University of Florida

University School’s Quincy Wilson among three UF defensive backs taken in second round

Florida defensive back Quincy Wilson (6) runs the ball after intercepting a pass to Kentucky wide receiver Jeff Badet (13), left, during first half NCAA college football action in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016.
Florida defensive back Quincy Wilson (6) runs the ball after intercepting a pass to Kentucky wide receiver Jeff Badet (13), left, during first half NCAA college football action in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. AP

As the NFL Draft started Thursday night, Quincy Wilson took to Twitter.

With his professional football dreams hanging in the balance, the UF cornerback and University School standout gave one final proclamation while standing in his family’s house in Fort Lauderdale.

“One message I want to give to the GMs out there: I’m the hardest working kid coming out,” Wilson said in a 35-second video pushed out by Uninterrupted, an all-digital sports programming network that streams videos from the athlete’s perspective. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games and get that ball back to my offense, so in about an hour I guess, we’ll see where I end up.”

The first round came and went, and Quincy Wilson was still on the board, as were his “Defensive Back University” teammates Marcus Maye and Jalen Tabor.

They didn’t have to wait long Friday.

About an hour into the second round, all three defensive backs learned their NFL fates.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Wilson, a 6-1, 213-pound cornerback, with the 46th overall pick in the second round. Seven picks before Wilson, the New York Jets selected Maye, the fifth-year safety, with the 39th overall pick. Seven picks after Wilson, the Detroit Lions selected Tabor with pick No. 53. It’s the first time Florida had three defensive backs drafted in the same round.

Wilson is a lockdown corner who has a rare combination of size, speed and agility to keep up with just about any receiver he’s covering. In his three years with the Gators, Wilson recorded six interceptions and defended 17 total passes. He was pivotal in blanketing Ole Miss star receiver Laquon Treadwell as a sophomore, holding the eventual first-round pick to just five catches and 42 yards in the Gators’ 38-10 upset win.

He also recorded timely interceptions last season against Kentucky and Missouri.

Wilson was the eighth cornerback taken in the draft, with Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore (No. 11, New Orleans Saints), Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey (No. 16, Baltimore Ravens), Southern California’s Adoree’ Jackson (No. 18, Tennessee Titans), Ohio State’s Gareon Conley (No. 24, Oakland Raiders), and LSU’s Tre’davious White (No. 27, Buffalo Bills), and Washington’s Kevin King (No. 32, Green Bay Packers) and Sidney Jones (No. 43, Philadelphia Eagles) being selected before him.

“Quincy Wilson is a big press corner,” NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock wrote. “What I like is he’s square and patient at the line of scrimmage. I would just like to see him be more physical in the run game. Get off blocks and make tackles.”

Maye is a physical safety who is great second-level tackler and has improved his pass coverage skills over the back half of his collegiate career.

Over the last two seasons, Maye recorded 132 tackles, broke up 12 passes and notched three interceptions. He forced five fumbles in 2015.

Tabor, a two-time All-SEC first-team player, finished his UF career with nine interceptions (three returned for touchdowns) and 33 total pass breakups, the sixth-most in UF history. Tabor is also solid in open-space tackling.

He at one point was considered a first-round pick, but his draft stock diminished because of slow 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine (4.62) and Florida’s Pro Day (4.73). Tabor’s message to his critics: Just watch the film.

“In my heart, I’m a first-round pick,” Tabor said at Florida’s Pro Day.

“But you know, guys slide sometimes. Tom Brady went in the sixth round. Josh Norman fourth. Richard Sherman fifth. [They’re] first-round picks, though. They get paid like them.”

The Lions also took UF linebacker Jarrad Davis in the first round with the 21st overall pick on Thursday.

In addition to the three defensive backs, UF linebacker Alex Anzalone was selected in the third round Friday by the New Orleans Saints with the 76th overall pick. Anzalone is an instinctual linebacker with a knack for rushing the quarterback and has solid size at 6-3, 241-pounds. His main knock is durability. Anzalone started just 10 games during his career and underwent two arm surgeries in the last two seasons.

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