It's never too early: 5 Florida Gators who could go in the 2024 NFL Draft

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun

Florida football could have up to 10 players picked in this week's NFL Draft.

That includes quarterback Anthony Richardson and offensive lineman O'Cyrus Torrence, who are potential first-round selections.

Of course, it's never too early to look ahead. Florida still has a number of talented players remaining on the roster who project to get taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here's a look at five of those players, and three more who could work their way up to being picked:

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CB Jason Marshall Jr.

Marshall is Florida's best cover cornerback; he's has posted two career interceptions and 13 career pass breakups. At 6-foot-1, 197 pounds, Marshall possesses the combination of size, length and speed that NFL teams covet. College Football Focus rates Marshall as its eighth best cornerback draft prospect in the Class of '24.

Florida Gators cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. (3) breaks a pass to Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (1) during the first half at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday, October 29, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

WR Ricky Pearsall

Pearsall opted to return to the Gators for one more season after leading the team in receiving yards (661) and receiving TDs (5). At 6-1, Pearsall creates mismatches as a slot receiver with his size and also has elite hands and football IQ. Walter Football ranks Pearsall as the 12th best college football wide receiver draft prospect in the Class of '24.

Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (1) is brought down buy the defense during the first half of the University of Florida Orange & Blue game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Thursday, April 13, 2023. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

DE Princely Umanmielen

Umanmielen emerged late last season with 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries and 2 forced fumbles. The move to edge should free up the 6-5, 245-pound Umanmielen to make more plays rushing the quarterback in 2023.

Dec 17, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Florida Gators defensive lineman Princely Umanmielen (33) sacks Oregon State Beavers quarterback Ben Gulbranson (17) during the first half at the Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

RB Montrell Johnson Jr.

Johnson rushed for a team-high 841 yards and 10 TDs while splitting carries with speedy freshman running back Trevor Etienne last season, At 5-11, 218, Johnson runs with power between the tackles but also demonstrated big-play ability with a 62-yard touchdown run against USF and a 39-yard TD run against LSU. Pass catching and picking up the blitz are the next two steps in Johnson's development, and he vowed this spring to become a more complete running back in 2023.

Sep 24, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators running back Montrell Johnson Jr. (2) runs the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

LT Austin Barber

Barber enters 2023 as Florida's best offensive lineman and charged to protect the blindside of UF's starting quarterback. A redshirt sophomore, Barber will be draft eligible at the end of the season. In five starts and 13 games last season, Barber earned an offensive grade of 80.7 from Pro Football Focus, 12th best among players that weren't draft eligible in 2022.

Florida Gators offensive lineman Austin Barber (58)  gives his best Gator Chomp after Florida Gators running back Montrell Johnson Jr. (2) scored the second touchdown in the first half against the LSU Tigers at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 15, 2022. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Three more who could work up to being picked:

Dameion George Jr., RT

George solidified his hold on the starting right tackle job going into fall camp. At 6-6, 369, the redshirt junior transfer from Alabama will get a chance to show NFL scouts he can handle blocking SEC pass rushers on a week-to-week basis.

Cam Jackson, DT

Jackson drew praise from Florida teammates and coaches this spring for his combination of size (6-6, 355) and quickness. He had a tackle and a pass breakup during UF's spring game and will have a chance to display his athletic ability during the course of the season on UF's defense.

Jaydon Hill, DB

The move from cornerback to the star position could serve well for the professional future of Hill, who had two interceptions last season, including one returned for a touchdown. The 6-1, 191-pound Hill had five solo tackles in UF's spring game, including one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry.