FSU has been a premier college football program since the early 80’s. Not surprisingly, it’s also been a breeding ground for top NFL talent. While there are dozens of Seminoles in the NFL, who are the best of the best?
I believe the most talented players FSU has put into pro football in recent years are in the secondary. You will know all of these names and know that many more Noles are still early in their pro careers and looking to make a splash.
Here are my top 10 FSU players currently in the NFL.
10. Dalvin Cook, running back, Minnesota
An ACL injury early in in his rookie campaign derailed what was looking like a promising year. I’ve learned to not doubt DalCo on any level. He just adapts.
I remember watching his senior film from high school and thinking it’s impossible to translate into college and then saying the same thing as he transitioned to the NFL.
He has elite vision and patience only matched by the Steeler’s Le’Veonn Bell.
If healthy, Cook will be one of the premier backs in the NFL. In four games he averaged over 100 yards from scrimmage.
9. Jameis Winston, quarterback, Tampa Bay
Winston is easily one of my favorite Seminoles of all-time. Jaboo is the starting QB of the Buccaneers, unfortunately for Jameis, they aren’t good and haven’t been able to turn the corner.
I can’t place him higher on my list as QBs aren’t judged just off of stats, but wins. He’s by far the best-ever Seminole QB in the NFL.
8. Sebastian Janikowski, kicker, Seattle
Longevity keeps him on the list. Janikowski was drafted in the top 20 coming off of a national championship campaign all the way back in 2000. Think about that.
SeBass has been in the league almost as long as some of his new Seahawks teammates have been alive.
He still has a strong leg and is still clutch.
7. Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle, Philadelphia
His 2017 season was down, statistically, but a new scheme and many Eagles defenders making plays during a Super Bowl run minimized his individual impact.
During his career he’s had 120 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and an interception from the defensive tackle spot. That’s impressive in my book.
6. Rodney Hudson, center, Oakland
I won’t pretend to understand all of the subtle nuisances that go into playing offensive line, but I do know that the Raiders’ lineman has been to consecutive pro bowls (2016 and 2017) and has amassed 80 starts, playing in 96 NFL games during his career.
Longevity and the Pro Bowl appearances put him on the list.
5. Lamarcus Joyner, safety, Los Angeles Rams
Joyner is a key to a Rams defense that features one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
L.A. placed a franchise tag on Joyner this off-season.
He’s not the biggest safety at 5-foot-8, but is explosive and considered one of the best players at his position in the NFL. Last season he really turned a corner with three interceptions and is a return threat when he gets the ball.
4. Telvin Smith, linebacker, Jacksonville
The energy Smith brings to the huddle is contagious. Undersized, but fast as lightening, Smith is one of the best players from the surprise story of the NFL last season.
Every season of his NFL career he’s had over 100 tackles and last season he was able to see the end zone twice on interception and fumble returns.
I predict he will become the new prototype linebacker in the pass-happy NFL –“Ya Feel Me!”
3. Devonta Freeman, running back, Atlanta
The better of Atlanta’s 1-2 punch at running back with Tevin Coleman. Last season, Freeman’s numbers took a dip, but his ability to create separation from defenders in both the run game and passing game makes him one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Had Atlanta just kept feeding him the ball they probably wouldn’t be the butt of jokes for blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl.
As good of a running back as he is, he might be a better slot receiver.
2. Xavier Rhodes, cornerback, Minnesota
Rhodes was the second-best cornerback in the NFL last season (spoiler alert). He legitimately shut down almost every top WR he went up against.
The two-time All-Pro is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL only comparably to who my No. 1 Nole in the league is.
He holds two Vikings records in most passes defended by a rookie and the longest interception return. He is almost always matched up on the opposing team’s best receiver and boasted a 40% completion rating when tested.
1. Jalen Ramsey, cornerback, Jacksonville
The closest thing FSU has had to Deion Sanders in the NFL since Prime Time.
Ramsey’s sassy swagger is turning him into a national superstar and he’s become the face of a defense that is stifling against the pass. His ability to get inside of opposing receivers heads is probably the best attribute of his game with well-documented spats against Steve Smith Sr. and A.J. Green.
Jalen is not only going to shut you down, he is going to tell you about it the entire game.
He’s physical against the run and can disrupt passing attacks with break-ups or interceptions. What he’s been able to do in two seasons is remarkable.
Deion wasn’t considered the best corner in the NFL in year two.
The biggest reason he’s No. 1 amongst a talented group of Noles is due to his being completely irreplaceable by his respective team and fan base. Much of the Jags hype going into the 2018 season is due to Jalen. If Jalen were injured, the wind would effectively go out of the Jags’ sails. Even Telvin Smith could be replaced with Myles Jack by the Jags. Rhodes had his replacement drafted.
Jalen is considered the best even with another Pro Bowl DB opposite of him in A.J. Bouye.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/seminoles-best-current-nfl-players-predominantly-in-secondary