Auburn vs. FSU: Most Exciting NFL Draft Prospects to Watch for

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 6, 2014

Nov 23, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) warms up before the game against the Idaho Vandals at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The BCS National Championship Game between the Florida State Seminoles and Auburn Tigers is bound to be an exciting one, and with two top-tier teams going head-to-head, there are a number of NFL prospects to keep an eye out for.

The Tigers come into the game with the top rushing attack in the country, averaging an incredible 335.7 yards per game on the ground.  But the Seminoles have Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston on their side, along with a team that led the country in both points for and against with an averaging margin of victory of 42.3 points.

With the two top teams in the country playing, NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on a few key names, so let's take a look at a couple of players from each team to watch for in the national championship.



Greg Robinson, OT

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Trovon Reed (1) and Auburn Tigers offensive linesman Greg Robinson (73) celebrate after the 2013 SEC Championship game against the Missouri Tigers at Georgia Dome. The Auburn Tigers defeated the M
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the second consecutive draft filled with a ton of talent at the offensive tackle position.  While many have been projected to be first-round selections for most of the season, Auburn's Greg Robinson has been quickly shooting up draft boards with his play in 2013.

The hype on him has been real as of late.  According to Bob McGinn from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, one NFL scout had this to say about Robinson:

He's a stud left tackle. You're talking about a ton of athleticism, size, strength. He's not getting a lot of attention because people don't realize he's a redshirt. Not quite sure why (Gene) Chizik redshirted him. I think that was a big mistake. He's in the top 10, 15 easy if he comes out.

When watching Robinson play, it's hard to argue with the scout.  At 6'5'' and 305 pounds, he's a monster on the offensive line.  He's been a valuable asset in the running game, but his quick feet and aggressiveness have also helped him out quite well in pass protection.

With all of the hype on him right now, it's hard not to see Robinson taken in the first round in May.


Tre Mason, RB

When you're the starting running back for the nation's top rushing team, NFL scouts are going to start to take notice.

As a Heisman finalist, Mason finished the year with 1,621 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on 283 carries, averaging an impressive 5.7 yards per attempt.  While the offensive game plan the Tigers use gives Mason plenty of opportunities to make big plays, he's still been a very solid player to watch.

While he's not the tallest running back at 5'10'', Mason has a strong lower body that helps him push forward for extra yards.  He's a smart runner that explodes through open holes when he sees them. While Mason isn't the fastest running back in the country, he's a strong one-cut runner that could be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth round.


Florida State

Christian Jones, ILB

September 29, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles linebacker Christian Jones (7) reacts after he scored a touchdown on a fumble against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Florida State Seminoles defeated the
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It seemed like all of the defensive talent at Florida State already went to the NFL last year after players like Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine and Xavier Rhodes decided to go pro.  But there are still a few intriguing prospects on that side of the ball for the Seminoles, including inside linebacker Christian Jones.

Jones finished with 49 total tackles, including 7.5 for loss and two sacks on the year.  The numbers may not seem that impressive, but his impact on the top defense in the league went beyond the box score.

When watching Jones, you quickly notice how athletic of a linebacker he is.  He does a surprisingly good job in pass coverage while possessing the speed to chase down ball-carriers.  

Jones has good length and can take the proper angle on tackles, and while sometimes he plays too high, it appears that the senior linebacker is ready to play at the next level, and a team should pick him up somewhere in the second or third round.


Kelvin Benjamin, WR

There are a ton of talented wide receivers entering the NFL draft this year, but one that has a chance to help his draft stock in a big way is Kelvin Benjamin.

With 50 receptions for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns, Benjamin has been one of Winston's favorite targets this year, especially near the goal line.  He's completely exploded recently, putting up 392 yards and seven touchdowns over the past three games while scoring in each of the last five.

At 6'5'' and 234 pounds, Benjamin is a tough and physical receiver, using his size to position himself to make catches in traffic.  With some long arms, he's capable of reaching up to snatch jump balls out of the air.  He'll have to work on being a more consistent pass-catcher, but Benjamin's size and athleticism will make him an appealing target for teams looking for a red-zone threat on the second day of the draft.