Former Florida State safety Derwin James is expected to be a first-round pick and could perhaps go as high as the top 10 in the 2018 NFL Draft. His departure leaves a major hole in a Seminoles defense that already had communication issues late in games.
But great programs like Florida State have a knack for reloading quickly when talent departs. That appears to be happening this offseason at safety for the Seminoles.
Incoming freshman and 5-star safety Jaiden Woodbey has continued “to impress” according to Wayne E. McGahee III of The Tallahassee Democrat. He’s been playing with the first-team defense most of the spring and made a tackle Monday that stood out to the Florida State football beat writer.
“In Oklahoma drills, Woodbey stood wide receiver Keith Gavin up, shed the block, and made the tackle on the running back in one smooth move,” McGahee wrote.
Florida State landed 5-star safety Woodbey in the most unusual way last December. A fan tweeted him a message that he should play for the Seminoles, but Woodbey replied that Florida State never made him an offer. Six hours later, the safety tweeted he had received an offer from the Seminoles, and he signed his letter of intent with Florida State about a week later.
He now may be the key to the Seminoles defense improving off last season’s disappointment. Florida State finished 2017 ranked third in the ACC in yards allowed, but the unit wasn’t elite. They were outside the top four in the conference in sacks and defensive third-down conversion percentage.
The Seminoles also recorded just 15 takeaways, which was third-fewest in the ACC.