Florida State’s NFL draft class could be one of its worst ever

Brian Burns will be a first-round pick ... and that might be it for the Seminoles.
There's a decent chance Brian Burns is the only Florida State player drafted this year. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)
There's a decent chance Brian Burns is the only Florida State player drafted this year. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)
Published April 25, 2019

Florida State’s football program might follow its worst two-year stretch in four decades with one of its worst NFL draft classes ever.

Although defensive end Brian Burns will almost certainly be chosen in tonight’s first round, there’s a chance he’s the only Seminole selected over the three-day event. If that’s the case, this will be only the fifth time since the AFL-NFL merger that fewer than two ’Noles were drafted. The last time was 2009, when second-round defensive end Everette Brown was FSU’s only draftee. The other three years: 1987, 1983 and 1971.

It’s a drastic shift from the Jameis Winston era, when FSU had a record 29 players drafted over three years.

This isn’t an indictment of Burns, of course. He’s an excellent pass rusher with a lot of potential at the next level. Whether he goes in the top 10 or closer to 20th, he’ll still likely become FSU’s 45th all-time first-round pick (and 24th since 2000).

Another defensive lineman, tackle Demarcus Christmas, is FSU’s other top prospect and a potential Day 3 selection. USA Today ranks the former Manatee High standout as the draft’s No. 271 player. There are only 254 picks. Christmas wasn’t among the players selected in this recent mock draft, either.

There’s a lot of mights and ifs in this story, because the NFL draft is filled with uncertainty. The Gators’ 2018 draft class ended up much better than I thought it would.

And a weak 2019 class isn’t inherently a bad thing for FSU. It’s better for Willie Taggart that defensive back Levonta Taylor and linebacker Dontavious Jackson chose to return to Tallahassee for another year instead of entering the league.

But it’s crazy to think that FSU might have more players drafted into the NBA this year than the NFL.