Florida State’s thrashing of the Clemson Tigers forced many on the national scene to finally take notice and admit that the Seminoles are for real when it comes to NCAA title aspirations. This club is loaded with explosive talent on both sides of the ball and their ability to go on the road and thoroughly man handle the third ranked team in the country was beyond impressive, it was downright scary for Crimson Tide fans.
NFL scouts have already been through Tallahassee on numerous occasions this year, but FSU’s convincing win will force many to circle back to ensure they’ve got ALL the pieces to their final evaluations in place. Right or wrong these big time blowouts of top opponents become featured front and center evidence for NFL decision makers when putting together their draft boards.
Taber Small of NationalUnderclassmen.com and the guys at DraftBreakdown.com have been all over the top Seminole prospects since the start of the season. Here’s a little of their work to date.
The Football Educator
NFL Prospects – Florida State
Tim Jernigan, DT, 6-2 295 lbs.:
Jernigan is a quick, strong and explosive defensive lineman who plays the NG position in Florida State’s fast defense. He does a great job of staying low and plays with good pad level. He is also very active with his hands and uses rip moves to get off blocks because of his short arms. Jernigan has impressive quickness and change of direction for a big man. He displayed his brute strength this past weekend against Clemson by getting constant push and pressure in the pocket as he recorded a sack of Clemson QB Tajh Boyd late in the game. NFL scouts likes his physicality to fight through double teams but would also like to see him make more plays around the ball and in the backfield. Jernigan has all the tools to be a dominant defender as a three technique in a NFL 4-3 defense. He has a good chance of being selected in the first two rounds.
Cameron Erving, OT, 6-6 320 lbs.:
Erving is a tall, athletic lineman with great size, length and agility. He was impressive in his matchup on Saturday against Clemson DE Vic Beasley who was leading the nation in sacks. Erving successfully slowed down the pass rush of Beasley and was in control on most pass pro plays. He slides back quickly in pass protection and efficiently takes away the outside speed rush. He also keeps a nice wide base and sits in pass pro making it difficult for defenders to beat him on the inside or outside pass rush. He uses sound technique and hand placement in pass protection, which easily allows him to mirror rushers in pursuit. Scouts love his athleticism and ability to run down field on screens and stretch plays. Erving needs to improve his strength and become stronger at the point of attack, especially in the run game. He needs to learn how to keep his hands inside. Beasley got underneath Erving on multiple run plays and drove him back into the backfield. Erving has the skill set to be a starting left tackle in the NFL if he continues to develop and get stronger. He is a first round talent and could end up being selected within the top 30 picks with a strong finish to the season.
Christian Jones, OLB, 6-4 235 lbs.:
Jones is a hybrid athlete and versatile defender who’s been a perfect fit in Florida State’s multiple scheme defense. They moved him all over the field against Clemson mostly lining up in their outside linebacker position. He is the team’s best pass rusher. This athlete is extremely fast and a physical player that can make plays anywhere on the field. Jones showcased his big playmaking ability against Clemson pacing the Noles defense with eight tackles, two TFL’s and a sack. His athleticism, versatility and ability to play in space make him a very interesting outside linebacker prospect that NFL teams should covet. Scouts love his motor and his ability to drop back in coverage. Jones is projected as a standup outside linebacker prospect in a 3-4 NFL defense and his stock will continue to rise as we get closer to the end of the season.