This past year has been a strange one, hasn’t it folks? We didn’t have that normal cycle of postseason all-star games or the NFL Combine to evaluate FCS talent. But then again, when did those two entities pay tons of attention to this level anyway, right?
What we did have is on-campus pro days being under the microscope. In fact, pro days were paid more attention to than ever. They replaced the Indianapolis combine version of evaluation, not only for FCS prospects but for Power 5 conference prospects.
So for the nice contingent of FCS prospects — 10 of which are projected as potential NFL Draft picks and a total of 28 who are ranked in the DraftScout’s Top 750? How’d they do in those pro days? How’d they rank against the rest of the country?
We tell you below:
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 1st round – No. 12 overall prospect
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Showing up
BREAKDOWN: Lance didn’t need to prove his strengths in the measurables, he’s already a first-round talent. Instead, at his pro day, he went through passing drills in front of a myriad of NFL scouts, which is much more important than a vertical jump or bench press numbers for QBs. Hey, when you have San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch in attendance (the 49ers draft third overall), you don’t have to do the meat market stuff.
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 2nd to 3rd round – No. 81 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Measured in at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, and hit a decent 24 reps on the bench press. The bottom line is, this guy knows how to play and comes from a program that knows how to produce stellar linemen.
BREAKDOWN: He may have been a zero-star guy coming out of high school (sound familiar, NDSU fans?) but that’s not going to hamper his production in the NFL. He should be around a while in the league.
Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 2nd to 3rd round – No. 83 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: He had 29 reps on the bench, and was solid on the other drills — including one of the top marks for the big guys in the long shuttle. Oh, and he’s 6-foot-8, 311 pounds. That doesn’t hurt. He’ll be OK.
BREAKDOWN: Brown has been moving up the charts for a while now. His pro day numbers hardly hurt him, but it’s his stature that makes him so intriguing as an offensive tackle.
Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 3rd round – No. 102 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Vertical jump: 43 inches rated No. 2 in the country for DBs; 40– 4.41 seconds (Top 20 in the nation for DBs); Broad jump: Tied for sixth-best in the nation (11 feet, 1 inch).
BREAKDOWN: He’s quick-twitch and lethal at the cornerback position. Not only did he solidify his standing with his pro day, he may have even improved it — and that’s saying something.
Christian Elliss, OLB, Idaho
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 5th to 6th round – No. 205 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: 40 – 4.58 (Third fastest time in the nation for LBs); Vertical jump – 35.5 for LBs (Top 10).
BREAKDOWN: If you read his pro day performance line, you understand now why he is ascending draft charts. When you’re 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, moving like this with that kind of speed is eye-opening.
Christian Uphoff, SS, Illinois State
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 6th round – No. 216 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Uphoff was middle of the pack in just about every measurable.
BREAKDOWN: He may not break records in the meat-market stuff, but this guy can play some football — or he wouldn’t be mentioned here. A classic Brock Spack no-star recruit, he turned into a true baller for Illinois State and should hear his name called on draft weekend.
Elerson Smith, DE, Northern Iowa
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 6th round – No. 222 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Vertical jump – No. 1 mark in the nation for DLs at 41.5 inches; Broad jump– No. 3 mark for DLs (11-7); 40 – 4.78 seconds (Top 15 in the nation for DLs) is one reason his stock is rising. His bench press total of 26 was solid, too.
BREAKDOWN: Smith may be the biggest pro day winner in the FCS. He’s one of the studs coming out of the talent-rich UNI program. And honestly? If this team had been intact in the fall of 2020, it would have won a ton of games — but COVID-19 had other plans.
Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 6th round – No. 232 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: 40– 4.51 seconds
BREAKDOWN: Johnson was able to do his bench press, broad jump, and vertical jump, but his day ended when he tweaked his groin running his first 40-yard dash. He didn’t break a record with his 40 time and his other measurables were a tad bit underwhelming. Turn on the film, though, and this guy can play ball and he can catch touchdowns as one of those slice-and-dice 5-foot-11 pass targets.
David Moore, OG, Grambling
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 7th round to HPFA – No. 298 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: Bench – 31 reps
BREAKDOWN: This guard/center prospect has built himself into a prospect. As always, good numbers help offensive linemen, but they don’t pigeonhole the prospects. He should be a great interior lineman in the league if given a chance.
Bryan Mills, CB, N.C. Central
DRAFTSCOUT RANK: 7th round to HPFA – No. 323 overall
TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCE: 40– 4.60 seconds;
BREAKDOWN: His pro day numbers didn’t jump off the page. In fact, they may have hurt him a tad bit. But a 6-foot-1 cornerback with a ton of potential? Who knows what awaits for Mills when he inevitably gets a shot this summer.
THE NEXT 10:
(NOTE: Those below are projected to be quickly taken as free agents)
No. 353: Jah-Maine Martin, RB, N.C. A&T
THE WRAP: The Coastal Carolina transfer turned into a big-time threat for the Aggies.
No. 402: Calvin Ashley, OT, Florida A&M
THE WRAP: The 6-foot-6, 315-pound prospect played at Auburn and Florida Atlantic before coming on board with the Rattlers. Let’s see what happens next.
No. 407: Brady Davis, QB, Illinois State
THE WRAP: He didn’t have to do it, but the athletic Davis chose to do several drills at pro day and posted a top 10 speed in the country for QBs in the 40-yard dash (4.79).
No. 423: Mac McCain III, CB, N.C. A&T
THE WRAP: His 4.48 speed in the 40 alone should turn heads, but his production for one of the best HBCU programs in America will attract even more attention. Don’t be surprised if Mac slips into a day three pick.
No. 448: Samuel Cooper, OG, Merrimack
THE WRAP: Cooper turned heads in his pro day when he benched 35 reps. And his 10-yard blast was impressive too. Keep an eye on him. His stock has been rising steadily ever since.
No. 497 Colten Menges, LS, Alcorn State
THE WRAP: As one of the top long snapping prospects in this year’s class, Menges will get a shot somewhere as a top priority free agent. Pro day numbers don’t matter here for a specialist.
No. 537 Cade Coffey, P, Idaho
THE WRAP: Just like Menges above, Coffey will get a shot in a camp this year. He’s got a proven foot. Pro day specs also don’t matter with punters.
No. 539 K.J. Stepherson, WR, Jacksonville State
THE WRAP: This former Notre Dame wide receiver could be an intriguing prospect to watch.
No. 551 Keyion Dixon, WR, Eastern Kentucky
THE WRAP: A former UConn pass target, he could be a surprise this year.
No. 564 Sam Kamara, DT, Stony Brook
THE WRAP: Kamara had 15 sacks and 24 tackles for loss in college, and had two of his best career games against FBS competition — South Florida and Air Force.