Floyd falls to Vikings, Elam to Ravens
Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 8:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 8:48 p.m.
In the two months leading up to the NFL Draft, one of the big stories was how rapidly Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was rising in the eyes of the coaches, scouts and analysts.
On Thursday night, his hard and unexpected fall became one of the biggest draft-day stories in New York.
Rated the No. 1 defensive tackle and the No. 2 overall prospect by some, projected by many to be taken by the Oakland Raiders with the third overall pick, Floyd fell all the way to the 23rd pick, where he was finally selected by the Minnesota Vikings.
“I'm ready to get started, man,” Floyd said moments after he was drafted. “Right now, there's a chip on my shoulder and I feel like I've still got to prove myself.
“The Minnesota Vikings did a great thing, took a chance on me and I'm not going to let them down. It's time to get going.”
Florida safety Matt Elam also had a long wait Thursday night. But he expected it. And it did end the way he hoped it would. The junior standout was picked by the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens with the final pick of the first round (32nd overall selection).
Floyd and Elam are the 44th and 45th Florida players to be selected in the first round.
Floyd said he survived a tough childhood growing up in Philadelphia to go on and be a star at Florida. He said he'll respond this newest challenge after falling in the draft.
“It can get done,” Floyd said. “I'm one of those kids that got through it. Plenty more are going to come after me. I hope I'll be there to help them.
“Looking at my background and looking at me right now, I wouldn't have even dreamed of standing right here right now.
“At the end of the day, I made it. No matter what pick it was or what round it was. I'm here. I can stand here and say I'm a better man than I was two years ago or a year ago.”
For his UF career, Floyd started 26 games and recorded 115 tackles, 26.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, blocked three field goals and forced a fumble.
Floyd played defensive end in his sophomore season (2011), but moved back to his more natural position (tackle) and had a dominant junior season.
Elam also started 36 games for the Gators, recording 176 tackle, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups, six interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Even though Floyd fell in the first round, it was a big night for the Gators, who have become relevant in the draft with two first-round picks.
The Gators had only two players taken in the entire draft a year ago, and both were selected on the third day (rounds four through seven) — defensive tackle Jaye Howard (fourth round) and tailback Chris Rainey (fifth round).
UF could have as many as 10 players selected by the time the draft concludes on Saturday