Gators in the NFL: Former UF players featured on 11 of 12 playoff rosters

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Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) is hit by Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during a pass attempt during the first half of an NFL game Sunday, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The NFL regular season has concluded, the playoff matchups are set and the Tennessee Titans are the lone playoff team without a former Gator anywhere on its roster. It seems the success of the great Jevon Kearse wasn’t enough of a beacon for the Titans to draft more players who went to college in Gainesville. Nevertheless, Gator fans will see around 12 UF alumni on the field in January for the NFL Playoffs and the Titans may want to draft a Gator next year as the boys from old Florida made 53 tackles, forced five turnovers and totaled 2.5 sacks on Sunday throughout the league.
In fact, Falcons safety Keanu Neal, Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis and Colts cornerback Quincy Wilson all recorded their first interceptions as pros on Sunday.
Neal’s INT came with just over four minutes left and all but sealed the playoff-clinching win for Atlanta over Carolina 22-10. Neal was also involved in a play that featured him colliding head-to-head with Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (featured image) that Olsen was visibly upset about on the sideline and told reporters so after the game.


Quincy Wilson’s interception for the Colts was much less dramatic in their 22-13 win over Houston on Sunday as his pick came on the last play of the season for both teams, on a meaningless play. On the other side of the ball, Texans wide receiver Chris Thompson caught three balls for 54 yards in a losing effort for Houston.
Jarrad Davis’ INT came on Green Bay’s first drive and set the tone in Detroit’s 35-11 win over the Pack. Davis led all NFL rookies with 96 tackles this year.


Around the NFL, Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar was signed by Washington to a new three-year deal worth $10.5 million with half of the money guaranteed. Dunbar played receiver at Florida, racking up over 1500 yards and eight touchdowns during his college career but has always been a defensive back in the NFL. He will be the favorite to take over the number two cornerback position opposite teammate Josh Norman.
Panthers defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. led playoff-bound Carolina in hits on the quarterback with two as the rookie continues to create problems for opponents with his pass-rushing abilities.
Patriots running back Mike Gillislee was ruled out due to a knee injury this week for New England while Jets safety Marcus Maye limped off the field in the second quarter after suffering a high-ankle sprain as the Jets fell to the Pats 26-6. Maye played in all 16 games for the Jets this season and finished his rookie campaign with 79 tackles (58 solo), two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap added a sack to his total (7.5) for the year and also had three hits on the quarterback as he and the Bengals knocked off Baltimore and ended their playoff hopes in the process. Dunlap finishes his season with 46 tackles (35 solo), 7.5 sacks, an INT, a defensive touchdown, eight pass deflections and one forced fumble.
Eagles Defensive back Jaylen Watkins led Philly in tackles with seven in a 6-0 loss to Dallas.
Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard had four tackles and a pass deflection in Chicago’s 23-10 loss to Minnesota.
Side Note: Alabama has players on eight playoff rosters while Georgia has players on nine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


NOTE: 

This Gators in The NFL list only includes the players who finished their college careers at UF and didn’t transfer to finish up elsewhere.

Arizona Cardinals 
D.J. Humphries (T) — Injured reserve
Earl Okine (DE) — Practice Squad
Atlanta Falcons 
Keanu Neal (SS)
Brian Poole (DB)
Joey Ivie (DE) — Practice Squad
Buffalo Bills
Deonte Thompson (WR)
Carolina Panthers 
Bryan Cox Jr. (DE)
Chicago Bears 
Jonathan Bullard (DT)
Cincinnati Bengals 
Carlos Dunlap (DE)
Cleveland Browns 
Caleb Brantley (DT)
Dallas Cowboys 
Chaz Green (T)
Denver Broncos 
Max Garcia (G)
Detroit Lions 
Jarrad Davis (LB)
Teez Tabor (CB)
Houston Texans 
Chris Thompson (WR)
Indianapolis Colts
Jon Bostic (LB) — Injured reserve
Quincy Wilson (CB)
Antonio Morrison (ILB)
Matt Jones (RB)
Jacksonville Jaguars 
Dante Fowler Jr. (DE)
Lerentee McCray (DE)
Kansas City Chiefs 
Demarcus Robinson (WR)
Los Angeles Rams 
Dominique Easley (DT) — Injured reserve
Miami Dolphins
Mike Pouncey (C)
Minnesota Vikings
Mack Brown (RB)
Sharrif Floyd (DT) — Injured Reserve
New England Patriots
Mike Gillislee (RB)
New Orleans Saints 
Alex Anzalone (LB) — Injured Reserve
New York Giants 
Jon Halapio (OT)
New York Jets
Jonotthan Harrison (C)
Marcus Maye (S)
Oakland Raiders 
Reggie Nelson (DB)
David Sharpe (OT)
Philadelphia Eagles 
Trey Burton (TE)
Jaylen Watkins (DB)
Caleb Sturgis (K) — Injured Reserve
Pittsburgh Steelers 
Marcus Gilbert (T) — On suspended list
Maurkice Pouncey (C)
Joe Haden (CB)
Jake McGee (TE) — Practice Squad
San Francisco 49ers
Trent Brown (T)
Louis Murphy (WR)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vernon Hargreaves (CB) — Injured reserve
Justin Trattou (DE) — Injured reserve
Washington Redskins 
Quinton Dunbar (CB)
Alex McCalister (DE)
Jordan Reed (TE) — Injured reserve


4 COMMENTS

  1. Mullen et al. need to repeat this fact often during the last few weeks of recruiting. There are so many Gators contributing significantly all around the NFL that you would think UF has been dominant all last decade.

  2. ”Side Note: Alabama has players on eight playoff rosters while Georgia has players on nine.” -Kyle Bennet.
    All the while, the Florida Gators have players on ”11 of the 12 playoff rosters” in the NFL Playoffs!
    Chomp-chomp! And as Joakim Noah would say, Go ”Gator Boys”! Represent!

  3. It’s kind of an indictment of the Gators passing game over the last years that Deonte Thompson and Chris Thompson are contributing more to their NFL squads than they were able to in college.

    I am glad for those guys that they hung on to their dreams (especially the former Gainesville High standout), but it certainly shows that the Gators have not been short on overall talent, but rather QB-play and coaching have really robbed the Gators of greater success since Tebow and Meyer left town.

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