The first circuit of the NFL Draft process is over as the all-star games wrapped up earlier this month. The next phase is the NFL Combine, where 21 former FCS players work out in the first week of March. Then it’s on to pro days. The combine and pro days are a chance for FCS players to get in front of scouts and show off their athleticism, personalities, and football knowledge.
As we head into March, several FCS players are high on NFL Draft boards. Today, we’ll use the Pro Football Focus Top 150 Big Board (as of Feb. 24) to look at the top prospects in the subdivision.
PFF’s Top FCS Prospects
No. 24 — OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Most services, including PFF, view Penning as a top 32 prospect and a first-round pick. The 6-foot-7, 320-pound behemoth drew a lot of attention at the Senior Bowl after a dominant last two seasons at UNI.
Feature story: Penning Goes From 2 D1 Offers To A Potential 1st Rounder
No. 64 — LB Troy Andersen, Montana State
Andersen soared up draft boards during the week of the Senior Bowl. From an All-Conference running quarterback to an All-American middle linebacker, Andersen had one of the more memorable careers in the FCS. If the 6-foot-4 and 235-pounder tests as well as we think he can, Andersen can solidify himself as a Day 2 draft pick.
No. 99 — QB Bailey Zappe, Houston Baptist/Western Kentucky
Zappe lit up defenses at Houston Baptist. He transferred to WKU for his last season and did it again. Zappe set new all-time single-season FBS records in passing yards (5,987) and passing TDs (62).
No. 104 — WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
Watson looks to test his way into Day 2 of the NFL Draft. At 6-foot-4 and with blazing speed, teams will fall in love with what Watson, who was also an All-American kick returner, can do on the field.
No. 113 — OT Matt Waletzko, North Dakota
Waletzko is a monster at 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds. He came on strong to scouts’ radar after a standout spring season, and Waletzko’s play in the fall earned him several All-American honors.
No. 124 — IOL Cole Strange, Chattanooga
Strange was one of the bigger winners at the Senior Bowl, drawing rave reviews. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 301 pounds, Strange was a five-year starter for the Mocs who played guard, center, and tackle.
No. 125 — DL Noah Elliss, Idaho
Elliss wasn’t on early draft boards during the fall, but he has worked his way onto them in a hurry during the draft process. His older brother, Kaden, did the same as the former Vandal parlayed a strong pro day into a seventh-round draft pick by the Saints in 2019. Noah is a massive problem on the defensive line at 6-foot-4 and 367 pounds.
No. 140 — OT Cordell Volson, North Dakota State
Volson looks to be the fourth NDSU offensive linemen to be drafted in the last eight years. The 6-foot-7 and 313-pounder was a three-time All-American for the Bison.
No. 141 — OT Braxton Jones, Southern Utah
Jones is another FCS offensive lineman high on draft boards. The three-time All-American stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 310 pounds.
No. 145 — RB Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State
It isn’t easy for FCS running backs to get drafted. But Strong, a four-time All-American, has the overall skill set that has put him on draft radars dating back to his junior season.