The clock kept ticking, Radio City Music Hall emptied, Mel Kiper, Jr. kept talking.
And yet, several notable Seminoles were still waiting to be drafted, some of whom we thought would be drafted in the middle rounds and not looking at the scenario of not being drafted at all.
How was this possible? Christian Jones, Kenny Shaw, and James Wilder, Jr. went undrafted.
Christian Jones is most notable because he stayed at school another year to improve his draft stock. Last year, he was graded as a middle-round prospect. Suddenly, after another great year of production, he slipped to being not drafted at all. So, what gives?
For starters, this was one of the deepest drafts we've seen in decades. But more than anything, Wilder was hurt by off-field issues and on-field injuries while Jones was hurt by a failed drug test (and in this case, a diluted sample).
It's unfortunately, given what we know about their talent; both played instrumental roles in reviving Florida State to the elite level that it is today. But we all know the story of the Seattle Seahawks. They've made it work with countless undrafted free agents. Being undrafted is not the end of the story because, as it turns out, our boys wound up getting their contracts.
Christian Jones will be joining the Chicago Bears, James Wilder, Jr., will be joining the Cincinatti Bengals, and Kenny Shaw will be joining the Cleveland Browns. I couldn't think of better scenarios for them to join. Jones is joining a defense that is in the process of rebuilding. There is no overpaid incument clogging his slot. He also figures to be one of the best undrafted free agents we've seen, though many are continuing to speculate why he went undrafted:
Christian Jones, LB, Florida State: Perhaps the reason no NFL team drafted Jones is that there wasn’t enough tape of him in one place — he played strong-side in 2011, weak-side in 2012 and in the middle in 2013. But at 6-3 and 240 pounds, and with 223 tackles and eight sacks through his collegiate career, Jones could prove to be a versatile and productive NFL defender. The Bears have signed on to find out.
Personally, I don't buy that reasnoning for a second. Being verstatile is something the NFL wants. Jones has a real chance to contribute next year and it's a shame he didn't get drafted as a reward for staying at school. Wilder shouldn't have any problem spelling Benjarvus Green-Ellis so long as he can remedy his shoulder injury (although he will compete with Stephen Hill for those duties). And last, but not least, Kenny Shaw will be catching passes from Johnny Manziel. Shaw is most known for his superior route running and I'll never forget hearing about him practicing his routes by himself for hours on end. It showed last year and it will make him a great pro.
Looking ahead, many major sports outlets have released their mock drafts for 2015. It's kind of silly, but we love it. CBS has five Seminoles going in the first round:
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: Winston has the skills to be the No. 1 overall pick, but he has room to grow on the field and needs to keep his nose clean off the field.
16. Dallas Cowboys -- P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State: An emerging superstar last season, Williams was the Defensive Player of the Game in the BCS Title Game and has a big future ahead of him as a versatile defensive back.
17. Baltimore Ravens -- Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State: The Ravens right tackle job is somewhat of a question mark right now and if Kelechi Osemele or Ricky Wagner don't secure the position, it could be a need here.
26. Indianapolis Colts -- Mario Edwards, DE, Florida State: A player with all the requisite skills to be an impact lineman, Edwards is still figuring out how to use his talent and could take a big step in 2014.
29. New England Patriots -- Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State: From an athletic standpoint, O'Leary isn't overly special, but he has reliable hands, knows how to get open and has the toughness NFL teams will covet.
It truly is too early to speculate, but having five players projected for the first round is nothing short of spectacular. It means we've come a long way... like a really long way. Such a long way, in fact, that there was a day when Jimbo Fisher remarked that Preston Parker was the only player that could sniff a roster spot on LSU, meaning that Parker was the only legitimate NFL prospect on the Seminoles many years ago.
Oh, how the times have changed. And oh, how good these times are.
And on a final note, SI.com is running a piece on "veterans on notice" thanks to the draft. Look no further than the Falcons and their selection of Devonta Freeman:
• Steven Jackson/Jacquizz Rodgers, RBs, Falcons: Hard to say how the Atlanta backfield will shake out (and Freeman may never be a true No. 1 runner in the NFL). It is safe to assume, though, that the Falcons were very dissatisfied with their run game last year, considering that it finished dead last in the league paced by a measly 543 yards from Steven Jackson. The porous line was to blame for the most part, but certainly the Jackson-Jacquizz Rodgers pairing was not free of fault. Hence, the Freeman selection.
Comments? Questions? Kudos?