Seminole nation: Florida State sees 11 players selected in draft
The NFL Draft began with former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston being taken as the No. 1 overall pick.
And 45 hours later, the Seminoles had 11 players selected — essentially a starting offense or defense — in the NFL Draft. Florida State’s 11 picks was the most from any college program in 2015.
Florida State had a player from every position on offense selected, including Winston, tailback Karlos Williams, receiver Rashad Greene, tight end Nick O’Leary and offensive linemen Cameron Erving, Tre’ Jackson and Bobby Hart.
"For FSU to be able to get the modern three-year record, it’s a testament to our assistant coaches and our support staff, and our ability to develop players," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "But most importantly it’s a testament to the work these players have put in."
When the New York Giants took Hart in the seventh round, Florida State had tied its school record with 11 picks (which was set in the 2013 draft). It also gave the program 29 picks in a three-year period, breaking the modern draft era record of 28 that was set by Miami (2002-04) and matched by Southern California (2008-10).
Here’s a look at Florida State’s 11 draft picks and what they offer the NFL:
Quarterback Jameis Winston (first round, first overall, Buccaneers)
Winston was one of the best quarterbacks Florida State has ever had, up there with two Heisman winners (Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke). Now the Bucs must hope that he will stop a difficult stretch where the franchise has started nine different quarterbacks since 2005.
Offensive lineman Cameron Erving (first round, 19th overall, Browns)
Erving’s decision to leave behind defensive tackle was a smart — and lucrative — one. He started his sophomore season at left tackle and made 37 starts. Then he finished with five starts at center. Erving’s great value is that he can play almost any offensive line position, which is a huge bonus for the Browns both in 2015 and beyond.
Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (second round, 35th overall, Raiders)
Florida State lost defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri in the offseason to the Oakland Raiders, where he became an assistant coach on Jack Del Rio’s staff. Sunseri helped give the Oakland organization an inside look into Edwards’ value. He is strong against the run and can develop into a better pass rusher now that he is down to 280 pounds.
Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (second round, 39th overall, Bears)
Goldman’s pick was announced in Chicago by none other than legendary Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, who told the crowd, "I like this pick." Goldman had 35 tackles and four sacks in 2014 and is able to stop the run and collapse the pocket.
Cornerback Ronald Darby (second round, 50th overall, Bills)
The pipeline from Tallahassee-to-Buffalo had been flowing with players like quarterback EJ Manuel and linebacker Nigel Bradham going to the Bills in the past few years. But it also continued with three picks in the 2015 draft, beginning with Darby. He was the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. As a junior last season, he started 14 games and had a career-high 43 tackles with four pass break-ups and forced a fumble.
Cornerback P.J. Williams (third round, 78th overall, Saints)
One of the big pre-draft questions was how far Williams would drop after a DUI charge on April 3 in Tallahassee. The charge was dismissed in the last week, and a corner who was once projected as a first-round pick ended up going in the third round to New Orleans. Williams played in 40 games, making 24 starts, in three seasons. He had 74 tackles and broke up 10 passes in 2014.
Guard Tre’ Jackson (fourth round, 111th overall pick, Patriots)
Tre’ Jackson was a unanimous All-American guard in 2014 and averaged an 87.1 percent grade. While often overshadowed by Erving, Jackson consistently graded higher. Jackson was the MVP of the South team at the Senior Bowl and made an impression on New England, where he will line up alongside former Florida State center Bryan Stork for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Receiver Rashad Greene (fifth round, 139th overall pick, Jaguars)
Jacksonville has been missing consistent production at receiver, and that is one thing that Greene will offer. He has been Florida State’s top receiver the past three seasons, increasing his totals with every year. Greene left Florida State as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (270) and receiving yards (3,830). He also had 29 touchdown receptions.
Running back Karlos Williams (fifth round, 155th overall, Bills)
Williams is 6-foot and 230 pounds and was a high-school track standout. While he’s not a natural running back, he has 22 touchdowns the last two seasons, good hands out of the backfield and has played on kick returns and kick coverage units at Florida State. He presents good value to the Bills, who can use him in a number of different ways — from third-down and goal-line situations to special teams.
Tight end Nick O’Leary (sixth round, 194th overall, Bills)
EJ Manuel can re-connect with a former Florida State tight end when O’Leary arrives. The Mackey Award winner left Florida State with the most catches (114), receiving yards (1,591) and touchdowns (17) of any tight end in Florida State history. His totals for catches and receiving yards increased with each season, capped by a career year in 2014 of 48 receptions for 618 yards and six touchdowns.
Guard Bobby Hart (seventh round, 226th overall, Giants)
A right tackle nearly his entire career, Hart has shifted to guard and has drawn impressive reviews from NFL teams who have evaluated him at his new position since the East-West Shrine Game in January. Hart had 37 career college starts and finished his career strong with an 84 percent grade in his last four games at Florida State. He doesn’t turn 21 until August, so Hart still has plenty of time to learn and grow for the Giants.