Gators coach Jim McElwain ‘all for’ players leaving school early for NFL Draft

It doesn’t bother Jim McElwain.

Demarcus Robinson #11 of the Florida Gators carries during the fourth quarter of the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Demarcus Robinson #11 of the Florida Gators carries during the fourth quarter of the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Even after five Gators players declared early for the draft this offseason, McElwain understands their decision. Even though that number ties the mark (2003, 2010) for the most Florida players to declare early for the NFL Draft in a single season, McElwain isn’t upset.

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“I’m all for it,” McElwain said before speaking to the Broward County Gator Club on Wednesday evening. “As I’ve spoken to clubs, they ask about all these guys leaving early. I ask, ‘What profession are you?’ The guys says he’s an engineer. OK, so what if Boeing called you when you were a sophomore and said, ‘You know what, don’t finish school right now. Come to us and we’re going to give you $10 million.’ What are you going to do? So, I think we need to be realistic here.”

Former Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, defensive end Alex McCalister, safety Keanu Neal, running back Kelvin Taylor and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson declared early for the NFL Draft this offseason. CBS Sports has Hargreaves as a first-round pick, McCalister as a seventh-round pick, Neal as a second-round pick, Taylor as a fourth to fifth-round pick and Robinson as a fifth to sixth-round pick.

Although five Florida players might not declare early for the draft next year, there will be a few who will have a decision to make. Junior cornerback Jalen Tabor and redshirt junior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley are two Gators players who are expected to have the chance to leave school early with the help of a strong 2016 season.

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