Jermaine Johnson is widely expected to be taken among the top 10 or 15 picks in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft. He would be the highest Seminole drafted since Jalen Ramsey went No. 5 overall to the Jaguars in 2016.
After Johnson, it could be a long wait for a Florida State player to hear his name called. It will likely skip well past Friday (rounds 2-3) and into the latter rounds Saturday (rounds 4-7). The two prospects who are most likely to be taken in the middle to late rounds are defensive lineman Keir Thomas and running back Jashaun Corbin.
Thomas “tweaked” his hamstring on FSU’s Pro Day while running the 40, his agent, Yossi Behar told the Osceola this week. That has not allowed Thomas to hold personal workouts with NFL teams.
“After the 40, his workout concluded shortly, which sucks because he’s got great feet,” Behar said. “So he wasn’t able to do the shuttle or the three-cone (drill). He’s a technician on the position work. He’s had a handful of zooms with position coaches and teams. We’ve been speaking to a lot of teams.”
Thomas had 42 tackles and 6.5 sacks at FSU in 2021, nearly surpassing his sack totals from his South Carolina career (2016-18 and 2020). He has battled injuries throughout college, including an ankle injury that became infected in 2019 and forced him to take a redshirt season.
What’s also hurting his draft prospects is that Thomas was not invited to the NFL Combine, so he really had minimal on-field time in front of scouts. Behar and his agency, Goal Line Football — which also represents a number of NFL head coaches, assistant coaches and front office personnel — will lead to Thomas getting a look late on Saturday or as an undrafted free agent.
“He’s got pass-rush ability,” Behar said. “He can defend the run. He can play a 3-4, 4-3, outside backer, d-end. You can kind of move him across the board.”
Corbin’s outlook is tough to pinpoint as running backs typically aren’t valued highly historically by NFL teams. One projection by TheAthletic.com’s Dane Brugler has Corbin as the No. 26 running back in the draft, grading him as a free agent. But Brugler also lists 23 tailbacks who he projects could go between the third and seventh rounds.
What Corbin showed is his speed and understanding of angles, rushing for 887 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. He also had the opportunity to participate in the NFL Combine as well as the East-West Shrine Game.
“I’ve met with eight or nine teams,” Corbin told Pro Football Network on April 20. “It’s been great interacting with them. I’ve talked to the running back coach and offensive coordinator when teams hit me up. It’s been great. All positive feedback.”
Johnson is viewed as the ninth-best player on the board by the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who spent time in three front offices as a scout.
Quarterbacks in the top 10
Whether you’ve listened to NFL analysts on TV or podcasts, or skimmed the mock drafts, a clear storyline is the unpredictability of this year’s draft. There’s a growing consensus that one may not be taken in the first 10 picks, although the Carolina Panthers have a significant need for quarterback at No. 6.
If no QB goes in the top 10 it would be unusual — one has been selected in the top 10 in each draft since 2014. The last year it didn’t happen? In 2013, when FSU’s EJ Manuel was picked No. 16 by Buffalo.