FSU's Heisman winner is pleased to go to Carolina, where QB depth is a problem.
By BRIAN LANDMAN and PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 23, 2001
TAMPA -- Florida State's Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Chris Weinke, had heard he might go as early as the second round, so he admitted to being a bit surprised and disappointed that the call didn't come until Sunday's fourth round.
But that doesn't mean he's not happy about where he's heading.
The Panthers chose him with the 106th pick, the fifth quarterback taken and the first of three taken in the fourth round (Iowa State's Sage Rosenfels to the Redskins at No. 109, Florida's Jesse Palmer to the Giants at No. 125).
"I wanted to go to a place where I fit into the offense and had a chance to play and Carolina gives me that," said Weinke, 28.
The Panthers recently released Steve Beuerlein and don't exactly have a stellar lineup of quarterbacks. Jeff Lewis is penciled in as the starter, followed by Dameyune Craig.
"I felt I came back for my senior year and improved," said Weinke, who considered leaving after leading FSU to the 1999 national title but was told by scouts he might not be picked. Told he needed to show more mobility and touch, the 6-foot-5 Weinke slimmed down from 250 to about 230 and worked on his short game.
"I think I did everything they asked me to do, so that's the disappointing part that I didn't go the first day. But there's a perfect opportunity in Carolina; maybe better than if I went on the first day."
Unlike Weinke, Palmer will have time to develop as a backup to Kerry Collins. Palmer, 22, was considered a marginal draft prospect at the end of the season, but strong performances in workouts and all-star games, and a high score on the Wonderlic test (32) boosted the 6-2, 225-pound quarterback's rating.
After Saturday's 14 picks from Florida State, Miami and Florida, it was a quiet second day for the state's Big Three.
Florida State had the most total draftees among state schools with nine. The phone didn't ring, however, for several Seminoles, including tackle Tarlos Thomas and running back Jeff Chaney. Seven Seminoles were taken Saturday but only Weinke and offensive tackle Char-ron Dorsey (seventh round, Dallas Cowboys) were chosen Sunday.
Miami led the nation with four first-round picks, but the Hurricanes had just three other players drafted, two Sunday. Cornerback Leonard Myers was the final pick of the sixth round by the Patriots, and wide receiver Andre King was second-to-last overall, No. 245, by the Browns.
Florida's two picks Saturday were first-rounders, but just two other Gators were chosen, Palmer and John Capel (seventh round, Bears). Capel, a 5-11, 180-pound wide receiver from Brooksville, was one of the draft's most intriguing players. The 22-year-old Olympic 200-meter runner did not play last season. He played sparingly his first two seasons at Florida. But he ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.35) at this year's NFL combine.
Players from Florida who were selected.
(Pick, player, team, HT, WT, Pos., School)
3. Gerard Warren, Browns, 6-3, 325, DT, Florida
10. Jamal Reynolds, Packers, 6-3, 267, DE, Florida State
11. Dan Morgan, Panthers, 6-2, 242, LB, Miami
12. Damione Lewis, Rams, 6-2, 290, DT, Miami
14. Kenyatta Walker, Bucs, 6-5, 311, T, Florida
16. Santana Moss, Jets, 5-9, 185, WR, Miami
28. Derrick Gibson, Raiders, 6-1, 218, DB, Florida State
29. Ryan Pickett, Rams, 6-2, 309, DT, Ohio St. (Zephyrhills High)
30. Reggie Wayne, Colts, 5-11, 193, WR, Miami
42. Tommy Polley, Rams, 6-3, 235, LB, Florida State
65. James Jackson, Browns, 5-10, 210, RB, Miami
67. Tay Cody, Chargers, 5-9, 175, CB, Florida State
77. Marvin Minnis, Chiefs, 6-0, 174, WR, Florida State
83. Brian Allen, Rams, 6-0, 250, LB, Florida State
85. Travis Minor, Dolphins, 5-10, 195, RB, Florida State
96. Kenyatta Jones, Patriots, 6-3, 310, G, South Florida
97. Anthony Henry, Browns, 6-0, 205, DB, South Florida
98. Bill Gramatica, Cardinals, 5-10, 180, K, South Florida
106. Chris Weinke, Panthers, 6-4, 226, QB, Florida State
125. Jesse Palmer, Giants, 6-2, 227, QB, Florida
200. Leonard Myers, Patriots, 5-10, 186, DB, Miami
208. John Capel, Bears, 5-10, 177, WR, Florida
242. Char-ron Dorsey, Cowboys, 6-6, 348, T, Florida State
245. Andre King, Browns, 5-11, 195, WR, Miami