The next football event that fans can turn their attention to is April's 2021 NFL Draft, as spring camp's across the country will soon be over if they have not concluded already as Florida's has.
Florida had nine of its 14 eligible draft prospects receive faux invitations to the 2021 NFL Combine, which was effectively canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. NFL scouts will depend upon program-held pro days for athletic testing results, medical exams, and interviews with players pursuing a pro career.
One player we expect to soar up draft boards after Florida's pro day is wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who hasn't received as much attention in the process as some of his Gators' teammates despite a productive 2020 season and intriguing intangibles. At the Senior Bowl, Grimes measured in at 6-foot-3 and 7/8 inches and 217 pounds with a 77-inch wingspan.
After a wild NFL free agency period in which, for the most part, wide receivers did not break the bank, Grimes could be in a good position to find a home where he could emerge as a contributor at the next level with a good showing in UF's March 31 pro day.
Based on team needs and his projected fit, which teams could opt to select Grimes come draft day and in what round? Keep in mind, we project Grimes' value will increase after he conducts the 40-yard dash (he ran a blazing 4.47 in high school at 6-foot-3, 202 pounds) and other tests, so we included day two-to-early day three selections as Grimes' draft range.
Possible selections: 58th overall (2nd round), 104th overall (3rd round, compensatory pick), 131st overall (fourth round)
The Ravens tried to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency, who we compared Grimes to throughout his Gators' career as their skillsets are similar. Golladay went on to sign with the New York Giants, leaving Baltimore still searching for passing game weapons.
Baltimore does not possess a proven X-receiver on its roster, a large part of why Golladay emerged as a target throughout free agency. Grimes fits the mold of an X and is the exact time of receiving talent that the Ravens are severely lacking: A boundary weapon that quarterback Lamar Jackson can trust to come down with 50-50 balls, particularly ones he can launch under pressure.
Miles Boykin (was drafted to fill a similar role by the Ravens in the third round of the 2019 draft, and he has only 32 receptions to his name thus far in his NFL career. After targeting Golladay and ending up unsuccessful in its pursuit, it's hard to imagine Baltimore is done searching for a big-bodied receiver with speed on the outside. Grimes can provide that to the Ravens' offense.
Possible selections: Possible selections: 41st overall (2nd round), 72nd overall (third round), 101st overall (3rd round, via Los Angeles Rams), 112th overall (fourth round)
Speaking of Kenny Golladay, the Detroit Lions are tasked with replacing their former wide receiver this offseason, along with fellow receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Really, the entire wide receiver room is set to undergo a makeover.
In order to add some talent to the room, the Lions signed veterans Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in free agency. Both are experienced and have been productive in the past, but neither are considered long-term options or much more than dependable No. 2 and 3 receivers.
If the Lions would like to create a vertical offense under new head coach Dan Campbell, adding Grimes would be a wise choice. Perriman is 6-foot-2 and Williams is 6-foot-4 and both are fast players, so Grimes doesn't fit an immediate need exactly, but he arguably offers more potential than the veterans and could develop nicely in a rotation with those players.
Green Bay Packers
Possible selections: 62nd overall (second round), 92nd overall (third round), 135th overall (fourth round), 142nd overall (fourth round, compensatory pick)
Much like the Ravens, the Packers desperately need to add talent to their offense with a playoff-caliber quarterback at the helm. Their plans with Aaron Rodgers are tricky to figure out after selecting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round last year, but it would be an utter disservice to let Rodgers' Hall of Fame talent go to waste due to a lack of weapons around him throughout his final years in Green Bay.
Davante Adams is an elite receiver with the size to make acrobatic catches, but also some of the best route-running skills in the league. Their next leading wide receiver had 33 receptions in 2020, behind tight end Robert Tonyan and running back Aaron Jones.
Although Adams and other receivers on the roster that have shown some flashes provide size, speed, and deep threat intangibles, adding another boundary weapon wouldn't hurt. Rodgers throws one of the best deep balls in the NFL, and Grimes' ability to stretch the field would either result in touchdowns or some easier opportunities to target Adams underneath.
Las Vegas Raiders
Possible selections: 48th overall (second round), 79th overall (third round, via Arizona Cardinals), 80th overall (third round), 121st overall (fourth round)
The running joke is that the Raiders prioritize speed across the entire field, as late, previous owner Al Davis had a bit of a noted obsession with fast players. Although he passed in 2011, the Raiders have continued to follow his lead in adding the fastest of the bunch, notably selecting wide receiver Henry Ruggs in the first round last year after he posted a 4.27 40-yard dash.
Ruggs is 5-foot-11, 188 pounds though, and only one wide receiver over 6-foot on Las Vegas' roster has 100+ career receptions (Zay Jones). Adding a receiver like Grimes or one with his skillset to a passing offense with Ruggs, John Brown, tight end Darren Waller, and running backs Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake would be ideal and littered with various types of threats.
Quarterback Derek Carr has put together two solid seasons consecutively after some struggles in 2017-18, perhaps due to a lack of talent around him. Looking to build upon his recent success, Grimes would be an excellent addition to an exciting offense as is to balance out the air attack.
Possible selections: 37th overall (second round), 70th overall (third round), No. 84 overall (third round, via Indianapolis Colts)
Philadelphia entered a rebuild this offseason after trading quarterback Carson Wentz away to the Indianapolis Colts, following a disastrous 2020 season for the fifth-year pro. As of now, the Eagles will ride with second-year pro Jalen Hurts as the starting signal-caller - but it's worth remembering that Philadelphia owns the No. 6 pick and four selections in the first three rounds, so a top QB could be in play.
One way or another, whoever starts at quarterback will need some playmakers. The Eagles' current wide receiver corps has combined for 181 catches among seven players, no player hauling in more than 53 catches in one season. Philadelphia selected 5-foot-11 receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round last year and he caught 31 passes as a rookie. Grimes, or any pass-catching talent, will be welcomed.
There's also a connection to keep in mind here: The Eagles' new quarterbacks coach is Brian Johnson, who was with the Gators for the entirety of Grimes' tenure at UF as quarterbacks coach as well as offensive coordinator in 2020. Should Johnson have any say-so in who his QB will throw to for the foreseeable future, Grimes would make a lot of sense given their familiarity.