Dec 1, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Xavier Rhodes (27) celebrates after intercepting the ball with defensive end Bjoern Werner (95) and defensive back Ronald Darby (13) and defensive tackle Anthony McCloud (92) and linebacker Christian Jones (7). The Seminoles defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 21-15 to win the ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Three Noles in First Round of FanSided NFL Mock Draft

In the latest FanSided NFL Mock Draft, three Seminoles were taken in the first round:

12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, CB/Florida State

The Miami Dolphins spent big money on upgrading their offense in free agency, which means the draft will focus on making sure the defense can keep opponents down. Miami needs a boost in the secondary and that’s something Xavier Rhodes can give them, as he’s a big corner who plays physical and can be a Richard Sherman type of player, minus the mouth.

17.  Pittsburgh Steelers – Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State

The Steelers all of a sudden need a wide receiver but if Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin are off the board, Pittsburgh will go back to focusing on rejuvenating an aging offensive line. Werner is a speedy pass rusher who can give the Steelers an edge rushing presence they’ll need moving forward. Werner will fit nicely on the line especially given the fact that the Steelers have shown an interest in moving Ziggy Hood to nose tackle, and for some reason teams like the Steelers always get lucky and have players like Werner fall to them.

28. Denver Broncos – Tank Carradine, DE/Florida State

The kid was a lock for the first-round but suffered a late season ACL tear that threw his NFL future into a tailspin. But according to reports, Carradine’s recovery is ahead of schedule, and advances in medical science have given teams confidence when it comes to leaning on players coming off of ACL injuries. Denver lost Elvis Dumervil and will be looking for a replacement in the draft. If Carradine is indeed ahead of schedule, he’ll be an amazing pick for Denver this late in the first round.  Tremendously insane upside is the proper way to describe Carradine’s status.

Let’s discuss.  As a matter of fit, I think those three Noles would be good fits with each of those teams.

  The Dolphins are in desperate need for a corner, and Xavier Rhodes is arguably the best cornerback in this draft.  He fits the prototype that everyone is looking for–tall, big, fast, and strong.

  Meanwhile, Werner would land in Pittsburgh to play alongside Lawrence Timmons.  That would be a deadly pass rush.  I don’t think Werner falls this far, however.

  The Broncos lost a great pass rusher in Elvis Dumervil.  Welcome Tank Carradine.  Before his injury, he was going to be a top 15 pick.  The talent is still there.  The upside is still there.  He will recover just fine and prove to be a great pro.

Meanwhile, what about the two other Noles that might sneak into the first round?

  Menelik Watson was initially pegged as a first rounder by some.  In a league that’s looking for pass rushers, there’s an equal push to find legitimate left and right tackles.  Watson fits the bill.  Teams will look past his lack of experience and consider just how insanely talented he is.

  EJ Manuel just might sneak into the 1st round.  All it takes is one team and I’m willing to bet he is picked up late in the first round.  There is a premium for quarterbacks-, there always will be a premium for quarterbacks.  EJ has all of the tools and skills needed to be successful.  All it takes is one team to take a shot on him.  You can disregard how FSU fans feel about him–he’ll likely be considered one of the best QBs FSU ever had, especially on paper.  But EJ was a true leader.  People seem to forget how … damaged … the FSU program truly was.  Creating a winning atmosphere takes time and it was EJ that took FSU to that next level.  There’s also one thing you can’t take away from EJ–he is a battler.  Winning four bowl games is a big deal.  He can perform under the lights and makes plays when he needs to make plays.  Forget those past transgressions, EJ will be a first rounder.

Update:  FanSided published an article today on EJ, noting the variability in how EJ is being graded.

Florida State Seminoles signal-caller E.J. Manuel is widely believed to be a third-round prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft, but the buzz among NFL scouts is much greater for the former Florida State star.

According to reports from ESPN’s Todd McShay during an appearance on the Scott Van Pelt & Ryen Russillo show, Manuel has ”a lot of potential” and “a lot of physical tools”, but the problem is he is “good for a couple of big blunders a game.”

On of the big reasons that Manuel is highly thought of in the scouting community is his ability to run the read-option.

No one was a better ambassador for the read-option in the NFL than San Francisco 49ers sensation Colin Kaepernick just a season ago. His versatility and ability to fire a rocket or pull down the ball and run made him a weapon that was hard to defend.

Manuel provides that same threat.

It seems like a bit of a stretch that Manuel could go in the top half of round one, but it appears that the talk indicates it could be possible. Of course, this is the season of smokescreens, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

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