I remember late last football season I was thinking about 2013's roster because a lot of posters were talking about 2012 (and 2014) as being our year(s) to win it. I created a list of each position and compared 2012 roster to 2013. My conclusion (guess) was that our offense would be better, but our defense would be worse in 2013 than in 2012. Clearly, I had no idea that our offense would be this good, however. I was incredibly optimistic, like most here, about Winston, but I admittedly did not think he would be this good, this soon. I have been thinking for a while to make a new list for next year. Due to the number of question marks of who will or who wont enter the draft, this ends up being my best guesses to who will return and just how good we can be. I have no affiliation or inside knowledge of this FSU team, so these are my best guesses as to who returns and if each position will be better or worse in 2014:
QB - Upgrade (if possible) - Winston - but backup situation is bigger question mark.. does Coker leave?
RB - Upgrade -Freeman returns, Wilder leaves - - the OL improves, freeman is a senior, Los IMO is an upgrade over Wilder, then we have some true deep threats with Pender, Green with incoming FR for depth
FB - Same - Abram - leaves but is a statistically marginal player. How much do we miss his blocking?
WR - Downgrade - Shaw and KB leave, Greene returns - lose 2 players to the NFL including an "uncoverable" player in KB will be tough to replace. Will need to keep Greene healthy and some of our younguns to really step up. Can this be the year of C. Green? Can a young player truly emerge? Does Marquez White become a darkhorse candidate?
TE - Upgrade - Oleary returns and we look to have much more depth, which is key. Downgrade in WR leads to more opportunities for TE
OT - Downgrade - Erving leaves - definitely the most difficult choice for me. I am not as convinced as some of you that he leaves. I have a gut feeling he comes back, but I am being pessimistic in this post. Mavety/Bell are unproven against FBS competition. Hart is a senior who will look to show NFL scouts how good he is. Depth is better, however.
OG - Upgrade - Jackson and Matias return - they are 1 year better and we have more depth
C - Downgrade - Stork is a key cog, but we should have a serviceable replacement. Will help to have the OG we have surrounding him too
Offense overall - I think the 3 big questions are can we get a 2nd wr to step up, does Erving return, and can we stay as healthy as 2013 (which IMO is most important question). If we stay healthy, I think 2014 is equal to 2013 offense, but will be more run-oriented than the 2013 version (though stats might not show because our schedule is more difficult in 2014).
DE - Upgrade - Edwards, Casher, and Walker all return and get 1 year better
DT - Downgrade - 3 of top 4 all leave (including Jernigan) - the position on our entire team that worries me the most next year. Goldman, Stample, Mitchell and Shanks return but Goldman is the only one who has proven he can play at a high level. Will need the other 3, along with Bryant, Hollin and maybe Christmas, to step up. Definitely the biggest downgrade on our team next year
DE/Rushing OLB - Same- Casher, Eligwe, Thomas - Role of C. Jones. I think we have the athletes to fill this spot nicely, though they are unproven. Maybe a slight downgrade
LB - Slight downgrade - Telvin Smith leaves but Terrance Smith returns and we have some great infusion of athleticism coming in from Levenberry, Eligwe, Thomas, Northrup etc (not to mention a great FR class) They are not as proven/consistent as Telvin and C. Jones, but they could be just as good. The DT in front of them might hurt them more than their actual capability.
CB - Slight downgrade - Joyner leaves - As excited as I am for Williams, Darby and how good I think they are, losing a potential All American hurts a lot, especially his leadership. Who replaces him? Andrews? Ramsey?
Safety - Same - Brooks leaves - Really depends on how all the DBs change positions but Hunter comes back, and Ramsey is a stud. We essentially replace Brooks with Hunter, but we give Ramsey another year of development. K. Smith, Blake etc all get a year development as well
Defense overall - slight downgrade. I downgrade us a bit due to losing so much in the middle of the DL. I am a big "trenches win games" believer, so I think those losses will be tough to overcome - combined with losing 2 more LB and 2 more DB. That being said, if a DT or 2 step up, then this defense can be special because, I think, the biggest thing going in our favor next year will be that this will be the 2nd year in the system, which cant be understated. Personnel is a downgrade, but knowledge of the system is an upgrade which will keep this defense yielding similar results (of course based on health).
Thoughts? I wanted to open up a healthy debate