Five juniors could enter the draft

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Junior defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley both have NFL decisions to make in the near future. (Doug Finger/Staff Photographer)

At his news conference following the victory over Florida State, Will Muschamp said he was not going to spend any time in future news conferences leading up the the Sugar Bowl addressing which juniors may or may not enter the NFL Draft.

That’s fine. But it doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about it here, which is what we’re going to do. There are five top juniors who will consider leaving early for the draft. There is a chance all five could go. Here’s a look at those players and their chances of leaving early:

DT Sharrif Floyd — He’s physically ready to move on to the next level, and that’s what most believe will happen. He had a dominant junior season after moving back inside to tackle after spending most of 2011 at defensive end. He could go late in the first round or early in the second. Chances he leaves: 99.9 percent.

DE/DT Dominique Easley — After undergoing ACL surgery a year ago, he may not quite be ready physically for the NFL. But he came on strong in the second half of the season and he’s very tight with Floyd. If Floyd goes, Easley may decide it’s time for him to move on, too. If he stays, he’ll have a chance to improve his NFL stock considerably with a strong senior season. Chances he leaves: 80 percent.

S Matt Elam — He’s had a huge junior season and emerged as one of the SEC’s leading defensive playmakers. The consensus among the NFL Draft analysts is he would be among the top four safeties in the draft if he comes out. This guy’s goal has been to play in the NFL for a long time. That time may be coming soon. Chances he leaves: 85 percent.

TE Jordan Reed — Having played tight end for only two seasons, this former quarterback may have the biggest NFL upside among the top UF juniors. He’s a great athlete, a great target and has shown he can make things happen after the catch. He’s still a little raw, but he’s a great prospect and he’s caught the attention of the NFL guys. Chances he leaves: 75 percent.

LB Jelani Jenkins — When healthy, he’s played like an NFL outside linebacker this season. But the injuries (a broken thumb and now a fractured foot) have cost him almost a third of his season (four games, including the Sugar Bowl). If not for the injuries, Jenkins likely would be preparing for his final UF game. Now, he may need to come back for his senior year and show the NFL coaches and scouts he can stay healthy through an entire season. Chances he leaves: 30 percent.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I just don’t see Easley getting drafted highly. He’s kind of a tweener for an NFL d-lineman. He needs to stick around, add 15 pounds, and become a true tackle. I understand Reed is ready to be out of school, so although I don’t think he’ll be highly drafted either, it looks like he’s gone.

  2. Easley and Jenkins SHOULD stay, Reed should listen to the Pro scouts and see where they think he is on readiness. I personally think he can make at the next level and do a great job for a team that is looking for an all around catching tightend. “IT IS NO QUESTION ABOUT ELAM AND FLOYD”. GO GATORS!!!!

  3. I can tell you why I went to college…to come out of it with a high paying job. If any of these guys can come out and earn enough guaranteed money to be set up for a while…I can’t blame them. The NFL contracts are tough though…you’ve got to have guaranteed money in the NFL or it’s not worth leaving. That’s what makes me think at least 3 of the guys on this list are staying. I’ll have no ill will either way; they all deserve the best for themselves.

  4. Hopefully, all of them will want to win a national championship and come back, including Floyd! They could pick up an insurance policy and move up the draft board, with one more year. I know – wishful thinking; however, it’s possible!

  5. SEC Championships: Alabama 23 – Florida 8
    Undefeated seasons: Alabama 13 – Florida 1 (in 1911)
    Ten win seasons: Alabama 32 – Florida 12
    Head to Head: Alabama 23- Florida 14
    “I don’t always drink tears, but when I do, I prefer Tim Tebow tears”

  6. I agree, although Floyd was definitely be a first round pick, he has the potential to be a top 5 pick. It depends on what the scouts are telling Elam: if he is not a slam dunk first round pick then he should come back.

  7. Roll Tide,
    You forgot a few other categories in which Bama dominates UF:
    Number of losers who troll on other teams websites-
    Alabama- 110,000
    Florida-0

    Number of welfare and food stamp recipients
    Alabama- I don’t have the ability to count that high
    Florida- 0

    Percentage of fans who live in trailer parks or with their mother
    Alabama- 99.9%
    Florida- 0%

    Percentage of players on the roster who are paid to be there-
    Alabama- 99.9%
    Florida- 0%

    Percentage of fans who have no class and don’t know how to win like gentlemen
    Alabama- 99.9%
    Florida- 2% (I’ll admit we do have a few of those)

    Number of championships claimed before the civil war-
    Alabama- 8
    Florida- 0

  8. FLoyd and Elam might be gone and the only reason I said might is because they came real close to playing for Nat title this past and could be way better next season with a healthier Easly and getting Powell back too…i could see floyd staying to finish up with Powell and DE..and Easly should move back to DT and add 10 pounds because he can’t play DE being 6’2 and 280…unless he loses he 20 and get’s around 260..but i like Bullard and Fowler at DE, Easly at DT and Orr at DT

  9. O4’s stayed for their junior years. They left early after their junior years. Elam and Floyd don’t have anything else to prove. I think moving forward is now that this outstanding defensive talent Meyer and his staff brought in, which this team and this year’s success was built on, is leaving, how will Muschamp fare. He has had a nice run on some spectacular talent recruited by Meyer, who has proven to be one of the all time great recruiters in college football history of the last 30 years. He has proven to have a talent eye similar to Jimmy Johnson. Will Muschamp be able to recruit the same player. NFL 1st 2nd rounders? Meyer didn’t just go down the recruiting rankings and get enough to have the number 1 rated class. He cherry picked guys, like Joe Haden who was not at the top of any recruiting rankings, but had athletic talent jumping off the screen. I want to see if Muschamp has the same type of eye.

  10. @gatorsidney: Joe Haden was a 4 star recruit and listed as the #3 pure athlete in the country. A great get for UF, but hardly a “hidden gem that Meyer found”.
    .
    @Gator Jay: Do you know why Roll Tide doesn’t get banned? Real name is Robbie Andreu.

  11. Everybody needs to just ignore Roll Tide.
    .
    In a couple of years, we will begin deciding our champion with a playoff. Once that becomes the accepted norm, say, 25 years from now, college football history will be split, and only the playoff years will be considered true champions, and the pre-playoff years will be discounted and ignored by pretty much everybody. Then, all those stats Roll likes to post, they will be obsolete and irrelevant. So let him crow, and laugh at him, because you know he’s a dinosaur, and the meteor is coming.

  12. Question:
    .
    Robbie, why do you write all season long about how bad UF is, and how they are going to lose every game, and pick against them time and again, but once the season is over, suddenly we have a bunch of top juniors who are certainly going pro? What is it about them that makes them instantly become so much better once football season is over and draft speculation season begins?

  13. That was funny Liazardgrad, I myself have thought that samething a couple of times this season. But I think if our seniors stay we’d have a no choice but to contend for the NC next year. Although after seeing our freshman come in and make such an impact this season…I’m saying we’ll be contending anyway. And has anyone else noticed the Fla trend? We start more freshman and they really develop into great players. Especially our defensive players who saw feild time as Freshman they develop pretty beastly ie Elam and Purifoy (I could name many more)

  14. It is well…interesting to think of J. Reed in the NFL after only 2 decent years at U.F., when he could develop his worth substantially with another year with Joker. The new Receivers Coach could ‘fine-tune’ his skills enough to help propel him to a solid TOP 10 pick ‘AND’ give the Gators a HUGE Offensive threat next year! Either way, I thank all the GATORS, especially this group for doing what few have ever done – go from 6-6 and UN-ranked to 11-1 and the number 3 Team in the land …AND in just 1 year! So, GO GATORS!
    And, Roll Tide…are you too SCARED to print your REAL NAME? Or do you FEEL SO THREATENED AND INSECURE that you try to cyber-bully…or perhaps you don’t have a life, either way, IT’S SAD! Really pathetic for such a Championship caliber team -like ‘Bama -to have a fan like you…embarrassing them!

  15. Notice Roll Tide didn’t post all those mythical NC’s after being nailed on how most of them were bogus. He needs to drink up some of those tears his boy cried after Texas A&M, who we defeated, laid the wood to them. After throwing that interceptions, he made Tebow’s moment look like watery eyes.

    There one other stat that Bamer leads in:

    Bamer fan tea bags intoxicated LSU fan – 1

    UF – 0

    True sign of a classless fan base!

  16. Notice Roll Tide didn’t post all those mythical NC’s after being nailed on how most of them were bogus. He needs to drink up some of those tears his boy cried after Texas A&M, who we defeated, laid the wood to them. After throwing that interceptions, he made Tebow’s moment look like watery eyes.

    At least AJ’s tears were victory tears….UNLIKE TEBOW’s TEARS.
    Who is in the BCS title game? ONCE AGAIN.

  17. Hey Tide DB,

    Besides the earlier posts, don’t forget were it not for the Gators your beloved tide would be sitting at home watching the SECCG and NCG on TV.

    Your guru coach Nicky-pooh couldn’t figure out how to stop Johnny Football after NINE GAMES of film. Coach Boom figured out how to stop him with only 30 minutes of actual playing time.

    Yeah it was the first game, but Coach Boom figured it out in 30 minutes without the benefit of one minute of film on either Sumlin’s SEC offense or Manziel.

    I know you guys like to live in the long ago past when players wore leather helmets and you could offer as many scholarships as you liked, but the simple fact is this: SINCE THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP HAS BEEN DECIDED ON THE FIELD WE HAVE SEVEN OF THEM COMPARED TO YOUR FOUR!

  18. Stuck around after the Jackonville State game after the rest of the team was back in the tunnel, and noticed Floyd and Easley at midfield, with their families, posing for pictures. Then high fiving each other jogging off.

    I knew then.

  19. “Who is in the BCS title game? ONCE AGAIN.”

    You can keep thanking UF for that. If UF doesn’t beat Texas A&M for you, bama’s not even in the SEC title game. Bama is lucky to be in the title game. Two years in a row they lose AT HOME and are gifted the BCS title game for it. Meanwhile UF loses 1 game, but not at home, and also played the toughest schedule in the nation. Going 4-1 against the top 15. UF clearly had a more impressive resume than any of the 1 loss teams. Bama is lucky the pitt kicker missed an easy field goal against Notre Dame to win the game, or they’d have to face the team that beat Texas A&M and didn’t need a miracle in the final 60 seconds to beat LSU. Bama had only two tough games all year and nearly went 0-2 in them.

  20. These guys have their entire families to look out for. It doesn’t matter as much to them taking say $2 million instead of potentially $10 million and risking injuries to come back another year. Best wishes to them all. Great class coming in as well. Go gators!