The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is fully underway, and with it have come a slew of mock drafts speculating as to where yesterday’s college stars could suit up as professionals. As per usual, Florida State will be well represented in the NFL Draft. Last year, FSU had more players drafted (11) than any other school, including the first quarterback selected, E.J. Manuel.
Three Seminoles were drafted in the first round last year, and that could happen again this year. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner have first-round potential, as does receiver Kelvin Benjamin. FanSided’s pre-combine mock draft projects Benjamin to be taken by the Carolina Panthers with the 28th overall selection.
And while Carolina certainly has some need at wideout, I’m not so sure Benjamin will still be on the board. His measurements from the combine: 6′ 5″ tall, 240 pounds, with 10 1/4″ hands and 4% body fat. Yikes. You can’t coach that sort of freakish size– you either have it or you don’t. Factor in #1’s superior body control, and I’m not so sure he falls to the tail-end of the first round.
So who might take him earlier? The aforementioned mock draft has Oakland picking Clemson WR Sammy Watkins at #5, and I agree that Watkins is the first receiver off the board. The projection then calls for Pittsburg to take Texas A&M’s Mike Evans with the 15th choice, Kansas City getting USC’s Marqise Lee at #23, and then KB to the Panthers at #28.
But there’s an interesting wrinkle in there. Those projections have the Detroit Lions going defense and taking Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard. Picking at #10, the Lions are almost certainly going to select either a defensive back or a receiver. They just let safety Louis Delmas and #2 wideout Nate Burleson go, and need a lot of help at both spots. But what if they did take a wideout? One route would be to go with the explosive quicks of Lee, but considering that the Lions already feature the game’s top receiver in Calvin Johnson, what if they doubled down on size? Johnson is 6′ 5″ tall and listed at 236– making Benjamin, in essence, his physical clone. How would teams possibly line up against such size on the outside? Sure, Mike Evans is 6′ 5″ as well, but at 225 pounds, he’s just not as imposing and physically dominant as Benjamin. Megatron already towers over the other team’s biggest cornerback. Could you imagine KB matched up on the short one?!
Florida’s “elite” — but small — DBs were supposed to stifle the ‘Noles aerial assault. How did Benjamin perform there? Nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad.
Benjamin also split catches with Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw, and Nick O’Leary this season, and still registered 54 catches for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns. The point is that he’s used to sharing the workload– exactly what the Lions need someone to come in and do.
We’ll see how all of this plays out when the draft commences on May 8th, but in the meantime, check-in with us for more conjecture as to where NFL-bound ‘Noles could wind up.
Tags: Florida State Seminoles