Florida Gators: Andre Caldwell

Since we had only three people drafting, that means only 72 Gators were selected and it also means there were a lot of good players who weren’t selected. Here are five former Florida players you could argue should have been drafted:

Andre Caldwell: UF has produced a lot of great receivers, but somehow the school’s all-time leader in catches (185) didn’t get selected. Caldwell’s 2,349 receiving yards are third in school history. He wasn’t a touchdown machine and had only five 100-yard receiving games, but he was remarkably consistent.

Ciatrick Fason: Only eight running backs have surpassed 1,000 yards in a season in school history, and Fason had been the last to do it until Mike Gillislee accomplished it last season. Fason ran for 1,269 yards in 2004.

Kirk Kirkpatrick: Aaron Hernandez is the most productive tight end in UF history, but he was avoided for obvious reasons. We also had the option of taking three receivers instead of two receivers and a tight end, which is what all of us did. However, Kirkpatrick was certainly worthy of being drafted. He had 82 career catches and led the SEC with 55 catches for 770 yards and seven touchdowns in 1990.

Will White: The safety was just the second UF player to earn first-team All-American honors as a sophomore. He picked off seven passes in 1990, which at the time was a single-season school record. His 14 career interceptions are second only to Fred Weary’s 15.

Jarvis Williams: The former safety was a first-team All-American in 1987 and his 10 career interceptions were third on the school’s all-time list at the time. He started every game for four consecutive seasons.
Demarcus RobinsonKim Klement/USA TODAY SportsDemarcus Robinson, who got a jump on the competition by participating in spring practice, has a steep hill to climb to make an impact as a freshman receiver at Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One of the main reasons Florida's passing offense has struggled since 2009 is the lack of production -- or a playmaker -- at receiver.

If the Gators' 2013 passing offense is going to be better than the unit that ranked 114th nationally last season, the receivers must be significantly better. Redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar, redshirt senior Andre Debose, and senior Trey Burton are the most experienced receivers and should be UF's go-to playmakers, but each have limitations.

Dunbar has 50 career catches, but he hasn't developed into the downfield threat the Gators have needed. Debose (29 career catches) has been that at times, but his career has been marred by inconsistency and work-ethic issues. Burton (69 career catches) has so many roles that it's hard for him to excel at one, and he's more of a short-yardage, possession receiver.

Sophomores Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades each caught two passes last season and were used more as blockers than receivers.

That means UF will be depending on two or more of the five signees to make a substantial impact. Demarcus Robinson is the most likely, as he enrolled in January and participated in spring practice. But either Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey, Marqui Hawkins or Chris Thompson will have to produce, too.

But even having only one of those freshmen become a reliable and productive part of the offense might be asking too much. It's hard for true freshman receivers to make an impact -- as the past 23 years have shown.

Florida hasn't had much luck with freshman receivers, especially when it comes to being anything more than someone who gets mop-up work.

The Gators have signed 61 receivers from 1990-2012, but only 20 played as true freshmen -- and only 19 caught passes. Of those 19, only four caught more than seven passes: Reidel Anthony, Ike Hilliard, Andre Caldwell and Percy Harvin. Anthony, Hilliard and Harvin all became first-round NFL draft picks and Caldwell was a third-round pick.

Here's more proof that it takes an especially gifted player to make an impact as a freshman: Twelve the 16 receivers who played as true freshmen from 1990-2009 went on to become draft picks.

Is there an incoming receiver who can make an impact in 2013? There's no way to know right now until September, but based on the last two-plus decades, it's unlikely.


SEC players featured on Kiper's Big Board
Mel Kiper Jr. discusses SEC players and their NFL combine performances.