MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Gators head into the offseason trying to figure out what happened to its once vaunted defense in the Sugar Bowl. The answer to the question will be made more difficult because the team lost two of the best defenders on the team when UF next takes the field.
Safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd both said after the Gators’ Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville that they were foregoing their senior year and declaring for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Elam is considered either the top or second ranked safety in the class of 2013. A former top recruit, Elam intercepted four passes this season to go along with 76 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 5 passes broken up, according to cfbstats.com.
Floyd, unless he vastly outperforms at the combine, will be in the second tier of defensive tackles taken in the draft. He’s just a notch behind the top tackles of Star Lotulelei, Johnathan Hankins, and Sheldon Richardson who are all expected to be first round picks.
In 2013, Floyd had 46 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 6 quarterback hurries, and 2 kicks/punts blocked, according to cfbstats.com.
Still, Floyd played both defensive end and defensive tackle at UF, which will only increase his value to an NFL team. Floyd is projected as a late first or early second round pick by CBSSports.com.