GAINESVILLE -- The 2016 NFL Draft is in one week, so let’s take a look at the latest mock drafts and where Florida’s trio of defensive standouts are projected to get selected.
All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and hard-hitting safety Keanu Neal will both be in Chicago on April 28. Hargreaves is a consensus first round pick, while Neal, who performed well during UF’s Pro Day, is considered a Top 50 prospect.
Gators defensive tackle Jon Bullard will not attend the draft and remains a likely Day 2 pick.
CB VERNON HARGREAVES III
S KEANU NEAL
DT JON BULLARD
Florida’s junior cornerback remains one of the first defensive backs off the board on most analysts’ mock drafts. The two blockbuster trades have shaken up the top of the first round though, so Hargreaves is no longer considered a surefire Top 10 pick. Hargreaves has also battled some recent nitpicking from scouts and analysts, many of whom have raised concerns about the cornerback’s overall size, speed and ability to be a No. 1 guy.
Said ESPN’s Mel Kiper, “He has been the best pure cover cornerback in college for the past two years on the aggregate, and even if you have concerns about the size and speed, the tape makes up the difference.”
Meanwhile, Neal remains a fringe first round prospect, and is most likely to get selected somewhere early on Day 2. The physical safety projects as a future starter (with a high ceiling should he improve his cover skills and tackling technique), but with such a deep draft class it will be tough for Neal to sneak into the first round.
Bullard has slid a bit on most draft boards lately, as the versatile senior has been leapfrogged by other defensive linemen with projected higher ceilings. Bullard is what he is -- a blue-collar, powerful, penetrating lineman with the ability to play inside or as a five-technique end. He was very productive in college, too, but he played through a lot of injuries and he doesn’t possess ideal size for the position.
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