Final FSU Draft Grades

FSU’s Pro Day has concluded, which means there isn’t anything left for Florida State prospects between now and the draft except for some private workouts. Their time at Florida State is now officially over and they are on to the next step: the 2016 NFL Draft.

After leading the NFL Draft in total picks last year, FSU expects to have a lower amount drafted in 2016. The big name of the group is Jalen Ramsey, the All-American defensive back that is widely expected to be a top five pick in the draft. With less than a month until the draft, let’s take a look at the draft stock for each Florida State talent available and project where they will get taken.

Jalen Ramsey

Draft Grade: Top-Five Pick

Florida State fans are very familiar with Jalen Ramsey by now and the NFL media is just starting to fall in love with him as well. Ramsey is everything you want from a defensive back and the comparisons have ranged from Richard Sherman to Kam Chancellor and even Charles Woodson. At 6-1, 209 lbs., he is the epitome of the long, rangy defensive back that defensive coordinators swoon over. He can play every position in the secondary, as showcased by his time in the garnet and gold. Although Ramsey spent his junior season at cornerback, teams will want to use him more so as a safety. He’s not a player you want isolated one-on-one on the outside. No, defensive coordinators will want Ramsey around the ball at all times. He can make a play on the ball in the air, blitz off the edge, and be an enforcer in the run game. Look for whichever team drafts him to use him in a similar role as he played during his sophomore year, as a safety/linebacker hybrid that is capable of making a play on the ball.

Normally, defensive backs aren’t talked about in the conversation for the first overall pick, but Ramsey is a generational talent. The Tennessee Titans hold the first overall pick and they sorely need a playmaker in the secondary. If the Titans pass on Ramsey, the Chargers at No. 3, the Cowboys at No. 4 and the Jaguars at No. 5 are all places he could land. With the Jaguars’ apparent interest in Ramsey, it is a safe bet that Ramsey’s absolute floor is at fifth overall in Jacksonville.

Roberto Aguayo

Draft Grade: Third Round

In an era of the NFL where kickers are suddenly more valuable, Roberto Aguayo’s draft stock has gone through the roof. After leaving Florida State as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history, NFL teams will be clamoring for his services. He has never missed an extra point in his career and has been consistently accurate on long-range field goals. While kickers are usually taken towards the later portions of day three, there is a growing certainty that Aguayo could hear his name called on day two instead. A team with kicker needs, such as the New York Jets or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could pull the trigger on Aguayo in the later stages of round three.

Nile Lawrence-Stample

Draft Grade: Fourth Round

Unfortunately for Nile Lawrence-Stample, the 2016 NFL Draft features a loaded defensive tackle class. While there are no big names at the top, there will certainly be a major run on defensive tackles towards the end of the first round through the end of round three. As such, this will push Lawrence-Stample down draft boards, as he is probably in that middle group of defensive tackles in the draft.

While Lawrence-Stample is a very good interior player and a prospect that could certainly make an impact during his rookie campaign, he isn’t an athletic freak that teams will draft in the first two days of the draft. He is very good in the run game, able to stack and shed blockers with ease, but brings very little in terms of pass rush. As such, most teams will only consider him a two-down player in the league. Look for him to get drafted on the start of day three at the beginning of the fourth round.

Terrance Smith

Draft Grade: Fifth Round

A three-year starter for the Seminoles, Terrance Smith is the last member of the roster to start for the national championship squad in 2013 (along with Ramsey). While the popular comparison for him is former FSU linebacker Telvin Smith, the two also have very different traits. For one, Telvin was a much more explosive player coming out of Florida State. He clocked in with a 4.52 40-yard dash and a 10-yard split of 1.53, good enough to land him in the 91st percentile for his draft class. Terrance, on the other hand, clocked in at a 4.77 40-yard dash and also weighed in at 235 lbs. as compared to Telvin’s weight of 218 lbs. The 2016 NFL Draft features some very athletic linebackers who are likely to be taken before Smith which will push him down draft boards.

However, Terrance has been a solid starter for three years. He does a great job at diagnosing plays and has good closing speed as well. He is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, an important trait to have against NFL offenses that are starting to incorporate more spread elements into their offenses. Injuries have been a concern for Smith over the past couple of seasons, so teams will have to do background checks on his medical reports before drafting him. Ultimately, Smith will likely get drafted somewhere in the middle of day three, such as round five, and will be a key rotational player and special teams contributor during his rookie season.

Lamarcus Brutus

Draft Grade: Seventh Round

After riding the bench for four years, Lamarcus Brutus finally got his chance to shine during his redshirt senior season. He stepped into the starting free safety role and became a leader on the Seminoles defense. While he isn’t the most athletic safety in the draft, he showcased some great ball skills during his senior year. He led the team in interceptions and was a ball-hawk in the secondary. However, he is a limited athlete, as testing during the Combine showed, and is likely a rotational/backup or special teams player wherever he lands. If drafted, it won’t be until the late stages of the draft, such as the seventh round.

Giorgio Newberry

Draft Grade: Seventh Round

From defensive tackle to tight end and back to defensive end, Giorgio Newberry’s career at Florida State featured quite a few position changes. But he settled in at defensive end under the tutelage of Brad Lawing and performed well during his last year in the garnet and gold. He showcased some good pass rushing moves and was stout in the run game as well. At 6-5, 285 lbs., he has the ability to play end in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes or bulk up and play defensive tackle. Unfortunately, Newberry only has a limited amount of tape because of those position changes. If drafted, it will be more so on what a team thinks of his potential, not because of his production. As such, a seventh round draft grade is a reasonable expectation.

The Undrafted Free Agents

Florida State has a handful of players who will likely make their way onto an NFL roster during training camp as undrafted free agents. Linebacker Reggie Northrup was a two-year starter, but is limited in pass coverage and was not invited to the Combine. He played well at the NFLPA Bowl in California and will likely be a special teams player at the next level. Safety Tyler Hunter was a major contributor for the Seminoles over the course of his career, but sustained a serious neck injury as a junior and was benched last season because of coverage issues. Former walk-on Javien Elliott was a great story last year after starting the later portion of his senior year but is a limited athlete and doesn’t fit the measurable that some team gives for defensive backs. Punter Cason Beatty improved his play during his senior year and will certainly get an invite to a training camp after a good pro day. However, good punters are a dime a dozen in the NFL and making a roster will be a difficult task for Beatty.

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