Three Schools That Lost the Most to This Year's NFL Draft
We’re still several months out from the college football season starting up, yet the spring season is coming to an end as the NFL Draft prepares to take place in Chicago. With a draft class loaded in talent, schools have spent the offseason trying to fill the voids they left behind. We take a look at three schools who lost the most to this year’s draft.
Key Losses: Jameis Winston (QB), Cameron Irving (C), Eddie Goldman (DT), Ronald Darby (CB), Rashad Greene (WR), Tre’ Jackson (OG), Mario Edwards Jr. (DE)
The Seminoles almost made it back-to-back years as undefeated champions. In a season that proved a bit more challenging for a Florida State team ripe with talent, it was evident that the team lived and died by their quarterback Jameis Winston. With the widely-regarded number one pick gone and a spring mired in injury, the Seminoles have a lot of ground to make up before the season begins. Sophomore quarterback Sean Macguire was inconsistent during his spring game and will have growing pains during the season. The receiving core also lost its top talent in All-American Rashad Greene, but will hopefully have sophomores Ja’Vonn Harrison, Travis Rudolph, and Ermon Lane pick up the slack after combining for only 52 receptions and five touchdowns on last year’s 14th best offense in the nation.
On the other side of the ball, defensive leaders Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, and Mario Edwards Jr. all made the jump to the draft, and already, the injury bug has bitten hard to a once dominant and proud defense. We have yet to see the squad’s starters all play together, so a big question mark remains on its state.
Overall, the team has opened this spring to a loud thud after having much success in recent years. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has gone as far as to call his team “soft”, and if that continues, then it could be a long year for the Seminoles.
Key Losses: Benardrick McKinney (ILB), Preston Smith (DE), Josh Robinson (RB), Justin Cox (S), Kaleb Eulls (DT)
Let’s be honest here. Mississippi State had an unbelievable year for a program that has struggled to stay above .500 over the past two decades. It broke 23 single-season records and had a Heisman trophy contender among their other accomplishments. Now, much of that talent is gone and younger, inexperienced players have got to step up if Mississippi State wants to even have a chance at staying relevant.
The offense, led by Heisman hopeful Junior Dak Prescott, will have to perform even better than they did last year to make up for a defense that will be looking to find its way. Dak will be feeling the pressure early and often in the season if the spring game is any indication of what’s to come, as the offensive line struggled mightily. It’s a group that lost a lot of starters and depth, and will need time to gain more experience to enable Dak time to move around to pick teams apart.
Bulldogs fans could be in for a long season but at least they can take solace in knowing that they experienced a 2014 season that can be considered one of the best ever in the school’s history.
Key Losses: Ereck Flowers (OT), Phillip Dorsett (WR), Duke Johnson (RB), Clive Walford (TE), Denzel Perryman (ILB), Anthony Chickillo (DE)
Miami is a team that is loaded in talent but has struggled to meet expectations as of late. That summarizes up the sentiment down in Coral Gables for Canes fans and the finger pointing continues to occur as to why a team with so much talent, now heading to the NFL, finished under .500.
Certainly other schools could also be considered on this list as teams who won’t perform as well as they did last year, but Miami rounds out the list because the talent it lost was, in retrospect, some of the best in years and it went wasted. It included an all-time leading rusher in Duke Johnson, at a school that has produced the likes of Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Lamar Miller, Ottis Anderson, and Edgerrin James. The bright spot for fans though is that Carlos Yearby should continue the trend of great running backs, and Brad Kaaya returns after looking like a formidable starter towards the end of last season where he finished off his first full season under center.
So much talent left Miami and it leaves many questions remaining to be answered as to how the coaching staff will work to replace them. In a region filled with talent, it continuesto be stunning the underproduction the team has shown.