They’re on the Clock: A Mock NFL Draft Only With FCS Players
Take C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young out and sub in Lindsey Scott Jr. or Tim DeMorat.
Will Anderson? Go with Isaiah Land instead.
No, it’s not April foolin’ to FCS college football fans who know there are plenty of exciting, talented prospects to fill an NFL Draft.
Just reference the 200 or so players from the Division I subdivision who are on NFL active rosters and practice squads each season.
With many more ready to enter the league, we’re allowing teams to draft only FCS players (and grad transfers to FBS programs).
Here’s how the first round could go on April 27:
1. Carolina Panthers: Cody Mauch, OG, North Dakota State
It’s true, rock stars prefer to play the violin.
2. Houston Texans: Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
The last time Kraft played in Texas went pretty well.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Hunter Luepke, FB, North Dakota State
Yeah, you try to tackle a bulldozer.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
A team feeling the need for speed can look no further than the former NCAA heptathlon champion.
5. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Land, OLB, Florida A&M
The 2021 FCS sack leader seems perfect for a team that last season was 8-2 when it had multiple sacks and 1-6 when it didn’t.
6. New York Jets (trade via Detroit Lions): McClendon Curtis, OG, Chattanooga
The picks have gone according to form, but this one comes after a doozy of a trade, with the Jets gaining picks six and 18 from the Lions for pick 13 and former Stephen F. Austin defensive end John Franklin-Myers.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Marte Mapu, SS/OLB, Sacramento State
The Jets swooped in over a Raiders team in need of O-linemen, but the hybrid Mapu is a superb fallback plan.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Aubrey Miller Jr., ILB, Jackson State
Chalk up another one for the SWAC program that has the most draft picks of the FCS era.
9. Chicago Bears: Mark Evans II, OL, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Considering the Bears once held the No. 1 pick, they like how it worked out.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Devonnsha Maxwell, DT, Chattanooga
No matter where Maxwell moves along the D-line, he gets into the backfield (55.5 career tackles for loss, 37.5 sacks)
11. Tennessee Titans: Noah Gindorff, TE, North Dakota State
In high school, Gindorff played quarterback, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, safety, kicker and holder. Seriously.
12. Green Bay Packers (trade via Houston Texans): B.J. Thompson, DE, Stephen F. Austin
The Packers trade that guy – no, not that guy – former Montana wide receiver Samori Toure, along with a swap of the 12th and 15th picks.
13. Detroit Lions (trade via New York Jets): Nash Jensen, OG, North Dakota State
The Bison will have players remaining next season. They will, right?
14. New England Patriots: Patrick O’Connell, OLB, Montana
This just feels like a Bill Belichick pick.
15. Houston Texans (trade via Green Bay Packers): Lindsey Scott Jr., QB, UIW
You didn’t think they’d let the 2022 Walter Payton Award recipient get out of Texas, did you?
16. Washington Commanders: Tim DeMorat, QB, Fordham
The NCAA should have overlooked regionalization with the FCS playoffs to square off DeMorat and Scott.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Titus Leo, DE/OLB, Wagner
After Leo was recruited as a wide receiver and played cornerback as a freshman, the position change agreed quite well with a pass rusher who made Bruce Feldman’s famed “freaks” list.
18. New York Jets (trade via Detroit Lions): Dakota Allen, TE, Eastern Kentucky
A lower-leg injury derailed Allen’s final season, but not before he had 15 receptions against two FBS opponents.
19. Baltimore Ravens (trade via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Xavier Gipson, WR, Stephen F. Austin
It’s a relative trade-fest. Seeking a wideout, the Ravens deal the No. 22 pick and former Stephen F. Austin defensive tackle Rayshad Nicholls to get an undersized home run hitter from the same school.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Shaq Davis, WR, South Carolina State
The 6-foot-5 Davis averaged over 29 yards on 29 career TD catches and was never under 20 yards per reception in each of his four seasons.
Miami Dolphins (Pick Forfeited)
Yup, the Fish forfeited their first-round pick this year. Commissioner Patty Viverito made the call.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Truman Jones, DE, Harvard
Jones would probably accept half the NFL career length – or number of teams – as Harvard’s previous East-West Shrine Bowl participant, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (trade via Baltimore Ravens): Zeke Vandenburgh, OLB, Illinois State
Being the best in practice helped Vandenburgh to be the best in the FCS as the 2022 Buck Buchanan Award recipient.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Isaac, CB, Alabama State
Who’s SWAC? Eddie Robinson Jr. says this 6-2 cover corner.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Thomas Greaney, TE, UAlbany
“I hope Trevor Lawrence throws as well to me as Reece Poffenbarger did last season,” Greaney says after the selection.
25. New York Giants: Ryan Greenhagen, ILB, Fordham
In NYC, it was easy to hear about Greenhagen’s 31 tackles against Nebraska in 2021.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Kobie Turner, DT, Richmond/Wake Forest
No stars in high school, then 43.5 TFLs in college.
27. Los Angeles Rams (trade via Buffalo Bills): Justin Ford, CB, Montana
The team with the most FCS draft picks in the last 10 years is at it again, trading into the first round with second- and third-round picks and former Montana State wide receiver Lance McCutcheon. A Bobcat for a Griz – harmony.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Myles Brooks, CB, Stephen F. Austin/Louisiana Tech
The Bengals are thrilled to land a cover corner who’s productive when targeted.
29. New Orleans Saints: Brevin Allen, DE, Campbell
As Campbell’s first-ever draft choice, Allen gets the Camels over the hump.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Youngstown State
The 8,166 career rushing yards and 79 touchdowns (Division II and FCS combined) make your head spin.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Jadakis Bonds, WR, Hampton
Throw it up in the red zone and Bonds will go get a touchdown – 34 in 40 career games. The Super Bowl champs pounce.
On to Round 2. The Steelers are on the clock, and VMI long snapper Robert Soderholm is the top available prospect …