Six Florida Gators came off the board over the three days, seven rounds and 259 picks of the 2023 NFL draft in April, and they are set to begin their pro careers in just under two weeks.
With preseason training camps wrapping up across the country, ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters put together a compilation of notes on every player selected in the draft. Some are proving to be worth every bit of the gamble taken on them in April while others are looking like possible busts already.
So far, Florida’s draftees have lived up to expectations and then some. Here’s how things are going for Anthony Richardson, Gervon Dexter, O’Cyrus Torrence, Ventrell Miller, Justin Shorter and Amari Burney.
Indianapolis Colts QB Anthony Richardson (Round 1, Pick 4)
Anthony Richardson was named the starter in Indianapolis after just one preseason start, and his lack of experience doesn’t seem to phase head coach Shane Steichen one bit.
“Richardson is considered by teammates and coaches to be further along than expected for a rookie quarterback with one college season as a starter,” the ESPN article read. “He’s shown great command of the offense and huddle and has secured the starting quarterback role for Week 1.”
Plenty of scouts labeled Richardson as a project quarterback leading up to the draft, but the Colts are throwing him into the fire without reserve. Let’s see if he’s ready for it.
Chicago Bears DT Gervon Dexter Sr. (Round 2, Pick 53)
Gervon Dexter should get time in Chicago’s defensive line rotation this season as a three-technique. The Bears run a much different scheme than Florida, so Dexter has been going through an adjustment period.
“Dexter spent the offseason learning a new role in the Bears defense, transitioning from being a two-gap lineman to one-gap penetrator. Chicago drafted Dexter to improve their interior pass rush, and the focus has been on his get-off, i.e., how explosive his first step is in getting into the backfield and to the quarterback.”
Buffalo Bills G O’Cyrus Torrence (Round 2, Pick 59)
O’Cyrus Torrence was built up as the best guard in the draft and he’s living up to expectations by competing for a starting spot in training camp.
“He has been competing with veteran Ryan Bates for the role, but the coaching staff has given the rookie plenty of opportunities. Torrence played with the starters in the second preseason game and has had more opportunities of late.”
Torrence hasn’t gotten the nod just yet, but he’s trending toward being the starter by the end of camp. The position battle could continue into the season.
Ventrell Miller was never truly healthy for Florida as a senior, but the hope is that offseason foot surgery has him back to 100% to start his pro career. The Jaguars aren’t rushing him back, though. He’s had an intentionally “slow start” to camp to ease him back in.
“Since being cleared, he has been involved on special teams and flashed in the first two preseason games, including a sack against the Cowboys.”
Buffalo Bills WR Justin Shorter (Round 5, Pick 150)
Justin Shorter was a fifth-round pick for Buffalo, but his spot on the 53-man roster isn’t guaranteed. ESPN says that he’s among the favorites to land the final receiver spot on the roster, citing his 6-foot-4-inch and 223-pound frame as a positive.
Las Vegas Raiders OLB Amari Burney (Round 6, Pick 203)
Amari Burney is in a similar position to Shorter, battling for a roster spot after impressing during the preseason. Burney’s past as a defensive back has helped him stand out in coverage as an outside linebacker. He could end up as the backup in a “battered LB room” when all is said and done.
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