With the 2020 football season in doubt, fans and analysts have already begun digging into the 2021 NFL Draft.
One of the most reputable draft sites out there, The Draft Network, has been steadily grinding the tape of 2021's eligible prospects. With over 400 scouting reports completed and 500+ players ranked based on college game tape to date and each prospect's background, TDN's team of scouts knows the upcoming class, inside and out, as well as anyone.
18 Florida Gators can be found across The Draft Network's early class rankings, as follows:
24. Tight end Kyle Pitts, TE2
Pros (+): A prospect that’s played from all platforms, he’s spent time in-line, flexed out, and at the hip of the offensive tackle. Pitts is creative with his route running and body to defeat zone coverage. He understands how to use his slinky build in order to fit into tight spaces in coverages, but also remain skinny and exit out of those same regions. An often target of leveled concepts along the sideline and over the middle, Pitts is fully aware of how to make an already large frame even more accessible to the sightline of the quarterback. Outstanding catch radius that’s easily able to bail out inaccurate passes.
90. Cornerback Marco Wilson, CB12
97. Defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton, iDL9
123. Quarterback Kyle Trask, QB6
Pros (+): ...Containing a clean and directly over the top release, it enables him to get the ball out quickly and in an efficient manner. In the Florida offense, he’s been allowed to throw from various types of platforms (under-center, shotgun, and pistol). His best throws come in the underneath areas when he’s allowed to attack quickly and on schedule. Right now slants, designed quick patterns off of run-pass options, and back shoulder vertical routes is where he experienced the most success. One of his better traits is eye discipline and manipulation.
133. Linebacker Ventrell Miller, LB15
144. BUCK rush end Jeremiah Moon, EDGE16
171. Linebacker/STAR cornerback Amari Burney, LB16
182. Cornerback/safety Trey Dean III, CB24
184. Wide receiver Trevon Grimes, WR30
Pros (+): ...A fluid player for his size, he gets in to his routes in a hurry and can gobble up grass quickly with his long stride when given free releases. Pure hands catcher that’s prone to use them in all situations no matter the busyness of his surrounding areas. Stop-start suddenness is seen and even though he lunges into the ending stages of his routes, it has proven to be effective for him when creating separation. Many of his explosive plays down the field were on contested catches, but he’s proven to be comfortable with making receptions in traffic.
249. Safety Shawn Davis, S22
255. Running back Dameon Pierce, RB21
282. Wide receiver/utility Kadarius Toney, WR40
348. Defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, iDL32
Pros (+): ...Shown to be durable at the point of attack as he eats up double teams and does an adequate job of holding down his assigned gap. While he won’t stack and break free consistently to have an affect on plays, he plugs the hole/gap(s), which allows others to roam freely when given opportunities. Campbell has a powerful lower half. It’s not often to see him completely blown out of his designated areas and he shows lots of brute strength as a run defender.
380. Guard/center Brett Heggie, iOL37
419. Safety Brad Stewart, S40
429. Offensive tackle Stone Forsythe, OT32
Pros (+): ...Possessing long arms and a body that’s hard to turn the corner against, he’s able to extend and lock his arms against defenders to provide difficult angles for them to defeat. While having limited athleticism, he’s able to cancel out rushers quickly using his length and an effective horizontal pass set that eliminates the efforts of twitchy edge rushers quickly. As a run blocker, he shows lots of power especially on down blocks prior to climbing to the second level.
442. Tight end Kemore Gamble, TE28
493. Guard/tackle Stewart Reese, iOL51
This monumental list follows an offseason in which the Gators saw seven prospects selected in the 2020 selection ceremony, with a total of 11 players finding NFL homes. One prospect not included, but perhaps should be as he is expected to take on a starting role when Florida takes the gridiron, is defensive end Zachary Carter.
TDN senior analyst Jordan Reid joined Sports Illustrated - AllGators to share his thoughts on some of Florida's prospects, progressions some can take the next step in their games to rise in the rankings, who could skyrocket with more playing time coming their way, and more!
SI - AllGators: What would you need to see from Kyle Trask, if we get any games or in the draft process, for him to ascend in your QB rankings?
Jordan Reid: I think we first have to remind ourselves that last year was the first time ever in his football career that he came into games knowing that he would be a starter. The LSU game was one where he showed lots of promise. A bulk of his problems come with his lower half and footwork. He has a tendency of failing to marry his lower half with his upper half and it results in his ball placement being inconsistent in all areas of the field. He's paired with a great QB developer and play-caller in Dan Mullen though. If he can improve on that, it could help his draft stock going forward.
SI - AllGators: Which prospect do you believe has the most upside of Florida’s group and why?
Reid: It's without a doubt tight end Kyle Pitts. He's already received lots of early comparisons to Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller and rightfully so. He's still a very young prospect, who doesn't turn 20 years old until October, but he's continued to improve every time he's stepped foot on the field. From a receiving standpoint, he's everything you want as he has natural athleticism, is already a fluid route runner, and an easy hands catcher of the ball.
SI - AllGators: TJ Slaton has flashed but expectations are for him to put it together in a full-time role now. Where does he project best in terms of position and scheme?
Reid: Studying him heavily this summer, I thought he really turned it on down the backstretch of last season. T.J. put three consecutive good games together when he matched up against Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Mizzou. He's a mammoth-sized human being, but at 6-foot-5, 360 pounds, he has an impressive build. As the anchor in the middle, his impact doesn't always show up in the box score, but he allowed freedom for many others on the field because of the space that he takes up along the interior. On the next level, he's definitely a 0-technique that aligns directly over the center in a 3-4 defensive front. He won't make many plays outside of the A gaps, but as a two-down run stuffer, he brings lots of value in that area. There will be some teams who covet that type of talent.
SI - AllGators: Same question for Kadarius Toney.
Reid: Toney's really an interesting case because he was a big-time talent coming out of high school. He came into Florida as a quarterback, but I thought they made the right move with moving him quickly elsewhere. He's spent time at multiple positions, but he's at his best when the team has found some manufactured touches for him on jet sweeps, quick screens, and fast throws to him on the perimeter when he's aligned in the slot. He really stood out against Florida State with some ankle-breaking moves. I think his future home is at running back based on what he's shown thus far in his career.
SI - AllGators: Which lower-ranked prospect could you see rising up boards with 2020 game tape or in the draft process?
Reid: I actually have two of them. If we do end up getting a season this year, I'd first go with wide receiver Trevon Grimes. Once a highly-touted recruit, there was a lot of excitement about him once he transferred from Ohio State. Taking on a bigger role this season, he could continue to progress and build off of what he showed last season.
The second would be running back Dameon Pierce. He was a pleasant surprise once going through film study of all of the Florida prospects. His game against South Carolina was very impressive and while he doesn't have one major trait that he hangs his hat on, he is a carbon copy of the type of running backs who have been selected on Day 3 of the draft who have gone on to find lots of success on the next level. He's a tough, hard nose, and determined runner who can provide value in many areas required to experience early playing time in the NFL.