Tonight begins the first round of the NFL draft. Florida State has sent 225 players to the pros since 1951. This includes 34 first-round draft picks. Andre Wadsworth holds the record as the highest Seminole taken in the NFL draft as he was selected with the third overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 draft.
Last year Patrick Robinson became the most recent Seminole to go in the first round. Before him it was Lawrence Timmons in 2007.
This year Christian Ponder has a chance to go in the first round. He is not considered a lock to be chosen in the first round, but FSU's quarterback has been swiftly rising up draft board.
Ponder possesses an average NFL arm. He has excellent mobility though he sometimes gets injured from running around too much. His height is also merely just average, at just a shade over 6'2", though his bulk is good for the next level at more than 220 pounds.
Perhaps Ponder's best asset is his intelligence. He's considered a very smart football player. In a league where teams are hesitant to throw money at trouble-makers and immature kids, Ponder's intelligence and work ethic (he already has his master's degree) stand out. He makes teams feel comfortable and doesn't come off as an immature kid.
Neither Mel Kiper, Jr. nor SB Nation have Ponder in the first round. But even they will acknowledge that after the first 15 or so locks, the remaining 16-32 spots are largely educated guesswork. A player projected to go at #24 could easily fall to pick #40 (2nd round, 8th selection).
Where could Ponder go?
Buffalo Bills (#3), Cincinnati Bengals (#4), Miami Dolphins (#15), Jacksonville Jaguars (# 16), Seattle Seahawks (# 25) are all options, but it's just as likely that a team trades back into the first round for him. Washington may also be an option.