With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, it is important to remember it is not only vital to professional teams, but college programs as well. Setting athletes up with a chance at the next level is great for bragging rights, but also for college football recruiting as well.
Not many programs have produced top talent for the draft better than the Florida State Seminoles, who have had eight players drafted in the top-5 of the draft and 44 first-round picks throughout program history. Brian Burns could become the next Seminole taken in the first round on April 25, but who is he following as the top players drafted out of FSU?
With Derwin James being selected at No. 17 overall in last year’s draft, the Seminoles have had 44 players taken in the first round and at least one in five of the last six drafts. They have produced 10 first-round picks in the last 10 years.
Additionally, there have been been 14 players in program history to be taken in the top-10, and eight in the top five. These are the top players in school history for the NFL Draft.
Terrell Buckley, No. 5 Overall (1992)
Buckley finished his career in Tallahassee with 21 career interceptions, four of those brought back for touchdowns. In his final season, he intercepted 12 passes and returned two for scores. He was also a dangerous return man with three punt returns for touchdowns and a career average of 12.2 yards per return. Buckley was taken with the fifth pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1992 NFL Draft, where he spent his first three seasons and intercepted 10 passes. He spent the most time in Miami, playing six seasons with the Dolphins and picking off 24 passes. He finished his 13-year career with 50 interceptions, which is tied for 35th all-time in NFL history.
Deion Sanders, No. 5 Overall (1989)
One of the most famous Seminoles ever, Sanders was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the fifth pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. Sanders finished his college career with 14 interceptions, including three for touchdowns. He also scored three touchdowns on punt returns. During his 14 seasons in the NFL, he had 53 interceptions, scoring on nine of them. He also had nine touchdowns on special teams — six on punt returns and three on kick-offs. Prime Time played for the Falcons and Dallas Cowboys for five seasons each and one season in San Francisco and Washington. After three seasons of retirement, he joined the Baltimore Ravens for two seasons.
Jalen Ramsey, No. 5 Overall (2016)
The third defensive back from Florida State to be selected fifth-overall was Jalen Ramsey in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ramsey played all over the field in college, but only intercepted three passes in three seasons. However, his dominance was in more than his numbers and has really shown what he can do since being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In three seasons, he has nine interceptions while consistently covering the opposing team’s best receiver.
Marvin Jones, No. 4 Overall (1993)
In the 1993 NFL Draft, the New York Jets took Marvin Jones with the fourth pick. Jones was a two-time Consensus All-American and the Dick Butkus and Vince Lombardi Award winner. Jones played 10 seasons in the NFL, all for the Jets. He had six seasons over 100 tackles as a pro and finished his career with 1,021 total tackles.
Peter Boulware, No. 4 Overall (1997)
One of the most dominant players coming off the edge in school history, Peter Boulware was taken with the fourth pick of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. In 1997, Boulware recorded a school-record 19 sacks and was a Consensus All-American. He finished his college career with 34 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He played eight seasons for the Ravens, finishing his pro career with 70 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and four Pro Bowl selections.
Peter Warrick, No. 4 Overall (2000)
Not only was Peter Warrick one of the best receivers in school history, but also one of the best return specialists. As a two-time Consensus All-American, Warrick finished his Seminole career with 207 catches for 3,517 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also averaged 13 yards per punt return with two touchdowns for his career. His NFL career didn’t play out the same way after being selected with the fourth pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In five seasons with the Bengals and one with the Seattle Seahawks, Warrick had 275 receptions for 2,991 yards and 18 touchdowns. He averaged 9.3 yards per punt return and had two career touchdowns. His best season came in his fourth year in the league in 2003 when he finished the season with 79 catches, 819 yards, and seven touchdowns. Warrick also had 18 rush attempts for 157 yards and averaged 10.9 yards on 25 punt returns, including one going for a touchdown.
Andre Wadsworth, No. 3 Overall (1998)
The 1997 ACC Player of the Year and Consensus All-American, Wadsworth was taken with the third pick of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. During his senior season, Wadsworth had 16 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. His NFL career was derailed by knee injuries, though, limiting him to just 36 games in three seasons. He played his last game in 2000, ending his career with eight sacks, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
Jameis Winston, No. 1 Overall (2015)
Leading Florida State to their third National Championship and claiming the program’s third Heisman Trophy in 2013, it was no surprise Winston was taken with the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the program’s first and only player taken at No. 1. In two seasons as the ‘Noles quarterback, Winston completed 66 percent of his passes for 7,964 yards with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. The only issue Winston faced in college were off-the-field issues. Since leaving Tallahassee for Tampa, he has shown flashes of why he was taken with the top pick, but has also struggled to stay consistent. In four seasons, he has completed 61.6 percent of his passes and has thrown for 88 touchdowns compared to 96 turnovers.