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Roundtable discussion: Whom can FSU football least afford to lose?

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A necessary conversation that you still hate having.

Northern Illinois v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Okay, it appears that you can exhale. After noticing that defensive tackle Marvin Wilson wasn’t practicing for FSU after getting banged up on Friday, a photo surfaced of him using a crutch around the football facilities.

But head coach Willie Taggart allayed Seminoles’ concerns shortly thereafter, stating that Wilson just tweaked his knee a bit, and that he’d be fine, as FSU was just being cautious.

And of course, leading receiver Tamorrion Terry is already out with a minor injury. Events like these pose an interesting question: whom can the Seminoles least afford to lose this season? We thought we’d break it up into offense and defense, and thoughts from our contributors are included below. Feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments section (like you wouldn’t anyway).

Offense

Juan Montalvo III: Whoever is your best offensive linemen. The WAR differentials are significant here. A distant but clear second pick for me is your best RB, be that Khalan Laborn or Cam Akers. Grant is a nice player, but there just isn’t much depth at the position.

Evan Johnson: I use my real name because I’m an adult unlike this loser below me. BOOM! DRAMA! I think James Blackman is largely irreplaceable. I do not think he’s a great quarterback by any means, but it’s not like FSU has a great one on the roster right now. I think Jordan Travis could do just as well as Blackman, but Blackman has not only an extra year of football under his belt but also an extra year in FSU’s offense. Alex Hornibrook struggled mightily at Wisconsin, and he wasn’t asked to do much, so I don’t expect too much from him. After Blackman there are only questions, and that’s the last thing you want at the quarterback position.

Oline0175: Ryan Roberts: Only semi-proven commodity at offensive tackle. Check. You get the picture quickly, as Roberts is a significant piece for the Seminoles’ offensive line.

David Visser: The Roberts pick is a wise one. It’s not WR, where the ’Noles are deepest on offense, and while I thought about going with Blackman at QB1, I think Travis could be alright, now that we know he’s eligible.

As far as other options on the OL go, I just don’t know if I can buy into (the again injured) Cole Minshew anymore. But I briefly considered freshman Dontae Lucas. Unlike so many of the FSU offensive linemen, his ceiling extends far higher than mediocre, and this program really needs him to realize his potential sooner rather than later.

Jon Marchant: I will go with Lucas. I mean, yeah, FSU can't afford to lose Roberts. Or anyone on the OL really. Especially at tackle. But Lucas, even as a true freshman, has already made his mark on this team. He's a natural leader, and his talent is undeniable. He's taken over that unit, and seems destined for a starting role this season, sooner or later. The OL's ceiling is higher because of him. If Lucas were to go down it would be a big blow in more ways than one.

NoleThruandThru: I’ll stick with the OL theme but will say Baveon Johnson. It sounds like he is finally hitting his stride and snapping well consistently. I’d hate to see him lose any time now that he appears ready to live up to his blue-chip ranking, and I’m not sure what kind of chemistry Blackman has with whomever is the second-string center.

Defense

Juan Montalvo III: It’s the guy that’s got us nervous: Big Marv. Dude is indispensible. Anyone who creates that much havoc in the middle changes the game. And depth behind him is not great. The disruption up front overshadows any linebacker play.

Evan Johnson: I’ll go with Dontavious Jackson here. Having some senior leadership in the middle of that defense is a huge boon for FSU. If Jackson goes down you pretty much just have freshmen. Those freshmen seem to be talented, but how well can they direct the defense from that level? How well could they even know the defense at this point?

Oline0175: As much as I hate to agree with Juan, Wilson is the easy answer. Number two on that list may be Joshua Kaindoh. While we have not seen a lot of Kaindoh to date, he’s one of the most talented edge rushers on the roster. Kaindoh has been dealing with a minor injury in camp but recently returned to practice.

Jon Marchant: Big Marv, Jackson, and Kaindoh are all the right answers. The depth at linebacker isn't proven, and there's not a whole lot of depth at edge rusher after Kaindoh. But if I had to pick one player, it's Wilson. He's the best player on this entire unit. He makes everyone else's job easier. Lose Big Marv for any significant length of time and you have to readjust expectations downward.

NoleThruandThru: Decalon Brooks.

Just kidding. It’s easily Marvin Wilson.

David Visser: While I like the Jackson pick, I’m going with Wilson. Let’s not overthink this— he’s probably the best player on the team, and any havoc he can create up front makes the rest of the defense better.