(Twilight Zone intro)
Imagine if you could, a not-so-distant world where the only eligible players available in the NFL Draft all come from Florida State….and each one of those players are entering into the draft in the prime of their careers, regardless of era….even though the current team needs for each franchise are all still exactly the same as they are in the year 2020….
Welcome to the 2020 parallel universe NFL Draft, sponsored by Tesla! We’re here to take you pick-by-pick of the premier night in sports, where all 32 NFL teams will fill their rosters with the athletes of Florida State past, present and future (I think?)
Don’t question the logic of it, don’t contemplate what potential catastrophic butterfly effect implications these actions have both in the timelines of this draft and the ones that these players are being yanked out of, don’t wonder why this is happening at all.
Just kick back and enjoy the show.
Despite playing in just 27 games and in an offense arguably more complex than some NFL teams, Winston passed for 65 touchdowns and nearly 8,000 yards, and rushed for another 284 yards and seven touchdowns. His 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2013 set ACC and NCAA FBS freshman records and earned him a consensus All-American nod.
Next on the clock, Washington, who could for sure use some good protection both for young quarterback Dwyane Haskins and on the PR front. Unfortunately, they’re only able to fill one of those needs today, taking offensive tackle Walter Jones
Jones started every game in 1996 protecting the blindside of quarterback Thad Busby and run blocking for Warrick Dunn, and did a dadgum good job of it too, allowing just one sack.
After the 1988 campaign, Sanders was recognized as a unanimous All-American, as the AP, UPI, FWAA, AFCA, The Sporting News, Football News, Walter Camp, and Kodak again named him a first-team choice. Sanders also became FSU’s first winner of the Thorpe Award, given annually to the country’s top DB, and he led the nation with both 503 total punt-return yards and an astounding average of 15.4 yards per attempt.
On the clock are the New York Football Giants. They’re just a big fat stinky hilarious mess, so who works best for them there? Well, everyone!
The pick is in, and they’ve gone and tabbed defensive end Andre Wadsworth. Again, literally anybody could have worked here, so great job New York!
In 1997 — a season in which he would record three sacks in a game three separate times — Andre Wadsworth had 16 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was named a first-team All-American by five organizations making a consensus All-American. He also became one of only seven ACC players to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Overall Player of the Year.
Down in the city where the heat is on, the Miami Dolphins are continuing to search for the answer to the never-ending rebuild. There’s plenty of quarterbacks available, top notch lineman on both sides, and....oh, the Dolphins are going with Warrick Dunn.
His final year in garnet and gold, Dunn would again surpass 1,000 yards rushing, also adding 355 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns.
Over in Los Angeles, the Chargers are looking to replace Phillip Rivers. While Antonio Cromartie could have made sense here as a natural replacement, the P.F. Change enthusiasts instead choose to replace his quarterback talents by picking up Heisman winner Charlie Ward.
A second-team All-American in 1992, the senior signal caller used his devastating dual-threat ability (rare in those days) to become one of the most decorated football players of all time in 1993. In fact, Ward won every single athletic award he was eligible for, including the Heisman, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Johnny Unitas, and Walter Camp awards. His Heisman victory is still the third largest in history.
Back-to-back 1st team All-American nods, consensus in 1991 and unanimous in 1992, 4th place finish in the 1992 Heisman Trophy voting, 236 tackles, 19 for loss, in just 22 games (bowls not included), leading FSU in all three years he played
His senior season, Simon was predictably named a consensus All-American, a 1st teamer by no less than seven different publications. He finished with 193 total tackles, including 44 for a loss, with eleven total sacks and three forced fumbles. The 44 tackles for loss tied the school career record set by the legendary Ron Simmons.
Ramsey was a Swiss Army Knife for the Seminoles, playing at safety his freshman year before inheriting the infamous STAR position on FSU’s defense his sophomore year. When thinking of Ramsey’s versatility, no game stands out quite like his performance against the Hurricanes in 2014. Florida State’s roller coaster season saw them have to dig themselves out of plenty of deficits, and that night in Miami Gardens it was Ramsey’s heroics that saved the Seminoles.
At Florida State he was a three-time first team All-ACC player from 1992-1994. He was a first team sophomore All-American in 1992, and an unanimous All-American in 1993. He finished his collegiate career with 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, five interceptions, 13 pass breakups, two blocked kicks, and three touchdowns.
In 2000, Reynolds senior season, he’d take another step forward, hovering around the same total tackle numbers as his junior year (58), but increasing his sack total to 12 and forcing four fumbles. His single-season sack number of 12 is the ninth most in FSU history, and his 23.5 over his career are No. 5 in the Seminoles’ record books.
After redshirting in 1995 Warrick burst onto the scene in ‘96 with 789 all-purpose yards and four TDs. His 21.2 yards per catch led FSU that year. He followed that up in 1997 with 1279 all-purpose and 9 TDs. In 1998 he was maybe the best player in college football. 1525 all-purpose yards (1232 on 61 catches) and 14 total TDs.
Greene finished his career at Florida State as the school’s all-time leader in both receptions and receiving yards, along with one hell of a highlight reel.
Down in the other Bay Area, Tampa is looking for some help for its most recent longterm snowbird signee, Tom Brady, and the Buccaneers give him the greatest joy he could possibly imagine: a running back exceptionally skilled in catching the ball, Dalvin Cook.
In three seasons, Cook became the Florida State record holder of every single running back statistic except for single-season rushing touchdowns (Cook is No. 2 twice with 19) and single-game rushing yards. His 4,464 career rushing yards, 1,765 single-season (his 1,691 in 2015 is second), 46 career rushing touchdowns and two four single-game touchdown performances all sit in first in FSU’s record books.
In 1997, the AP named him a Second Team All-American member and he was a First Team All-ACC recipient.
Boulware’s nation-leading 19 sacks in ‘96 dusted Ron Simmons’ single-season school record of 12 sacks, set back in 1977. His 34 total career sacks are good for second in school history, just shy of Reinard Wilson’s 35.5. The 19 sacks accounted for over 100 yards lost for opposing offenses.
But sacks wasn’t all Boulware did that year. He also recorded 20 tackles for loss, and 68 total.
The Dallas Cowboys are on deck, and they’re hitting a position of need, choosing Brian Burns to grow up to be a cowboy.
We’re back in Miami, trick, as the Dolphins continue to search for their way back to moderately average success. The man tasked with pulling off the feat under center: quarterback Chris Weinke
Weinke’s 2000 Heisman season culminated in 4,167 passing yards, the most in program history and tops nationally that year, his 266 completions are third, and his 33 TD connections are second.
Las Vegas is back up on the board, and they’re making an investment for the future here, taking a player who will eventually be able to fill up stands by himself (though, not in the way you’d think): defensive back Antonio Cromartie.
Over in DUUUUUUUUVAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL, the Jags are making further moves to bolster up its defense, pairing up Jalen Ramsey with Derwin James.
Quothe the Ravens, for the first time, as they trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and look to add to an already fearsome defense. To give them an edge, they’ve decided to take Ernie Sims with the No. 21 pick. Sims, who said he came to FSU to “kick ass and win rings,” will finally actually get the chance to do the latter after being deprived of the opportunity in Tallahassee.
Sims finished his Seminole career with 200 tackles, 95 of them solo with 21 for a loss and seven sacks, 19 quarterback hurries and 11 passes defensed.
Down in Minnesota, the Vikings have selected defensive back Terrell Buckley to the secondary.
In 1991, he tied school records for touchdowns from interception returns with four, and punt returns, with three. He was named an Unanimous All-American, finished 7th for the Heisman Trophy and was the inaugural winner of the Jack Tatum Trophy for the best collegiate defensive back. Last but not least, Buckley was awarded the preeminent Jim Thorpe Award also given annually to the country’s best defensive back.
New England is up on deck, where the Patriots: have held their cards close to their chest, showing no indicators of where they’ll go. It looks like....no, it can’t be... defensive back Leon Sandcastle? Even in alternate universes, Big Bad Bill will find ways to cut corners.
The New Orleans Saints, stuck with an old man at quarterback, along with Drew Brees, don’t think about this one too long and go ahead and find their quarterback of the future with the selection of Christian Ponder.
The Vikings, with their second pick of the first round, select Derrick Alexander, defensive end, to bathe in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.
After his breakout season in 1993, Alexander was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association, a second-teamer per the UPI, and a third-teamer according to the AP. He was also a sophomore All-America selection by Football News, in addition to being a first-team All-ACC pick
Third time’s the charm, and the Dolphins are back on the clock. There’s no better place to place building blocks for the future than the offensive line, and so Miami is selecting Alex Barron, tackle.
Over in the land of rain, we’ve got Seattle, who’ll be looking to bolster its defensive front. To do that, they’re bringing in the services of Kamerion Wimbley, an All-American rusher during his time at Florida State.
Philadelphia is up next after trading down, and we’ve heard flocks of fans clamoring for a receiver. It’s looking like to fill up that position of need, they’re bringing in pass catcher Ron Sellers. Jingle Joints, one of the most prolific receivers in FSU history, should set up to do well in Doug Pederson’s offense.
In 1968, his senior season, Sellers again earned All-American honors and again led the nation in receiving yards, this time with 1496. One of his more impressive performances came against Wake Forest, when he put up 260 yards, five touchdowns and fourteen receptions
Let’s head over to Nashville, where the Titans are set to make their selection. It appears that the only ten they see is defensive back Xaiver Rhodes, who in 2013 was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers are looking for some help for Aaron Rodgers, which is something they always make sure they do in the draft!
The result: E.G. Green, one of the most prolific receivers to ever don the Garnet and Gold.
Green still remains near the top of many career FSU receiving records, ranking 4th in career yards and tied for second in career TD receptions—and he would be in sole possession of second if his bowl game stats counted.
The 49ers could use some help in the safety department, and so to bolster up their guard lines, they’re bringing in one of the greats: safety LeRoy Butler.
Butler would cap his senior season in Tempe, Arizona with yet another interception, as Florida State destroyed number six Nebraska 41-17 in the Fiesta Bowl. His seven interceptions (eight including the Fiesta Bowl) still rank 5th all time for a single season in FSU history and, along with 94 tackles and nine more pass break-ups, would earn him consensus first-team All-American status.
And....closing out the first round of the 2020 Alternate Universe Florida State Only NFL Draft, the New York Giants swap picks with the Kansas City Chiefs and trade up, taking Brodrick Bunkley, defensive tackle from….Florida State.
He punctuated his Seminole career with a 2005 for the ages, when he posted more tackles for loss than any other ‘Nole had in one season, a staggering 25. Nine of those were sacks (tied for the 17th best season at FSU). That production earned him a first-team All-American selection from the FWAA, a second-team honor from The Sporting News, and a third-team designation from the AP, as well as a second-team All-ACC pick.