If you think NFL players only come out of the FBS, take two aspirin and check the draft lists. The highly respected site NFLDraftScout.com already says the FCS features several top targets for the NFL Draft — in 2018. Why not peek ahead? It's never too early when the topic is college football, right?
In the 2017 NFL Draft, 15 FCS players were selected in the NFL Draft, and nearly 100 more were brought into training camps as free agents. There will be many opportunities for some of the elite 2018 FCS prospects — and there is still time to 'trend upwards' on this list for players like Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta, who will surely see his stock rise over the next several months.
According to NFLDraftScout.com, the service we use to put the FCS prospects in order, the following players are trending upwards rapidly: South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert, Weber State's Taron Johnson, North Carolina A&T's Brandon Parker, Jacksonville State's Darius Jackson and Siran Neal, Lauletta (mentioned above), James Madison's Andrew Ankrah, Murray State's Demontre Wade, James Madison's Bryan Schor, South Dakota's Chris Streveler and Monmouth's Mike Basile.
Use the arrow buttons above and below, or your arrow keys to navigate the list.
NOTE: Please note that big-time DB prospect Deion Harris of North Dakota suffered a season-ending injury this summer and will very likely be with the 2019 draft class, while Harvard's Larry Allen Jr. will also sit out this fall and is expected to be back next fall and will be a draft prospect for 2019.
5. DAVONTAE HARRIS, CB – ILLINOIS STATE
Illinois State cornerback Davontae Harris has had as many as 5 scouts a day out at practice (ISU Athletics)
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 12 cornerback, No. 201 overall, projected 5th to 6th round
2017 STATS: 12 passes defensed, 2 INTs, 57 tackles, 4.5 TFLs
Harris — who is committed to play in the postseason Shrine Bowl — is a cover corner highly regarded by scouts and likely will continue to ascend upwards over the next several months. He faced some top flight wide receivers this year, which only helped give him an opportunity to shine. He's physical, he's aggressive and he's intelligent. It's a nice combination of attributes.
4. SKYLER PHILLIPS, OG – IDAHO STATE
Idaho State offensive guard Skyler Phillips (71) was injured last year and received a medical redshirt for 2017
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 6 offensive guard, No. 169 overall, 5th round projected
Phillips — who has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl — is a fifth-year senior with loads of NFL potential, and he has proven to be quite versatile on the line also. Scouts love the fact that he could scoot over to the center position or play guard — and if you need him at left tackle, he's done that too. This is exactly what a pro staff is looking for when it is putting together a 53-man roster, and Phillips is a brawler on the line and a smart player.
3. TARON JOHNSON, CB – WEBER STATE
[credit] WSU Athletics[/credit]
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 6 cornerback, No. 113 overall, projected 3rd to 4th round
2017 STATS: 3 INTs, 8 passes broken up, 3 tackles for loss, 43 tackles (Career: 47 passes defended, 6 INTs, 119 solo tackles).
Johnson is still playing, and will get one of the big tests of his career this Friday night at the defending national champs — James Madison. He has been one of the clear standouts of the Weber State defense, which has been the best in the Big Sky Conference all year and one of the best in the nation in scoring defense (10th). Johnson's draft stock has risen sharply in recent weeks and he has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl.
2. JAKE WIENEKE, WR – SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
[credit]South Dakota State Athletics[/credit]
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 7 wide receiver, No. 110 overall, 3rd to 4th round projected
2017 STATS: 49 receptions for 720 yards and 13 TDs
An absolute machine when it comes to delivering in the passing game, Wieneke — who has accepted an postseason invite to the Shrine Bowl — has been shredding defenses for two seasons and he started off 2016 like he left off in 2015 — just ask TCU. Wieneke went wild when the Jackrabbits faced the Horned Frogs in opening weekend of 2016, catching eight passes for 192 yards and a pair of scores. He has a knack for the ball and has good size, and we keep hearing comparisons to Eric Decker.
1. DALLAS GOEDERT, TE – SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
[credit]South Dakota State Athletics[/credit]
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 2 TE, No. 80 overall, Projected 2nd to 3rd round
2017 STATS: Try 66 receptions for 1,049 yards and 6 TDs.
Goedert — who has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl — may be 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, but he moves and catches the ball like a guy who is much, much smaller. That's what makes him an absolute lock for the NFL Draft next spring. While he was certainly productive as a sophomore in 2015, this past year he became a human highlight reel — catching one-handed passes and lighting up defenses with his pass catching partner in crime, Jake Wieneke.
Other FCS Projected 2018 NFL Draft Prospects
EDITOR'S NOTE: This chart includes only seniors from FCS schools. However, NFLDraftScout does rank underclassmen they expect to declare for early entry into the draft. PFA = Projected NFL Priority Free Agent.
|Brandon Parker||North Carolina A&T||OT||219||6th to 7th|
|Cole Reyes*||North Dakota||SS||224||6th to 7th|
|Darius Jackson||Jacksonville State||OLB||238||7th|
|Emmanuel Butler*||Northern Arizona||WR||262||7–PFA|
|Siran Neal||Jacksonville State||SS||274||7–PFA|
|Donovan Olumba||Portland State||CB||275||7–PFA|
|Lane Clark||Tennessee State||K||279||7–PFA|
|Ebenezer Ogundeko*||Tennessee State||DE||280||7–PFA|
|Jeremiah Briscoe||Sam Houston State||QB||293||7–PFA|
|Darius Leonard||South Carolina State||OLB||319||7–PFA|
|Deion Harris*||North Dakota||CB||321||7–PFA|
|P. J. Hall||Sam Houston State||DT||333||7–PFA|
|Andrew Ankrah||James Madison||OLB||336||7–PFA|
|Andrew Vollert||Weber State||TE||342||7–PFA|
NOTE: (*) – Injuries have affected these players in 2017.
FCS – Just outside the Top 350
Below are players who are just outside the overall top 350 on NFLDraftScout.com, but have trended upwards all fall and may crack the top tier soon.
|Corey Avery||Sam Houston State||RB||23|
|Mike Basile||Monmouth (NJ)||FS||11|
|Nick DeLuca*||North Dakota State||ILB||14|
|Tre Dempsey||North Dakota State||CB||36|
|Timon Parris*||Stony Brook||OT||26|
|Aaron Stinnie||James Madison||OT||29|
|Sione Teuhema||SE Louisiana||DE||25|
|Roc Thomas||Jacksonville State||RB||25|
NOTE: (*) – I