Seminole Moment? 11 FSU Players Selected in Draft

Florida State set a school record with 11 draftees in 2013.
Florida State set a school record with 11 draftees in 2013.

Eleven Florida State Seminoles were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, setting a new school record. While quarterback EJ Manuel being the first Seminole off the board, with the 16th pick of the first round to Buffalo, was a surprise to experts, the possibility of this being a special class for Florida State was anticipated.

2013 Florida State ties Miami in 2002 and USC in 2006 and 2009 for second-most players selected in a single NFL Draft under the seven-round format.  Only Ohio State has had more draftees in a single year, as 14 Buckeyes were drafted in 2004.

Some will look at this surge of draft talent from Tallahassee and see signs of progress.  Florida State hasn’t had more than five draftees in a single year since 2006, when four Seminoles were taken in the first 20 picks and eight were selected overall.  Jimbo Fisher is grooming talent, and he will be able to use this year’s draft success as a recruiting tool to benefit the program moving forward.

Others see this talent and wonder how Florida State couldn’t have performed better on the field in 2012.  Yes, the Seminoles won the ACC and the Orange Bowl. If they were this good, though, how did they lose to NC State, a team that hired a new coach in the offseason?

It’s worth noting that neither 2003-04 Ohio State nor 2008-09 Southern California played in the BCS championship (although the players drafted from Ohio State in 2004 were on their national title team the previous season).  Florida State still won their first ACC Championship Game since 2005, and 2010-12 is the first time the Seminoles have won at least nine games over three consecutive seasons since 2002-04.

So some will look at Florida State’s 11 draftees and see unfulfilled potential. It’s far more likely, however, that it’s a case of potential success down the road.

Bills, Redskins Load Up On ACC Talent: On August 24, a preseason NFL game between the Washington Redskins and the Buffalo Bills will have no shortage of ACC talent.  Both teams drafted three ACC players this year, adding to rosters already stocked with Atlantic Coast Conference players.

The Bills drafted quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round, who could join running back CJ Spiller (Clemson) in the Buffalo backfield.  Buffalo also drafted Clemson safety Jonathan Meeks, giving the Bills five Tigers on their current roster (Spiller, Meeks, LB Kourtnei Brown, CB Crezdon Butler, OT Chris Hairston).

Buffalo followed that up by drafting Seminole kicker Dustin Hopkins, giving the Bills six Seminoles.  Hopkins joins a special teams unit that already included Florida State long snapper Garrison Sanborn and punter Shawn Powell.  The other Seminoles are linebacker Nigel Bradham and offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders.

The Bills also employ Georgia Tech’s Tashard Choice (RB); NC State’s TJ Graham (WR), Manny Lawson (LB), and Mario Williams (DE), and North Carolina’s Da’Norris Searcy (S). Future ACC members Pittsburgh (Zach Brown, Doris Dickerson), Louisville (Eric Wood), and Notre Dame (Brian Smith, Sam Young) are also represented.

The Washington Redskins also drafted two Florida State products.  Running back Chris Thompson and linebacker Brandon Jenkins were both fifth-round picks of the Redskins.  Washington had already drafted NC State cornerback David Amerson in the second round, also giving them three ACC players in the draft.

Washington is also loaded with ACC talent.  Amerson will join a secondary which includes Virginia Tech’s DeAngelo Hall, Maryland’s Josh Wilson, and Virginia’s Chase Minnifield.  The Redskins also have two Boston College Eagles (Ron Brace, Jeremy Trueblood), two Clemson Tigers (Jarvis Jenkins, Philip Merling), three Miami Hurricanes (Leonard Hankerson, Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss), and four Virginia Tech Hokies (Hall, Will Montgomery, Joshua Morgan, Darryl Tapp).

Lining Up For The Draft: Behind Florida State, North Carolina had the second-most draftees of ACC schools, as five Tar Heels were selected over the weekend.  Those draft picks also offer a glimpse into what could be a problem spot for North Carolina on the gridiron in 2013.

Much has been made of Giovani Bernard’s exploits during his time in Chapel Hill, rushing for nearly 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns over two seasons for the Tar Heels.  The Tar Heels will be looking to replace his production in the backfield, with senior AJ Blue sitting atop the post-spring depth chart.  However, Blue and company will be running behind a very different offensive line.

Three Tar Heel offensive linemen were selected in the draft, led by Jonathan Cooper, selected with the seventh overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.  Fellow guard Travis Bond went to the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round, while offensive tackle Brennan Williams was a third-round pick by the Houston Texans.

While many of the replacements have game experience due to injuries throughout the year, it will be a different look on the offensive line for North Carolina. It will also be trial by fire, as the Tar Heel season will begin August 29 against a South Carolina defense anchored by Jadeveon Clowney.  No matter how well those linemen perform, it will be hard to compare to a unit that produced three draftees this year.


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