After winning the national championship with the aid of the largest comeback in the history of the BCS title game, the Florida State Seminoles are the stars of the college football bowl season. When it comes to evaluating players for the NFL, however, there is no room to lump individuals in with their team.
With all the talent on the field during Florida State's 34-31 win over Auburn on Monday, some time has to be spent reviewing the performances of some of the players who appear headed toward long NFL careers.
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Heading into the title game, third-year sophomore Greg Robinson was headed for the first round of the 2014 NFL draft if he decided to turn pro. He should be a candidate to be the first tackle off the board if he goes pro now.
Robinson proved to be the most physically dominating player on the field on Monday. The 6'5", 320-pound beast moves with a quickness and fluidity that shouldn't be possible for a man his size.
He is punishing in the run game and can get to the second level and make blocks on screen passes. Just watch him motor downfield to make a key block on Tre Mason's touchdown catch in the first quarter. Robinson is No. 78 and picks up Terrence Brooks at the 5-yard line:
Still, these abilities have not been questioned by scouts. Playing in the run-dominated attack at Auburn, Robinson remains raw in pass-blocking. In the title game, however, quarterback Nick Marshall threw the ball 27 times, and Robinson had little difficulty holding his own.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Kelvin Benjamin is awaiting his grade from the draft evaluation board before deciding if he will turn pro. He will likely be projected to go in the second half of the first round. For instance, this mock draft by Walter Football has him going No. 26 to the Cleveland Browns.
Benjamin didn't do anything to change that status on Monday.
The third-year sophomore, who finished the regular season with 957 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, finished the game with four catches for 54 yards.
He didn't do anything worth mentioning until Florida State's final offensive play.
Of course, it was on that two-yard touchdown pass where Benjamin displayed why he is such an exciting prospect:
At 6'5" and 234 pounds, Benjamin is a beast in the red zone. On that touchdown pass, the close coverage by Chris Davis didn't matter due to Benjamin's ability to go up and get the pass. Then, Benjamin's big hands allowed him to hold onto the ball despite Davis' attempt to jar it loose.
Benjamin isn't just a red-zone threat, either. He has solid speed for his size, and he has the ability to get downfield for deep passes.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is not eligible for the NFL draft, which is a shame. If he had the opportunity and desire, the Heisman Trophy winner would undoubtedly be the first overall selection.
Statistically, Winston did not have his best game on Monday. In fact, in terms of quarterback rating, it was his second-worst outing of the season.
Still, his performance drew this comment from head coach Jimbo Fisher, via Mike Anthony of WTRF:
In the NFL, Jameis Winston will be...
For much of the night, it was Winston's worst game of the year. He was unusually inaccurate and was struggling with his reads. He was, however, nearly flawless in crunch time.
Winston, who finished the game by going 20-of-35 for 237 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, went 6-of-7 passing for 77 yards on the game's final drive.
That ability to handle the pressure, even when struggling for most of the game, is invaluable for a quarterback, and it was the one thing Winston had left to prove was part of his arsenal.