FREDDIE STEVENSON, FB FLORIDA STATE 6’0″, 234 pounds
Freddie Stevenson will sign a free-agent deal with the Chicago Bears after going unselected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
A one-time four-star recruit as a linebacker, Freddie Stevenson was one of the main blockers for Dalvin Cook’s record-setting seasons at Florida State. Now joining the Bears, it will be interesting to see whether Stevenson will remain at fullback or, potentially, get snaps at an NFL training camp as a linebacker.
Stevenson can block well and was a vital piece of Florida State’s rushing game. Last year, the Seminoles had Stevenson rush the ball more than he had in the past, making him an interesting option as a blocker and a rusher. Using Stevenson in the passing game, however, may not be the right choice yet as he needs more catching reps.
4.75 40-yard dash
24 reps on the bench press
28-inch vertical jump
111-inch broad jump
7.65 seconds in the three-cone drill
4.45 seconds in the 20-yard shuffle.
The expert says:
“Stevenson possesses an aggressive field demeanor and a good radar to land strikes in space. He lacks third-down value, but can grind it out as a short-yardage ball carrier. There will be a very limited amount of teams interested in a fullback this season, but Stevenson has enough ability to make a roster if he gets a shot.” — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
With 17 returning starters, Florida State has few holes to fill after losing an interior defensive lineman, two linebackers and two defensive backs.
But Jimbo Fisher has the program in a position where it’s always thinking a year (or two) ahead in its development and able to anticipate the losses, whether two players are drafted (2016) or 11 (2015).
FSU will be in the top five of most preseason polls which means the talent is not lacking. We take a look at that talent from a positional standpoint and rank those units from deepest to weakest.
1. Secondary: Even after losing the fifth overall pick in the draft (Jalen Ramsey), this position is loaded with future NFL players. We start with the most talented player on defense, sophomore Derwin James, who is garnering All-American talk after forging his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman. James showed his athletic ability after taking over at strong safety. He did make freshman mistakes in 2015, especially in games against Georgia Tech and Houston, but he is poised for a breakout season. The group will receive a big boost with the return of Trey Marshall from injury at the nickel, and safety Nate Andrews is back for a fourth year. The only big question mark is who replaces Ramsey opposite cornerback Marquez White. Tarvarus McFadden appears to have the edge. What also separates the secondary is the depth. A lot of programs would like to have talents like Calvin Brewton, Marcus Lewis, A.J. Westbrook and newcomer Levonta Taylor playing every down.
2. Defensive line: This unit shot to the top when DE DeMarcus Walker decided to forgo the draft and return for his senior season. Walker and sophomore Josh Sweat give FSU one of the top end tandems in the country. And the interior isn’t bad either with junior Derrick Nnadi returning after his first year as a starter and Demarcus Christmas ready to replace Nile Lawrence-Stample. Jacob Pugh and Fred Jones provide the primary depth but the position has been hurt by attrition and needs a few more bodies.
3. Running back: One player makes this one of the top units on the team (and in the country) but what keeps it from coming in any higher is the uncertainty behind Dalvin Cook. Cook returns after a record-breaking season and seventh place finish in the Heisman voting and the fullback spot is secure with Freddie Stevenson. But what cannot be totally discounted are the nagging injuries that limited Cook last season and what kind of production FSU will get behind Cook. Jacques Patrick showed flashes as a freshman last season and had a great game against Syracuse when Cook was held out because of an ankle injury. Still, at times he was underwhelming. Ryan Green had a solid spring but the running back turned cornerback turned running back has carried the ball six times in the last two years.
4. Receivers/tight end: The numbers – three receivers with at least 57 catches – are impressive but all agree even more was expected. They all return and the 2014 and 2015 stacked recruiting classes are a year older. The position received a huge boost in the spring with the emergence of Auden Tate. I believe he could become the big (as in 6-5) receiver FSU has lacked since Kelvin Benjamin left. Then there was the maturity and improvement Travis Rudolph showed in the spring. All it will take is one or two more of the young players to emerge to go along with veterans Rudolph, Jesus Wilson and Kermit Whitfield and they could be a dynamite group. As for tight end, Ryan Izzo proved more than capable last year and this, too, is a diverse, deep group.
5. Offensive line: Perhaps the biggest mystery on the team. At times the line was solid last season and at times it looked lost. No question the talent is there and, in fact, some of that talent is in the extraordinary depth this group possesses with 20 offensive linemen on scholarship. But beyond LT Rod Johnson (an All-American candidate and projected first round pick in early mock drafts) a lot has to come together. Coaches are confident LG Kareem Are, C Alec Eberle, RG Wilson Bell and RT Brock Ruble will jell. And the likelihood is they do. But I still need to see it. More than any other position, I believe the offensive line will determine whether Florida State is a true title contender this year.
6. Quarterback: Two years of Jameis Winston seems so far removed. This position remains somewhat of a mystery – and as always will be scrutinized more than any other during camp – for two reasons: The known (senior Sean Maguire) and the unknown (freshman Deondre Francois). Maguire is capable. He was solid, not spectacular after Everett Golson imploded last year and he does deserve a break for his Peach Bowl performance after playing more than two quarters on a broken ankle. But can he lead FSU to the ACC title and playoffs? That answer varies depending on who you are asking. Francois has all the potential and tools but he has yet to take a snap in a college game. Obviously, this position is hugely important and it could turn out to be a strength or a weakness.
7. Linebackers: The Seminoles lost both their starters, although neither was drafted, but still are confident that juniors Ro’Derrick Hoskins and Matthew Thomas will seamlessly step in. Hoskins is more certain after being a key contributor last year with Reggie Northrup limited early from offseason knee surgery and Terrance Smith missing four games later because of an ankle injury. Thomas is not as reliable only because of a checkered history that last limited him to 12 games since signing in 2013 because of suspensions. The position has had depth issues in the past but coaches hope Josh Brown and Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane will solve that this season.
Linebacker Terrance Smith is the lone starter from the title game who has a chance to be drafted. Smith is projected as either a late-round pick in today’s final day of the draft or, more likely, an undrafted free agent.
Defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample did not start but was in the rotation. He is projected to go anywhere from the fifth to seventh round today.
Three others who played in the game – Kermit Whitfield, Marquez White and Nate Andrews – have one year remaining in their college careers.
Aguayo and Jalen Ramsey (taken fifth overall Thursday by Jacksonville) closed out the players from that game selected in the first or second rounds. They join first rounders Kelvin Benjamin, Jameis Winston and Cam Erving; along with second rounders Lamarcus Joyner, Timmy Jernigan, Eddie Goldman, Mario Edwards and Ronald Darby.
Others drafted: Terrence Brooks (3), P.J. Williams (3), Devonta Freeman (4), Bryan Stork (4), Tre Jackson (4), Telvin Smith (5), Karlos Williams (5), Rashad Greene (5), Nick O’Leary (6), Bobby Hart (7).
Seven others have signed as undrafted free agents.
DE DeMarcus Walker, FB Freddie Stevenson, RB Ryan Green were backups who did not play in the title game.