|John Raoux/Associated Press|
|Florida State's Cameron Erving is among the top tackle prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft.|
Florida State has had 18 players selected in the past two drafts (that's four more than the school had selected in the previous five drafts combined), and NFL scouts are going to flock to Tallahassee again this fall.
Asked a scouting buddy about next year's crop. His answer, "Florida State has a million prospects again."â Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) June 4, 2014
How much talent is there in Tallahassee? Potentially, Florida State, could have as many as six first-rounders in 2015; in addition, five FSU seniors will be in the running to be the best at their positions nationally this season.
Here's a look at that senior quintet plus a quick rundown of FSU's other top draft-eligible players.
OT Cameron Erving
By bypassing the 2014 draft following his junior season, Erving (6-foot-6, 302 pounds) put himself in position to be one of the first two or three tackles off the board in the 2015 draft. This will be just his third season at offensive tackle; he was a touted defensive tackle in high school and played that position at FSU in 2011. Erving has lapses in concentration and technique (which shouldn't be all that surprising, considering his relatively recent position change), but when he is at his best, there might not be a better tackle in the nation.
WR Rashad Greene
He has been FSU's best receiver the past two seasons. Greene (6-0, 178) is not as big as 2014 first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 240) -- and Greene's lack of bulk is worrisome -- but he is far more polished and far more consistent than Benjamin. Greene has 171 receptions in three seasons, and 22 have gone for TDs. He has good hands and runs good routes. He lacks elite speed, but is fast enough and extremely technically sound.
G Tre Jackson
He thought about turning pro but decided to stay, and as a result, Jackson (6-4, 339) has a chance to be the first guard off the board in the 2015 draft. He is a physical run blocker who became more consistent in pass protection in 2013. Jackson is a bulky guy, but he moves well and is comfortable blocking in space. He and Erving are the best players in what should be one of the nation's top two or three offensive lines this fall.
TE Nick O'Leary
O'Leary (6-3, 244) is not the biggest or the fastest tight end around, but he has good hands, runs good routes and has the necessary speed to get deep. He is not an elite athlete, but he does understand how to play tight end and find open spaces, and those traits can't be overlooked. And for the handful of football fans who don't already know, O'Leary is Jack Nicklaus' grandson.
RB Karlos Williams
Williams (6-1, 219) is an excellent athlete and played safety in his two first seasons with the Seminoles. But he didn't have the necessary instincts to play consistently at that position, so he was moved to tailback early in the 2013 season. He is a tough, physical runner with breakaway speed. FSU again will use a tailback-by-committee approach, but Williams should get the bulk of the carries for two reasons: He is the best tailback on the roster and the depth chart behind him is jumbled.
Other draft-eligible Seminoles to watch
CB Ronald Darby
Darby, a junior, is one of the fastest players in the nation and is heading into his second season as a starter. Darby (5-11, 188) was a reserve corner as a true freshman in 2012 and led the team with eight pass breakups to earn ACC defensive rookie of the year honors. He had four breakups and two picks last season.
DE Mario Edwards Jr.
Edwards (6-3, 294), a junior, was a top-five prospect nationally out of high school in the Dallas area in the 2011 recruiting class; he played well, if sparingly, as a true freshman, then was a starter last season. Edwards lacks ideal size, but he's an excellent athlete with a quick first step and he does a solid job against the run. Unlike many ends, he has more than one pass-rush move. Keeping his weight down is important; he has lost 25 pounds since arriving in Tallahassee. His dad played cornerback at FSU (in the 1990s) and in the NFL (2000-04), and now is FSU's director of player development.
DT Eddie Goldman
Goldman (6-4, 314) was a recruiting coup out of Washington, D.C., in the 2012 class. He started at end last season but will slide instead to his more natural tackle position this season. He played well at end, and his ability to be disruptive will be an added element at tackle for a defense that again should be one of the four or five best in the nation.
G Josue Matias
As with running mate Tre Jackson, he first gained national notice by starting against Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl in 2011 as a true freshman. Matias (6-6, 331), who played tackle in high school in New Jersey, is especially proficient as a run blocker. He moves well despite his size and, as with Jackson, is comfortable in space.
LB Terrance Smith
Smith (6-4, 228), a junior, doesn't necessarily look like a middle linebacker, but he did a nice job in the middle last season in his first season as a starter. He played sparingly as an outside 'backer as a redshirt freshman in 2012, then quickly became a vital component on defense last season, when he became the starting middle 'backer in Game 5. He runs well laterally and is solid on coverage. He still is learning the nuances of playing middle linebacker, but his athleticism, sheer speed and versatility are big selling points.
CB P.J. Williams
Williams (6-0, 196), a junior, is both fast and physical. His size obviously is attractive to NFL scouts, but so is his man-to-man ability. He was a first-time starter last season and blossomed into one of the best corners in the ACC. Williams won defensive MVP honors in the BCS national championship game after making a career-high seven tackles and coming up with an interception. He had seven pass breakups and three picks last season.
QB Jameis Winston
He was a national top-20 prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, redshirted that fall, then burst on the national scene in a huge way last season, when he won the Heisman and led FSU to the national title. Winston (6-4, 235) is gifted athletically, is a good runner and proficient scrambler and possesses a strong arm. He has some mechanical issues to clean up and has had more than his fair share of off-field issues, but he will enter the season as the Heisman favorite and is the major reason FSU could win back-to-back national titles.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.