Which Florida State Seminoles will make the best NFL players?

Streeter Lecka

With the 2014 college football season right around the corner, Florida State fans have just one last year to watch a handful of their favorite players. But which current FSU player will make the best pro? Let's rank a top ten.

There hasn't been and won't be much debate over the fact that the 2015 NFL Draft will be littered with Florida State talent, and it'll likely take two hands to count the number of first-rounders. But which of FSU's 2014 "starters" will make the best NFL player?

Most people would assume -- and rightfully so -- that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, would be the obvious answer, and they wouldn't be scolded for believing so.

Barring anything completely unexpected, Winston is on his way to being one of the first five picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he's worthy of such a pick. But that doesn't mean he'll yield the most impressive career or be the most feared in the league. Hell, if history proves anything, that doesn't even guarantee he'll garner an impressive career at all, as only two Heisman winning quarterbacks, Roger Staubach and Jim Plunkett, have gone on to win a Super Bowl.

However, a Super Bowl victory doesn't fully define a player's NFL career, as Dan Marino fans would have you believe.

Winston, though, will probably be drafted by a team in desperate need of a quarterback, making his climb to NFL glory just a tad steeper than others. Not to mention how tough it is to keep your starting job as a quarterback in the NFL.

So, who will make the best NFL player? And for arguments sake, let's just consider players who will recieve lots of playing time during the upcoming season.

Consider these options...

10.) Roberto Aguayo - K

One could argue that Roberto Aguayo belongs higher on this list, seeing that the three longest careers in NFL history were all kickers. But the "feared" aspect bumps him down on this list because kickers just aren't all that feared in the NFL -- even the better ones. That is, unless you're in a chugging competition with Sebastian Janikowski.

Aguayo returns to the Florida State Seminoles as the reigning Groza Award winner and sets up for a repeat performance in 2014. Thanks to Florida State's stingy defense, the pressure was off for Aguayo, as he outscored eight of FSU's 2013 opponents by himself. And with Florida State's high-powered offense, he had 94 PAT attempts and converted all of them.

His accuracy and consistency will earn him a draft spot once his time at Florida State is up and he'll succeed at the next level, but Jimbo Fisher and his 'Noles will be happy to have him around for a couple more years before that happens.


9.) Cameron Erving - OT

Cam Erving, the former defensive tackle, has taken the opportunity to play offensive tackle and run with it ever since Jimbo Fisher recommended he switch positions and is now approaching first-round draft status.

Erving is a very athletic 6'6, 300+ pound offensive tackle with quick feet and nice hands. He has proven through the position change that he's willing to put in the necessary work to excel on the field, and this won't go unnoticed by NFL ownership. And he'll possibly go through another less drastic position change at the next level, switching from the left to the right side of the line.

The combination of Erving's athletic ability and work ethic will allow him to be a good pro.


8.) Karlos Williams - RB

For starters, Karlos Williams is an absolute physical freak. And if he were entering the NBA Draft he'd be a first-rounder on athletic ability alone, but he's not, so I don't project him going in the first round. However, he won't be dropping very far because of things like this..


NFL teams just aren't spending first-round money on running backs these days (last running backs selected in the first round were Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and David Wilson in 2012), and especially a running back in Karlos Williams that is still fine-tuning his position's intricacies.

But he can be good, damn good, once he masters the position.

And that's why he makes the list in the eighth spot. Williams has the size, speed and agility to be a force at the next level. With his unique set of abilities, he's a guy that can be used in a number of ways, creating more value for himself as a professional.

Don't brush off the possibility that he finds himself a little higher on this list once it's all said and done.

7.) Ronald Darby - CB

Ronald Darby is half of the best corner back tandem in the country headed into the 2014 college football season, and he's projected to be a first-rounder by many who follow the draft.

Darby has incredible closing speed and covers his receivers as good as anybody in college football, and his ball skills make it dangerous for any quarterback to throw his direction. He's an impressive athlete, and that's just what NFL organizations want at the corner position.

While Darby possesses all of these desired attributes, the reason he doesn't land higher on this list is because of the sheer number of talented corner backs in the NFL. It's tough for corners to stand out unless they are absolutely elite. And while he is an elite player in college football, the question is whether Darby can avoid the injury bug that has kept him from playing at 100% during his time at FSU.

6.) Tre' Jackson - G

There has never been much doubt about Tre' Jackson's outlook as an NFL offensive lineman, and he now projects as a first round draft pick by many.

Jackson is sound at the guard position and very athletic for his size. All of the 6'4, 339 pound Jackson is used to provide great pass protection, while also creating lanes down field in the run game. The fairly quiet, very intelligent Jackson is also surprisingly nasty in the trenches making it hard on any defender facing him.

Once he makes his way into the NFL, Jackson will definitely make some quarterback very happy. His technique, strength and consistency will allow for a nice career at the next level.

5.) Rashad Greene - WR

Some question whether Rashad Greene is a first round receiver -- mainly because of his size, but there's no denying his production, consistency and leadership.

Greene is nothing short of clutch, as he proved during the BCS National Championship against Auburn, and that can't be undersold. But the consistency is why he finds himself in the fifth spot.

Greene runs terrific routes and has deceptive speed, even for a guy that is known for being fast. And his hands are tremendous, catching just about everything that is thrown his way. Key for the NFL, he also has great footwork off the line, allowing the 6'0 receiver to beat press coverage.

Look for Greene to find his way into the first round after another great season at FSU, and expect continued success in the NFL.

4.) Mario Edwards Jr. - DE

Not much needs to be said about the former 5*, no.1 player in the country coming out of high school.


Mario Edwards Jr. is also a physical freak (are you starting to see the trend?) and will undoubtedly be a first round pick, which is understandable after watching something like the video above. Sal Sunseri, a long-time football coach who has coached in the NFL and now spends his time around guys like Edwards Jr., was still blown away by this moment.

"There's only one other guy I've ever seen that could do stuff like that and that was Julius Peppers." ~ Sunseri

Such high praise is nothing new for Edwards Jr. He is extremely big, very strong, and beyond athletic for his size. He can bull rush or take the edge, and he can definitely finish. A guy this big and powerful shouldn't be this agile. He's a no-brainer at the next level, and the only reason he doesn't find himself higher on the list is because of his position.

Longevity is a difficult game at the next level, especially for positions dealing with constant combat. That being said, Edwards Jr. will be an exciting pro.

3.) Jameis Winston - QB

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is set for another big year at Florida State and is projected to be one of the top picks in next year's NFL Draft.

Winston was devastatingly accurate while leading the Seminoles to their third National Championship, also possessing the confidence and charisma it took to "rally the troops."

Having dealt with some off-field issues, Winston definitely needs to avoid any further distractions and fall into the leadership role on and off the field. And while some believe these issues will lower his draft stock, I don't quite see it that way.

On the field, Winston was mature beyond his years. Calm, cool and collected, even as a freshman, Winston went on to take college football by storm, winning the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship as a redshirt freshman. He's big, accurate, an effortless leader and crafty on the field.

Winston has everything it takes to be successful at the next level.

2.) P.J. Williams - CB

P.J. Williams is a very physical corner back, bullying receivers off the line and then sticking them down field. While Williams is physically gifted, he has worked his tail off to get to the position he's in.

Williams is projected as yet another first-rounder heading into next year's draft and deservedly so. NFL teams need corners that can press cover and create havoc off the line against some of these monster receivers, and that's P.J. He has always been the corner that wanted to challenge a guy like Kelvin Benjamin, getting the best of him more than not.

On top of his abilities, Williams has settled into a role as a leader on the FSU defense, and he's been seen coaching up some of the other DBs, young and old. He's looked up to in that secondary for a reason, and you saw that reason during the National Championship when he pulled down a key interception against the Tigers.

Williams will be a really good player at the next level.

1.) Jalen Ramsey - DB

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but it shouldn't shock you. This kid is a STUD.

As a true freshman, Ramsey secured a corner back spot for the first three games of the season -- spots now held by two first round projections -- and only moved back to safety after Tyler Hunter went down with an injury. And he shined there, too.

Ramsey is long, athletic and extremely instinctual for a player that young. Oh, and he loves to hit..

FSU S Jalen Ramsey True Freshman Season Highlights (via RayFoye Combo)


He's also a hybrid player at the next level and will be considered at safety and corner back, creating more opportunities for him as a professional. At times, Ramsey reminds me of a young Sean Taylor, eager to dish out pain and let his presence be known. His cover skills are nothing to overlook either; the kid can flat out play.

But the most pleasantly surprising attribute for any FSU fan and any NFL owner looking in, is his ability to lead. He is naturally vocal on the field, challenging his teammates to get better during practice (didn't hurt watching Telvin Smith for a year either).

He is the complete package and will eventually make some NFL team very happy, but not yet.

Your turn

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