Dolphins take 3 ex-Gators on final day of draft

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm •  Published: April 27, 2013

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — On the final day of the NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins kept taking the best available Gator.

Miami added a former University of Florida player on offense, defense and special teams Saturday. Heading south from Gainesville will be linebacker Jelani Jenkins, running back Mike Gillislee and place-kicker Caleb Sturgis.

Jenkins was selected in the fourth round, and Gillislee and Sturgis were acquired two picks apart in the fifth round.

"Going to turn the Dolphins into UF," tweeted Miami center Mike Pouncey, a Florida alum. "I will be handing out gator shirts to all my teammates this coming up week lol."

The Dolphins might not win the AFC East, but they would be tough to beat in the SEC East.

"A little theme today: Florida Gators," general manager Jeff Ireland said. "We didn't plan on drafting three players from Florida, but they sat there and we knew them, and we have great comfort with them, and they're good players."

Miami went outside the state to add tight end Dion Sims of Michigan State in the fourth round, and defensive back Don Jones of Arkansas State in the seventh round.

Jenkins had hoped to be drafted in the first round, but an injury-plagued final season at Florida hurt his stock. He was limited to nine games in 2012, when he broke his thumb, battled a hamstring injury and broke his foot, which required surgery and kept him out of the Sugar Bowl.

The 6-foot, 237-pound Jenkins played both middle and outside linebacker for the Gators. Playing in the SEC should make the transition to the pros easier, he said.

"Every week was like an NFL game, it seemed like," he said. "There was never really a week off."

Gillislee rushed for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his career and totaled 22 touchdowns.

The 208-pound Gillislee will compete for a roster spot after starter Reggie Bush departed to Detroit via free agency. Lamar Miller is expected to be Miami's starter this year.

"The Dolphins were always my favorite team," said Gillislee, a native of DeLand, Fla. "It was always a dream, and now my dream came true."

Sturgis was on the golf course when he learned the Dolphins had drafted him — and well aware two of his college teammates were also Miami-bound.

"That's awesome," Sturgis said. "They're both great dudes. I can't wait to watch them succeed."

Sturgis could provide an economical alternative to incumbent Dan Carpenter, who has made 82 percent of his field goals over the past five years but is scheduled to make $3 million in 2013.