Florida State Football NFL Draft Open Thread: Friday

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

All FSU NFL draft updates can be found in the Pro Noles Hub.

Hey Tomahawk Nation readers, this will be your spot to follow along with the NFL draft Friday night to see if any Florida State players are drafted in the second or third rounds. The whole deal kicks off at 7 EST.

We'll open up the comment thread at 5 EST. Coach Jimbo Fisher will appear live on the NFL Draft Pre-Show at 5:30 p.m. on Friday with host Chris Rose, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, Stanford head coach David Shaw and analyst Charles Davis. From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Fisher will be on NFL.com’s Draft Xtra with hosts Bucky Brooks and Elliot Harrison.

Maybe as many as six Florida State players (but probably not six!) are in contention to be drafted in the second or third rounds. Let's look at each with the help of Brendan Bures' draft preview:

Timmy Jernigan | NT | 6-foot-2 | 298 pounds 

Reported Team Visits: Titans, Cowboys

Let’s start with the failed drug tests in the room: According to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer, Jernigan and former Seminole linebackers Telvin Smith and Christian Jones all failed their drug tests at this year’s NFL combine. There were 10 players total flagged either testing positive for drugs or having a diluted sample. Jernigan reportedly had a diluted sample. 

Jernigan’s buzz was palpable once he declared for the NFL Draft, so much so that ESPN’s Todd McShay had him as the No. 5 prospect overall in an early mock. Now, Jernigan won’t attend the NFL Draft as he had previously intended and is slated for a mid-first round selection, or perhaps falling to the second round.

His aggressive strength, ability to eat gaps and bullrushing technique have kept teams interested, though. Despite having a reaction to medication, Jernigan played his best game in the National Championship, recording nine tackles and disrupting Auburn’s offensive line throughout the game. At 21 years-old, he’s a long-term investment, but can make an impact in the correct scheme right away. A lot of mocks have shown the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys taking a heavy interest in Jernigan. 

Terrence Brooks | S | 5-foot-11 | 200 pounds 

Reported Team Visits: Unknown; Brooks has visited with NFL teams, though

No Seminole has had a better offseason leading up to the draft than Terrence Brooks. He impressed scouts and coaches at the Senior Bowl and had an incredible combine, posting a 4.42 40-yard dash and finishing first in the vertical (38 inches) and broad jump (119 inches) for safeties. Initially pegged as a Round 4 or 5 selection, Brooks has been firmly labeled as a Round 2 selection, thanks to his impressive workouts. He’s an aggressive run-stopper and can be physical with wide receivers, although his hands and history of dropping interceptions need to improve. 

Lamarcus Joyner | DB | 5-foot-8 | 184 pounds

Reported Team Visits: Cowboys

Not many teams have publicized meeting with Joyner privately, at least to our knowledge, and here’s a theory why: Teams are trying to keep Joyner under wraps. Every year, there’s a few guys who teams don’t want to call attention to despite having a heavy interest in them, hoping he “falls” to them or they get him as a “steal.” 

Joyner may be one of the most captivating prospects in this year’s draft—he’s short and small, but has demonstrated playmaking abilities and position versatility that he pops in any game tape and any team could find a fit for him. He’s been compared to other shorter NFL cornerbacks like Antione Winfield and Tyrann Mathieu, a guy whose ferocity and aggressiveness more than makes up for any physical shortcoming. He excels in both the nickel or slot role and can shift back to play safety. 

Joyner overcame a lot to reach this point, which is another boost for his stock. Mockers seem to have no clue where to put him. He ranks No. 34 in CBS Sports Dane Brugler’s Top 100 players while falling to a No. 65 spot in NFL.com Mike Mayock’s Top 100. Grantland’s Bill Barnwell has him as a great second round pick-up for the 49ers and Dolphins, but NFL.com has him projected for Rounds 4-5. In other words, some people love Joyner, but just as many doubt him, a position he’s likely used to by this point in his career. 

Telvin Smith | LB | 6-foot-3 | 218 pounds

Reported Team Visits: Broncos, Saints, Falcons, Buccaneers, Panthers 

The failed drug test aside, all anyone can discuss when it comes to Smith is his size—he’s not big enough and he knows it. Here’s how he described his daily routine to the Tallahassee Democrat: “A normal day is 6:30 waking up, eatin’, workout, eatin’, speed training, eatin’, snack, eatin.’ A lot of eatin’ going on, that’s about it.” 

Some have suggested a move to safety due to his frame, but Smith’s instincts, anticipation and fluid movement to the ball should keep him at linebacker. He’s a leader on and off the field and has good lateral speed. But if he doesn’t bulk up, Smith will be abused by tight ends like Jimmy Graham and a healthy Rob Gronkowski. With Smith, more so than other FSU prospects, his NFL success is contingent upon the correct team drafting him to fit a scheme that best displays his strengths. 

Devonta Freeman | RB | 5-foot-8 | 206 pounds

Reported Team Visits: Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Falcons, Steelers

Freeman has always projected better as an NFL running back than a college running back. He’s a workhorse-type back, can pass-block efficiently, has great hands out of the backfield, and runs “like his hair is on fire,” writes ESPN’s Todd McShay. He may not have breakaway acceleration, which is likely why he’s not considered a first-round pick. Analysts consider Freeman as close to a sure thing a team could draft in the running back position and holds little risk and almost no surprises. 

Christian Jones | LB | 6-foot-3 | 240 pounds

While the failed drug test may knock Jones down a round, he remains an intriguing prospect because of his size and position versatility. Some critics have pointed out that such a nomadic college career presents ceilings for a player’s NFL capabilities, but as a “hybrid” player, Jones could fit with either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, as seen during his time at FSU. While he’s not the most dynamic linebacker prospect, and doesn’t have the ceiling Telvin Smith does, Jones could see a long NFL career as a role player. 

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