NoleDigest All-Time Draft: Jason's Commentary

NoleDigest's Geoff Vogt, Jason Staples, and Wayne McGahee drafted their "all-time" Florida State football teams on Friday afternoon. Here is an inside look at Staples' team, the rationale behind his draft, and why his is the best team.

The NoleDigest Staff drafted their "all-time" Florida State teams on Friday evening. The rules were as follows:

1) Each team will be comprised of 11 offensive and defensive players plus punter and kicker.

2) Any base formation is acceptable. You may choose a 4-3, 3-4, Nickel, I-Formation, 4WR Ace, etc.

3) Players must be drafted for their actual position. That is, the defensive line can't just be comprised of defensive ends, etc.

Draft Strategy/Goals

1. Defense first. FSU has tons of great WRs, RBs, and enough OLs who are essentially of equal value. But there are only so many transcendent defensive talents available even at FSU.

2. Build from CB and DT. This is in keeping with my views about the most important positions in football. Quarterback is obviously important, but as long as I wind up with either Ward or Winston, I'm fine at QB. But great defenses start at CB and the DL. You've got to be able to hold up on the inside, and great CBs allow the defense to focus on stopping the run without giving up big plays.

3. Prioritize defensive flexibility. I will be running a hybrid 4-2-5/3-3-5 defense, so I'll need three big DLs, a hybrid DE/OLB, and five defensive backs who can all cover one-on-one without being a liability against the run. Having length and size at three or four of those DB spots is going to be critical. My LBs need to be interchangeable and physical against the run.

4. Think "physical" throughout. Prioritize the lines on both sides of the ball. In particular, I want mashers on the interior OL. FSU has enough great tackles to take what I can get there, but I'd still rather go bigger when given the choice.

Draft Recap and My Commentary

Why My Team is the Best

1. I have without question the best defense. My personnel affords me great flexibility as I can interchange most of my DBs and play both even and odd fronts without substitution.

2. I have the best secondary. Deion. Butler. Joyner. McFadden. Ramsey. Four of my five DBs are over 6'0, and all of them are physical enough to cover big receivers.

3. I have the best defensive line. Dockett and Wadsworth can both play 3/4 DE, and the combination of Wadsworth and Boulware on the outside is by far the best pass rush combination of the three teams. Wadsworth's rare size at DE also gives me more size up front than the other two.

4. With Winston at QB, my balanced 11 personnel offense would be the toughest to defend. I can run the football with Allen, and my set of WRs runs great routes and consistently catches the football. That's all I need for Winston.

Vogt's Team

What I Like

He's got a big, physical group. Geoff and I were without question drafting against each other, targeting many of the same players. A game between our two teams would be a flat out war.

He's got the best group of LBs and the second best front seven, and his WRs are big and physical, giving him great downfield blocking and tough one-on-one guys. He also has the best pair (quartet?) of OTs, which would be critical against my DEs.

What I Don't Like

I think his interior OL would struggle in part because all three guys are playing out of position. Hudson struggled at C when he tried it, and Erving/Henderson can move well but aren't ideal guard builds, nor are they as physical as one might want at OG. His team is physical as a whole, but I think they'd struggle against great DTs due to a soft underbelly on offense.

I think the lack of a tight end is a significant weak point for this offense. If you're going to try to pound the football and focus on size, I'm not sure how a 20 personnel base makes sense. It also plays into the hands of my base nickel defense.

I also question his secondary. Rolle is a bizarre fit as a 170 pound safety, and FSU-era Cromartie might struggle to stay healthy vs. my squad. Williams also has no experience at safety, though I could see him being ok there. Who is going to play free safety in this group? I just don't see it happening there.

As bizarre as this is to say about a Heisman-winner, I also think Weinke is a significant drop-off from Ward and Winston. (FSU's quarterback record is incredible, really.)

McGahee's Team

What I Like

Warrick, Dunn, Ward. Yeah. He starts with the pantheon of FSU offensive studs. He's also got the best center in FSU history with Shiver, and he's going to be able to pass block with Barron/Dukes/Shiver/Whitaker/Williams. His WR group has the three biggest names in school history. Ward/Dunn gives him potential spread option capabilities.

What I Don't Like

He has the weakest defense by quite a bit. He's small at the CB position, and his safeties aren't great one-on-one cover guys. Cody was a great CB at FSU, but he's not quite the cover guy found on the other two teams. His LBs were productive but aren't the level of athletes found on the other two teams.

Games are won and lost up front, and his lines are third best. As good of a pass-blocking line as he has, he's not built to run the football up front. He has two left tackles more known (justly or not) as finesse guys at their position, and his 4WR base is going to struggle when the field gets tight. He also has the smallest team overall.


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