Florida State expects this contest to be a stepping stone to the national title game.  On the other hand Duke, one of the best stories in college football this season, is happy to be in this contest.  We hope for a good game but as everyone knows, the scales are tilted in Florida State’s favor.

Cameron Erving/T/Florida State: Erving is the latest edition of top offensive tackle talent being developed in Tallahassee.  The former defensive lineman has taken well to his new position, displaying terrific fundamentals and blocking prowess.  He’s a strong lineman with a high upside yet Erving is still rough around the edges and needs a lot of work on his game.  2nd Round

Timmy Jernigan/DT/Florida State: Like Erving, Jernigan shows a lot of inconsistency in his game but for all the wrong reasons.  Jernigan is a gifted athlete on the defensive line with the ability to impact games as a pass rusher, run stuffer or chasing the action in pursuit.  He also comes with great upside like his teammate but Jernigan’s inability to elevate his game, in part due to a switch of positions, and consistently play at a high level has scouts concerned.   If Jernigan is put in the proper system and meets his upper most potential, he’ll be dominant in the NFL. 2nd Round

Lamarcus Joyner/DB/Florida State: If Timmy Jernigan is not meeting expectations then Joyner has exceeded them.  A short (5-feet, 8.5-inch) defensive back with marginal (4.54s) speed, Joyner constantly makes plays on the ball against the run and pass.  He’s a hard charging defender who sacrifices his body to make plays but poor measurables will push him down draft boards and limit the types of schemes he can play at the next level.  3rd Round

Christian Jones/OLB/Florida State: The Seminoles highest rated senior prospect entering the season, Jones offers potential as a three down defender in the NFL.  The athletic linebacker has the skill set to play in a variety of defensive systems and the speed to make plays out to the flanks or down the field in coverage.  Its just a matter of Jones elevating his game and consistently playing at a high level.  3rd Round

Kelvin Benjamin/WR/Florida State: Benjamin is in the midst of a breakout season as the redshirt sophomore has displayed game breaking skills as well as the ability to be a lethal red-zone threat.  He’s a big bodied pass catcher with better than average game speed and a developing game.  As we reported during our December 3rd podcast, Benjamin is seriously considering leaving for the draft.  And though he could end up as a top 45 pick, I find it hard to rate a player that high at this point with so much unknown about him.  3rd Round

Telvin Smith/LB/Florida State: Smith is a lot like Joyner; he lacks classic NFL measurables yet does nothing but positively impact games.  The Seminoles leading tackler, Smith flies around the field, pursuing the action with speed sideline-to-sideline.  He’s a chase and run linebacker with an explosive style.  Built more like a safety, Smith is likely to be exposed by NFL tight ends on Sunday’s.  4th Round

James Wilder Jr./RB/Florida State: Once upon a time Wilder looked like a big time running back prospect yet he’s struggled to improve on the field and presently shares the ball carrying duties at FSU.  Wilder is a nice sized back who shows some wiggle in his running and the ability to run around or through defenders.  In 2013 he looked solid, yet not exceptional in any area.  Wilder is in a precarious situation; if he returns to FSU he’ll be a situational player supporting star talent.  Yet if he opts for the NFL, as is rumored, Wilder is unlikely to be selected prior to the draft’s last day.  4th Round