A good Tuesday morning to all.
Our Florida State expert, alumni, and fan, Nick Chiamardas, gives you a breakdown of the Seminole prospects. While I handle the rest of the notables today.
March 19: Florida A&M, Florida State, Louisville, Richmond, San Diego State, Virginia
The Seminoles have as many as 12 prospects likely to be drafted in 2013.
Guys like CB Xavier Rhodes, DE Bjoern Werner, and QB E.J. Manuel are well known among those follow the draft loosely. Here are a couple of other prospects to watch for:
Kicker Dustin Hopkins: Hopkins might be the most likely of the bunch to be in a 49ers uniform this season. Hopkins was a four-year starter for the Noles and broke an NCAA record for most points by a kicker with 459 career points. Hopkins has a career field goal percentage of 79% including a long of 56 yards. Most of his misses came his freshman year (eight) and he improved to just five misses in each of his last two seasons. The strong legged and accurate Hopkins is easily the best kicker in the draft.
DE Cornellius "Tank" Carradine: Carradine could be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. If not for a late season ACL tear, Carradine would likely be a top 10-15 pick. Instead, Carradine is looking the early second round or possibly late first. There has been a lot buzz around the 6-4, 276lb defensive end lately with rumors he might workout at today’s pro day just 3 ½ months after his injury. The extent of the workout remains to be seen. While he’s capable of lining up as a rush linebacker in the 3-4 I think Carradine’s best position is a true end in the 4-3.
CB Greg Reid: Perhaps the most intriguing prospect taking part at FSU’s pro day didn’t even finish his career with the Noles. Reid was dismissed from the team prior to his senior year for a third off the field incident. Reid transferred to Valdosta State where he tore his ACL during fall practice. While at FSU, Reid was an explosive kick returner on special teams. He led the nation as a freshman with 18.4 yards/punt return. At only 5-9, Reid is an above average cover corner. During his sophomore season in 2010, he broke up 17 passes and corralled three interceptions. He could be worth a late round flier for a team looking for a return specialist and depth to the defensive backfield.
Another prospect of note is OLB Brandon Jenkins (click here for his prospect profile).
C Mario Benavides: Although Benavides is a late round prospect, he could be a sleeper in this years class. At the next level he may not have the strength to take on big defensive lineman, but he was capable of doing so in college. I remember watching the Sugar Bowl when Louisville took on Florida, and Benavides was able to handle Florida's lineman pretty handidly. Louisville won the game, and Benavides was an unsung hero of the bowl victory. He's certainly worthy of a seventh round selection.
CB Adrian Bushell: Bushell had 13 pass breakups this season and showed flashes of being a good cover corner. He will have to improve on the 4.59 forty time he had at the combine if he wants to be drafted in the mid rounds.
SS Cooper Taylor: Here is a guy that you probably haven't heard of but may be able to turn some heads with a good pro day. Taylor is 6'4" and 229 lbs, great measurables for a safety. With that frame Taylor also possesses good speed and ability. He was a participant in the East-West Shrine game, and had a good week of practices. Taylor had 78 tackles last season and 4 interceptions. Remember his name.
San Diego State:
TE Gavin Escobar: Escobar is one of the top tight ends available in this year's draft class. Escobar is a good blocking tight end, but had one of the slowest forty times at the combine for a tight end (4.84). While speed isn't the biggest deal at the position, it's a nice bonus to have from a tight end. Escobar could be selected in the late second or somewhere in the third round, which I suspect.