Florida finishes with eight total draft picks after Day 3 selections

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida kicker Evan McPherson was selected in the fifth round Saturday by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Five more Florida players had their names called Saturday during rounds 4-7 of the  NFL draft, giving the Gators a total of eight selections over the three days. 

That marks a new high for fourth-year UF coach Dan Mullen, who had seven players drafted last year. Eight picks were the most for the program since 2017.

Marco Wilson was Florida's first Day 3 draftee in the fourth round (136 overall, Arizona), followed by fifth-rounders Evan McPherson (149 overall, Cincinnati), Shawn Davis (165 overall, Indianapolis), Tedarrell Slaton (173 overall, Green Bay) and sixth-round pick Stone Forsythe (208 overall, Seattle). 

“I’m super excited about coming to Arizona,” Wilson said. “I feel like I should have been taken earlier in this draft, but I have no control over that. I feel like my athletic ability is better than anybody in this class, but only time will tell. 

“I’m excited and happy that Arizona chose me and I’m ready to get to work. I know that they’re in need of cornerbacks. I feel like I can come in and make an impact while learning a lot from those guys who are already there.”

With Davis going to the Colts, UF had multiple defensive backs selected in the same draft for the sixth time since 2010. Like his 2017 recruiting classmate Wilson, Davis felt he should have been drafted sooner. 

“Whoever got me knew they were getting a steal,” Davis said. “I never knew I would end up in Indy, but it’s a dream come true. I’m just ready to go and ball. I have played a two-high, so I’ll be perfect in the system.”

McPherson was the only kicker selected in the 2021 draft and Florida’s first draftee at the position since Caleb Sturgis in 2013. He’s the second-highest drafted kicker in the SEC in the last 20 years. 

“The first kicker off the board means a lot to me. I’m ready to get to Cincinnati, be with the team, and get to work,” McPherson said. “Words can’t describe how I feel about it. It’s been a dream of mine since I started kicking, and now it’s here. I’m fired up. 

“I won’t stop training until I get that starting spot. I know there’s 32 jobs in the world for what I want to do, but it’s a goal of mine. To have that opportunity to compete for it, I don’t think anything can stop me from getting it.”

Slaton is the first Gators defensive tackle to be drafted during Mullen’s tenure. The Packers hadn’t picked a UF player since DeShawn Wynn in 2007.

“When they called me it was just a rush of excitement. I couldn’t wait to be picked,” Slaton said. “And then when they picked me, it was just an adrenaline rush and I can’t wait to get up there. 

“My athleticism on the defensive side of the ball really helped me in this draft. Being as big and athletic as I am, I definitely use it to my advantage. This past season, playing 60-plus reps a game, definitely showed people that I can stay on the field.” 

Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson welcomed Forsythe on Twitter after he was selected. Seattle has used a sixth-round pick on a Florida player for two years in a row, drafting Freddie Swain in 2020. 

“That’s my boy,” Forsythe said. “We would hang out on the weekends back in the day. His girlfriend and my girlfriend are real good friends, so it will be nice to get up there and hang out with him again. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get out there and play.

“I know they’ve got a great quarterback. They’ve kind of got a need for some offensive linemen to come in and help. I’ve got a former teammate there. I know they’ve got the loud stadium. Coming from The Swamp, it kind of translates. I’m just ready to compete.”