FSU in the NFL Draft: Pro Teams To Draft the Most/Fewest ‘Noles


“FSU in the NFL Draft: Pro Teams To Draft the Most/Fewest ‘Noles” takes a look at the NFL teams that have selected the most — and the fewest — Florida State players since the Seminoles’ first player was drafted in 1951 (along with totals from every pro club).

With the commencement of the 2015 NFL Draft Thursday night, a number of players who have called FSU and Tallahassee home for years are on the precipice of relocating across the country. But over the years, to where have Florida State players caught a flight most frequently? And which franchises have passed on ‘Noles most often? 

The list of NFL teams to have drafted the most ‘Noles naturally includes some storied programs, as they’ve been around since FSU initiated its football program and began seeing players drafted. The first ‘Nole selected was Milan Sellers, who was picked by the Cleveland Browns in 1951. The Browns actually chose the first four Florida State players ever drafted, with two more in 1951 (Wayne Benner and Bill Driver) and another, Roy Thompson, in 1952. The jump Cleveland got on the rest of the then 12-team league has them still atop the list of the most FSU players drafted by any NFL team, with a grand total of 13, although the Browns have not taken a ‘Nole since Kamerion Wimbley in 2006.

Next on the list are perhaps the two most historically dominant franchises in pro football history, beginning with the Green Bay Packers, who have drafted 12 Seminoles. The Packers have won the most titles in league history, with 13 (9 NFL championships and four Super Bowls). Some FSU greats have taken the field for Green Bay, including Terrell Buckley in 1992 and LeRoy Butler in 1990. Butler contributed a mainstay to Packers culture, as he’s largely cited as inventing the iconic Lameau Leap. The most recent Florida State player picked by Green Bay? Andrew Datko, in 2012.

Right behind the Packers are the owners of the most Super Bowl titles (6), the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have selected 11 ‘Noles in the draft. FSU’s Vince Williams headed to the Steel City in 2013, and Lawrence Timmons was a first-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2007, while the Steelers also selected Willie Reid in 2006 and Bryant McFadden in 2005.

Tied with Pittsburgh with 11 FSU draft picks are the Minnesota Vikings, the most recent of which include Xavier Rhodes and Everett Dawkins in 2013, Christian Ponder in 2011, and Letroy Guion in 2008.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are each one behind Pittsburgh in two categories: Super Bowl wins (5), and Florida State players drafted (10). The Cowboys took Pat Watkins in 2006 and Mario Edwards in 2000, while the Niners called the names of Cornellius “Tank” Carradine and Nick Moody in 2013. The Oakland Raiders also have selected 10 ‘Noles in the draft, the most recent being Menelik Watson, as have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including Warrick Dunn in 1997 and Derrick Brooks in 1995; but that number should be 11 come tomorrow night.

But FSU is not as well represented with some other teams, and, naturally, the less years a team has been around, the less chances they’ve had to pick players from Florida State, or any other school, for that matter. So, it’s not really surprising that the Houston Texans, who have only existed since 2002, have only selected a pair of ‘Noles, Travis Johnson in 2005 and Milford Brown in the 2002 supplemental draft. The Carolina Panther were established in 1995, and have drafted Kelvin Benjamin last year, Everette Brown (2009), and Chris Weinke (2001).

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The Baltimore Ravens have been around since 1996, and they’ve only taken three FSU products as well, two of which came last year when they nabbed Timmy Jernigan and Terrence Brooks. In 1997, the Ravens landed Peter Boulware with the draft’s fourth pick.

Similarly, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been around since 1995, and have taken four ‘Noles: Tevin Smith in 2014, Mike Harris in 2012, Greg Jones in 2004, and Larry Smith in 1999.

Also with just four Seminoles drafted is a team with a much more substantial tenure, though, the Denver Broncos. Only Jerry Johnson (2000), Reggie Johnson (1991), Eric Riley (1985), and Ken Lanier (1981) have been drafted to the Mile High City.

Here is a full list of NFL franchises and the number of Seminoles each one has drafted, in descending order:

  1. Cleveland Browns: 13
  2. Green Bay Packers: 12
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings: 11
  4. Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers: 10
  5. New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts: 9
  6. Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons: 8
  7. Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers: 7
  8. Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs: 6
  9. New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans: 5
  10. Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos: 4
  11. Baltimore Ravens: 3
  12. Houston Texans: 2