NFL Draft Profile: Tyrie Cleveland
With less than a month before the 2020 NFL draft, Gators Territory continues to profile each of the Gators’ draft hopefuls.
Next on our list is another member of Florida’s elite receiving corps who totaled 79 catches for 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns during his time at the University of Florida.
Tyrie Cleveland came to the Gators in 2016 and appeared in 11 games, starting four, during his freshman year. He recorded 14 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns that year. Of players who had at least 10 receptions, he led the squad with a 21.3 yards per catch average, his longest coming against LSU when he caught a 98-yard touchdown pass, marking the second-longest touchdown pass in UF history.
In 2017, the Texan started eight games and appeared in 10, totaling 22 receptions for 410 yards, a team-high, and two touchdowns. He also saw some time on special teams as a kick returner. Perhaps his most memorable play came that year. With nine seconds left on the clock, the Gators were tied 20-20 with Tennessee sitting on their own 37-yard line. Cleveland was lined up on the left side and as soon as the ball was snapped he headed towards the end zone and cut right. Quarterback Austin Appleby escaped pressure and lobbed a 63-yard pass down the center of the field directly into the hands of Cleveland as the clock ran out. He was named an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Honorable Mention Player of the Week.
The next year, he appeared in and started all twelve games during the regular season. He recorded 18 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He continued to serve on special teams and recorded five tackles and was named a Preseason Early Campbell Tyler Rose Award Nominee. At the end of the regular season, Cleveland suffered a collarbone injury against Florida State and missed the bowl game.
In his senior season, he played in all thirteen of Florida’s games and made two starts. He made the most catches of his career in his final season, totaling 25 receptions for 351 yards and a touchdown, plus three tackles on special teams.
As one of three Florida receivers to receive an invite to the 2020 NFL Combine, he earned a prospect grade of 5.61, categorizing him as someone who has a chance to make the end of roster or practice squad.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said Cleveland didn’t live up to the hype behind his name at Florida. Although he came in as a top receiver out of Houston, he simply didn’t have enough production.
Zierlein complimented Cleveland’s size and ability to reel in catches but was concerned about his deceleration and delayed get-off into routes. Although his size is a huge advantage for him, Cleveland often fails to use it as that.
Expect Cleveland to go late in the seventh round or go undrafted and become a free agent at the 2020 NFL draft on April 23-25 in Las Vegas.