If Mike Mayock's rankings hold true, this year will be the second straight season a D2 football player is the first non-FBS player chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft. While many draft analysts have FCS tight end Dallas Goedert as their top non-FBS prospect, Mayock thinks Fort Hays State defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd is the top guy who doesn't come from the FBS.
Mayock recently released his top 100, which features five non-FBS players, and one from Division 2's ranks.
He slots Shepherd in at No. 43 overall, nearly 20 spots ahead of Goedert (from FCS South Dakota State, No. 62 overall). He also lists Shepherd as the No. 5 defensive tackle in his rankings, behind only Washington's Vita Vea (10), Alabama's Da'Ron Payne (16), Florida's Taven Bryan (26) and Michigan's Maurice Hurst (42).
If Shepherd is the first non-FBS player selected this season it will be the second straight year that is the case after Ashland's Adam Shaheen was the first non-FBS player selected in the 2017 NFL Draft (45 overall to the Chicago Bears), ahead of Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon (59th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs).