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Welcome to another edition of 3-point stance! National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with consistent thoughts on the enigma that is Agiye Hall, what Florida needs to do to return to power and the latest rumors heading into the NFL Draft.
— Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is betting on Agiye Hall like Alabama did out of high school. But Sark has more to lose, much more.
Hall is polarizing for sure. On the one hand, he has amazing skills and ability. At 6'3" and 195 pounds, he’s smooth off the line, runs solid routes, and can adjust to the football very well. His hands have been up and down since high school but he’s a player to be feared because of his ability to set up defenders and get a stride or two on them downfield. He’s not a burner but is sneaky fast and he’s very hard to solo cover.
So what’s the downside? He’s been reportedly suspended twice at Alabama, he was a bit of a concern for some schools out of high school based on focus and work ethic and he’s a multiple high school kid and not by his own choice. Basically, he could be a diva. This makes him risky for Sarkisian who is already under fire after a poor first season in Texas. Xavier Worthy is WR1 there and Isiah Neyor is a huge transfer talent from Wyoming. You want depth at wide receiver, Alabama has taught us this, but can Hall play well with others. How will he do with rookie QB Quinn Ewers who needs as much support from his offense as anyone to turn things around at Texas. Will Hall disrupt the locker room?
I find Hall to just be a funny, free-willed kid who is still maturing and growing up. Has he matured? Not yet. Can he be at Texas when he didn’t under Nick Saban? I’m not sure. I believe he’s worth the risk but it’s a big risk and every key player makes or breaks Sark already in year two.
— I’m beginning a series looking at power programs that have recently fallen on hard times and what they need to do to fix it. Here’s Florida.
1. Re-establish In-State Recruiting as a Priority
Dan Mullen did not veil his dislike for recruiting, and it showed both on the field and in press conferences. We've seen the overall talent level on this squad dip considerably and new coach Billy Napier and staff need to do a lot of leg work to catch back up, especially as Miami is starting to take off again and trying to lock up the "State of Miami."
2. Get Back to Running the Ball
I'm not talking about moving to the wishbone and running it 50 times a game. I'm talking about maximizing the talent that they do have on their roster. They've got a quarterback in Anthony Richardson who I believe can be an elite runner at the position as well as talent in the running back room, bolstered by transfer Montrell Johnson. With a revamped offensive line (more on that later), they should be able to start to bully other teams. The fact that Dameon Pierce got 100 carries last year is a joke.
3. Fresh Start on the Offensive Line
While the Gators had some individual standouts during Mullen's tenure, the line as a unit was never a strength of the team. This unit will be need to rebuilt from the ground up, but they brought along two great building blocks in O'Cyrus Torrence and Kamryn Waits from Louisiana who should both be immediate starters and upgrades.
4. New defensive identity
Let's face it, the third and Grantham jokes were getting old. Florida needed a complete overhaul on defense. They've brought in not one but two defensive coordinators in Patrick Toney and Sean Spencer. The co-coordinator roles haven't traditionally worked in the past, so it's a wait-and-see approach at the moment. But it can't get much worse - can it?
5. Back to basics
Florida was one of the most penalized teams in the country last season, averaging eight flags for 71 yards per game. On top of that, they were -8 in turnovers, good for 10th worst in the country. They need to stop shooting themselves in the foot if they're going to have a leg to stand on.
— It’s always lying season when it comes to the NFL Draft but this is lying week with the actual event starting Thursday. Here’s the latest.
The Jags are down to four players they could select at No. 1 overall. But the early week rumor is that it could be NC State OT Ickey Ekwonu. I think the Jags need to go OL honestly but I’d take Alabama’s Evan Neal.
- I’m hearing Travon Walker is the pick for the Jags, take it for what it’s worth.
- I’m hearing that the price for Deebo Samuel from the San Francisco 49ers includes the No. 4 pick overall and not the No. 10. Why? They want Cincinnati star CB Sauce Gardner. The problem? The Jets do too.
- Speaking of the Jets, they won’t go OT at No. 4 or No. 10 because Mekhi Becton has been impressive in his comeback from a dislocated knee cap. His absence from voluntary minicamp is more about his wife expecting a baby than any setbacks from injury.
- Kenny Pickett could very well fall out of round one I’m told. That’s how crazy this draft is as he could go as high as No. 6 or slide out of round one.
- WR Drake London could slide a bit as more and more teams mention Jameson Williams as a top 15 pick and the surefire success potential of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. London has size unlike anyone else in the top wide receiver group but he didn’t run a 40 and his route running has been questioned.
- Want a player who will land in round one no one else is mentioning. Georgia LB Quay Walker as I hear he will be taken ahead of teammate Nakobe Dean and possibly even Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd.
- The Texans are targeting Derrick Stingley Jr. at pick No. 13 but he won’t be there. And they want an OL at pick No. 3 and will take Neal or Ekwonu. If both are available I hear they like Neal.
- As big of a lock as Sauce Gardner appears to be for the Jets I hear OG Zion Johnson from Boston College is a similar lock to the New England Patriots at No. 21 — if he’s available.
- I still hear the LA Chargers aren’t locked in on DT despite rumors of them coveting UGA teammates Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. I’m telling you, protecting Justin Herbert is as important as anything to them even with Rashawn Slater drafted last year. But a wide receiver isn’t out of play either if say Wilson slides to 17.
- The Steelers aren’t taking a QB at No. 20. The hope against hope is Kyle Hamilton slides and they can pair him with Minkah Fitzpatrick.
- Everyone - and I mean everyone - expects the Chiefs to trade up but I’ve got a source who tells me they are fine at 29 and 30 and might not even want to have two first-round contracts. With so many picks could they possibly package one first-rounder and some later picks for a high first-rounder in 2023 from a team desperate for a player that slips? It could happen.
- If the Bengals don’t take an offensive lineman it will be a cornerback with Andrew Booth from Clemson the hope.
- The one player who could slide into the top 10 no one expects. Washington CB Trent McDuffie, who has a higher grade from some teams than Stingley Jr.