April 26, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State defensive players Bjoern Werner and Xavier Rhodes joined quarterback EJ Manuel as first round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. Werner was taken with the 24th pick by the Indianapolis Colts while Xavier Rhodes was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 25th pick.
“Bjoern is one of the great players in Florida State history and one of the most instinctive players that’s ever been around,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He’s going to be a great professional player. He’s another great ambassador for this university. He stands for all the right things, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”
“I’m extremely happy for Xavier,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He made the sacrifice of switching from receiver to corner and will go on to have a tremendous career in the NFL. He was a staple on our defense, really anchoring down that boundary corner spot for such a long time which was a key position for us. He too is another great young man and great representative for Florida State.”
The trio of Manuel, Werner and Rhodes 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). Florida State now has 39 first round picks all-time and 35 since 1984.
A unanimous All-American, Werner was one of the most versatile and disruptive defensive ends in the nation in helping 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 ranked third in total sacks (13.0) in the NCAA and first in the ACC while also ranking 14th in the NCAA in sacks per game. He led the nation in yards accumulated on tackles behind the line of scrimmage (134). Only one player in FSU history recorded more sacks in their first three seasons than Werner and that was Peter Boulware. After just two years of high school football in the U.S., Werner amassed 35 TFL, 23.5 sacks, 18 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in three seasons in Tallahassee. He moved into the top 10 all-time at FSU for TFL in just 27 career starts and now ranks fourth all-time at FSU for TFL recorded in the first three seasons of a career.
Werner was one of only two defensive linemen in the NCAA to have eight or more pass break-ups…posted 42 tackles (30 unassisted), 18.0 tackles for loss which ranked second in the ACC, 13.0 sacks, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He played arguably the best game of his stellar FSU career recording 3.5 sacks, a career-high tying six tackles and a fumble recovery for nine yards versus No. 4 Florida in the regular season finale. He was named the most valuable player on defense for the second straight year at the team’s annual banquet.
Rhodes was one of the top cover corners in the country. An All-ACC first team selection, he was the only player from the ACC to be named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award. He started all 14 games at corner in 2012 and started 38 of 43 games in the secondary in his distinguished FSU career. He had 10 passes defended 10 in 2012 and his three interceptions tied for 8th in the ACC. Rhodes also added seven pass break-ups which tied for third on the team. He recorded 39 tackles (27 unassisted) and 2.0 tackles for loss. He posted his third interception and eighth career pick came in the ACC Championship Game versus Georgia Tech.
His two other picks came against Murray State and at USF and he forced and recovered a fumble in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois. Rhodes anchored an FSU secondary that held nine of the top 10 receivers in the ACC at the time they faced them to a combined 22 catches for 244 yards. In the last 12 games of the 2012 season, he was targeted 47 times and allowed just 13 completions for 88 yards with two interceptions and seven pass break-ups. 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).