FSU draft roundup: Fewer picks than 2013, but starting potential exists
MAY 10, 2014 9:21p ET
Florida State's 2014 draft class was seven, far fewer than the 11 from last year.
But of the Seminoles that were chosen, most have a very good chance to start as rookies and could provide immediate dividends.
Kelvin Benjamin landed with Carolina, which was in desperate need of a No. 1 receiver. Benjamin is very much a work in progress but has tremendous upside.
The Rams drafted Lamarcus Joyner and think he could be their nickel corner to open the season. The Ravens like safety Terrence Brooks and feel confident that he could start, too. And Baltimore picked up defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, once thought to be a mid-first-round pick, at No. 48. Jernigan, too, could see plenty of playing time.
Linebacker/defensive end Christian Jones, tailback James Wilder Jr., wide receiver Kenny Shaw and fullback Chad Abram went undrafted and will now have the chance to sign free-agent deals.
Here's a look at Florida State's 2014 draft class:
Round 1, 28th overall pick
Analysis: At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Benjamin is a tough one-on-one matchup. While not possessing elite speed, he's quick and physical enough to grab passes in tight coverage. Benjamin has improved dramatically at going up for passes, something that will make him very tough to defend in the red zone. He had 15 touchdowns in 2013. His biggest weakness may be his route-running. Carolina needs receiving help after opting not to sign All-Pro Steve Smith in March, so Benjamin could be the Panthers' No. 1 receiver.
Quoting: "You can't coach 6'5, 240 pounds, with a 34-inch arm length and 10-inch hands," Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said. "You can't coach that. This guy has unusual ball skills. He has what we call a very big strike zone. One of the things that I have done with the scouts is 'does he make catches when he is pressured?' You are going to be pressured in this league, I don't care who you are. That was a big point of emphasis as we worked our way down through the list. Kelvin consistently made catches when he was pressured."
St. Louis Rams
Round 2, 41st overall pick
Analysis: Joyner has the versatility to play corner or safety. Joyner is just 5-foot-8 but he's a ferocious hitter and instinctual player. A unanimous All-American as a senior, Joyner had 69 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions after weighing his decision of whether to return for his senior year. It turned out to be a good move. The Rams feel good about Joyner as a nickel corner who can make an impact right away.
Quoting: "He's just an outstanding player," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He plays all over their defense. He plays outside, he plays in the slot, he plays high, he blitzes, so he's a plug-in Day 1 nickel back. He's very, very aggressive, tackles well. He's got average ball skills. We'll work on that."
Round 2, 48th overall pick
Analysis: A physical presence on the interior of the line, Jernigan is a consistent run stopper. He isn't going to provide many sacks but is able to collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback. Jernigan was flagged for a failed drug test in February at the NFL Combine. He insisted on Friday that it was a diluted sample and that he was cramping after dropping weight in advance of the draft (15 pounds).
Quoting: "When we stacked our list this afternoon, he had to be the second guy that we put on the list as we re-stacked it," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "As we started to watch the draft unfold, we started to feel good that we might have a chance to get him."
Round 3, 79th overall pick
Analysis: Brooks played corner early in his career and then moved to safety. He has often played up on the line of scrimmage and closes quickly on runners. But he's also able to lean on his cornerback skills and drop into coverage. His versatility could make him a starter immediately.
Quoting: "Quite honestly, he was a guy we hoped would be there in the third round," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We had him targeted and we're excited to get him."
Round 4, 103rd overall pick
Analysis: Freeman may be just 5-foot-8, but he's not a guy who wants to just bounce off tackle and find open space. He's a bruising runner who gains plenty of yards after contact. Freeman ran for 1,016 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry as a junior. And that was with him splitting carries with James Wilder Jr. and Karlos Williams in 2013.
Quoting: "This kid for his size is incredibly physical," NFL network analyst Mike Mayock said. "There's not a much tread on his tires."
New England Patriots
Round 4, 105th overall pick
Analysis: Stork has played just about everywhere at Florida State, from both guard spots to tackle to center. While an unlikely tackle, he's a good fit at guard or center but has the versatility to help anywhere if the Patriots have an injury. Stork is excellent in pass protection but needs to improve as a run blocker.
Quoting: "I'm a fan of the Patriots offensive line," Stork said. "I watch a lot of ball and (offensive line) Coach (Rick) Trickett at Florida State showed us a lot of film on them. It's kind of ironic that I ended up here but I'm very happy and very proud."
Round 5, 144th overall pick
Analysis: Smith started just his senior year but led the team with 90 tackles. Smith is a little undersized as a 218-pound linebacker but he's trying to bulk up. He uses his speed and instincts to be effective in defending the run. He also had three interceptions. Smith is a vocal leader and joins FSU alumni Geno Hayes and Dekoda Watson in the Jaguars' linebacker corps.
Quoting: "Obviously it was some kind of tight bond that was built," Smith said of his relationship with Jaguars coaches on the South squad of the Senior Bowl. "When they came in, they came in with energy and that passion for the game. The first time they came in Coach Gus talked to us, and working with coach Bob (Babich) and the linebacker drills and all that. They've got an understanding for the type of player I was and what I expect from myself and from other people around me and that's just to go hard every time and to bring the juice."