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.
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In the 2018 NFL Draft, 19 FCS players were selected in the NFL Draft, and more than 200 overall got 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 — or the average of the last five drafts — to give us a ballpark idea of where an individual may be taken based on their position ranking.
NOTE: Please note that big-time DB prospect Rashad Robinson of James Madison — among others — suffered a season-ending injury and will now redshirt in 2018 and play his final season in 2019, making him a top prospect for the 2020 draft.
THE TOP FIVE FCS PROSPECTS – 2019
5. IOSUA OPETA, OG — WEBER STATE
Weber State Athletics[/credit]
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 14 guard by NFLDraftScout – an average of 17 guards have been drafted the past five years.
2017 STATS: Started all 14 games for the FCS quarterfinalists, who set a school record with 11 wins.
Opeta has been a rock for the talented Wildcats, playing in 37 career games and helping push a balanced offense into the FCS playoffs for two consecutive seasons. He actually began his Weber State career as a defensive tackle as a freshman in 2015 — registering 4 tackles a piece in his first college games at Oregon State and North Dakota State. He switched to the O-line as a sophomore in 2016 and immediately became a starter, showing his athleticism.
4. KEELAN DOSS, WR — UC DAVIS
UC Davis Athletics[/credit]
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 21 receiver by NFLDraftScout – The No. 21 WR went in the 6th round this year.
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 three 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 a master of his trade too, 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.[divider]
3. JORDAN BROWN, CB – SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 22 cornerback by NFLDraftScout – The No. 22 CB taken went in the 6th round this year.
2017 STATS: Had 14 starts, 72 tackles, 3 INTs, 9 passes defensed and 3 forced fumbles.
A true playmaker in the secondary for the Jackrabbits, when a play needs to be made – he makes it. A native of talent hotbed Arizona — an area South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier has told HERO Sports is an SDSU "go-to" recruiting location — Brown combines the knack for big plays with a blanket-like coverage ability that has turned the heads of scouts. As a sophomore, he picked off TCU, while against NDSU, he seems to save some of his best games for the rival Bison. His receiving records in high school prove he has excellent hands.[divider]
2. NASIR ADDERLEY, CB – DELAWARE
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 15 cornerback by NFLDraftScout – The No. 15 CB taken went in the 4th round this year.
2017 STATS: Finished with 78 tackles and had a team-high 42 solo tackles. Adderley added five interceptions, which he returned for a total of 135 yards.
There is no better way to describe Adderley than as a human highlight reel. He can cover, he can hit and he can make plays with the ball in his hand. Adderley is entering his fourth season as a starting cornerback. He finished second on the team last year with 78 tackles and had a team-high 42 solo tackles. Adderley added five interceptions, which he returned for a total of 135 yards, and two forced fumbles. He channeled his inner Odell Beckham Jr. on one interception and made it on SportsCenter's Top Plays.
1. EMMANUEL BUTLER, WR – NORTHERN ARIZONA
2019 PROJECTION: Rated No. 6 receiver by NFLDraftScout – The No. 6 WR taken in the 2018 draft went in the 2nd round.
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
MCLAUGHLIN: James Madison underclassmen look forward to 2019, post-Frisco
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: We show you the athlete's NFLDraftScout position rank ("P-RK") and then where that P-RK generally is drafted (last five years' average).
|6||Denzil Ware||OLB||Jacksonville State||20||7th|
|7||Davion Davis||WR||Sam Houston State||30||7th|
|8||Bruce Anderson||RB||North Dakota State||21||7th to FA|
|9||Kamron Lewis||WR||Saint Francis (PA)||34||7th to FA|
|10||Daniel Cooney||OT||San Diego||23||7th to FA|
FCS 2019 – THE NEXT BEST
EDITOR'S NOTE: Every year, FCS players explode onto the scene and become big-time draft prospects after their senior seasons. 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|
|Deion Harris||CB||North Dakota|
|Jacob Knipp||QB||Northern Colorado|
|Marcus Marshall||RB||James Madison|
|Neil O'Connor||WR||New Hampshire|
|Logan Parker||OLB||Southern Utah|
|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|
|Justin Sumpter||WR||Kennesaw State|
|LeGrand Toia||OLB||Weber State|