A mock NFL Draft, FCS-style
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By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The interest in FCS prospects for the NFL Draft seems to grow each year among teams, fans and the media.
"Small school" is a misnomer.
Imagine if teams could only draft players from FCS schools? Everybody would be talking about Easton Stick instead of Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins or Khalen Saunders instead of Nick Bosa.
If an FCS-only draft took place this year, here's how the first round could go on April 25:
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nasir Adderley, FS, Delaware - No need to worry about a position of need, the Cards pick the highest-regarded talent.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois - Saunders backflips his way into Roger Goodell's arms.
3. New York Jets: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State - Sam Darnold exalts, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
4. Oakland Raiders: Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis - Jon Gruden looks into his backyard and sees a Division I-high 233 receptions the last two seasons.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State - What will Brown do for the Bucs? Excel with cornerback fluidity and safety size.
6. New York Giants: Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State - Big Blue makes a post-OBJ splash.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Oli Udoh, OT, Elon - Who knew a tree trunk was so mobile?
8. Detroit Lions: Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison - Those 18 interceptions and six pick-sixes are a smash hit in Motown.
9. Miami Dolphins (trade with Buffalo Bills): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State - Sensing teams are seeking a quarterback, the Fish reel in the winningest signal-caller in FCS history after trading former Central Arkansas defensive end Jonathan Woodard and the No. 13 pick to the Bills.
10. Denver Broncos: Iosua Opeta, OG, Weber State - Opeta's 39 bench press reps at the NFL Combine were the second-most among offensive linemen since records were first kept in 1987.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Darryl Johnson Jr., DE/OLB, North Carolina A&T - Coming out early in the draft pays off for the MEAC defensive player of the year.
12. Green Bay Packers: Emmanuel Butler, WR, Northern Arizona - Aaron Rodgers just has to throw the ball in Butler's area code and he'll go get it.
13. Buffalo Bills (trade from Miami Dolphins): Joshua Miles, OT, Morgan State - Miles has shot up draft boards during the long buildup.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Derick Roberson, DE, Sam Houston State - The Falcons need a disruptor off the edge. Roberson's 15 sacks and five forced fumbles as a senior fit the mold.
15. Washington Redskins: Alex Wesley, WR Northern Colorado - The quarterbacks kept changing at Northern Colorado, but the productivity of its vertical threat remained high.
16. Carolina Panthers: Drew Forbes, OG, Southeast Missouri - In a strong year for FCS offensive lineman prospects, Forbes is overshadowed too much.
17. New York Giants: Dylan Mabin, CB, Fordham - The best days seem to be ahead of the good cover corner.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State - Factor in rushes, receptions and returns and the Vikings may have a steal from the FCS national champion.
19. Baltimore Ravens (trade with Tennessee Titans): B.J. Blunt, OLB, McNeese - With edges rushers at a premium, the Ravens trade up three spots and deal former Tennessee State safety Anthony Levine Sr. to the Titans.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jesper Horsted, WR, Princeton - Horsted says Cooper Kupp is the most underrated player in the NFL. The Steelers hope they have a steal, too.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Chidi Okeke, OT, Tennessee State - TSU has produced a number of NFL-level O-linemen.
22. Tennessee Titans (trade with Baltimore Ravens): Isaiah Mack, DT, Chattanooga - After getting Levine in their trade, the Titans stay in-state to pick the 2018 Southern Conference defensive player of the year.
23. Houston Texans: Donald Parham, TE, Stetson - 6-foot-8 tight ends are hard to come by.
24. Oakland Raiders: Troy Reeder, ILB, Delaware - If you want a gritty Raider ...
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Ethan Greenidge, OG, Villanova - Reeder was on the Eagles' radar, but they still get to stay local with Greenidge.
26. New England Patriots (trade with Indianapolis Colts): Jake Dolegala, QB, Central Connecticut State - Bill Belichick trades the Pats' safeties coach - his son Steve - to move up from No. 32 and grab the 6-6, 235-pound Dolegala.
27. Oakland Raiders: Deion Harris, CB, North Dakota - It wouldn't be an FCS draft without a Raiders' surprise.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: B.J. Autry, OG, Jacksonville State - The 6-5, 340-pound frame proves guards now come in offensive tackle size.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Fulse, RB, Wagner - The Chiefs need defensive talent, but can't ignore Fulse's all-around offensive skills
30. Green Bay Packers: Brian Fineanganofo, OT, Idaho State - The quality FCS offensive line prospects are endless.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Jay-Tee Tiuli, DT, Eastern Washington - The Rams have loved recent Eastern Washington picks.
32. Indianapolis Colts (trade with New England Patriots): Damion Jeanpiere Jr., Nicholls - DJ could be electric indoors on the turf.
Picks by conference: Big Sky, 6; CAA, 5; Missouri Valley and Southland, 4 each; Ohio Valley, 3; MEAC and Northeast, 2 each; and Independent, Ivy, Patriot, Pioneer, Southern and SWAC, 1 each.
Arizona is on the clock to start Round 2 …
Updated April 2, 2019