Posted: 11:22 p.m. Thursday, April 25, 2013
By Jason Lieser
Former Florida DT Sharrif Floyd was widely projected to go in the top five picks of this year’s NFL Draft, but slipped to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23.
Throughout Floyd’s slide, NFL reporters tweeted that team executives had concerns about his character. Gators coach Will Muschamp, who was in New York for the draft, shot that down in a conference call tonight.
“I was with the young man for two years,” he said. “There’s absolutely no character issues. I don’t know where that comes from. People grasp at straws when a guy falls in the NFL Draft.”
Prior to the draft, Muschamp described him as “a clean player that’s got no issues off the field.”
Floyd, 6-foot-3, 297 pounds, was at times considered the best prospect in the draft. He was the third defensive tackle picked, behind Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson at No. 13 and Utah’s Star Lotulelei at No. 14.
He played immediately for UF as a back-up and started 26 games over his three years. He had 115 tackles, including 26 for negative yardage, and blocked two field goals.
As a junior, he led Florida with 13 tackles for loss, which ranked No. 8 in the SEC. He also was fifth on the Gators with 46 tackles. He was Florida’s first defensive lineman to win all-America honors since 2001.
Floyd told NFL Network he felt slighted by his fall in the draft and would use it as motivation. Muschamp was with him at the draft and did not think he seemed upset.
“Sharrif was fine,” he said. “We talked about the process, and you never know what will happen. Sharrif is happy to be a Minnesota Viking. He has a lot to be thankful for. At the end of the day he got drafted in the first round. That’s a heck of an honor.”
He also landed with a strong team. The Vikings went 10-6 and made the playoffs last year.