Notre Dame Draft Evaluation: Opponent Overview - Florida State Seminoles

Ryan Roberts breaks down the top NFL Draft prospects for Notre Dame's opening opponent, the Florida State Seminoles
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This is not your dad’s Florida State Seminoles. This is among the most frustrating stretches for the team in a very long time. As you can imagine, their success in the NFL Draft world has been deeply impacted in effect.

Even so, Mike Norvell’s team still boasts some intriguing talent that is in some desperate need of cultivating as the head coach enters year two. Among the young team, there are four players individually that currently hold draftable grades, assuming they are decide to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Just how high can they go? Let’s examine some of the more talented Seminoles currently on the roster.

Jermaine Johnson, RS Senior DE (6045v, 255v)

Profiled briefly on season four of Last Chance U as the top defensive recruit in the entire country, former Georgia Bulldog pass rusher Jermaine Johnson enters the season as the Seminoles top 2022 NFL Draft prospect.

He had an up and down two year stint with the Bulldogs but still had a solid level of production in 2020, notching five quarterback sacks in just seven games. He heads into the 2021 season as Florida State’s top rated recruit.

Firmly in the day two conversation to start, Johnson is the long limbed and loose pass rusher that NFL teams crave. If he is able to produce similarly on a snap to snap basis to a higher volume, Johnson may be a dark horse candidate to hear his name called in round one.

Amari Gainer, RS Sophomore LB (6027e, 232e)

This may not be your dad’s Florida State Seminoles but this is your dad’s Seminole second level defender. Gainer is long and explosive with surprising change of direction skills despite being a bit high cut. The team has used him anywhere from overhang, on ball to a traditional stack alignment.

With this type of physical profile, it is reasonable to think that NFL teams could value him anywhere from MIKE, SAM or WILL at the next level. The state of the Florida State program has been down in recent years, contributing to some inconsistencies as far as player development.

Gainer has been victim to those shortcomings.

A victim to his own versatility, Gainer hasn’t been able to adequately develop playing one role. His eye discipline is a major work in progress. Once his eyes catch us to his body, Gainer has the athletic gifts to become a plus starter on the next level.

Camren McDonald, RS Junior TE (6034e, 240e)

Kept under wraps amidst an inconsistent and underwhelming passing attack for the Seminoles, tight end Camren McDonald is a gifted pass catcher who could be in for a huge boost in production if quarterback McKenzie Milton rounds back to Central Florida form.

Playing inline, H back and some in the slot for the Seminoles, McDonald is a gifted seam buster who is a tall task for opposing linebackers and safeties of all sizes and skill sets. He boasts outstanding body control to win above the rim, while also adjusting to back shoulder throws.

While a very smooth athlete, McDonald is just ordinary in terms of long speed, limiting his impact post catch. As a blocker, he has the tools but the team largely doesn’t ask a ton in that area. McDonald is your prototype flex option tight end who does his best work detached from the line of scrimmage.

The NFL is a league predicated on creating mismatches and McDonald is exactly that.

Jammie Robinson, RS Sophomore DB (5105e, 195e)

After head coach Will Muschamp was let go by South Carolina, the opt out and transfer exodus ensued. Among the biggest prizes on the market, defensive back Jammie Robinson once looked like the next big thing in the Gamecocks secondary following the early declarations of cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu.

Robinson spent time between nickel and safety for the team, displaying a high level of versatility on the backend. For a secondary that lost cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and safety Hamsah Nasirildeen to the NFL, Robinson brings an injection of experienced talent that is sorely lacking. Possessing outstanding short area quickness and physicality to the position, Robinson plays a ton bigger than his listed size.

He is the ideal slot defender who brings a ton of possibilities to a defense, especially with his ability to work down from depth. The NFL always values versatility in the secondary.

While just a redshirt sophomore with the extra COVID year, Robinson isn’t a slam dunk to be a part of the 2022 cycle. If he does indeed declare, a day three selection seems like the floor for Robinson.

Robert Cooper RS Junior (6014e, 330e)

After the top four prospects, there is a massive drop off to say the least. After a productive 2019 season, defensive tackle Robert Cooper took a major step back, as did most of the defensive unit as a whole.

Cooper is your traditional one technique-nose who does his best work occupying multiple blockers to let players like Amari Gainer roam free.

The NFL in recent years is showing that that role is becoming less and less prevalent. For players who have limited impact against the pass, they are playing less and less of a prevalent role. Cooper does boast powerful hands at the point of attack, showcasing the ability to control blockers well once he fits inside.

Possessing a stumpy build with limited length, Cooper has little impact as a penetration player. He is a modest athlete whose upside is limited to early run downs.

Barring a substantial ascension in his game, Cooper’s skill set will do little to offer an opportunity to hear his name called next April.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Emmett Rice RS Senior LB (6016v, 209v)

Super undersized backer who lacks the size profile to play a heavy volume. Not the athlete his size would suggest.

Devontay Love-Taylor RS Senior OL (6024v, 310v)

Came to Florida State with a bevy of starting experience at Florida International. Has experience playing both guard and tackle. Lacks the requisite skills and size to excite evaluators.

McKenzie Milton, RS Senior QB (5105e, 190e)

A tremendous story of perseverance, it’s incredible that Milton is back under center on a full time basis. From an NFL perspective, he lacks the arm strength, size and overall consistency as a passer to warrant anything more than a camp invite.

Keir Thomas, RS Senior DL (6012v, 268v)

Gap shooting defensive with some alignment versatility coming from South Carolina. Doesn’t fit well into one particular position.

Better days are ahead for Florida State. Despite a name brand of epic proportions, they shouldn’t stand too much of a puncher's chance when the Irish make the trip down to Tallahassee on September 5th.

If they were to make it interesting, you can bet more than a couple of the players listed would have a substantial impact, not only on the game but their draft stocks as well.     

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