After enduring several down years where the NFL pipeline at Florida State seemed to have dried up, the Seminoles proved it’s open once again in the 2013 NFL Draft.
FSU set a school record with 11 players selected, more than any other university. It’s also more than the University of Florida and the University of Miami combined.
After starting the draft with five players selected in the first two rounds, Florida State went the third and fourth rounds without having any of its players taken.
But FSU picked up again in the fifth round when running back Chris Thompson was selected by the Washington Redskins at No. 154.
Thompson will go down as one of the most beloved Seminoles in recent memory. After sustaining a broken back in his junior year, the 5-8, 187-pound speedster came back in fine form, racking up 687 yards and a 7.5 yard average as a senior before tearing an ACL against UM in late October.
He never played another snap at FSU but continued to mentor the young running backs on the team and was awarded the Seminoles’ offensive leadership award at the end of the season. Now he will resume his football career in the nation’s capital.
Thompson will be joined by defensive end Brandon Jenkins, who was drafted by the Redskins eight spots later during the fifth round. Jenkins would have likely gone higher had he left school as a junior, but his decision to return for his senior year was rewarded with a lisfranc fracture in the Seminoles’ opener that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
The Vikings, 49ers and Bills opted to double down on Seminoles in the late rounds as well. Minnesota choose cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the first round and added defensive tackle Everett Dawkins in the seventh round at No. 229.
Tank Carradine, the 49ers’ second-round selection, will not head to San Francisco without a familiar face by his side either. Linebacker Nick Moody was selected by the Niners in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick.
Buffalo has added as many Seminoles as any team in the league in recent years. After drafting Nigel Bradham, Zebrie Sanders and Shawn Powell last year, it added quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round and kicker Dustin Hopkins — who holds the record for the most points by any collegiate kicker in history — in the sixth round at No. 177.
Linebacker Vince Williams was the final pick of the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There was one surprise in the Seminoles draft class. Fullback Lonnie Pryor — the Orange Bowl MVP and a player who drew comparisons to Jacob Hester at LSU, was expected to be a middle-round to late-round pick. He was not selected and will look to catch on as an undrafted free agent.
Florida State had more than five players drafted for the first time since 2007. The 2013 class of 11 is as many as it has had in the past four drafts combined.
It’s safe to say the pipeline is open again.