Trey Benson running the 40 at the NFL combine

FSU players put on a show at the 2024 NFL Combine

It’s been quite the up-and-down offseason for the Florida State program. December, outside of winning the ACC championship, was downright terrible. However, if there is any shred of retribution for Seminole faithful, it has come in the events since the historic CFP snub.

After the national talking heads and CFP committee seemingly told FSU they were a one-man team, FSU players have repeatedly proved them wrong. From the Senior and Shrine Bowl performances to the NFL combine, it’s been a showcase of the talent on the 2023 team… as in the whole team. These performances leave little doubt in the minds of FSU fans whether they would have been a title contender had they been given the chance.

Last week’s performance at the NFL Combine was another testament to FSU having one of, if not the best strength and conditioning staff in college football. “Built by Storms” is a legitimate thing. We’ve seen this play out on the field when FSU pushed other teams around in the second half. We’ve heard incoming transfers talk about how the ‘Tour of Duty” is one of the most challenging physical tests they’ve been through. And now FSU players showing out at the combine is another feather in Coach Storms’s and his staff’s cap.

While Florida State had standouts in multiple categories, it was the speed that stole the show. FSU’s nine players with a sub-4.8 40-yard dash were the most at the NFL Combine, and Florida State’s 6 players with a top-5 40 time at their position were the most of any program. For comparison’s sake, how impressive was the team speed for FSU? Jared Verse, at 6-foot-4 254 pounds, ran a faster time than both of Miami’s safeties in attendance! FSU had 8 other players clock a faster time as well.

A handful of the attendees from FSU gave their draft stock a legitimate boost. Let’s look at some of the performances that stood out.

Braden Fiske

Braden Fiske might have had the best postseason performance in all of college football. After a dominant Senior Bowl performance, he backed it up with another attention-grabbing performance at the combine.

In his position group, which consisted of some big names, Fiske finished first in the 40-yard dash (4.78), vertical jump (33.5″), broad jump (9′ 9″), and the shuttle drill (4.37). He also finished Top 5 in bench press with 26 reps.

According to the Relative Athletic Scoring System (RAS), Fiske received a score of 9.92 out of 10, which ranks 14th out of 1,620 defensive tackles tested from 1987-2024. That’s pretty dadgum impressive, especially for a guy who was a three-star prospect in high school and transferred in from a program like Western Michigan. The only knock he’s had has been with some of the measurables. However, with a RAS comparison player of Aaron Donald, Fiske is in some elite company.

NFL draft buzz projects Fiske to be a late second-round pick. He’s listed as their 50th best player in the 2024 draft with an overall score of 86/100. There’s no doubt that Braden Fiske has earned himself some money this offseason.

Jared Verse

Jared Verse didn’t have a lot to prove at the combine after two dominant seasons at FSU, but his solid performance certainly didn’t hurt. In his position group, he finished fourth in the 40-yard dash (4.58), tied for second in the broad jump (10′ 7″), third in the shuttle drill (4.44), and first in bench press with 31 reps.

His RAS score of 9.53/10 puts him ranked 78th out of 1,637 defensive ends scored since 1987. According to draft analysts, Verse also gets a knock on some of the measurables. Still, there’s no questioning his on-field performance and combine results.

According to NFL Draft Buzz, Verse projects as a mid-first-round pick and is rated as the eleventh overall prospect and number two defensive end in the 2024 draft.

Jarrian Jones

After a breakout season in 2024, Jarrian Jones has also made noise in the postseason. He flashed in Shrine Bowl prep and backed it up with a solid performance at the combine.

Jones ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash time which was tied for top 5 among corner backs. He was also tied for top 5 in the vertical jump. Jarrian had a RAS score of 9.87/10 placing him at 30th out of 2,222 cornerbacks scored since 1987. Jarrian holds an 81.2/100 prospect grade from NFL Draft Buzz and is projected as a fifth-round pick.

Other Notable highlights

Trey Benson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, which ranked 3rd in the running back group. For a guy who is 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 216 pounds, that’s moving! Benson was also the only college football player in 2023 to be clocked at over 21 mph on three separate occasions. Trey received a RAS score of 9.77/10 (41st / 1,765) and is projected as a third-round pick as the number 5 running back in the draft.

Johnny Wilson had the largest wingspan ever recorded at the combine! He had a solid 40-yard dash time of 4.52, which is impressive for a guy of his size. Wilson received a RAS score of 9.88/10 (39th / 3,090) and is projected as a fourth-round pick.

Keon Coleman did not have the best 40-yard dash time at 4.62 but he put up impressive mph numbers in the gauntlet drill. While 40 times are fun to talk about, that’s track speed and involves a lot of various factors. Keon has exhibited impressive game speed, which is what matters most. Coleman received a RAS score of 9.23 (238th / 3,063) and is projected as a late second-round pick.

Kalen Deloach was another player who had a solid combine performance. His measurables are his biggest obstacle, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in athletic ability and football IQ. Kalen’s 4.47 forty time was second among the linebacker group. His 5.92 RAS score (1,083/2,649) was heavily impacted by measurables. He’s currently projected to go as a UDFA, so someone will likely get a steal of a player.

Jaheim Bell had a solid combine performance finishing top 3 in forty time and broad jump. Bell is not your typical tight end, so he gets dinged heavily in the measurables department. However, because of his athletic ability, he still received a RAS score of 8.5 (167/1,105) and is projected as a fifth-round pick.

Final Thoughts

The Noles had 12 players invited to the NFL Combine, which was the third highest of any school in 2024. It’s worth noting that not all players participated in every drill. However, FSU made plenty of headlines in this year’s combine and will hopefully do the same in the upcoming draft.

Florida State could potentially have double-digit draft picks, which would be the first that’s happened time since 2015. This not only speaks to the increasing level of talent on the roster in Tallahassee but also the strong development of players by the staff at FSU. The 2024 NFL draft begins April 25th, and we can’t wait to see where all the former Seminoles get taken. Thanks for reading and Go Noles!!

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