With the regular season now behind us, we will take a look at each position group over the next few weeks and discuss what went right, as well as what went wrong. Today, we discuss the defensive ends.
Bjoern Werner sacks Florida's Jeff Driskel.
The good: Even despite losing Brandon Jenkins for the season, FSU’s defensive ends still proved to be perhaps the most talented and productive unit on the Seminoles’ highly touted defense. Bjoern Werner played his way into possibly being a top five pick in the 2013 NFL draft and Tank Carradine opened eyes across the nation.
True freshman Mario Edwards, one of the top prospects in the entire nation in 2012, also stepped up and showed flashes of what fans can expect from him over the next few years. Edwards now finds himself starting on the other side of Werner after Carradine went down with an ACL injury against Florida.
The bad: When speaking negative of FSU’s defensive ends in 2012, a majority of the discussion centers around the unfortunate injuries of Jenkins and Carradine. Other than that, it’s pretty difficult to find areas where the unit performed poorly this year.
You could argue that redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry was somewhat of a disappointment, after seeming to build momentum to be a significant contributor in 2012. Newberry ended up playing in 11 games and amounting just 12 tackles.
Surprises: As far as surprises go, this unit didn’t produce many in 2012. Carradine may have been a surprise nationally, but FSU fans were well aware of what the senior was capable of after the 2011 campaign.
If we had to pick a surprise, it has to be the play of Toshmon Stevens. Though he only racked up 12 tackles on the season, Stevens still filled in nicely when Jenkins was lost and ended up playing in every game of the year.
Recruiting name to know: Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab four-star defensive end Tim Williams remains a top target for the Seminoles at defensive end. The Top247 defensive end remains uncommitted and is expected to visit Florida State, Miami, and others in January. He is a long, wiry speed rush defensive end who does a great job rushing the passer.
2013 outlook: With Jenkins declaring for the NFL draft, Werner likely being a top five pick and after losing Carradine to graduation, it’s safe to say that the Seminoles’ defensive ends will have a completely different look in 2013.
And it’s also safe to expect a drop off in production.
However, with Edwards showing promise this past year and with the talented and physically gifted Chris Casher waiting for his shot after redshirting, this unit undoubtedly has plenty of potential to rebuild successfully and reattain elite status down the road.
Plus, Newberry will still just be a redshirt sophomore and perhaps needed a year under his belt to gain some confidence and understand the speed at the collegiate level. Also, there’s still Dan Hicks left to be considered, as there is a chance he could be moved back to defensive end from tight end when looking at FSU’s depth.
Either way, there’s no doubting that the defensive ends will not be the elite force in 2013 that they were in 2012. However, it will be interesting to see how things work out and to watch who emerges as the leading producers.