Florida State’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects include Robert Scott Jr. and Akeem Dent

The PFN Draft Preview takes a deeper look into the potential 2023 NFL Draft prospects set to hit the field for Florida State this season.

The Florida State prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft may be incredibly numerous. In fact, this team looks a lot like those teams in the early 2010s that were stacked with talent on both sides of the ball in Tallahassee. It all starts up front with their quarterback, and ultimately, all falls on the shoulders of head coach Mike Norvell. Nevertheless, this is a roster that is built for success this season and far beyond.

Florida State prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft | Offense

On paper, this Florida State roster has a ton of players to know. Again, on paper, this is a roster that can compete with the best of the best. What their on-field performance looks like is a completely different aspect than what they’ve put on paper in the past few seasons. But for our intents and purposes, we’re attacking this on-paper roster with high hopes and optimism. As such, here are their top prospects ahead of the 2022 season with eyes on the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jordan Travis, QB

As stated, it all starts up front for the Seminoles. And it all starts with Jordan Travis at quarterback. The athletic signal-caller took big strides a season ago, mainly down the stretch where he proved he could make accurate passes to every level of the field. Travis is a threat with the ball in his hands on the ground, but proving he can make tight-window throws and continually throwing his receivers open on the boundary will go a long way for their season and his ultimate NFL ceiling. There’s a lot to like in Travis’ game.

Treshaun Ward, RB

Even with Jashaun Cobin handling the majority of the carries a season ago, Treshaun Ward was arguably the most impressive Seminole running back. Ward’s unique skill set is ready for a breakout season as he has plenty of elusiveness mixed with power in his game. He averaged over 6.5 yards per carry a season ago and really came on in the receiving game at times.

Trey Benson, RB

Local fans know but the national college football audience will be awoken to Trey Benson’s game this season. The Oregon transfer has it all: vision, contact balance, strength, speed, patience, and enough athleticism to dominate ACC defenders in 2022. Benson flashed some of that skill during the Garnet and Gold game this spring. But in a featured role next to Ward, he could break out in a big way.

Ontaria Wilson, WR

The FSU receiving room got significantly better this offseason as one of the biggest cogs to the wheel — Ontaria Wilson — was returning for one final season. Wilson averaged over 16 yards per reception a season ago but was plagued with inconsistency at quarterback early on. He’s got a shifty skill set with the ball in his hands. And with the receivers FSU picked up in the transfer portal, he may find his stride if he kicks inside to more of a full-time role.

Mycah Pittman, WR

Another Oregon transfer, Mycah Pittman brings with him a versatile skill set both on the receiving end of passes and on special teams. Pittman has terrific separation skills along his routes and at the catch point. He’s a twitchy route runner with deceptive strength for his frame. And yes, that strength comes from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Michael Pittman, his father.

Winston Wright Jr., WR

Remember the name: Winston Wright Jr. A valued member of the versatile West Virginia receiving corps over the past few seasons, he hasn’t been able to showcase his skills in Tallahassee yet due to injury this spring. However, he’s a big-play threat waiting to happen. Wright is arguably one of the best slot receivers returning to college football in 2022, as he uses his speed and agility to feast on slower safeties and linebackers over the middle of the field.

Keyshawn Helton, WR

Returning for his fifth year in Tallahassee, Keyshawn Helton is set to anchor this extensive, veteran wide receiver room for the Noles. Helton hasn’t quite broken out during his time at Florida State, but with this many weapons for Travis to find open, you better believe Helton is on the list of potential stars for FSU to have on the outside. He’s quick, fast, owns sure hands, and is a threat with the ball in his hands in the open field. It’s just a matter of getting him the ball in the open field.

Ja’Khi Douglas, WR

The common theme among FSU receivers is a similar height/weight stature, and Ja’Khi Douglas does nothing but confirm that. Yet, Douglas is a significantly better option than most bigger-framed receivers in terms of contested-catch ability as he uses his athleticism to sky over defenders or short-area burst to create separation in the blink of an eye. It may not be the 2023 NFL Draft we hear Douglas due to this stacked receiver room, but 2024 is certainly the latest we should.

Johnny Wilson, WR

Bucking that trend of smaller receivers with speed in bursts, Johnny Wilson stands nearly a foot taller than the rest of the receiver room. He presents a different game for Travis to target through the air, but he’s far more than just a red-zone threat. Wilson is no stranger to finding open lanes against a variety of coverages and can bully smaller defensive backs not only at the catch point but along his routes as well.

Deuce Spann, WR

I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way this many receivers could be selected from one program. There’s not even any way to feed all these receivers targets in 2022. As big of a college fantasy football nightmare this receiving corps is, imagine how difficult it will be to scheme against this unit on Saturdays. Especially considering Deuce Spann has the ability to pass, run, or catch the ball. We may be a year or two away from seeing Spann as a legitimate NFL draft receiver, but I’d be remiss not to go as far as to mention his name as a player to watch this season.

Camren McDonald, TE

With an ability to line up inside as a dominant run blocker and take over games with his receiving prowess, Camren McDonald is a terrific, well-rounded tight end. He presents a mismatch for defenders in coverage with his ability in the open field while also proving his worth time and time again in both blocking facets. McDonald is a prototypical tight end prospect for today’s NFL who can do it all.

Robert Scott Jr., OT

Splitting time between both tackle spots a year ago, Robert Scott Jr. seems locked and loaded to make some serious noise as the team’s full-time starting left tackle in 2022. Scott stands at 6’5″ and 312 pounds, moving like a much smaller man and possessing a strength of a much bigger one. Scott is technically sound and has great recovery as well as terrific balance. He’s in the conversation for one of the top tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Dillan Gibbons, G

Dillan Gibbons immediately found a home on the FSU offensive line after transferring from Notre Dame a season ago. The left side of the line returns both he and Scott as they may also prove to be one of the best left tackle/left guard duos in the country. A mauler in the run game, Gibbons is actually at his best on the move or in pass protection, where he uses his instincts and quick hands to fight defenders off with ease.

Kayden Lyles, G/C

It remains to be seen where Kayden Lyles best fits in on this FSU offensive line after transferring in from Wisconsin. But one thing is for sure: His versatility will only pay dividends this season. He’s started at both guard and center and comes with sound technique and an ideal frame for the inside. Lyles, like many others, can make a big name for himself with a dominant first season in Tallahassee.

Bless Harris, OT

A big-time transfer that didn’t get the love he deserved, Bless Harris arrives after starting 17 games over the past three seasons at Lamar. At 6’5″ and 315 pounds, Harris likely slides into the right tackle spot for FSU. He’s a great blocker for the ground game, and his ability to pick up the right tackle spot could go a long way for his draft stock in 2022.

Florida State prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft | Defense

Robert Cooper, DT

Switching to the defensive side of the ball, there is no better place to start than with the big man Robert Cooper. The longtime FSU defender returns for his fifth season in Garnet and Gold. Cooper had a dominant season on the inside, routinely moving the pocket and getting home with career-highs in just about every pass-rushing metric. Cooper’s first step is terrific, as is his strength, and he’s a name to remember to start the year for the Noles.

Fabien Lovett, DT

Returning alongside Cooper for one final season, Fabien Lovett enters Year 3 with the Seminoles after transferring from Mississippi State in 2020. Like Cooper, Lovett feasted on the inside a season ago as the duo proved to be overpowering for most guards and centers in the ACC as the season wore on. This season should be no different.

Derrick McLendon II, DE

With an expected bigger role on the defense, Derrick McLendon II could become the next big problems for ACC offensive linemen to figure out. McClendon has a big frame, and he uses it incredibly well. He also possesses a few advanced pass-rush moves already, as he’s a viable candidate to explode onto the national scene in 2022.

Jared Verse, EDGE

If Jermaine Johnson was the roadmap, Jared Verse may be following it to a tee in 2022. Verse heads to Tallahassee from Albany as one of the most sought-after transfer portal athletes this offseason. At 6’4″, 221, Verse isn’t the strongest edge prospect on the market, but he is certainly refined and has some of the best athleticism. Verse also comes with a motor that is only rivaled by the aforementioned Johnson as he routinely brings down ball carriers in backside pursuits.

Tatum Bethune, LB

If you haven’t picked up on the theme here, it’s simple: Transfer athletes should make big waves for FSU in 2022. Tatum Bethune is another one of those transfer athletes as the former UCF LB improves FSU’s linebacking corps tenfold this season. Bethune is a savvy linebacker with a great head on his shoulders. He backs up those smarts with the strength to fight off blockers and speed to run the alley. Bethune picks and chooses his shots carefully, making big play after big play. He’s a perfect fit for breakout linebacker for the 2022 college football season and 2023 NFL Draft.

Kalen DeLoach, LB

A dominant linebacker in space, Kalen DeLoach is a menace for opposing offensive coordinators. DeLoach can crush the point of attack from running backs or drop back in coverage, brilliantly guarding a bevy of receiver types all the same. He’s great at the catch point and rarely allows big plays as he plays almost like a strong safety rather than a middle linebacker.

Amari Gainer, LB

Another do-it-all linebacker, Amari Gainer returns for another season with the Seminoles. Gainer is a dominant run defender, routinely blowing up the point of attack or running the alley with ease. He also has great coverage ability as he’s rarely outmatched against a variety of pass catchers he’s required to cover. Gainer does all this while standing 6’3″ and nearly 240 pounds.

Travis Jay, CB

Long and strong, Travis Jay improved vastly from 2020 to 2021. If that growth continues, expect to hear his name even more this season. Jay is long and strong, topping the charts at 6’2″ but playing even bigger. He loses no speed with his size and has great recovery ability with his short-area burst. Jay also possesses raw special-teams ability, including documented big-time return ability.

Jarrian Jones, CB

Playing his first fully healthy season since transferring from Mississippi State, Jarrian Jones is ready for the big stage in 2022. Gritting his way through a nasty injury last year, Jones gutted his way through a performance that looked good to the layman but was incredibly impressive to those in the know of his injury. Now healthy, Jones is ready for a big year as he has incredible coverage ability and has shown his penchant to be able to stop the run and blow up screen plays. He flies over the field and has terrific technique in all facets.

Renardo Green, DB

The 2021 season lasted just four games for Renardo Green, and 2022 should be seen as a big bounce-back year for him. Green is a versatile coverage defender who can spend his time in the slot or as a free safety. He’s at his best in coverage and comes equipped with special teams skills as well.

Jarques McClellion, DB

The former Arkansas safety certainly started slowly during his time at Florida State, but Jerques McClellion is ready for bigger things. McClellion plays bigger than what he measures and has a bevy of SEC experience as well as nine games in Garnet and Gold under his belt. As this secondary continues to gel, McClellion could see big-time benefits.

Jammie Robinson, S

The big-ticket safety on everyone’s radar this season is none other than Jammie Robinson. Blowing up this past season, his first in Tallahassee after two years with South Carolina, Robinson is a sound defensive back with a near-elite skill set in every facet. Robinson can cover a variety of pass catchers with ease and closes space in zone with the best of them. There isn’t anything Robinson doesn’t do at a near-elite level.

Akeem Dent, S

No stranger to making plays on the ball, Akeem Dent is a free-roaming problem for offensive coordinators to scheme against. He was dominant in 2021 and looking to build off that success into his fourth season in Tallahassee. Dent really turned it on down the stretch, making his first career interception in Week 12 against Boston College. He was far from average prior, but that final four-game stretch was something to behold a season ago. Riding that momentum into this season will go a long way for FSU and Dent’s draft prognosis.

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