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UF Football: 2020 NFL Draft Begins Thursday Night

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

The NFL Draft opens Thursday and concludes on Saturday.

The 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday night in a virtual manner for the first time in NFL history. The first round of the draft will be held on Thursday, the second and third rounds on Friday night, and the remaining rounds on Saturday.

The entire draft will be televised nationally by NFL Network, ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and can be streamed on the ESPN and NFL apps.

Coverage begins on Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m., and at noon on Saturday.

In addition, the NFL will host a “Draft-A-Thon,” a massive fundraising campaign part of the 2020 NFL Draft aimed at raising much-needed funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. The Draft-A-Thon will be live streamed on NFL social and digital platforms and featured in live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, and ESPN Deportes on April 23-25.

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Florida head coach Dan Mullen will participate in the Draft-A-Thon on Friday evening. Fans can follow the Draft-A-Thon on NFL digital properties across devices (phone, PC, tablet, and connected TVs) and on Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo Sports. Hosted by the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders, the Draft-A-Thon will feature a wide variety of athletes, celebrities, and personalities.

Florida has had the fifth-most first-round draft picks (50) among NCAA schools and the second-most in the Southeastern Conference in the Common Draft era (since 1967). Southern California (70), Ohio State (68), Miami (FL) [60], and Alabama (54) are the four programs in front of Florida. Behind the Gators sit Florida State (45) and Notre Dame (44).

Overall, UF has had 52 first-round selections in its storied history and has totaled 17 first-round picks since 2007, which ranks third among all schools nationally. Only Alabama (29) and Ohio State (20) have more. Meanwhile, LSU (16), USC (14), Clemson and Florida State (12), Georgia (11), and Notre Dame (10) trail the Gators.

According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay, Gators defensive back CJ Henderson will be selected in the first round on Thursday night. Meanwhile, they predict wide receiver Van Jefferson and defensive end Jabari Zuniga will come off the board in the second and third rounds, respectively.

Regarding the entire draft, Florida is one of five schools (Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and USC) to have had a player taken every year in the Common Draft era and has had a player selected every year since 1952.

For a complete list of Florida’s football history in the draft, click here.

Fans interested in keeping up with former Florida football players and the draft can follow @GatorsFB on Twitter and check FloridaGators.com at the completion of each day’s picks.

Notables

  *   If CJ Henderson is selected in the first round …
     *   He would become the first defensive back to come off the board in the opening round of the draft since 2016 when Vernon Hargreaves III was selected 11th overall by Tampa Bay and Keanu Neal was picked 17th overall by Atlanta.
     *   He would become the ninth Gator defensive back to be selected in the first round since 1970, and the fifth since 2010.
     *   He would become the first Gator to go in the first round since Taven Bryan was picked by Jacksonville in 2018.

  *   If at least one Gator is selected in the first and second rounds apiece …
     *   It would be only the 16th time since 1967 that the Gators have players selected in the first and second rounds and the fourth time since 2013.
     *   The last duo of Gators to go in the first and second rounds was Taven Bryan (29th overall) and Duke Dawson (56th overall).

  *   When Van Jefferson is selected…
     *   He would become the 40th Florida wide receiver to be drafted since 1967 and the fifth since 2010.
     *   If he goes in any of the first three rounds, he will become the 19th Gators wide receiver to go in one of the first three rounds since 1967.
     *   If he goes in one of the first three rounds, he would be the highest selected Gators wide receiver since Percy Harvin was drafted in the first round in 2009.
     *   If he goes in one of the first three rounds, Florida will be tied with Tennessee and Ohio State among schools with most wide receivers drafted in the first three rounds since 1967.
     *   If he goes in the second round, he will be the first wide receiver to be selected in the second round since Chad Jackson in 2006.
     *   If he goes in the third round, he will be the first Gators wide receiver to be drafted in the third round since Andre Caldwell in 2008.

  *   If at least one Gator is selected in each of the first three rounds …
     *   It would be the fourth time since 2010 that the Gators have at least one player selected in each of the first three rounds of the draft and the first time since 2017.