Florida State defensive end Cornellius “Tank” Carradine and offensive lineman Menelik Watson added to the Seminoles success in the 2013 NFL Draft going in the first 11 picks of the second round Friday night. Carradine was taken with the 40th pick by the San Francisco 49ers while Watson was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 42nd pick.
“It’s great to see Tank respond back so quickly from his injury,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I think it’s a great pick for the 49ers. Tank was a tremendous player for us, a dominant pass rusher and run stopper that I think will do the same in the NFL. I’m very happy for him and his family. I wish him nothing but the best.”
“This is awesome for Menelik,” Fisher said. “Seeing a guy who’s only played around 20 games of football develop as fast as he has, I think he’s going to have a great future in the NFL. His upside is tremendous. I’m happy for him and think he’s going to be a great addition to the Raiders.”
The five Seminoles to go in the first two rounds and first 42 picks are the most in school history. It’s also the most players chosen from one college in the first 45 picks since Alabama had five selected in the first 35 picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Since 2000, only five schools have had at least five players selected in the first 45 picks. USC accomplished the feat twice in 2006 and 2008, while Miami in 2002 and Michigan in 2001 all had five selections. Miami set the record with six first round selections in the 2004 NFL draft.
The trio of quarterback EJ Manuel (16th, Buffalo Bills), defensive end Bjoern Werner (24th, Indianapolis Colts) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (25th, Minnesota Vikings) gave the Seminoles three first round selections for the first time since the 2006 NFL Draft when four FSU players were taken: Ernie Sims (9th, Detroit Lions), Kamerion Wimbley (13th, Cleveland Browns), Brodrick Bunkley (14th, Philadephia Eagles) and Antonio Cromartie (19th, San Diego Chargers).
Carradine emerged as one of the nation's top defensive ends in 2012 garnering first team All-ACC honors as well as being selected a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award. He was leading the Seminoles in tackles with 80 before suffering a season-ending injury in the regular season finale against Florida. He still finished second on the team in total tackles (47 unassisted, 33 assisted). He recorded at least seven tackles in seven of 12 games and ranked second on the team in both tackles for loss (13.0) and sacks (11.0), as well as posted a team-leading nine quarterback hurries.
Carradine teamed with Werner to form one of the most productive defensive end tandems in the country. He registered a career-high 11 tackles at Virginia Tech, then matched that total against Florida in the regular season finale. He was on the cusp of becoming the first FSU defensive lineman to lead the `Noles in tackles since Reinard Wilson in 1996. He helped Florida State's defense lead the nation in yards allowed per play (3.86), rank second nationally in total defense (254.14 ypg) and rank in the top six nationally in scoring defense (14.71 ppg), rushing defense (92.29 ypg), pass defense (161.86 ypg), pass efficiency defense (95.43) and opponent three-and-outs (6.29 per game). He was selected ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week a league-leading three times.
Watson, a junior college transfer who jumped into the starting lineup at right tackle after arriving in January of 2012, started 12 of 13 games and boasted a season average grade of 76.2 percent. He allowed just one sack all season and registered three knockdowns against both Boston College and Maryland. He was a major contributor to an FSU offense in 2012 which will go down in school history as the most productive ever racking up a school record 6,591 yards which surpassed the 2000 team for the most yards.
Watson was an outstanding blocker who played a key role in FSU's resurgent running game, which averaged 205.9 yards a game and produced a single-season record 40 rushing touchdowns. An athletically-gifted big man from Manchester, Great Britain, Watson played Division I basketball at Marist before transferring to Saddleback (Calif.) College, where he played football for the first time and emerged as one of the nation's top junior college tackles. He was selected as the Top Newcomer on Offense at the team's annual banquet.