After a record-low six players taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, the FCS could make up for it in 2021, especially in the early rounds.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report released his Nov. 4 mock draft and has three FCS players getting selected in the first round — NDSU quarterback Trey Lance, NDSU offensive tackle Dillon Radunz and Northern Iowa offensive tackle Spencer Brown.
The FCS/Division 1-AA has never had three players taken in the opening round.
The last time an FCS program had two players picked in the first round was Jackson State in 2000 (WR Sylvester Morris and DB Rashard Anderson). The last time the subdivision had multiple players selected in the first round was 2008 (Tennessee State DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Delaware QB Joe Flacco).
Miller has Lance going No. 7 to Washington, saying “He’s athletic, has NFL arm talent and is a big-time playmaker. And while Lance does need time to acclimate to the speed of a pro game, the system he’s coming from in college did prepare him well for the NFL and should allow him to play sooner than later—especially if his offensive system is catered to his strengths as a runner and on-the-move thrower.”
Trey Lance Highlights
Miller then has Radunz going No. 21 to Jacksonville. He states, “Radunz will never wow athletically like other top tackle prospects, but his technique and toughness are exactly what scouts love and are why he has a chance to be the second tackle drafted or at worst a late first-rounder.”
Dillon Radunz Highlights
Brown is projected to go No. 23 to Arizona. Miller writes, “A small-schooler, Brown is a smooth athlete who projects easily to the NFL’s left side with his mobility and lateral quickness. He’s training five days a week with former NFL All-Pro Joe Staley, and that’s a comparison NFL scouts will likely see once they start breaking down what Brown can be in the pros.”
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.