yards, and 12 touchdowns, including six in both of the last two years of his collegiate career.
The former Gators' standout heads to the receiver-needy Giants in this simulation, adding another weapon for former Giants' number one selection Daniel Jones.
Round Four, 116th overall, DE Jabari Zuniga, Jacksonville Jaguars
Part two of the one-two punch at Florida last year, Zuniga was able to get off to a strong start in his final season at Florida. However, due to injuries, he was only able to suit up for five games for the Gators in 2019, accounting for just three sacks, his lowest total in his five-year career.
Zuniga is a highly athletic strong side defensive end that - when healthy - is capable of becoming a chess piece in an NFL defense. Able to play in multiple positions along the line of scrimmage, Zuniga will likely be a commodity for multiple NFL teams wishing to get better along the defensive line.
For the Jaguars, due to the departure of veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell (trade), choosing Zuniga in the fourth round is not out of the realm of possibility, although it is more likely the pass rusher falls further due to a lack of production (18.5 career sacks), and injury concerns.
Round Five, 157th overall, RB Lamical Perine, Baltimore Ravens
Perine is an enigma. There is no telling where the Gators' bell-cow running back will land especially after accumulating 40 receptions for 262 yards and five touchdowns last season, able to finally showcase his receiving ability.
While Perine is not the most athletic running back in the class, he showed off his productivity in limited carries (493 total over four years) and his durability throughout his career (played in all 50 games in his career).
In his collegiate career, Perine tallied 2,485 yards for 22 touchdowns, rushing for an average of five yards a carry. While the Ravens already have a workhorse running back in Mark Ingram, Ravens general manager Eric Decosta has never been shy about adding more weapons to his potent offense which includes NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
Round Five, 179th overall, WR Tyrie Cleveland, Dallas Cowboys
A big, tall receiver at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Cleveland is picked with the final selection of the fifth round in this simulation. While his production was limited thanks to a spread offense and heavy rotation at wide receiver at Florida, the former Gators receiver will be selected in this year's draft based on talent and athleticism alone.
After running a 4.46 40-yard dash, Cleveland showcased why he had a staggering 16.1 yards per reception during his career at Florida. In his career, Cleveland hauled in 79 receptions for 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns.
While the Cowboys recently re-signed Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper, the team can stand to add more to the arsenal for Dan Mullen's former quarterback at Mississippi State, Dak Prescott.
Round Seven, 237th overall, LB David Reese II, Tennessee Titans
With the final selection for the Gators in this mock draft simulation, Reese II falls to the seventh round. A highly productive linebacker totaling 324 tackles (202 solos) and an interception in four years, Reese does have the talent to be on an NFL roster at some point this offseason.
However, the NFL game has changed over the years. Fewer teams value players who, while excellent run stuffers are not the most adept at covering players due to the speed of the game, and the high-potent offenses, as featured in last year's Super Bowl.
The Titans taking a flier on Reese wouldn't come as a surprise, however as the team has dealt with depth issues at the position for years.