Two FSU Football Defensive Ends Ranked Among Elite Draft Eligible Defenders in 2024

Can the Seminoles continue their run of sending first rounders to the NFL?

Florida State is no stranger to having a dominant defensive front under long-tenured defensive line coach Odell Haggins. Their most recent success in sending players to the next level has been highlighted by defensive ends and special teams coordinator John Papuchis, who has sent players like first-rounders Jermaine Johnson II and Jared Verse to the NFL with the Seminoles also having defensive tackle Braden Fiske land with the LA Rams in the second round.

According to College Football Analyst Phil Steele, the 'Noles could potentially have two more standouts taken in next year's draft in 2022 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Payton and former 5-star Georgia transfer Marvin Jones, Jr. Both Jones, Jr., and Payton landed in Steele's top-25 draft-eligible players with Payton at No. 5 and Jones, Jr. at No. 7 among defensive ends.

READ MORE: FSU Football's Mike Norvell Climbs ACC Head Coaching Rankings

Payton, a 6'5'' 254-pound redshirt junior out of Miami, FL, has been a prime example of scouting and development under head coach Mike Norvell. After redshirting in 2021, he's played in 27 games totaling 75 tackles, 20.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, 13 passes defended, and three forced fumbles He made a name for himself as a left hook in tandem with now-LA Rams Jared Verse last season helping the team go 13-1* while winning the ACC.

Jones Jr.,  looks to carve out his role while following in the footsteps of his father, a two-time consensus All-American at FSU in the 1990s under legendary head coach Bobby Bowden. Transferring from Georgia this past offseason, Jones Jr. impressed in spring camp and received high praise from the coaching staff as he worked into the Seminole defensive scheme.

"Really excited, I think Marvin is what we thought he was just with athleticism, ability, I think you're seeing growth with him," Norvell said in April of Jones.

Jones Jr. is a lengthy edge defender with a swift first step off the snap of the ball. His blend of strength and speed make him an every down threat. That's one reason he's already making a name for himself in a revamped defensive end room that is loaded from top to bottom.

Dustin Lewis,

Jones Jr. appeared in 25 games, with one start, totaling 16 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks during his two years at Georgia. He won a National Championship with the Bulldogs in 2022 and should take another step in fall camp. If Steele is correct, he could be the next right-hand man on the FSU defensive line.

Oregon State transfer Sione Lolohea also made the cut, albeit not as high as Payton and Jones, landing at No. 49. He had 88 tackles, 15 for a loss, and four sacks during his four seasons with the Beavers and should work himself into meaningful snaps in the rotation.

READ MORE: FSU Football's DJ Uiagalelei Top Candidate for 2024 ACC Offensive Player of the Year

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Tommy Mire


Tommy Mire joined NoleGameday in 2023 as a writer and editor. He initially worked as lead voice at SBNation's Tomahawk Nation and contributes to football, NFL and recruiting coverage. Connect with Tommy on Twitter at @TommyM3III