nfl draft

Sunshine State College Football Powers Represented in 1st Round of NFL Draft

A total of four players were picked from the state's Big Three programs - the Miami Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators - during the first round

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As 32 names got called Thursday night and now have the honor of the words 'first round NFL Draft pick' attached to them, several of those players were part of a continuing trend for Florida's college football powers to show their prestige.

A total of four players were picked from the state's Big Three programs - the Miami Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators - during the first round, the most combined picks since the 2016 opening round when four players were also selected.

The Gators were the first to have a player picked when tight end Kyle Pitts was taken fourth overall by the Atlanta Falcons. The 6'6" target hauled in 12 touchdowns last season for UF and was named the John Mackey Award winner as the nation's top tight end.

The 'Canes saw a former player selected in the opening round for the first time since the 2017 draft, when defensive end Jaelan Phillips was selected 18th overall by the Miami Dolphins. In his only season with Miami after transferring from UCLA, Phillips finished the 2020 season with 45 tackles and eight sacks.

UF had a second player selected when wide receiver Kadarius Toney was picked 20th overall by the New York Giants. Toney caught 10 touchdowns last season in helping to lead the Gators to a Cotton Bowl berth while being named second team All-SEC.

Another member of Miami's defensive line was taken when defensive end Gregory Rousseau was picked 30th overall by the Buffalo Bills. The South Florida native recorded 15.5 sacks in his redshirt freshman season of 2019 and was named the ACC's Defensive Rookie of the Year before sitting out last season due to the pandemic.

FSU was forced to sit out yet another first round as they didn't have a player selected in the first round for the second straight year.

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