Matt Jones surprised many by declaring for the NFL Draft as a junior. He had put together a good, but not great, three year career in Gainesville. But he and fellow Gator Chaz Green became NFL players last night, and suddenly, that’s all history- and immaterial.
Green, a solid offensive lineman projected to go somewhere in the fourth or fifth rounds, went first, #91 overall to the Cowboys. That was a pick made based solely on need, but a good one nonetheless; Green is strong and has that mean streak every team loves to have on their line. He has plenty of work to do in developing as a pass protector, which is partly due to the fact that Florida never really threw the ball much. But I can see him develop into a mid-season starter.
Then there’s Jones, Matty Ice, who iced the 2012 FSU game and the 2014 Georgia game to highlight a very up and down Gator career. He’s a mean runner who can change directions well, and has solid pass catching hands to boot. He went four picks later, to the Redskins at #95, providing DC’s team with a solid change of pace back- at least.
3rd round picks aren’t taken with the intention of cutting, so both Green and Jones can bank on making their respective rosters this season. If nothing else, the knowledge that four former Florida Gators are essentially guaranteed to see NFL playing time is something to smile about. And given the day the Gator Nation experienced on Friday, we need that.