Most underrated Gators rookies; TJ Shanahan; predict UF draw class
Presented by JFQ Loans, GatorsTerritory preparing another round table of our team of writers.
We share our pick for Florida’s most underrated draft prospect, discuss Gators chances with 2023 offensive lineman TJ Shanahan and predict the number of UF players selected in the NFL Draft.
Is TJ Slaton Florida’s most underrated NFL Draft prospect?
Bender: While Slaton doesn’t get the credit he deserves, I still believe wide receiver Trevon Grimes is the most overlooked player in UF’s draft class. Former five-star leads exhibit an intriguing combination of size, speed, and fluidity and are far from a finished product.
When dissecting the Grimes movie, the only part of his game that catches my attention is his ability to show off the ball. He does a good job of timing his jump and making full use of his size advantage over most defensive backs. His game really started to take shape in the second half of last season, so when you combine his size and speed with the potential he still has, it’s not hard to see why I have him. chosen for this topic. He will provide great value on day three of the NFL Draft.
Clarke: I think TJ Slaton is a little underrated, but I don’t think he’s the Gators’ most overlooked prospect. I should go with Stone Forsythe for this designation. He’s a player who had a great year but who hasn’t really been talked about much. He’s not going to wow teams with tests and athletics, but he does his job and does it well.
There were rumors going around that some teams liked him enough to take him to day two, but most of what I saw happened around the fourth and fifth rounds. I really believe he could have been caught at the end of the second or the start of the third because he’s just a solid player doing his job well.
Will the Gators eventually run into Rivals100 offensive lineman TJ Shanahan?
Bender: If I had answered this question a month ago, my answer would have been yes, but my gut tells me that Shanahan will be heading out of state for college; however, it is extremely close for me and that is why we thought it would be a great topic to discuss.
Keep an eye out for the state of Ohio. It’s a school Shanahan wants to visit several times over the summer, while several Columbus staff are already heavily involved, including head coach Ryan Day. His father played for the Arizona Wildcats and there is strong interest in several other Pac-12 schools including USC, Oregon and Stanford. Miami, LSU and Alabama are also expected to receive summer visits.
To be honest, I’m pretty torn over recruiting Shanahan. Florida was his first major bid and there’s no doubt he’s keenly interested in the program. John Hevesy hits all the right buttons early on, while Shanahan’s cousin is NFL free agent and former UF offensive lineman Jon Halapio. I’m leaning in to have Shanahan leave Sunshine State for college, but UF also ticks a number of boxes. This one will be near.
Clarke: While Florida has struggled to land top notch offensive prospects in the past, I think they will be able to close the deal with TJ. They were the first Power Five program to offer over a year ago and continue to make it a priority as conversations with Dan Mullen and John Hevesy are constantly ongoing.
Shanahan also lives just two hours from Gainesville and said he has several UF posters in his room. He also has a family connection to Florida, his cousin being former Gators offensive lineman Jon Halapio. I just think there are too many factors working in the Gators’ favor, and that’s why I expect TJ to sign with Florida.
How many Florida players will be selected in the NFL Draft?
Bender: Three are already off the board, as Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Trask were selected in the first three rounds, as expected. Offensive tackle Stone Forsythe is due to be selected before the day is out, while wide receiver Trevon Grimes and defensive tackle TJ Slaton are also expected to hear their names called out today. That puts the number at six, but after putting in an eye-opening professional performance, you’re also keeping a close eye on cornerback Marco Wilson.
That being said, I imagine seven UF players are in the process of being drafted when all is said and done. Safety Shawn Davis is also a possible late pick, but his inability to complete his professional day has certainly hampered those projections.
Clarke: I think the Gators will have 8-9 players selected in the draft. Obviously Kyle Pitts’ big three, Kyle Trask and Kadarius Toney were selected in the first three rounds, but I think Florida got a few guys to help out on the pro day, while others didn’t. have not improved their chances of being selected.
Trevon Grimes, Marco Wilson, Brett Heggie, TJ Slaton and Stone Forsythe are all guys who I think got drafted, Wilson being one of those players who really helped his draft supply on Florida Pro Day. I’m still in the air on Shawn Davis because his tape is inconsistent and he couldn’t finish his professional day, but I still think there is a possibility he might be drafted late.