Wayne McGahee III

FSU Position Preview: Defensive Line

Breaking down the defensive line for Florida State heading into fall camp.

Position 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
Defensive End Demarcus Walker Adam Torres Keith Bryant Janarius Robinson
Defensive Tackle Demarcus Christmas Wally Aime Darvin Taylor Cedric Wood
Nose Tackle Derrick Nnadi Fred Jones Arthur Williams Justin Shanks
Buck Linebacker Josh Sweat Jacob Pugh Brian Burns

The starting four have their positions set heading into fall camp. Demarcus Walker will anchor the line after returning for his senior season. He led the Seminoles in tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles last season. Josh Sweat returns after a stellar freshman year. With an entire offseason under his belt, and an extra year to rehab from a knee injury, he is expected to take a big step forward.

Derrick Nnadi is also a returning starter, and is one of the top returning defensive linemen in the ACC. He is an excellent run stopping interior lineman, and has been focused on improving his pass rushing since the end of the 2015 season. Demarcus Christmas is the only newcomer to the starting unit. He is taking over for Nile Lawrence-Stample, but he saw significant playing time as his back up in 2015. 

There isn't a big drop off from the first team interior to the second team. Wally Aime and Fred Jones have proven themselves more than capable of playing significant snaps. Aime came in during the spring, and quickly moved his way up the depth chart. He will also see time at strong side defensive end behind Walker. Jones is the more surprising player of the group. He came in with very little expectations, but has proven himself and earned his way into the rotation.

Jacob Pugh spent most of the 2015 season dealing with injuries, and with the emergence of Josh Sweat, he seems to be the forgotten man. Don't count him out just yet. Pugh still has the ability to be a significant player in 2016. He can see the field at multiple positions. Adam Torres is behind Walker on the depth chart, but he still has a lot to prove. Keith Bryant will be pushing him for the back up spot. This is Bryant's last chance to find a way into the rotation. He started his career at defensive tackle, but moved to defensive end this spring. He didn't get to take part in any of spring practice due to an injury.

Darvin Taylor is coming off a redshirt season , but the staff is high on him. He suffered a shoulder injury during the spring that could sideline him for a significant period of time this fall. Arthur Williams is still trying to find his place. He's a massive human being with above average athleticism, but he just hasn't been able to put it all together yet.

Brian Burns and Janarius Robinson are both freshmen, and despite the size difference between the two, Burns is more likely to make an impact in 2016. He is an elite pass rusher that has already added 15-pounds since he arrived on campus. He could see time in third down situations. Robinson enrolled early, but missed the spring as they repaired a shoulder injury he had from high school. He is a physically imposing player, but is raw when it comes to technique. A year or two to learn the system and refine his technique, and his ceiling may be higher than any player currently on the roster.

Justin Shanks is a senior that never panned out for Florida State. He will see time during blowouts, but won't be a part of the regular rotation. Cedric Wood is an incoming freshman that early enrolled this spring. He impressed during that time, and the future looks very bright for him.


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