While the Florida Gators’ new coaching personnel has yet to undergo its first season repping blue and orange, several members of the staff have realized significant success in producing NFL-level talent.
The 2022 NFL Draft has been indicative of that reality.
In round one on Thursday, cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond and wide receivers coach Keary Colbert each had prospects taken in the top ten with LSU DB Derek Stingley Jr. going third overall to Houston and USC WR Drake London going eighth overall to Atlanta respectively.
Continuing that success, Louisiana-Lafayette – the former home of five current on-field staff members – had two players go in the fourth round on Saturday.
Here is a look at the players new Gators head coach Billy Napier, Patrick Toney, Rob Sale, Darnell Stapleton and Jabbar Juluke have developed to take center stage at the highest level of the sport while with the Ragin ‘Cajuns.
OT Max Mitchell: New York Jets, fourth round, 111th overall
The Jets continued to make a splash in the draft by acquiring a high-potential offensive line prospect in the first round.
Max Mitchella three-year full-time starter on the Louisiana-Lafayette offensive line, allowed just 13 pressures in 859 snaps at right tackle.
The Monroe (La.) Native will serve as a suitable fix to keep the offensive lines pass protection and run blocking in case of injury.
Already equipped with Mekhi Becton and Conor McDermottthe Jets add a third-team AP All American tackle to provide a swing tackle in the early years of his career.
While he will initially be insurance to the oft-injured Becton, the ultimate goal will likely be for Mitchell to succeed McDermott as he enters his 30s in October.
Scroll to Continue
Showing versatility on the offensive front, Mitchell is equipped with the athleticism and power to bounce around the offensive line at guard, tackle and even center at 6-foot-6, 299 pounds.
While the Jets continue to build around last year’s second overall pick Zach Wilson with weapons, another anchor in the trenches in the fourth round bodes well for keeping his jersey clean.
Safety Percy Butler: Washington Commanders, fourth round, 113th overall
When Patrick Toney says his defense is defensive back-friendly, he means it.
Now, the Gators co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach has a drafted example to flash on his resume to incoming talent in defensive back Percy Butler.
Playing with an incredible range from the backend at 6-foot-1, 191 pounds, Butler provides the Commanders with an elite coverage of safety who can get from sideline to sideline in a hurry with a 4.36 40-yard dash. His 11 pass breakups and three interceptions during his four years at Louisiana display his ball-hawking abilities from free safety.
The major concern comes as a tackler, due to a mildly concerning 13 missed tackles a season ago. However, still serving as the Ragin ‘Cajuns’ third-leading tackler, Butler totaled 61 tackles and six tackles for loss to aid UL to reach and win the Sun Belt Championship.
However, his intangibles make him a suitable project for the Commanders to take a chance on in the fourth round.
Butler will see a special teams ace role due to his elite speed and athleticism early on in his career, but will be groomed to make the jump from rotational safety to full-time starter in the Commanders defense in a year or two.
Undrafted Free Agents
QB Levi LewisSeattle Seahawks
DE Chauncey ManacGreen Bay Packers
LB Ferrod GardnerWashington Commanders
Stay tuned to AllGators for ongoing coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.