New York, NY - Three former University of Florida football players were selected on day three of the 2014 NFL Draft. Defensive back Jaylen Watkins was selected with the first pick of the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Ronald Powell was taken in the fifth round by the New Orleans Saints and offensive lineman Jon Halapio was selected by the New England Patriots in the sixth round.
They join defensive lineman Dominique Easley (first round, New England) to total four Gators drafted in 2014.
Watkins is the 13th Gator all-time selected by the Eagles, and will join former UF receiver Riley Cooper in Philadelphia. With Watkins' selection on Saturday, UF has had three defensive backs selected in the last two drafts -- Matt Elam and Josh Evans were taken in 2013. Watkins is the first Florida cornerback drafted since Joe Haden in 2010.
Powell is the first Gator drafted by the Saints since 1998 (Fred Weary, 4th round) and just the sixth UF player ever selected by the franchise. He is the third UF linebacker picked in the past two drafts, joining Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins from 2013.
Halapio is the first offensive lineman selected from Florida since Mike Pouncey was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2011.
2014 GATORS IN THE NFL DRAFT
Dominique Easley - New England Patriots, 1st Round (No. 29 overall)
Easley was playing as one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the country before an ACL injury cut his senior season short. He played in 32 games for the Gators and made 26 starts on the defensive line. He recorded 72 total tackles with 18 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks in his career.
Jaylen Watkins - Philadelphia Eagles, 4th Round (No. 101 overall)
Watkins was a multipurpose defensive back for the Gators, playing corner, nickel and safety. He appeared in 48 games in his career and made 28 starts. He was the team’s third-leading tackler in 2013 with 52 total tackles. In his career, he racked up 133 tackles with 21 pass breakups and 3 interceptions.
Ronald Powell - New Orleans Saints, 5th Round (No. 169 overall)
Powell was a versatile member of UF’s defense last season, playing a hybrid linebacker/defensive end role. He led the team with 4.0 sacks in his final season and also had 7 tackles-for-loss and 8 quarterback hurries. Powell missed all of 2012 while recovering from a knee injury. In his career, he totaled 84 tackles, 19 tackles-for-loss and 11 sacks.
Jon Halapio - New England Patriots, 6th Round (No. 179 overall)
Halapio was an ironman on the Gators’ offensive line the past four seasons, playing in 51 games and making 43 starts. In 2013, he played most of the season while recovering from a torn pectoral muscle suffered during the summer. He was voted a team captain for the 2013 season by his teammates.