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Florida State 2018 NFL Draft prospect preview

A look at the 2018 Florida State Seminoles draft prospects.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Florida State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State put together a 10-win season behind redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, and may have won 12 if not for a long, last-second field goal from North Carolina, and the late-game heroics of Deshaun Watson. Francois is back as the starter, and the Seminoles boast three potential early-first round picks on defense. FSU enters the fall as the ACC favorites, and a playoff contender. Here’s a look at their best 2018 NFL Draft prospects…

KEY

⭐️= potential elite prospect (size/athleticism/production)
↑= potential riser
↓= potential faller/overrated
$ = major positive
⚠️= caution
+ = injury risk
# = off-field

PB = SPARQ power ball toss score (high school)
VJ = Vertical Jump (high school)
40 = 40 (high school)
SS = short shuttle (high school)

Deondre Francois QB 6'2" 205 rSO

  • DOB: 2/12/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year

Career: 13 starts 58.8% COMP% 8.4 YPA 20 TD 7 INT 5 rush TD

2016: 235/400 (58.8%) 3350 YDS 20 TD 7 INT passing, 198 YDS 1.8 AVG 5 TD rushing

Note: Redshirt sophomore quarterbacks declaring for the NFL Draft used to be rare birds, but in recent years we have seen Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston and DeShone Kizer all trade in two seasons of college eligibility for pro paychecks. Francois took a lot of big hits last year, so I could see him deciding enough is enough if he is able to build off of his success last year.

Derwin James S 6’3” 211 rSO* +⭐️

  • DOB: 8/3/96
  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • Missed the final 11 games of the 2016 season with a left knee meniscus injury⚠️
  • PB: 40.0
  • VJ: 36.9”
  • 40: 4.52
  • SS: 4.27

Career: 15 games 61 solo TKL 9.5 TFL 4.5 SCK 2 FF 1 INT 4 PBU

2016: 11 TKL (9 solo) 1 INT

Note: James posted impressive athletic metrics as a high schooler, and was a menace on the field as a freshman. He is reportedly fully recovered from last season’s knee injury, and if he remains healthy he has the look of one of the premiere prospects in college football.

Trey Marshall S 6’ 210 SR +

  • DOB: 2/13/96
  • Missed the final seven games of 2015 with a biceps injury, and suffered a ruptured stomach in high school⚠️
  • PB: 41.0
  • VJ: 35.9”
  • 40: 4.53
  • SS: 4.09

Career: 29 games 60 solo TKL 4.5 TFL 1 SCK 5 PBU

2016: 58 TKL (40 solo) 2 TFL 2 QBH 4 PBU

Tarvarus McFadden CB 6'2" 198 JR +↑

  • DOB: 1/28/97
  • 5-star recruit in 2015

First Team All-American and First Team All-ACC last season, and won the Jack Tatum Award given to the top defensive back in the nation

Missed spring practice after surgery to repair a torn left labrum⚠️

Career: 20 games 20 solo TKL 3 TFL 8 INT 6 PBU

2016: 20 TKL (16 solo) 3 TFL 8 INT 6 PBU $

Note: McFadden tied for the FBS lead in interceptions as a first-year starter, and NFL teams covet corners with his height/arm length combo. McFadden is expected to be healthy for the regular season, and I’m not to concerned about the long term effects of a shoulder injury on an outside cornerback. McFadden is a riser, and if he can run in the high 4.4-to-low 4.5 range, the first round seems likely.

Derrick Nnadi DT 6'1" 312 SR

  • DOB: 5/9/96
  • 4-star recruit in 2014
  • First Team All-ACC in 2016
  • PB: 34.0
  • VJ: 26.2"
  • 40: 5.53⚠️
  • SS: 5.06⚠️

Career: 35 games 52 solo TKL 14 TFL 8 SCK 1 FF 2 PBU

2016: 49 TKL (26 solo) 10.5 TFL 6 SCK 2 QBH 1 FF 1 PBU

Jacob Pugh LB 6'4" 229 SR

  • DOB: 9/22/95
  • 4-star recruit in 2014

Career: 38 games 54 solo TKL 11 TFL 7.5 SCK 1 FF 2 INT 1 PBU

2016: 43 TKL (29 solo) 6 TFL 4.5 SCK 2 QBH 1 FF

Brock Ruble OT 6'8" 319 rJR ↓

  • DOB: 1/7/96
  • 3-star recruit in 2014
  • PB: 38.0
  • VJ: 21.3"⚠️
  • 40: 5.55 ⚠️
  • SS: 4.97

Career: 13 starts at right tackle

Note: Ruble has been playing tackle, but barring major improvement, he’s going to test out like a guard. Then, at his height, he could earn the dreaded “right tackle only” label. I’ve seen Ruble billed as a Day Two prospect, but he’s been a part-time starter in each of his first two seasons, and I have a tough time seeing him living up to that hype.

Josh Sweat DE 6’5” 250 JR* +↑

DOB: 3/29/97

  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • Left ACL injury in high school, and left meniscus tear in September 2016⚠️
  • PB: 47.7 $
  • VJ: 38.3” $
  • 40: 4.46 $
  • SS: 4.40

Career: 25 games 46 solo TKL 16.5 TFL 9 SCK 1 FF 3 PBU 1 INT

2016: 41 TKL (25 solo) 11.5 TFL 7 SCK 6 QBH 1 FF 1 PBU

Note: Sweat should be a star, but that left knee is scary enough to curb my enthusiasm. I’m praying he stays healthy this season, because from a size/speed/athleticism standpoint he’s the total package as a pass rusher.

Auden Tate WR 6'5" 225 JR

  • DOB: 2/3/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • PB: 34.0
  • VJ: 30.8
  • SS: 4.30

Career: 13 games 25 REC 409 YDS 16.4 AVG 6 TD

2016: 25 REC 409 YDS 16.4 AVG 6 TD

Mathew Thomas LB 6’3” 227 rSR +↑

  • DOB: 7/21/95
  • 5-star recruit in 2013
  • Missed most of the 2013 season and all of 2015 with shoulder injuries⚠️
  • VJ: 35.6”
  • 40: 4.59
  • SS: 4.09 $

Career: 26 games 75 solo TKL 15.5 TFL 2 SCK 1 FF 2 PBU

2016: 77 TKL (50 solo) 11.5 TFL 1 SCK 4 QBH 1 FF 2 PBU

Note: Thomas is a playmaker and a speed demon, but shoulders are kind of important for linebackers, considering they must tackle and what not. I guarantee those two lost seasons will be a hot topic when NFL front offices consider Thomas next spring.