FSU football had poor offensive line play for a great deal of 2016, especially in the passing game. Will that unit be a strong suit in 2017?
FSU football ended their 2016 season on a high note and the offensive line was one of those things to highlight. However, that wasn’t the case in the early part of the season.
The ‘Noles offensive line had Deondre Francois picking himself up off the ground way too many times, and Dalvin Cook looked like an ordinary running back through the first three games.
Things began to click for the FSU offense in the South Florida game, and from that point on the offensive line was at least serviceable.
ESPN released their top offensive lines in the ACC for 2017. They hailed Clemson as the best with Georgia Tech taking the runner-up position. However, it was the FSU football offensive line taking on the “potential sleeper” designation:
"Last year’s unit was not great. In fact, when it came to pass blocking, it was downright bad at times, and it’s tough to gauge the run blocking when Dalvin Cook can make anyone look good. But there were signs that this unit could take a big step forward. For one, younger players like Landon Dickerson got experience.Developing linemen like Alec Eberle ad Brock Ruble got better. And a host of depth toiled in the background and should be ready to contribute in 2017. Add to that a unit that showed more push up front as the year progressed and the fact that quarterback Deondre Francois should have a bit more pocket awareness in Year 2 as the starter, and there’s a strong chance last year’s weak link on offense could turn into a strength this season."
One of the immediate things that sticks out is having to replaced Jacob’s Blocking Trophy winner Roderick Johnson who has declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season. Also, Alec Eberle will miss all of spring practice after having hip surgery.
However, that does open up the competition among a fierce and talented group of young players. FSU football brought in the best offensive line group in the country in its 2016 recruiting cycle.
It’ll be interesting to see who emerges from that pack. Players like Baveon Johnson, Jauan Williams, Andrew Boselli and Josh Ball will all be looking to crack the rotation.
The offensive line will have a group of relatively inexperienced running backs to block for as well. So it’s important that this unit starts the season strong instead of waiting three or four games to figure it out.
The first game against Alabama will tell you who’s going to be a player or not real quick.