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 Sam Houston State QB Jeremiah Briscoe, who will surely see his stock rise over the several months year.
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. Also note that North Dakota State senior LB Nick DeLuca was injured early in 2016 and obtained a medical redshirt to come back to play for the Bison in 2017. He will be in the mix for the 2018 NFL Draft now, and had been projected as such for 2017 before.
5. COLE REYES, SS – NORTH DAKOTA
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 6 strong safety, No. 129 overall, projected 6th round
2017 STATS: 25 tackles, 1 hurry before being injured in September (10 tackles against FCS power South Dakota).
Reyes may be injured, but it hasn't dampened how scouts view him as he is still expected to be an NFL Draft Pick based on the work of NFLDraftScout. The Fighting Hawks have been hampered by injuries all year, especially in the secondary, and Reyes didn't escape it. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound safety is known for his ballhawking style of play.
4. 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. 11 cornerback, No. 104 overall, projected 5th round
2017 STATS: 7 passes defensed, 2 INTs, 39 tackles
This deft cover corner is highly regarded by scouts and likely will continue to ascend upwards over the next several months. He will face some top flight wide receivers this year, which will only help give him an opportunity to shine. He's physical, he's aggressive and he's intelligent. It's a nice combination of attributes.
3. 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. 5 offensive guard, No. 78 overall, 4th round projected
Phillips is a fifth year senior with loads of NFL potential, and he has proven to be quite versatile on the line also. Scouts will 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.
2. JAKE WIENEKE, WR – SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
[credit]South Dakota State Athletics[/credit]
EARLY 2018 PROJECTION: No. 7 wide receiver, No. 62 overall, 3rd to 4th round projected
2017 STATS: 29 receptions for 382 yards and 8 TDs
An absolute machine when it comes to delivering in the passing game, Jake Wieneke 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, 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. 33 overall, Projected 2nd round
2017 STATS: Try 33 receptions for 587 yards and 3 TDs.
Goedert 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. FA = Projected NFL Free Agent.
|NAME||COLLEGE||POS||OVER. RK||PROJ. RD.|
|Brandon Parker||North Carolina A&T||OT||135||6th to 7th|
|Donovan Olumba||Portland State||CB||159||7th|
|Darius Jackson||Jacksonville State||OLB||173||7th to FA|
|Emmanuel Butler||Northern Arizona||WR||188||7th to FA|
|Lane Clark||Tennessee State||K||190||7th to FA|
|Jeremiah Briscoe||Sam Houston State||QB||191||7th to FA|
|*Deion Harris||North Dakota||CB||194||7th to FA|
|*Chase Edmonds||Fordham||RB||196||7th to FA|
|*Ebenezer Ogundeko||Tennessee State||DE||201||7th to FA|
|Darius Leonard||South Carolina State||OLB||214||7th to FA|
|P. J. Hall||Sam Houston State||DT||242||7th to FA|
|Andrew Vollert||Weber State||TE||251||7th to FA|
NOTE: (*) – Injuries have affected these players in 2017.
FCS Projected 2018 NFL Priority Free Agents
Below are players who are just outside the overall top 350 on NFLDraftScout.com, but are expected to improve their draft stock this year and be picked up next spring.
|Andrew Ankrah||James Madison||OLB||40|
|Corey Avery||Sam Houston State||RB||23|
|Mike Basile||Monmouth (NJ)||FS||17|
|Andrew Caskin||William & Mary||TE||26|
|Nick DeLuca||North Dakota State||ILB||14|
|Anthony Ellis||Charleston Southern||OLB||37|
|Jordon Gandy||Murray State||WR||53|
|Darius Jackson||Jacksonville State||OLB||24|
|Dalton Keene||Illinois State||DT||35|
|Justin Lea||Jacksonville State||OG||27|
|Greg Menard (inj)||North Dakota State||OLB||45|
|Mike Needham||Southern Utah||OLB||43|
|Detrez Newsome||Western Carolina||RB||31|
|Brandon Parker||North Carolina A&T||OT||23|
|Joe Protheroe||Cal Poly||FB||11|
|Bryan Schor||James Madison||QB||22|
|Kellen Soulek||South Dakota State||DT||34|
|Aaron Stinnie||James Madison||OT||26|
|Sione Teuhema||SE Louisiana||DE||27|