The Daily Nole

Round Projections for Seminoles Entering the Draft (Pre-Combine)

Jeff Romance/FSU athletics

The time has come once again for the draft “experts” to emerge from the shadows and shed light on one of the more…interesting processes in football. Draft season has everything: wild speculation, smokescreen stories, implausible (sometimes impossible) trade proposals, and even a Drake song.

A big story last year was the 11 draft picks Florida State procured, setting a 3-year high for players selected from one school. A mix of good recruiting and good coaching has basically ensured that Florida State will remain relevant to the draft process as long as Jimbo Fisher is the head coach.

That being said, this year will be a rare deviation from the usual draft successes for Florida State. Due to underclassmen leaving early and the way recruiting classes cycle, there will only be a handful of players that might get drafted. This is in stark contrast to the almost guaranteed 5-plus picks that Florida State has experienced the past few drafts under Fisher.

Nevertheless, we decided to try our hand at the topic again, and have compiled a list of Seminoles leaving for the draft and predicting where they’ll get selected if at all. These are pre-combine numbers of course, and there is still a lot of time for players to rise — or fall depending on how things work out.

Jalen Ramsey (CB/S) – First Round

Without a doubt the most surefire player to go in the top 10 is Ramsey. Unless something like a freak injury or previously unheard of legal situations arise, Ramsey will probably be gone by the sixth pick.

Frankly, there are just not many athletes with the versatility Ramsey has. It was clear from his high school days that he was going to be a freak on the football field. Whether it be his great verticality, hard-hittingnature, or overall versatility, Ramsey truly has the ability to be an all-time great defensive back. That is not a statement which gets tossed around freely.

The only knock on Ramsey would be how he slacked off on some plays during the 2015 season. It’s not especially hard to see why, considering the risk of injury for someone slated to go in the top 10. Some of this could be attributed to the position change from safety to cornerback and his willingness to be aggressive. Either way, holding his opponents to the numbers he did shows that even when he is “lax”, he’s still an elite corner.

Reggie Northrup (LB) – Sixth to Undrafted

Some might draw parallels between Reggie Northrup and former FSU linebacker Telvin Smith. Both linebackers often put up gaudy tackle numbers and always seemed to be consistent parts of the defense. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see Northrup (as of now) taking the same path.

Physically, Northrup is slightly smaller than what the top prospects usually measure up in. He will probably have a middle-of-the-pack combine performance which will at least give him a better chance of being drafted. But his main issues of poor pass coverage and lack of backfield penetration might be enough to allow him to go undrafted. It is not a good sign that he was largely passed over on the roster until injuries started to hit.

That being said, Northrup could still provide a value pickup if he was to sign as an undrafted free agent or get selected in the late rounds. He won’t start right out of the gate. But at the very least, he does have a good sense of where run plays are going.

So don’t mark Northrup off just yet. But also don’t expect him to make the same impact previous linebackers from FSU have.

Terrance Smith (LB) – Fourth to Sixth Round

It would be interesting to see how Smith’s draft stock would change if he had been healthy all year. He missed four games in 2015 and it was clear that his ankle injury was bothering him in the other nine. One could easily make the argument that Smith’s issues were what prevented the defense from being even better this year.

When healthy, Smith is at the upper end of this round projection. Despite some pass coverage issues late in the year, he is still a very balanced linebacker who doesn’t fail in any aspect of the position. Then again, he doesn’t really excel in many aspects either.

Perhaps his biggest strength is his awareness. Smith seems to be in the right place at the right time whenever his team needs it (he forces the fumble in the first link). That is something that is hard to teach and it is ultimately what might get him drafted before the seventh round.

Nile Lawrence-Stample (DT) – Fifth to Seventh Round

Much like Smith above him, Nile Lawrence-Stample could have been even higher if he was able to stay healthy. His 2015 year was pretty good, but one wonders just how much a full 2014 season would have helped in his development.

But even with the injuries, Lawrence-Stample could be going even higher. His CBS draft profile describes him as a fourth rounder with his only real knock being his lack of playing experience. As a defensive tackle, he does everything pretty well. He has good speed, power, length, and technique. It’s not crazy to say that he could have been another Eddie Goldman if he hadn’t been injured.

Of all the players on this list, Lawrence-Stample might be the most surprising one. Many signs point to him making a bigger impact at the next level than he did in college.

Lamarcus Brutus (DB) – Sixth to Undrafted

Nobody is denying that Brutus’ presence

in the secondary helped Florida State immensely this past year. He was a clear leader and a veteran that knew what he was doing. It was through his experience that players like Marquez White and Derwin James had breakout years.

But Brutus will most likely not be doing that in the NFL. He’s not much of a ball hawk or play-maker. His main strengths lie in his ability to almost never let a receiver behind him, and being a consistent tackler. Physically he should do fine, though some reports are saying that with a good pro day workout, he could go as high as the fourth round.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to look past the fact that he didn’t start until his redshirt senior year. On the other hand, it speaks to his work ethic and commitment that he stayed with the team and played his role well.

It all comes down to what a team values and what they think they can get out of Brutus. The mental tools are all there. But does he have any room to grow at the next level?

Tyler Hunter (DB) – Undrafted

Many thought that Hunter would shine in 2015. But very few expected the drop off that occurred, which had many debating what exactly happened.

One explanation could be the neck injury that Hunter suffered in 2013. He seemed to lose something after his surgery, which is not unheard of with injuries like that. Peyton Manning is a prime example of this occurring. It doesn’t matter what position someone plays, because it is a fundamentally altering injury.

Hunter does have one thing going for him: When he gets his hands on the ball, he catches it. This allowed him to tie Xavier Rhodes for the lead in interceptions in the 2012 season, and is the reason he had three interceptions in each of his first three years.

But Hunter gets beat so much in coverage that teams won’t be able to look past it. Hunter has a chance of being signed to a team as a free agent, but his draft chances are largely minimal. As the old saying goes however, all it takes is one team to make the decision.

Giorgio Newberry (DE) – Sixth to Undrafted

The arrival of new defensive line coach Brad Lawing was immensely helpful in transforming Giorgio Newberry into a solid contributor. While he never started in 2015, his impact was clearly seen as a reserve.

Draft wise, it is easy to see how he doesn’t have the highest expectations. Newberry played defensive tackle for all of 2015, but he will almost certainly shift over to defensive end for draft purposes. He possesses a high motor and decent power. One of the more underrated factors for him is his height (6-6) which allows him to bat down passes at the line.

Newberry apparently impressed someone enough that he got invited to the NFL combine. It’s conceivable that a great showing could push him into round selection territory. If the result of one year under Lawing was 2015, imagine what he could do with an NFL team.

Roberto Aguayo (K) – Fourth to Sixth Round

2015 was a bad season for Aguayo. But that’s the reality — connecting on 80 percent of field goal attempts and perfection on PATs is a good season for any other college kicker. For Aguayo however, it pales in comparison to his 95 and 90 percent seasons.

This decline probably won’t be enough to drop him out of the draft however. He still has great accuracy from 40-plus yards and good leg strength. The newly instituted rule changes for NFL extra point attempts have already wreaked havoc for some teams. Getting a kicker as consistent as Aguayo would be a god-send for some teams.

We probably won’t see another kicker go in the first round like we did with former Nole Sebastian Janikowski. Fans just need to accept that. But for any kicker to even be drafted is a great result. Aguayo will almost certainly be one of these.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply