FCS primer for the 2019 NFL Draft
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By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - NFL teams appeared slow to come around to projecting James Madison cornerback Jimmy Moreland as a likely draft pick this week.
Perhaps they should have looked at the history of FCS-level draft picks because cornerbacks have come to deliver the most talent.
There have been 32 FCS cornerbacks drafted in the 2010s, which outdistances the next-best positions: offensive tackle (17), wide receiver (16), defensive end (15) and outside linebacker (15).
Moreland, a 2018 consensus FCS All-American, and South Dakota State's Jordan Brown are the highest-rated cornerbacks from FCS schools. The fast-rising Brown is an athletic corner with good size (6-foot-plus, 201 pounds).
A lack of size (5-10, 179) is what tempered draft evaluations of Moreland, who set James Madison records with 18 interceptions and six interception returns for touchdowns, and was one of the few players to appear in college football's two biggest all-star games (Reese's Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game).
Fordham's Dylan Mabin (6-1, 190) and North Dakota's Deion Harris (6-1½, 207) are among the next-highest FCS cornerback prospects, although both may go undrafted. After the draft, though, hundreds of FCS players go on to sign as free agents or accept NFL tryouts.
TOP-RANKED PROSPECTS BY CONFERENCE
The top-ranked prospects by FCS conference (with possible draft round, if applicable):
Big Sky - Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis (fifth-sixth); Iosua Opeta, OG, Weber State (sixth); Emmanuel Butler, WR, Northern Arizona (seventh); Alex Wesley, WR,
Northern Colorado (seventh); Kaden Elliss, OLB, Idaho; Marquez Tucker, OG, Southern Utah; Brian Fineanganofo, OT, Idaho State
Big South - Reggie White Jr., WR, Monmouth (seventh); Johnny Robinson, DT, Charleston Southern
CAA Football - Nasir Adderley, FS, Delaware (second); Oli Udoh, OT, Elon (fourth-fifth); Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison (sixth); Ethan Greenidge, OT, Villanova; Brandon Hitner, OT, Villanova; Troy Reeder, ILB, Delaware; Sterling Sheffield, OLB, Maine
FCS Independents - Deion Harris, CB, North Dakota; John Santiago, RB, North Dakota; Chris Johnson, S, North Alabama
Ivy League - Jesper Horsted, WR, Princeton; Larry Allen Jr., OG, Harvard
MEAC - Joshua Miles, OG, Morgan State (sixth-seventh); Darryl Johnson Jr., DE, North Carolina A&T (seventh); Alex Brown, CB, South Carolina State
Missouri Valley - Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois (third); Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State (third-fourth); Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State (sixth); Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State (seventh); Taryn Christion, QB, South Dakota State; Tanner Volson, C, North Dakota State
Northeast - Jake Dolegala, QB, Central Connecticut State (seventh); Ryan Fulse, RB, Wagner
Ohio Valley - Drew Forbes, OG, Southeast Missouri (fourth-fifth); Chidi Okeke, OT, Tennessee State (seventh); Alexander Hollins, WR, Eastern Illinois; B.J. Autry, OG, Jacksonville State
Patriot League - Dylan Mabin, CB, Fordham; Dom Bragalone, RB/FB, Lehigh
Pioneer League - Donald Parham, TE, Stetson (sixth-seventh); Daniel Cooney, OT, San Diego; Juston Christian, WR, Marist
Southern - Isaiah Mack, DT, Chattanooga; Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford; Miles Brown, DT, Wofford; Marvin Tillman, S, Western Carolina; Devlin Hodges, QB, Samford
Southland - Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State (fifth); Damion Jeanpiere Jr., WR, Nicholls (seventh); Derrick Roberson, DE, Sam Houston State; B.J. Blunt, OLB, McNeese; Davion Davis, WR, Sam Houston State; Silas Stewart, OLB, Incarnate Word
SWAC - Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State (third-fourth); Bobby Hartzog, WR, Texas Southern
Thursday, April 26: Round 1, beginning 8 p.m. ET on ABC, NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Teams are given 10 minutes to make their selection.
Friday, April 27: Rounds 2 and 3, beginning 7 p.m. ET on ABC, NFL Network, ESPN/ESPN2 (ESPN's coverage switches to ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET) and ESPN Deportes. Teams are given seven minutes to make their selection in Round 2, five minutes in Round 3.
Saturday, April 28: Rounds 4-7, beginning noon ET on ABC, NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Teams are given five minutes to make their selection in Rounds 4-6, four minutes in Round 7.
As many as 300,000 spectators are projected to attend the draft, being held in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. Draft picks will be announced from a stage at First and Broadway. … Delaware free safety Nasir Adderley is generally considered the No. 1 FCS prospect. The 2018 STATS FCS All-America first-team selection had 265 tackles and 11 interceptions in 44 career games at Delaware. … Over the last 10 drafts, just over 18 FCS players have been selected on average, with a high of 24 in 2008 and a low of 15 in 2009, 2012 and 2017. … CAA Football has produced the most draft picks this decade with 25, followed by the Southern Conference (23), Big Sky (21) and Missouri Valley (21). … The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is the only FCS conference with selections in the last two drafts - the Chicago Bears picked running back Tarik Cohen in the fourth round in 2017 and the Oakland Raiders took Brandon Parker in the third round last year.
Updated April 24, 2019