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 picks for the NFL Draft — in 2019.
MCLAUGHLIN: The 2018 FCS Free Agent Tracker
In the 2018 NFL Draft, 19 FCS players were selected in the NFL Draft, and more than 160 more are going to get a shot through free agency. There will be similar opportunities for some of the elite 2019 FCS prospects — and there is still time to 'trend upwards' on this list.
What we've done is found FCS stars from the class of 2019, their projected position rank from NFLDraftScout and used the 2018 draft this past weekend to give us a ballpark feeling of how many players will be taken at each position.
NOTE: Please note that big-time DB prospect Deion Harris of North Dakota — among others — suffered a season-ending injury and his 2019 inclusion will likely have him high on the charts below once full evaluations go through. He will receive an extra year of eligibility.
THE TOP FIVE FCS PROSPECTS – 2019
5. BRUCE ANDERSON, RB — NORTH DAKOTA STATE
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 22 running back by NFLDraftScout – The No. 22 RB taken went in the 7th round this weekend.
2017 STATS: Had 1,216 yards rushing and 12 TDs for the national champs, while also catching 3 TDs.
After dealing with injury problems in 2016, the 5-foot-11, 211-pound Florida native bounced back to be a big-time leader for the FCS national champions. While in 2015 he made a big impression as a true freshman, both in the run game and in returning kicks, Anderson was a primary threat in 2017, especially when teammate Lance Dunn went down to injury. Anderson is explosive coming out of the backfield, and will also make an impression on special teams.
4. DAVION DAVIS, WR – SAM HOUSTON STATE
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 27 wide receiver by NFLDraftScout – The No. 27 WR taken went in the 6th round this weekend.
2017 STATS: He caught 78 passes for 1,206 yards and 17 TDs.
The super-quick 5-foot-11, 180-pound Davis has played in 41 career games and has caught 174 passes for 2,612 yards and 30 scores. While most of those career receptions came from new Philadelphia Eagles free agent QB Jeremiah Briscoe, it would appear Davis will continue with 6-foot-6 Rutgers transfer Mike Dare possibly throwing to him this fall. Scouts will have plenty of opportunities to see him continue to make plays, and he could be a special teams weapon, too.
3. EMMANUEL BUTLER, WR – NORTHERN ARIZONA
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 19 receiver NFLDraftScout – The No. 19 WR taken went in the 5th round this weekend.
2017 STATS: Injury-stunted season held him to 6 catches, 95 yards and 0 TDs in just two games.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Butler will get another year with NAU's stud quarterback Case Cookus, and you can bet the duo will make some noise. Butler's injury was so early in 2017, he was able to get another year of eligibility, and a chance to give scouts even more of an opportunity to check him out. He had back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons in 2015 and 2016 and has 26 career receiving TDs. He's a big target and his stock will rise quickly if/when he shows he's healed up.
2. KEELAN DOSS, WR — UC DAVIS
UC Davis Athletics[/credit]
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 15 receiver by NFLDraftScout – The No. 15 WR went in the 4th round this weekend.
2017 STATS: Had an eye-popping 115 receptions for 1,499 yards and 7 TDs, while also rushing for a score.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pound Doss has been incredible for two years now, and he has another to go. With 2,735 yards receiving in his 3-year career, along with 19 touchdowns, he has been one of the most productive receivers at the FCS level — thus the reason he was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as a junior. His quarterback, Jake Maier, is back, and if FCS fans aren't keeping an eye on Doss and UC Davis (under former Boise State and Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins) then they aren't paying attention. He has Pro Scouts already salivating and probably will continue to shoot up the charts over the next year.
1. RASHAD ROBINSON, CB — JAMES MADISON
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 7 cornerback by NFLDraftScout – The No. 7 CB went in the 2nd round this weekend.
2017 STATS: Led the national runners up with 7 INTs; 51 tackles, 9 passes broken up.
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound Robinson has 10 career interceptions for the Dukes, 9 of which have come the past two seasons in which JMU has been in national title runs. He kicked off the 2017 season by picking off East Carolina twice in the blowout win over the FBS foe. For his career he had 103 tackles and 25 passes defended in his career, and was the leader of an interception happy secondary for the Dukes last fall. His secondary savvy has caught the eye of scouts and he may continue to rise.
The Next 5 Best FCS 2019 NFL Draft Prospects
EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2019 chart includes only rising seniors from FCS schools, though obviously underclassmen could declare early for the draft. All data below is based on NFLDraftScout.com's early ratings for 2019. Note the plethora of good FCS quarterbacks in the 2019 class.
NOTE: We show you the athlete's NFLDraftScout position rank ("P-RK") and then how many athletes at that position were drafted in 2018 ("#").
|6||Kamron Lewis||WR||Saint Francis (PA)||31||33|
|7||Daniel Cooney||OT||San Diego||21||19|
|9||Marcus Marshall||RB||James Madison||33||21|
FCS 2019 – THE NEXT 20
EDITOR'S NOTE: Every year, FCS players explode onto the scene and become big-time draft prospects. Ask Kyle Lauletta or P.J. Hall what that is like. There are players on the list below — and players not even on the list below — who will be drafted next year. Based on NFLDraftScout's positional rankings, here are some FCS players you may want to keep an eye on going forward.
|Solomon Brown||OLB||Charleston Southern|
|Armand Dellovade||ILB||Youngstown State|
|Gage Gubrud||QB||Eastern Washington|
|Neil O'Connor||WR||New Hampshire|
|Aaron Patrick||OLB||Eastern Kentucky|
|Lamar Raynard||QB||North Carolina A&T|
|Randy Robinson||DT||Jacksonville State|
|John Santiago||RB||North Dakota|
|Easton Stick||QB||North Dakota State|
|Marvin Tillman||FS||Western Carolina|
|LeGrand Toia||OLB||Weber State|
WHAT ABOUT FCS 2020?
EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll keep this brief, as NFLDraftScout's positional ranking work is only just beginning with the 2020 draft class — but these rising juniors have turned some heads already. As of this super early look, we can tell our readers that Jacksonville State's Marlon Bridges would be the super early No. 1 for 2020 — his positional ranking of No. 10 would already project him as a day three pick using historical data, but we have a long way to go. Bridges still has half his career ahead of him.
|Elijah Bell||North Carolina A&T||WR|
|Marlon Bridges||Jacksonville State||FS|
|Quinlen Dean||New Hampshire||ILB|
|Tamrick Pace||Stephen F. Austin||WR|
|Christian Rozeboom||South Dakota State||ILB|
|Riley Stapleton||James Madison||WR|