The Florida State Seminoles won the National Championship just a couple of days ago, and they had an incredibly deep roster to lead them through an incredible 2013-14 season. Jimbo Fisher is excellent at replacing lost depth, and it sounds like he’ll have to replace three of the team’s best players due to departures to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Yahoo! Sports’s Rand Getlin reports that defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and right guard Tre Jackson are “heavily leaning” towards declaring for the draft, and he also reported that star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is also very likely to declare. In the case of Jernigan and Benjamin, the news definitely isn’t surprising, and Benjamin will likely be a first-round pick in May. But the fact that Jackson is seriously considering declaring after his junior season is a surprise, especially since he is barely on the draft radar. Jackson has had a very good college career, but I don’t know why on earth he thinks he’s NFL ready. Maybe he received good word from scouts and the like, but it’s definitely a surprise.
Benjamin is 23, and his age will most likely cause him to declare for the draft this year. Despite inconsistent play, Benjamin has incredible upside, and he has more upside than any wide receiver in the 2014 class. If he stayed one more year with Jameis Winston, then there’s a chance that Benjamin would be the top wide receiver off the board in 2015. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to stay, though, as it would be a surprise if the uber-athletic wideout didn’t declare. He has a lethal size/speed combination that reminds some people have Calvin Johnson, and he’s been compared to Megatron in some way or another since high school.
Jernigan is another top prospect, and he’s one of the most disruptive interior linemen in the country. I think he should declare after his accomplishments in college, and I have a hard time seeing his draft stock rising significantly in 2015. It’s time for Jernigan to toss his hat into the ring, and he could be a first-round pick in May. While I think he’ll be a high second-round pick due to his lack of stamina and somewhat inconsistent play, Jernigan has more upside as any DT in the class.