Inside the Gators – Orange & Blue Game Draft

Apr 11, 2022 | 0 comments


FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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If they haven't already, soon the Florida football coaching staff will get together to divide the team into two squads for Thursday's Orange & Blue Game.

We've decided to save them the trouble.

For the fifth straight year we here at Inside the Gators thought it would be fun and interesting to conduct our own draft. So, on Sunday afternoon Cameron Parker (Orange Team) and Mark Wheeler (Blue Team) conducted a 22 round draft.


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Now, this isn't a true big board draft in that we had to stick to 22 players to fill specific starting slots. Meaning, that a left tackle couldn't be drafted to play center. Also, in only filling specific slots, it meant that once the other side filled that slot and couldn't draft another player at that position, the other side could wait until the end to fill that position.

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Hold your smartphone horizontally to better view the tables below

 

ROUNDORANGEBLUE
#1

Defensive Tackle Gervon Dexter: Many Gator fans would have taken Anthony Richardson first overall, but I decided to start off with a curveball and take the guy who is arguably the top overall player on the team. Dexter provides size, speed, aggressiveness, and the experience to be a top defensive lineman not only in the SEC but in the nation.

Quarterback Anthony Richardson: The first curveball was Dexter being taken No. 1 overall rather than Richardson – so that left me with clearly the best quarterback and offensive weapon. I’ll take that and run with it.
#2

Buck Brenton Cox:  Keeping with my first pick, I decided to continue boosting my front four by taking Cox Jr., who has made his message for 2022 clear: he’s taking ownership for his 2021 performance and he’s coming for the SEC sack record. Putting Cox Jr. with Dexter would create problems for nearly any offensive line in the country.

Center Kingsley Eguakun: When conducting these drafts each year, since we are drafting a strict 22 man roster, my goal early on is to target kids at a position where there is a huge drop off behind them. Mission accomplished with my next several picks along the line.

#3

Right Guard O’Cyrus Torrence: With Eguakun off the board, it was time to start taking offensive lineman, and taking the highly touted Louisiana transfer was too hard to pass up. With over 30 starts over the past three seasons, the 2021 First Team All-Sun Belt guard will open up plenty of holes for the backs.

Left tackle Richard Gouraige: I continue my offensive line build-out with the top tackle on the team. The gap between the starter Gouraige, and the back-up Austin Barber, on the left side of the line is pretty significant.
#4

Receiver Justin Shorter: I decided to take a risk here considering plenty of offensive lineman were available, but with the lack of depth and experience at receiver, it was hard to pass on the clear No. 1 wide receiver on the team. Shorter’s size and hands have never been in question, and ITG noted in the Spring Practice Scrimmage Insider that he was one of the only receivers to help Richardson by getting separation.

Left Guard Ethan White: By all accounts, he has been a monster in the middle for Florida this spring and I wanted to solidify the left side of my line with my third straight choice along the offensive line.
#5

 Running Back Demarkcus Bowman: After the Blue Team took three-straight offensive lineman, it became clear early that my offensive line would be the weak link on the team, and I would need speed everywhere. Despite, Lorenzo Lingard taking most of the first-team reps, I decided to take a risk and invest in Demarkcus Bowman, who is arguably the fastest of the group. Is this a jump? Possibly, but scared money don’t make money.

Right Tackle Michael Tarquin: By the end of last season he was playing as well as anyone on the line – locking down a starting position. He teams with Gouraige to give Team Blue a winning edge at tackle. 
#6

Right Guard Joshua Braun: With Tarquin off the board, Josh Braun was the obvious choice. Putting him with Torrence creates a solid one-two punch at the guard spot, especially with the Blue Team not having taken a defensive lineman yet.

Receiver Trent Whittemore: He started the spring in an Orange non-contact jersey but was cleared about a week ago to go full speed and he has been on fire since. He had several big catches during Saturday’s scrimmage.
#7

Tight End Keon Zipperer: The tight end position took quite the beating in spring losing three contributors in a matter of days. With Billy Napier’s offense relying heavily on tight ends, the lack of offensive lineman on Team Orange, Zipperer was the obvious choice to help provide blocking on the outside.

Linebacker Ventrell Miller: In my opinion, he has been the biggest steal of the day for either team. Getting perhaps the best overall player on defense, as well as the heart and soul of the D here in the seventh round is highway robbery.
#8

Safety Trey Dean: Now back to defense, my first choice would have been Miller at linebacker, but with the Team Blue taking him, I went with Dean III, keeping the trend of veteran players on the defensive side. There are consistency issues with tackling, but I am willing to place enough trust in Dexter and Cox Jr. to make enough plays in the backfield to where Dean III can stay back in coverage.

Cornerback Jason Marshall Jr.: We haven't heard much about Marshall in our Behind-the-Scenes practice reports or from those who provided information from Saturday's scrimmage. That likely means that while he isn't making big plays (interceptions), he also isn't getting beaten. With what  Orange is left with quarterback-wise, I feel good about having a lockdown on one side of the field.

#9

Linebacker Diwun Black: Going back to Miller being off the board, it was time to take a linebacker before it was too late. The former JUCO star did not see the field much in 2021, but early signs during the spring practices show 2022 will be a different story. He provides speed and athleticism as he can play nickel and inside linebacker, and has been practicing with the inside linebackers in spring. Additionally, a scrimmage observer reported that Black made a big tackle on Saturday.

Defensive Tackle Desmond Watson: These are our starters, so I’m not depending on Watson to play a full game. He should get a boost in energy as easily as he is going to live in the Orange Team’s backfield going against mostly backup linemen.
#10

Cornerback Jaydon Hill: Despite missing the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL and being limited during the spring practices, Hill reportedly shined in the scrimmage with a couple big pass break-ups and a near interception. With Marshall off the board, it was clear that Hill was the pick before Team Blue took both corners.

Defensive Tackle Jalen Lee: Closing out my starting defensive tackle rotation with an up-and-coming player who has seen plenty of reps with the starting unit this spring.
#11

Star Tre’Vez Johnson: Picking Johnson at the nickel position was clear, but not necessarily for talent reasons, but for personnel. With Jadarrius Perkins unavailable due to injury and Amari Burney and Black playing linebacker, Johnson has the most experience at the position and will most likely be the starter by the time fall rolls around. Pairing him with Hill and Dean as the defensive backs provides the veteran leadership that can help make up for later picks.

Safety Rashad Torrence: This pick is based on the assumption (hope) that he has rebounded from a rough 2021 outing to be the big hitter and sure tackler that he can be.
#12

Defensive End Princely Umanmielen: With Zach Carter gone to the NFL, the defensive end position is wide open for the taking. Despite Justus Boone reportedly having a good scrimmage, Umanmielen’s in-game experience gives him the edge for me.

Receiver Daejon Reynolds: He may not be a starter, but every report we’ve gotten from closed practices and the scrimmage had him making at least one big play. Hell, that is all we need for this one game.
#13

Wide receiver Xzavier Henderson: After picking the bulk of my defense, it was time to start reloading on offense. With Team Blue taking Daejon Reynolds, who has had a solid spring so far, Henderson brings the speed necessary for my offense.

Safety Donovan McMillon: He has been the top back-up to both Trey Dean and Rashad Torrence this spring. He is another player who seems to make a play or two per practice session and hasn't been singled out at all for a negative.
#14

Linebacker Amari Burney: Back to defense with another experience-based pick. Similar to Black, Burney provides versatility with his ability to play defensive back and linebacker. I was extremely tempted to take Derek Wingo or Scooby Williams, but I decided to trust my gut and take Burney.

Cornerback Avery Helm: As you would expect from a true freshman, he had an up-and-down debut season, but overall looked solid. He looks like a potential playmaker, who has to become a bit more reliable in coverage.
#15

Receiver Marcus Burke: This pick was pretty much the same pick as Xzavier Henderson; speed based. It was a coin-flip between Burke and Fenley Graham Jr., but Graham Jr. did have some drop issues early in spring, which led me to take the safer pick. Graham Jr. has improved his pass-catching, but Burke is the safety net out of the two.

Right Guard Richie Leonard: We haven’t seen anything out of him, so this is based solely on Dan Mullen’s comments about how good he is potentially going to be – and calling him the fastest receiver on the team about two weeks ago.
#16

Safety Mordecai McDaniel: With Torrence and McMillon off the board, McDaniel is who was left to take. Kamari Wilson would have been the dream pick, but with him unavailable in the draft, McDaniel is the safe pick at the spot. Again, we’ll place enough trust in Dexter and Cox Jr. to make plays in the backfield and in Hill, Black and Johnson in the linebacker and corner spots to not have to rely on McDaniel and Dean as much.

Star Kamar Wilcoxson: I couldn’t believe he was still here. Hopper is already an athletic freak, but as he has put on weight and strength he has become an all-around playmaker on defense. This may have been the best ‘value’ pick the Blue Team made all day.

#17

Right Tackle Kamryn Waites: Back to the offensive line, which is the obvious weak link of my offense. With Team Blue and Team Orange filling in most positions, it was time to take what was left. Out of the offensive linemen available, Waites stands out the most. What has most Gator fans raving over the Louisiana transfer is his size (six feet eight inches and 358 pounds). Although he has almost no in-game experience, the former basketball player gives a massive wall on the edge for Bowman to work with, and it helps he won’t have to block Dexter or Cox Jr.

Wide Receiver Ja'Markis Weston: Former head coach Dan Mullen's favorite underutilized receiver has made some plays this spring. 
#18

Center Jake Slaughter: Taking what’s left is the pick here with Slaughter. Richie Leonard IV was the dream pick, but with the Blue Team taking him as guard, Slaughter was what was left for me at center.

Buck Chief Borders: He's still young, but he's an up-and-comer along the line. I was tempted to take Antuan Powell, but I like Borders energy more in what is likely to be a hot and muggy evening in the Swamp.
#19

Cornerback Jordan Young: Another risky pick again, but what’s a draft without risks taken? I once had a football coach tell me to risk it for the biscuit (no clue what it means), and he threw a biscuit at me. So, let’s risk it for the biscuit and take the redshirt freshman who held offers from Alabama and Georgia.

Defensive End Justus Boone: He had three sacks during Saturday's scrimmage, and here he is still available at the bottom of our draft. I’ll take it.
#20

Defensive Tackle Chris McClellan: Outside of a couple, a scrimmage observer noted to ITG that Florida’s defensive tackles aren’t up to SEC par. With Watson off the board, taking a chance on a true freshman may not be the worst thing. A four-star recruit, McClellan was one of the hits of Napier’s first recruiting class, and considering the lack of praise for the group, it’s not hard to take a chance on McClellan.

Tight End Dante Zanders: No, he isn't going to be an All-SEC candidate, but he has made a couple of nice catches this spring while transitioning back to the position he played in high school.
#21

Left Tackle Austin Barber: Again, this is taking what’s left on the offensive line. Florida’s offensive line currently lacks depth, which will get slightly better once Jalen Farmer, David Conner and Christian Williams arrive on campus. For now, it’s taking Barber, who stands at six feet six inches and provides a bit of size opposite of Waites.

Linebacker Derek Wingo: Based on his play at the end of last season, you would think he would have gone in the top 10 today. A solid, steady player who has the athleticism and speed to run sideline to sideline.
#22

Quarterback Carlos Del-Rio Wilson: With Richardson off the board early, which I expected once I decided to take Dexter, there was no need to rush a quarterback pick early. To me, taking Del Rio-Wilson was a no brainer. The offensive line, to put it bluntly, is weak for me, and the dual-threat quarterback with incredible accuracy helps strengthen the weakness. Although Jack Miller III took most of the second-team snaps in the scrimmage, a scrimmage observer noted he hasn’t done much to push for the job, making Del Rio-Wilson the better option in the circumstances.

Running Back Lorenzo Lingard: No, he isn’t the 44th best player on the team. Actually, based on results this spring, he is comfortably in the top 10 spring performers. However, after Team Orange took Demarkcus Bowman with their fifth-round pick, I was content to wait and take the starting running back here at the end of the draft.

 

THE TEAMS
 

OFFENSE
POSITIONORANGEBLUE
QBCarlos Del Rio WilsonAnthony Richardson
RBDemarkcus BowmanLorenzo Lingard
WRJustin ShorterDaejon Reynolds
WRXzavier HendersonJa’Markis Weston
WRMarcus BurkeTrent Whittemore
LTAustin BarberRichard Gouraige
LGJosh BraunEthan White
CJake SlaughterKingsley Eguakun
RGO’Cyrus TorrenceRichie Leonard
RTKamryn WaitesMichael Tarquin
TEKeon ZippererDante Zanders
DEFENSE
DEBrenton CoxChief Borders
DTGervon DexterDesmond Watson
DTChris McClellanJalen Lee
DEPrincely UmanmielenJustus Boone
LBDiwun BlackVentrell Miller
LBAmari BurneyDerek Wingo
NBTre’Vez JohnsonKamar Wilcoxson
CBJaydon HillJason Marshall Jr.
CBJordan YoungAvery Helm
STrey DeanRashad Torrence
SMordecai McDanielDonovan McMillon

Cameron makes the case for Team Orange: Scared money don’t make money, and that’s what a lot of these picks were. It’s certainly not easy picking many unproven players, especially in the middle of a coaching change. However, the veterans on the defensive side will win this one. As weak as my offensive line is, having Dexter and Cox Jr. on my side help quite a bit, even if Team Blue has majority of the starters on their offensive line. Continuing with my offensive line, Braun and Torrence cannot be ignored with their talent and experience, and Waites’ Hulk size . I will repeat what I said earlier. Having Dexter and Cox Jr. on my side is a tremendous boost, not only for my defense, but for my offensive line as they won’t have to line up against them. Additionally, Jaydon Hill had been getting the best of the quarterbacks of the scrimmage with multiple pass breakups, despite being limited in snaps. Shorter on Marshall on the outside is compelling, and many would probably pick Marshall, but I’m trusting Shorter’s size and sure hands to catch enough passes from Del Rio-Wilson, who’s accuracy and velocity has impressed me in the time I have gotten to attend practices. I will give Team Blue some credit. Their offensive line is extremely better than Team Orange’s, but experience wins on the defensive side, and speed wins on the offensive side for Team Orange.

Mark makes the case for Team Blue: I’ll concede that Team Orange did a great job in securing the top two defensive linemen on the team, but  Team Blue has five of the top eight offensive linemen and four of the five projected starters. On the other hand, Team Blue defensive linemen will face off against an offensive line with some questions. Plus, Team Blue features by far and away the top – and most mobile – quarterback on the roster. I believe his getting Diwun Black and Jaydon Hill back to back midway through were two high-value picks (read about the day Hill had in our Scrimmage Notes from Saturday), but taking Demarcus Bowman, the third-string running back, in the fifth round was a huge reach, and helped tilt the draft in my direction.

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READ OUR ANONYMOUS PLAYER Q&A FOR THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST MONTHS OF THE OFFSEASON & MUCH MORE

 

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