ACC: Bjoern Werner

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
2012 record: 12-2
2012 conference record: 7-1
Returning starters: Offense 6, Defense 5, Kicker/Punter 1

Top returners

WR Rashad Greene, LT Cameron Erving, C Bryan Stork, LB Christian Jones, LB Telvin Smith, DB Lamarcus Joyner, DT Timmy Jernigan

Key losses

QB EJ Manuel, RT Menelik Watson, RB Chris Thompson, DE Bjoern Werner, DE Cornellius Carradine, CB Xavier Rhodes, K Dustin Hopkins

2012 statistical leaders (*returning)

Rushing: Chris Thompson (687 yards)
Passing: EJ Manuel (3,392 yards)
Receiving: Rashad Greene* (741 yards)
Tackles: Christian Jones* (95)
Sacks: Bjoern Werner (13)
Interceptions: Xavier Rhodes, Tyler Hunter* (3)

Spring answers:

1. Changes on D: New coordinator Jeremy Pruitt brought a slew of new schemes with him from Alabama, meaning the FSU defense won't look all that much like the one that finished second in the nation in 2012. With the loss of five former starters from the defensive line, that's probably a good thing. Pruitt's scheme will be more aggressive and bring a lot more blitzes, allowing FSU to get pressure from other areas.

2. Beating Hart: When right tackle Menelik Watson made the somewhat surprising decision to leave FSU after just a year to enter the NFL draft, all eyes turned to junior Bobby Hart, whose turbulent career with the Seminoles was already well documented. Hart started as a 17-year-old freshman in 2011, but problems with his work ethic derailed his sophomore season and he found himself on the bench. He appeared to work his way back into line coach Rick Trickett's good graces by the end of the spring, however, and he'll be crucial to maintaining the continuity of the line without Watson.

3. Famous Jameis: Jimbo Fisher still isn't calling the contest over, but it certainly looks like redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is in the driver's seat to take over for Manuel as FSU's new starting quarterback. Winston shined throughout the spring and delivered a monster performance in the Seminoles' Garnet and Gold game, completing 13 of 15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. A week later, junior QB Clint Trickett announced he was transferring.

Fall questions:

1. Winston, Part II: Yes, the spring was impressive for Winston, but as Fisher was quick to point out, he'll need to pick up right where he left off in the fall if FSU is going to make a smooth transition at a position that's been remarkably stable for the past five years. Jacob Coker remains in competition -- and he should be fully healed after breaking a bone in his foot that limited this spring -- but the loss of Trickett puts a lot of pressure on Winston to step up, particularly with a daunting road contest at new ACC member Pittsburgh looming in the season opener.

2. New-look secondary: Lamarcus Joyner appeared to make a relatively smooth transition from safety to corner, but FSU didn't get much of a look at what will constitute the secondary in 2013. Key players such as Tyler Hunter, Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby were all hurt, while promising freshman Jalen Ramsey had yet to arrive. The group will finally all work together during fall camp.

3. Just for kicks: Redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo showed off his powerful leg during FSU's spring game, connecting on three long field goals, including a 58-yarder to close out the game. Still, replacing the NCAA's all-time leading scorer among kickers won't be an easy task. Dustin Hopkins was as reliable as it gets for FSU, and Aguayo still needs to show he can handle the pressure of making a big kick with the game on the line.
Florida State followed up its big first round with a huge NFL draft weekend, as the Seminoles led every program in the nation with 11 total picks, setting a new school record.

That's right. The Noles had more picks than national champion Alabama (nine) and SEC power LSU (nine), two schools that played for the national championship following the 2011 season. More than in-state rival Florida (eight), too.

Those numbers are clear validation the Seminoles have restocked their cupboards with an inordinate amount of talent as they re-emerge in the national conversation.

"It’s a great indication of how the program is truly developing," coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement. “I think it shows we’re getting back to national prominence. Our players are doing a great job of representing themselves on and off the field leading to chances at the next level. I’m happy for all of these guys and want to thank them for helping return this program back to the national spotlight."

Overall, the ACC had 31 players taken for the ninth straight season, finishing second behind the SEC.

Here is a quick look back at all the selections:

First round
  • No. 7 Jonathan Cooper, OG, Arizona
  • No. 16 EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo
  • No. 24 Bjoern Werner, DE, Indianapolis
  • No. 25 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota
  • No. 27 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
  • No. 28 Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver
Second round
  • No. 37 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
  • No. 40 Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, San Francisco
  • No. 42 Menelik Watson, OT, Oakland
  • No. 51 David Amerson, CB, NC State
Third round
  • No. 73 Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 89 Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
Fourth round
  • No. 127 Malliciah Goodman, DE, Atlanta
Fifth round
  • No. 136 Earl Wolff, S, Philadelphia
  • No. 141 Oday Aboushi, OG, New York Jets
  • No. 143 Jonathan Meeks, S, Buffalo
  • No. 149 Brandon McGee, CB, St. Louis
  • No. 154 Chris Thompson, RB, Washington
  • No. 162 Brandon Jenkins, LB, Washington
Sixth round
  • No. 171 Corey Fuller, WR, Detroit
  • No. 173 Vinston Painter, OT, Denver
  • No. 177 Dustin Hopkins, PK, Buffalo
  • No. 180 Nick Moody, LB, San Francisco
  • No. 187 Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona
  • No. 189 Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay
  • No. 206 Vince Williams, LB, Pittsburgh
Seventh round
  • No. 214 Travis Bond, OG, Minnesota
  • No. 215 Tommy Bohanon, FB, New York Jets
  • No. 224 Kevin Dorsey, WR, Green Bay
  • No. 229 Everett Dawkins, DT, Minnesota
  • No. 249 Sean Renfree, QB, Atlanta

Incoming member Syracuse had three players drafted as well: tackle Justin Pugh in the first round to the New York Giants; quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round to the Giants; and safety Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round to Pittsburgh.

And now a few notes:
  • North Carolina had the second-most picks from the ACC with five -- its highest total since five were picked in 2011. The Tar Heels had three offensive linemen selected, the most from UNC in the draft since 1967.
  • Miami had its NFL draft streak extended to 39 consecutive seasons with Brandon McGee and Mike James both getting selected.
  • Virginia also had its draft streak extended to 30 straight seasons with Aboushi's selection.
  • Tommy Bohanon Bohanon became just the third Wake Forest fullback to have his name called in the draft, joining Ovie Mughelli (Ravens, 2003) and Neil MacLean (Eagles, 1958).
  • With four selections in this year's draft, Clemson has now had 23 players chosen over the last five years, and at least four every year Dabo Swinney has been head coach. It is the first time in history Clemson has had at least four players drafted each of the last five years.
  • Georgia Tech did not have a player selected for the first time since 2005. Three players with draft hopes ended up with free agent deals: T.J. Barnes (Jacksonville), Izaan Cross (Buffalo) and Rod Sweeting (New Orleans).
  • Pitt did not have a player drafted for the second consecutive season. Running back Ray Graham, who was the Panthers' best hope for selection, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Texans.
  • Here are a few other notable free-agent signings: Conner Vernon (Oakland), Chibuikem “Kenny” Okoro (San Diego), Marcus Davis (New York Giants), Lonnie Pryor (Jacksonville).

Most draft analysts expected a big first round for the ACC, so watching six picks come off the board Thursday night was no big surprise.

Watching EJ Manuel go before his more highly-rated Seminoles teammates, as the only quarterback taken among the first 32 selections? Well, that was the big draft day shocker.

The Buffalo Bills selected Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick, as new coach Doug Marrone passed over his former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in favor of the dual-threat Florida State product. Manuel was invited to New York for the draft, so certainly expectations were there for him to be a high pick.

But West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was expected to come off the board first. Speculation had linked Nassib to Buffalo for months, thanks to his connections with Marrone and his former offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett. But in the end, Bills general manager Buddy Nix said of Manuel, "This guy to us has got the upside to be whatever you want him to be."

For those scoring at home, the Seminoles have had quarterbacks drafted in the first round twice in the past three drafts. Christian Ponder went to the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. You have to believe coach Jimbo Fisher will be dropping that little nugget every time he sets foot on the recruiting trail.

Manuel was the first of three Seminoles drafted in the first round. Defensive end Bjoern Werner went No. 24 to Indianapolis and cornerback Xavier Rhodes went next, at No. 25 to Minnesota. Both Werner and Rhodes were projected to go higher than Manuel in just about every mock draft. Florida State had three first-round picks for the first time since 2006.

As for the league as a whole, six players who spent their careers in the ACC went in the first round -- the highest total since seven were drafted in 2008. If you count Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh, then seven players at current/future ACC schools went on Day 1. Pugh became the highest drafted Orange player since Dwight Freeney was the 11th pick by the Colts in 2002.

Only the SEC had more picks on Day 1, with 12.

As expected, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper was the first ACC player taken, at No. 7 overall to Arizona. Teammate Sylvester Williams went No. 28 overall to Denver, giving the Tar Heels two first-round picks for the first time since 2002. Cooper became the first offensive guard taken in the top 10 since 1997.

Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins went No. 27 overall to the Houston Texans, making his decision to leave school early pay off. That seems to be the perfect fit for Hopkins, who gets to play with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Hopkins became the first Clemson wide receiver to be selected in the first round since Rod Gardner went No. 15 to the Washington Redskins in 2001.

So to review:
  • No. 7 Jonathan Cooper, OG, Arizona
  • No. 16 EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo
  • No. 19 Justin Pugh, OT, NY Giants
  • No. 24 Bjoern Werner, DE, Indianapolis
  • No. 25 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota
  • No. 27 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
  • No. 28 Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver

The second and third rounds resume Friday night in New York. Among the ACC players who stand a chance to get selected later today:

Did you know: ACC in NFL draft

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
10:00
AM ET
Time to take a look at how the ACC has fared in the NFL draft, by the numbers. Special thanks to Mike Finn in the league office for the information.
  • The ACC holds NFL draft records for most first-round selections (12) and most overall picks (51), both set in the 2006 draft.
  • The ACC has had at least 31 players chosen in the draft in each of the past eight years, the second-longest streak of its kind nationally. Only the SEC has had a longer streak (15 drafts).
  • Since 2005, the ACC has seen 281 of its players drafted. Only the SEC (315) has had more. During that time, the ACC has had more players drafted than the Big Ten (262), the Pac-12 (248), the Big 12 (230) and the Big East (133).
  • Since 2006, the ACC has had nine wide receivers taken in the first or second round of the draft, a streak which could continue this year as Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins is projected as a first or second-round selection.
  • Since 2006, or the year the ACC became a 12-team league, the ACC has had 19 defensive ends or outside linebackers chosen in the first or second round of the NFL draft, the most of any conference in the nation. The Big Ten is next with 13 followed by the SEC (10), the Pac-12 (6) and the Big 12 and Big East with six apiece. That number is sure to grow as Florida State defensive ends Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner headline the group this year.
  • Since 2006, 11 of the 12 current ACC schools have had a player taken in the first round. Florida State leads with the most first-round picks during that time with seven, followed by Boston College (5), Miami (5), Virginia (4) and North Carolina (4).
  • Since 2005, the ACC has had 45 players taken in the first round of the draft, ranking second among all conferences. Only the SEC (65) has had more. The ACC has had more first round picks than the Big Ten (39), the Big 12 (40) and the Pac-12 (28) during that time.

Previewing ACC in NFL draft

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
9:00
AM ET

NFL draft coverage will begin at 8 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN and WatchESPN.com, but here is a one-stop shopping post for all of your last-minute mocks and talk:
  • First, let's take a look at who will be there: Florida State and North Carolina will represent the ACC with Bjoern Werner, Menelik Watson, Xavier Rhodes, EJ Manuel, and UNC's Jonathan Cooper.
  • KC Joyner says Rhodes could be one of the biggest steals of the draft.
  • The experts at Scouts Inc. projected all seven roundsInsider -- and the ACC will have two top-10 picks, depending on your take of the ACC at this particular point in time. If you want to count former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, then "the ACC" will have the No. 8 overall pick, going to former Cuse coach Doug Marrone, now with Buffalo. If you're like me, and not really willing to count Nassib in this group, then former UNC OG Jonathan Cooper is the ACC's top dawg at No. 11 overall. This is Insider content, so it's just a sneak peek, but you're going to have to wait until the second round to see EJ Manuel and the third round for Mike Glennon.
  • Todd McShay posted his Mock 5.1,Insider but he will also have an update this morning with his latest on the first round.
  • On Monday, Mel Kiper Jr. also released his latest, Mock Draft 4.1,Insider but his will also be updated as the draft nears, so check back. Meanwhile, put your own spin on Kiper's draft.
  • Our NFL bloggers also held their mock draft this week.
  • And there will be a live blog from Radio City Music Hall beginning at noon today.
The first round of the NFL draft is just a week away, so it is time to provide you an update with the latest predictions, mock drafts and rankings from ESPN experts.

First, let us start with Mel Kiper Jr., who plays general manager for every single team and predicts the first three rounds of the draft Insider. It is Insider content, but here is a look at where he has placed players from ACC schools. Oh, and be sure to read his ground rules to have a better understanding of his thought process.

First round
Second round
Third round

As Kiper Jr. states, that piece is not a mock draft. It's his preference for each team at that spot. His mock draft features Cooper, Williams and Rhodes. Disagree with his first-round picks? Well you can make your own mock draft Insider. Two thumbs up on that tool.

Kiper also has updated his Big Board Insider, ranking the Top 25 prospects. Only Cooper and Williams make that list.

Meanwhile, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has revealed the Scouts Inc. tier rankings Insider, which list prospects by their ratings. There are seven tiers and 109 players rated, with 17 from ACC schools (counting incoming members Pittsburgh and Syracuse).

McShay also has named his All-Satellite team Insider, comprised of the best prospects when playing in space. North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard checks in at No. 5. McShay writes, "He has super-quick feet, good initial burst and outstanding lateral agility. Bernard can stop and start on a dime, strings together multiple moves and is a slippery runner between the tackles."

Want more? Kiper also has updated his top 5 prospects by position Insider.
There are only 23 former players attending the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York this month, and five of them are from the ACC -- including four from Florida State:
The only other school able to match Florida State's presence at the draft this year will be BCS national champion Alabama, which also has four former players attending.

Here is the draft schedule:
  • Thursday, April 25 (Round 1) 8 p.m. ET
  • Friday, April 26 (Rounds 2-3) 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Saturday, April 27 (Rounds 4-7) 12 p.m. ET

There are time limits for each selection:
  • Round 1: 10 minutes per selection.
  • Round 2: Seven minutes per selection.
  • Rounds 3 through 7: Five minutes per selection.

NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN 2 will televise the draft on all three days.
With half of the conference playing spring games this weekend, here’s a look at what to watch if you’re keeping an eye on the ACC as spring ball comes to a close:

CLEMSON

When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • Quarterbacks of the future. You know Tajh Boyd is good. Expect Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly to take most of the snaps. Boyd played just four snaps in the last scrimmage. Let's see his backups.
  • The tight ends. Clemson tight ends Dwayne Allen and Brandon Ford have been the first team All-ACC tight ends the past two years. Clemson tight ends have 118 receptions and 21 touchdowns the past two years, perhaps the most underrated area in Chad Morris’ offense. So who moves in there this year? Sam Cooper is the most experienced, but freshman Jordan Leggett has been impressive this spring.
  • How much better is the defense? All eyes will be on Brent Venables' group to see how much progress it has made this spring. If the D gets better, it could be a special season in Death Valley.
FLORIDA STATE

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, (ESPN3)

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. It's been one of the hottest topics this spring in the ACC and arguably the biggest position battle in the conference. Check out Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston as they all battle to replace starter EJ Manuel.
  • The defensive line. The competition is on to replace Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine. Mario Edwards Jr. is ready to jump in, along with Giorgio Newberry.
  • Don't forget the kicker. It's big at FSU. The Noles have to replace Dustin Hopkins, the ACC's all-time leading scorer and the NCAA's all-time kick scorer. It's your chance to see Roberto Aguayo, who was one of the nation's top kickers coming out of high school.
MARYLAND

When: 7 p.m. on Friday in Byrd Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The running backs. Both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid have had strong springs and will be competing for playing time come the fall.
  • The receivers. This group should be a strong point for the team this year, as Stefon Diggs, Deon Long and Nigel King are a talented trio.
  • New faces on defense. The Terps have to replace six starters on defense, including some of their best leaders in Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis.
DUKE

When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday (ESPN3) in Wallace Wade Stadium

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Booooooone. Anthony Boone takes over at quarterback, and there have been rave reviews about him from within the program all spring. He's got a strong arm and is mobile.
  • New faces at safety. Some big names are gone, as Duke has to replace graduates Jordon Byas and Walt Canty, and Brandon Braxton, who moved back to receiver. Jeremy Cash, eligible now after transferring from Ohio State and sitting out last fall, headlines the group that includes sophomore Dwayne Norman (60 tackles in 2012 as true freshman) and redshirt freshman Corbin McCarthy.
  • Front and center: There is one hole to fill on the offensive line and Matt Skura takes over at center for Brian Moore.
MIAMI

When: 3 p.m. ET at Sun Life Stadium (ESPN3)

Gates open: 12:30 p.m.

Parking/admission: Free

What to watch:
  • Defensive improvement. Is there any? The Canes were one of the worst in the country last year, but they return every starter up front.
  • The No. 2 QB. Who is it? Gray Crow started the last scrimmage as the backup to Stephen Morris and completed 8 of 13 passes for 73 yards, with a touchdown and interception. Ryan Williams, who entered the spring as the expected No. 2, completed only six of his 12 passes with a touchdown and an interception. The coaches will be watching these guys closely on Saturday, so should you.
  • Running back Dallas Crawford. You know Duke Johnson. It's time to get to know this guy. Those within the program have said Crawford has had a great spring and could be a rising star this fall. He scored two touchdowns in a scrimmage in Naples earlier this month.
NORTH CAROLINA

When: 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Kenan Stadium (ESPN3)

Admission: Free

Parking: $5/vehicle

What to watch:
  • Gio's replacement(s). A.J. Blue and Romar Morris have been working to ease the loss of leading rusher Giovani Bernard. Can they be as effective as he was, how much progress have they made and who will replace Bernard in the return game?
  • The O-line. Former guard Jonathan Cooper should be a first-round draft pick later this month, and it won't matter how good Blue and Morris are if they can't find anyone to help block for them. A total of three starters have to be replaced on the offensive line.
  • Replacing big names on D. Cooper and Bernard aren't the only big names that will be missing. The defense is going to miss tackle Sylvester Williams, who could be another first-round draft pick, and linebacker Kevin Reddick (85 tackles, 8.5 for loss). How does the D look without them?
PITTSBURGH

When: 7 p.m. ET on Friday at Bethel Park High School (ESPN3)

Gates open: 5:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

What to watch:
  • The quarterbacks. Fifth-year senior Tom Savage has taken most of the reps with the first team, and redshirt freshman Chad Voytik appears to be the backup, but coach Paul Chryst has yet to name a starter.
  • The running backs. Earlier this month, it was announced that Rushel Shell has decided to transfer. Since then, the bulk of the carries have gone to junior Isaac Bennett, sophomore Malcolm Crockett and senior Desmond Brown. How they fare will go a long way in determining how Pitt fares in its first season in the ACC.
  • The offensive line. It's been problematic for the Panthers in each of the past two seasons, and Pitt now has to break in two new starters in Gabe Roberts and Adam Bisnowaty.

Taking stock of the draft

April, 10, 2013
4/10/13
5:00
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North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper could be the ACC's top draft pick this year, according to Todd McShay's latest mock draft Insider.

The first round of the draft is at 8 p.m. ET on April 25, and McShay has Cooper at the No. 11 overall pick, heading to the San Diego Chargers. McShay's piece is Insider content, but I'll give you a sneak peek as to how McShay thinks the rest of the ACC might fare in the first round:
This version of McShay's mock draft doesn't include Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins or FSU defensive end Tank Carradine in the first round. He has also given Rhodes a significant bump from No. 24, where he was listed earlier this month. In his 5.0 version, McShay lists several scenarios for each team, though, and both Hopkins and Carradine are mentioned as possibilities for other teams, so they still have first-round potential.

Odds are Hopkins continues the ACC's streak of having a wide receiver drafted in the first or second round in each of the past eight years. If Carradine is taken in the first round, and Florida State winds up having four first-round draft picks, the Seminoles would tie their own conference record for the most first-round picks by an ACC team. The Noles did it in 1997 and 2006.
ESPN Insider Todd McShay recently released his latest mock draftInsider, and once again, it is looking like a strong first round for the ACC. If McShay is right, and seven former ACC players are chosen in the first round, it would be the most the conference has had drafted in the first round since 2008:

2008: 7
2009: 5
2010: 4
2011: 3
2012: 3 (No. 9 Luke Kuechly, BC; No. 16 Quinton Coples, UNC; No. 32 David Wilson, VT)

McShay's piece is Insider content, and he has analysis on each player, but here is a sneak peek at who he has going and when:
As far as ACC quarterbacks go, McShay says wait until Round 2. The only ACC players listed in his second-round mock draft are former FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and former NC State quarterback Mike Glennon.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As Florida State goes through the spring, one major debate has surfaced.

Are the Seminoles rebuilding or reloading?

Depends on your perspective, of course. Coach Jimbo Fisher believes looking at the number of returning starters when making that determination is misleading. Especially in this case. Guys the Seminoles are going to be relying on this year, from Telvin Smith to Mario Edwards to Timmy Jernigan to Devonta Freeman to James Wilder Jr. have gotten valuable playing time and/or starts.

SportsNation

Is Florida State rebuilding or reloading in 2013?

  •  
    36%
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    64%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,400)

But on the flip side, it is hard to ignore just how much talent is gone: Four of the five Seminoles who made the ACC first team are gone, including defensive player of the year Bjoern Werner. That does not even count veteran quarterback EJ Manuel.

So which is it? Linebacker Christian Jones makes his pitch:

"I feel like we’re reloading. We have a lot of younger guys but we have a lot of talent here, a lot of great athletes. With the coaching staff we have now, they’re more hands on. They like to go over the fundamentals and teach the basics. I feel like with the talent we have, we can just reload and plug in new guys at the spot. We have a lot of older guys helping those younger guys out, so once we get through the spring and have a better understanding of this defense, we can once again be a dominant defense.

"Even on offense, we return a lot of guys on the O-line. Clint [Trickett] is a guy who has starts and he played pretty well in those games he started. We have other talented receivers and running backs. So being able to get this spring in, get the guys better, the sky’s going to be the limit for next season."

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Vote in our poll and let us know what you think.

ACC pro days watch

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
4:00
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Eight more ACC schools have completed their pro days. Here is a look at some of the highlights:

BOSTON COLLEGE
  • Twelve former Eagles participated during the Eagles' pro day.
  • Representatives from 12 different teams were there, including the Patriots and Saints.
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy, who was unable to attend the NFL scouting combine because of a broken arm, was satisfied with his performance, telling the MetroWest Daily News, "It’s something you train for three months for. I’ve been doing nothing but working out and eating right, and getting my body right for this day, so I think I did well and hopefully the scouts thought I did well, too."
FLORIDA STATE
GEORGIA TECH
  • Eight Jackets participated. The top two draft prospects -- TJ Barnes and Rod Sweeting -- did not run the 40 again, choosing to stand on their numbers from the combine. There are still some concerns about Barnes' weight.
  • Quarterback Tevin Washington says he will play any position in the NFL. He ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash.
  • Offensive linemen Omoregie Uzzi did only the bench press as he recovers from an injury. He was able to lift 225 pounds 22 times.
MARYLAND
  • Fourteen former Terps participated in pro day.
  • Tight end Matt Furstenburg, who has seen his draft stock rise over the past month, did not participate in the testing portion because of solid numbers from the combine. He ran the 40 in 4.62 seconds, third among tight ends. Furstenburg also placed third in the vertical jump (35.5 inches), fifth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.35) and fourth in the 60-yard shuttle (11.76) at his position. He did do some field drills.
NC STATE

  • All eyes were on quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback David Amerson. Glennon stood on his numbers from the combine, but did participate in field drills. He impressed at least one draft analyst with his performance at pro day.
  • Amerson only did the vertical (38.5) and long jumps (11).
  • C.J. Wilson ran the fastest 40 time on the day, a sprint of 4.33.
  • Earl Wolff has peaked at the right time. He stood on all his numbers from the combine except the vertical (36).

VIRGINIA
  • Tackle Oday Aboushi, expected to be the top Cav taken in the draft, improved on the numbers he posted at the combine in the bench press and 40. He had 21 reps at 225 and ran the 40 in about 5.3. Aboushi told The Daily Progress, "I didn’t put up the numbers I wanted to (at the combine). The schedule was a little rough on me. I didn’t bench as well as I thought I was going to do. ... I could kind of redeem myself at pro day. I definitely had something to prove at pro day."
VIRGINIA TECH

  • All workouts were closed to the media, so not much data is available about how the former Hokies in attendance performed.
  • Offensive tackle Vinston Painter only did position drills for the scouts, happy with his numbers from the combine.
  • Linebacker Bruce Taylor, on the other hand, did everything but the bench press. He believes he improved on his 40 time, which was an eyebrow-raising 5.01 seconds.

WAKE FOREST
  • Eight former Deacs participated.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon has the best shot at getting drafted. He chose to stand on the numbers he posted at the combine in the bench press (36 reps at 225), vertical and broad jumps. According to NFL.com, Bohanon ran the 40 in 4.76 and 4.79 to improve on his combine time of 4.88. Bohanon told The Winston-Salem Journal, "I didn’t do anything on the inside with the bench press, but I did all the drills out here, and I improved a little, so that was good."

For a look back at the headlines from Clemson, Miami, Pitt and Syracuse, click here.
You look at the Florida State roster, and you look at the Florida State coaching staff, and the automatic assumption is this could be a rebuilding year for the Noles.

Jimbo Fisher does not see it that way. Not one bit. As spring practice opens today, Fisher needs to find new starters at some key positions, including quarterback, defensive end and linebacker. But he sees players who have had valuable playing experience ready to step right into starting roles, not wet-behind-the-ears freshmen in over their heads.

To him, there is no dropoff between the talent on his 2012 ACC winning team, and the talent on his 2013 team.

[+] EnlargeClint Trickett
Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY SportsThere will be a competition for FSU"s starting quarterback, but Clint Trickett has more game experience than the others.
"I ask people this: Lawrence Dawsey is arguably one of the best receivers in Florida State history," Fisher said during his pre-spring news conference earlier this week. "How many years did he start here? He started one year. How about Odell (Haggins)? He was a linebacker that got moved. Nowadays he’d be, 'Oh, he wasn’t what we said he was, you moved him.'

"Just because you don’t start a game doesn’t mean you’re not starter material. Do you understand what I’m saying? We’re establishing ourselves as a program again and guys still played as much ball as anybody else."

Fisher gave a host of examples. Every starter on the defensive line is gone -- ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, and tackles Anthony McCloud and Everett Dawkins. But the players expected to move into the starting lineup played extensively last season. Mario Edwards Jr. and Giorgio Newberry will start with the first-team at end; Timmy Jernigan, perhaps the best interior lineman last year, moves up to start at one tackle spot.

Vince Williams and Nick Moody are gone at linebacker. Into the middle steps Telvin Smith, who has extensive game experience and should have no problems moving up.

Then of course, there is the quarterback spot, a position that folks across the ACC will be paying attention to as the competition begins. Clint Trickett starts out No. 1 on the depth chart, and here again is where playing time has helped him. Trickett has played in 16 games with two starts behind EJ Manuel the last two seasons.

The other three players competing for the starting job -- Jacob Coker, Sean Maguire and Jameis Winston -- have either limited or no game experience. That does not take them out of the mix by any stretch. Fisher already said the position is wide open, and he has no timetable to make a decision. But having game experience is certainly not going to hurt him as the Noles try to find their leader on offense.

"From a talent standpoint, I think we’re still a very talented football team and we have guys with a lot of experience still playing," Fisher said. "We look at returning starters sometimes, it’s a very misleading factor about depth of a team and how much guys have played behind them. I’m excited about these young guys. Even though they’re new starters, they've still played like starters."

As for the coaching changes, six new assistants will be on the field this spring, including new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. But Fisher downplayed those changes as well, saying nothing would change about philosophy or with the schemes the Noles run.

"We're going to do things the Florida State way, the way we've been doing," Fisher said.

That means plugging new guys into the starting lineup and believing there will be few hiccups along the way.

Spring questions: New-look pass rush 

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
5:00
PM ET
Editor’s note: Each day until the start of spring practice, we’ll pose a question facing Florida State's football team as it moves toward the 2013 season. Today’s question: How will the defensive front look after a wave of departures from last year's group?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- By the time next year's NFL draft is complete, five former Florida State defensive linemen figure to hear their names called. That's an impressive indication of just how much talent was on this unit for the past two seasons, but it also underscores one of the biggest questions of this spring: How can Jimbo Fisher replace so many departing stars in one group?

In 2012, FSU finished in the top three in the country in rush defense (91.9 yards per game) for the second year in a row, and for the third straight year, the Seminoles led the ACC in sacks (36). As far as pass rushers go, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine were the most prolific defensive end tandem in the nation. But aside from quarterback, no area of the roster figures to get as big a facelift for 2013.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper has unveiled his third mock draft , and boy is there a heavy ACC presence.

Kiper now has six ACC players going in the first round -- one more than Todd McShay has in his latest mock draft .

Here is the rundown:
Most experts have had Werner, Cooper and Williams as first-round picks for months. But Watson and Rhodes are gaining steam. Hopkins is as well, though he did not make McShay's latest mock draft.

What stood out the most in looking at both mock drafts from McShay and Kiper is they now have Watson going ahead of Werner. Though Werner was the much more decorated player in college, he had a so-so combine. Watson has barely played any football and some (like myself) saw his decision to leave early as a risk. But his physical attributes (6-foot-5, 310 pounds), upside and position have made him very appealing as a first-round prospect.

As for Hopkins, I love the spot where Kiper has him going. I think he would be a perfect fit for the Texans.

Now, let's just say Kiper is right, and all six go in the first round. That would be the most first-round picks for the ACC since 2007, when six players also went in Round 1. Since 1997, the ACC has averaged 4.8 first-round picks a year.

Here is a look at past ACC first-round draft history, starting with 2005, the first year featuring 12 schools.
  • 2005 -- 5
  • 2006 -- 12
  • 2007 -- 6
  • 2008 -- 7
  • 2009 -- 5
  • 2010 -- 4
  • 2011 -- 3
  • 2012 -- 3

In addition to keeping tabs on how many first-round picks go from the ACC, keep an eye on the total number of first-round picks from the SEC. The 12 picks from the ACC in 2006 set an NFL record for a conference. Many expect the SEC to challenge that total this year. In that most recent McShay mock draft, he has 14 SEC players going in Round 1; Kiper has 13.

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