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"Best of" 2018 NFL Draft Prospects From FCS College Football

Dallas Goedert SDSU.jpg

SDSU TE Dallas Goedert

On average 18 FCS players are selected in the NFL draft, and while only 15 went last year, the depth of this year’s class should make it above-average.

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Expect more than 20 to come off the board at the seven-round draft April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas, led by South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert.

Depending on what attributes are in demand, here are the best of the best from the not so “small school” level:

Best Talent

Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

In the last nine drafts, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (2016) is the only FCS player selected in the first round. Goedert has the size (6-5, 256) and skill set (agility and reliable hands of a wide receiver) to be a possibility.

Best Size

Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T

At 6-foot-8, and 305 pounds with an 84 7/8-inch wingspan, “Big Stuff” (above, right) casts an impressive shadow on the O-line yet he moves well for his size.

Best Speed

Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas

Smith’s unofficial 4.32-second time in the 40-yard dash at UCA’s pro day was as fast as any cornerback at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Best Look

Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State

The 6-foot-2, 229-pound Leonard’s fluid, get-to-the-ball range is undeniable and he’s a workman. In an FCS draft class that is top-heavy on offense, he (right) should be the first defensive player selected.

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Best Riser

Foyesade Oluokun, OLB/SS, Yale

Scouts have awakened to this sleeper prospect, who impressed with speed and power at his pro day. A natural linebacker (6-2, 229), he’s viewed as a hybrid safety.

Best Quarterback

Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond

The MVP of the Reese’s Senior Bowl is a heady leader who probably has impressed even more in team interviews. He’s projected as a No. 2 signal-caller yet has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Garoppolo.

Best Hands

Jake Wieneke, WR, South Dakota State

The 6-foot-4 Wieneke has high-point ball skills to snare passes away from defenders. He grabbed 288 career receptions, including 59 that went for touchdowns – second most in FCS history.

Best Power

P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State

At his pro day, Hall (6-0, 308) lifted 36 reps on the 225-pound bench press. He continually powered through double-teams on the way to posting 42 sacks and an FCS-record 86.5 tackles for a loss in his career.

Best Value

Justin Watson, WR, Penn

Projected for the sixth or seventh round, Watson has the size (6-2.5, 213), physicality and productivity (286 career receptions) that combines for an ideal mix for a slot receiver.

Best Small “Small School” Prospect

Greg Senat, OT, Wagner,

Wagner College has never been a hot bed for NFL talent, and the 6-foot-6, 302-pound Senat’s background adds to the story. He’s a late bloomer – a power forward on the basketball team who added football as a junior. He became the first Northeast Conference player to be invited to the East-West Shrine Game.

Best “Other” Guy

Siran Neal, SS, Jacksonville State

Neal teammate’s Darius Jackson won the Buck Buchanan Award as the FCS defensive player of the year, but he should come off the board sooner on day three as a versatile defender who was a safety as a sophomore, a linebacker as a junior and a cornerback in his senior season.

Best Underrated Prospect

Skyler Phillips, OG, Idaho State

Quarterbacks dominate the headlines in the Big Sky, but they all need to be protected by the bruisers up front. Phillips can play just about anywhere on the offensive line with his upper body strength and good footwork.

Best Boom-or-Bust Prospect

John Franklin, DE, Stephen F. Austin

Franklin’s stock has risen off his excellent Combine showing, but maybe too quickly considering his pass-rushing technique is inconsistent. He also played for a Greenville, Texas, high school team that went 0-40 during his four seasons.

— 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.

(Dallas Goedert courtesy South Dakota State Athletics; Brandon Parker photo courtesy of North Carolina A&T Athletics; Darious Leonard photo courtesy of South Carolina State Athletics)