With top-caliber talent flowing in like a lazy river in central Texas, it’s no surprise that Florida State has sent 192 of its Seminoles off to a destiny with draft day.
What’s tough about pinpointing Florida State’s draft busts is that it has quite a few first-round picks do just “OK” in the NFL.
While it’s tempting to list all these guys here, and there are quite a few, we’ll just include the draftees who truly busted epically, as opposed to those who just disappointed us.
Ernie Smith, LB
Perhaps it’s a bit early to call Ernie Smith a total “bust,” but he’s a guy who went No. 9 overall in the 2006 draft and still hasn’t found his way in the NFL.
Despite not ever completely living up to his hype as a collegian (with the possible exception of his junior year in 2005), the draft gods saw fit to push Smith up the charts to No. 9 where Detroit grabbed him in 2006.
Smith spent 2006 through 2009 at Detroit, moved to Philly in 2010, Indy in 2011 and has been in Dallas since 2012.
In all he’s started 81 games, recorded one INT, forced five fumbles and registered 388 tackles.
Again, this is the No. 9 overall pick from 2006 and he’s making the league minimum in Dallas, trying to hang on to a roster spot.
Travis Johnson, DT
The story of Travis Johnson is one shared by a handful of Seminoles who went later in the first round of the draft in the 2000s and who went on to play a few uninspired seasons in the NFL only fade into the background without much fanfare.
Though this is fairly common these guys were, at the end of the day, still first-round draft picks who you could have expected more from.
Johnson played DT for the Seminoles from 2002 through 2004 and really it was his senior season where he shined with 50 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks.
This and his inherent athletic gifts were enough for the Houston Texans to select him No. 16 overall in the 2005 draft.
Johnson started 38 times in Houston from 2005 to 2008 recording 80 tackles, two sacks and seven pass deflections.
His career came to an end two years later, in 2010, in San Diego.
Derrick Gibson, DB
Even though Derrick Gibson didn’t go until No. 28 in the 2001 draft, his performance in the NFL still has to be considered a bust relative to his high rating coming into the league.
Gibson played safety at Florida State from 1997 through 2000 and finished his career with seven INTs and 214 tackles, giving the pros hope that he could transfer his success up a level.
Ultimately Gibson was selected late in the first round in 2001 by the Oakland Raiders, where he spent all five of his unmemorable NFL seasons.
The stats don’t lie; 32 starts, three INTs and 156 tackles.
Jamal Reynolds, DE
Another bust from Florida State in the 2001 draft, DE Jamal Reynolds’ bust-ability makes Derrick Gibson’s pick look fairly fruitful.
Reynolds played DE at Florida State from 1997 through 2000 and enjoyed a senior season that included unanimous All-American honors and the Lombardi Award.
Reynolds was selected as the No. 10 overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2001 draft and lasted only three forgettable seasons in the NFL.
Many folks consider Jamal Reynolds to be one of the biggest draft busts in the history of the game.
Andre Wadsworth, DE
Another epic bust at DE from Florida State, Andre Wadsworth at least had injury woes in the NFL to explain why his beast status in college didn’t quite transfer over in the pros.
Wadsworth played both DT and DE for the Seminoles from 1994 through 1997 and was named a consensus All-American as a senior DE in 1997.
This propelled him all the way to the No. 3 overall spot in the 1998 draft where he was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals.
Wadsworth ultimately lasted three seasons in the NFL, all at Arizona, starting 30 games and contributing one INT, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and 72 tackles.
Reinard Wilson, DE
Reinard Wilson was a stud DE at Florida State who failed to make a transition to LB in the pros.
Wilson played for the ‘Noles from 1993 to 1996 and his 13 sacks as a senior was enough to earn him consensus All-American honors in 1996.
Wilson was selected by Cincinnati as the No. 14 overall pick in the 1997 draft and switched to LB where he made 23 starts from 1997 to 2002.
Though Wilson registered 24 sacks and 129 tackles in his NFL career, from a big-picture perspective, he was a big-time draft pick that just didn’t pan out.
Sammie Smith, RB
For those of you hungry for an offensive player from Florida State that busted in the draft, here’s Sammie Smith, who played RB for the ‘Noles from 1985 through 1988.
Though Smith rushed for 1,230 yards as a junior in 1987, overall his numbers at FSU weren’t jaw-dropping (2,539 career yards), making his No. 9 selection in the 1989 draft curious in retrospect.
But, Smith went at No. 9 to Miami in ’89 and went on to bust to the tune of four seasons (one with Denver) for 1,881 yards and 15 TDs.
Not exactly No. 9 overall stats.