NFL mock drafts are so popular because they come one month after our March Madness brackets implode, so we believe we’ll get it all right the second time around.
Sadly, after the first half-dozen picks in the first round, the domino effect tears apart most mock drafts. But call us persistent because we know deep in our hearts we can outsmart the execs in the war rooms.
FCS prospects don’t tend to go too high in the draft, but some offer such great value in deeper rounds.
Considering we had Loyola (Chicago) going all the way to the Final Four, here are some possible fits for a half dozen of the leading FCS prospects come the April 26-28 draft.
— 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 www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Projection: 1st-2nd round
Enough teams selecting near the end of the first round are in the market for a tight end that Goedert could become just the second FCS player selected there in the last nine years. And, oh, would that other first-rounder, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (picked second overall in 2016), love to throw to a two-time All-American with great hands.
Teams in the Market: Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle
(Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Athletics)
Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State
Projection: 3rd round
Leonard looks the part and plays the part of a rangy outside linebacker. He racked up a game-high 14 tackles at the Senior Bowl after totaling 394 in his college career. The MEAC is in the Washington Redskins’ backyard, so they are well-versed on Leonard.
Teams in the Market: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Miami and Washington
(Photo courtesy of South Carolina State Athletics)
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
Projection: 3rd round
Cleveland, the New York Giants and the New York Jets figure to nab franchise quarterbacks in the opening picks of the draft. Lauletta is a second-tier prospect. While he admits there are connections with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the Senior Bowl MVP laughs about how the media is hyping the potential interest. But Lauletta also says learning behind a Pro Bowl quarterback is ideal.
Teams in the Market: Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, New England, New Orleans and Washington
(Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics)
Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
Projection: 4th round
Which teams are in the market for an offensive tackle? The better question is, which aren’t? The three-time MEAC offensive lineman of the year is attractive, full of size and raw ability. A sleeper pick deserves a sleeper suitor. The Cincinnati Bengals have gone three straight drafts without picking an FCS player.
Teams in the Market: Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, Seattle and Tampa Bay
(Photo courtesy of North Carolina A&T Athletics)
P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
Projection: 4th-5th round
Although slightly undersized for a defensive tackle/nose tackle, Hall is arguably the quickest of the draft candidates. Hence, he holds the FCS career record of 86.5 tackles for a loss and his 42 sacks were just off the all-time mark. If Dallas or Houston doesn’t keep Hall in Texas, he would be an ideal fit on the Oakland Raiders’ D-line.
Teams in the Market: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami, Tampa Bay and Washington
(Photo courtesy of Sam Houston State Athletics)
Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa
Projection: 5th round
Maybe the host Indianapolis Colts kept the offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game out of the NFL Combine to temper the buzz about the 2017 breakout player. Fountain’s versatility as a punt and kickoff returner adds to his attractiveness. He would look good on the Lucas Oil Stadium carpet.
Teams in the Market: Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Tennessee
(Photo courtesy Northern Iowa Athletics)