A relatively quiet NFL Draft for the UF became busy during the hours after the three-day, seven-round affair ended.
Five Gators reached agreements as unrestricted free agents: linebacker Jeremiah Moon with the Baltimore Ravens; running back Malik Davis with the Dallas Cowboys; offensive tackle Jean Delance with the Chicago Bears; and defensive tackles Antonio Valentino and Tyron Truesdall with the New York Giants.
Three Gators were drafted, the fewest since two players were selected in 2012. But cornerback Kaiir Elam, defensive lineman Zachary Carter and running back Dameon Pierce each landed in favorable situations.
Elam was selected at No. 23 during the first round by the Buffalo Bills, giving Florida at least one first-round pick during nine of the past 10 drafts. The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals picked Carter in the third round at No. 95, looking to build the defensive front of a Super Bowl team. Pierce went early in the fourth round, at No. 107, to a franchise coming off a 4-13 season and seeking playmakers.
Given their draft status, the three players will be given long-term contracts and ample opportunity.
Meanwhile, Moon and his fellow UDFAs will have to earn their keep.
Moon offers size (6-5, 249) and athleticism, along with ample experience having appeared in at least one game during a six-season stretch (2016-2021). During that time he recorded 151 total tackles, 14 for loss (8 sacks), and 4 passes defended.
Moon often made an impact when on the field, but battled an array of injuries.
Davis had to overcome injury himself after a fast start to his college career. He rushed for 526 yards in 2017 during seven games as a first-year player, but suffered a torn ACL during a 42-7 loss to Georgia. The next season he broke his foot his.
When healthy, the 5-foot-10, 207-pound Tampa product was an effective runner and talented pass catcher, highlighted by 100 receiving yards during a 2020 win against Georgia. Davis rushed for 1,470 yards with 8 touchdowns and caught 70 passes for 726 yards and 2 scores during his career.
At the team’s Pro Day March 28, he recorded a vertical leap of 39 ½ inches and 10-foot-7 broad jump, but ran just 4.71 in the 40-yard dash.
Delance flashed athletic ability himself as representatives of 28 teams looked on five weeks ago. The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Texas native was nicked up much of his Florida career, yet still started three seasons at right tackle.
Delance’s inconsistent play led coaches to seek a replacement at times, but no one could unseat the former University of Texas transfer.
Valentino and Truesdell were graduate transfers last season.
The personable Valentino became a team spokesman and solid contributor. The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Penn State transfer recorded 23 tackles, 3 for loss (1 sack) for the Gators after he appeared in 40 games for the Nittany Lions, tallying 51 tackles, 12 ½ for a loss (6 sacks) ).
Truesdell, who arrived from Auburn, recorded just 12 tackles during 13 games.