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FCS Football: What They're Saying About Top FCS Prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft

FCS Football: What They're Saying About Top FCS Prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft

FCS Football: What They're Saying About Top FCS Prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft

NFL teams love the potential value of small-school prospects, who often enter the league with a much-embraced strong set skill and a chip on the shoulder.

With the 2020 NFL Draft fast approaching (April 23-25), scouts are looking under the radar for potential gems coming from the FCS level.

There's a lot to like, of course. Here is what is being said about some of the top FCS draft prospects:

Jeremy Chinn, SS, Southern Illinois

Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

"Extremely heady prospect as a run defender and when in coverage. Operating in a predominant two-high safety defense, he's outstanding with allowing the quarterback's eyes to take him to the ball. Many of his interceptions have been a result of anticipating where the ball is intended based on the head and direction of the thrower's vision. Possesses a quick trigger as a run defender and is quick to run downhill and fill holes." — The Draft Network

Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton

Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

"He might need a redshirt season, but in a thin crop of tight ends, Trautman provides some exciting upside. The potential is there for him to develop into a well-rounded, quality starter." — Athlon Sports

"The rule of thumb is that if you played at a small school, you better dominate. In two seasons of production, he hauled in over 150 passes for 2,295 yards and 31 touchdowns. Check that box, he can be a real weapon at the next level for a team." — The Draft Wire

Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State

Projection: 5th-6th Round

"It will be fascinating to see what Taylor might become with NFL coaching and training/nutrition. He enters the league as a project but could be molded into a starter." — Athlon Sports

"The size (6-8 3/8, 308) is obvious, but where Taylor really impresses is in his movement skills. He sinks well in his hips and moves around the arch with ease. Taylor has shown progression in his pass sets with quickness and depth in his kick slide. His length is one of his best attributes which Taylor uses to his advantage time and time again." — Pro Football Network

Derrek Tuszka, DE, North Dakota State

Projection: 6th Round

"On tape, Tuszka careens off the line of scrimmage, hits with a thud, can knife inside his blocker to get to the ball carrier on running plays and flattens out quickly when pass rushing from the outside. He bats down a lot of passes, which is both a testimony to his vertical hops and a useful indicator among analytics circles of his NFL potential. On the downside, he's easy to wire up when blocked and doesn't have a wide battery of pass-rush moves." — Bleacher Report

James Robinson, RB, Illinois State

Projection: 6th Round

"Reliable runner with good feel for run-lane development but just average burst. Robinson's feet, finesse and vision allow to probe from gap to gap against conference competition, but tighter NFL running lanes mean he'll need to be more physical and more urgent to succeed between the tackles. The college production is unlikely to translate into the pros, but he's well-rounded enough to compete for a back-end roster spot if he runs to his size and can play on special teams." —

Aaron Parker, WR, Rhode Island

Projection: 6th Round

"He's instinctive working zone-beaters underneath and his toughness as a run blocker will earn him points. He's a talented ball-winner as a big slot, but a lack of long speed and separation quickness make improved route running a top priority for his step up in competition." —

Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island

Projection: 6th-7th Round

"He's a guy we're gonna be asking about a year from now, 'Where'd he come from? Why'd we miss on him?' He's 6-foot-1 7/8, big receiver. Plays big. Can run under 4.4 (in the 40-yard dash). I like these guys who come from a school like Rhode Island with something to prove. Don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he could be (the D.K.) Metcalf of this draft." — Gil Brandt, Hall of Fame NFL executive

Charlie Taumoepeau, TE/FB, Portland State

Projection: 7th Round

"Brings versatility and athleticism to the TE position. Has shown the football IQ and versatility to align inline, flexed out, and in the backfield as an 'H'. In the run game, he's a willing blocker. Doesn't generate vertical movement, but is competitive and strong enough to hold the point. In the passing game is where his true value is. He's an ideal fit in today's NFL due to his versatility and prowess in the passing game." — The Draft Network

Kevin Davidson, QB, Princeton

Projection: 7th Round-PFA

"Everything is there but the at-bats. He has the right size, the right arm, and the right accuracy, but he's going to need a whole lot of work with an NFL quarterback coach along with a whole lot of time." — College Football News

Kyle Murphy, OG, Rhode Island

Projection: 7th Round-PFA

"His size (6-3¼, 316) and strength were good for his level of competition, but may be an early challenge in the NFL. He's an average drive blocker, but might be quick enough to get to challenging angles as a move blocker. Murphy's pass protection is a strength, with the anchor and slide quickness to match up with a variety of rush styles. He should offer good backup depth with a chance to bump up the depth chart in the future." —

Dante Olson, ILB, Montana

Projection:7th Round-PFA

"He'll bring the right frame and size (6-2 3/8, 237), and he'll bring the resume with a whole lot of tackles and great tape. Can he run at all, though? He's a one-gear guy — he'll stop everything against the run, but that's it — and it's just fine." — College Football News

— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.

(Photo courtesy of Dayton Athletics)