(Stats Perform) – The Missouri Valley Football Conference received five of the 16 bids in the FCS playoffs – three more than any of the other nine conferences participating in the field.
This week, the Valley figures to be the dominant FCS conference for NFL Draft selections.
Starting with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance among the early selections Thursday night, upwards of 10 former Valley players, including grad transfer Jabril Cox from NDSU, are considered potential draftees or priorities when teams offer free agent contracts.
The three-day draft will be held in Cleveland – the first round Thursday night, second and third rounds Friday night and fourth through seven rounds on Saturday.
Following are leading FCS prospects with the average round projections of three draft evaluators: NFL Draft Bible (DB), The Draft Network (DN) and Draft Scout (DS).
Trey Lance, North Dakota State QB, 6-4, 226
1st round (1 DB, 1 DN, 1 DS)
Possible third or fourth overall pick’s skill set has high ceiling amid questions about decision making in the pocket.
Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State, OT, 6-5½, 304
2nd round (2 DB, 2 DN, 3 DS)
Senior Bowl practice player of the week has room to add quality weight, lauded for movement along the line.
Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa, OT, 6-8½, 314
3rd round (2 DB, 3 DN, 3 DS)
Gained nearly 100 pounds while at UNI, but has kept agility and explosiveness in blocking.
Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa, DE, 6-6½, 262
4th round (3 DB, 4 DN, 5 DS)
Long frame and high motor, but will have to get stronger to handle larger NFL tackles.
Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas, CB, 5-11½, 195
4th round (4 DB, 6 DN, 3 DS)
Fast and fluid in pass coverage with an athletic style that can be built on at the next level.
Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central, CB, 6-1, 174
5th round (3 DB, 7 DN, 6 DS)
Raw in overall fundamentals, but disruptive around the ball (five interceptions, eight breakups in 2019).
Cade Johnson, South Dakota State, WR, 5-10, 186
5th round (6 DB, 4 DN, 6 DS)
Over 2018-19 seasons, slot receiver ranked in FCS top five in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches.
David Moore, Grambling State, C, 6-1½, 350
6th round (4 DB, 5 DN, 7th/PFA DS)
Aggressive interior blocker with upside (a guard in college), but must control weight at the next level.
Christian Uphoff, Illinois State, FS, 6-2, 209
7th round (PFA DB, 6 DN, 6-7 DS)
Late-round developmental prospect who offers excellent size and instinctive play.
Drew Himmelman, Illinois State, OT, 6-9, 325
Priority Free Agent (PFA DB, PFA DN, 7 DS)
Mammoth tackle played in spring season before entering the draft, has aggressive style of play.
Mac McCain, North Carolina A&T, CB, 5-11, 186
Priority Free Agent (7 DB, PFA DN, FA DS)
274 interception return yards (six picks) as freshman in 2017 tied for second-most in FCS in last 25 years.
Others to Know
Jabril Cox, LB, North Dakota State grad transfer to LSU (2nd Round); Romeo McKnight, DE, Illinois State grad transfer to Charlotte; Briley Moore, TE, Northern Iowa grad transfer to Kansas State; D’Angelo Amos, FS, James Madison grad transfer to Virginia; Shane Simpson, RB, Towson grad transfer to Virginia; Justus Reed, DE, Youngstown State grad transfer to Virginia Tech; Calvin Ashley, OT, Florida A&M; Qwynnterio Cole, S, Alcorn State; Sam Cooper, C, Merrimack; Donnie Corley, WR, Texas Southern; Brady Davis, QB, Illinois State; Keyion Dixon, WR, Eastern Kentucky; Christian Elliss, OLB, Idaho State; Sam Kamara, DT, Stony Brook; Colten Menges, LS, Alcorn State