FCS: A Letter to the NFL

Image created by Ben Schleiger. Components via USA Today and Wikipedia.

Dear NFL,

Why? Why was there such a distrust of the FCS in this year’s NFL Draft?

What was it that made the FCS so undesirable?
– Bad grades from scouts?
– Coaches worried about the strength of the schedule?
– GM/Owners worried about the “lower division” talent?

The previous low was 13 picks last year. A new low has been established with six picks this year.

What could have lowered the bottom so dramatically?
– Lack of pro days?
– Lack of player interviews?
– Lack of trust in player production?

The Lucky Six: The Ones Who Got Drafted

The Lucky Six include:
Jeremy Chinn – Safety – 6’3″ 221lbs. – Round 2 Pick 64
From: Southern Illinois Salukis To: Carolina Panthers
Adam Trautman – Tight End – 6’5″ 255lbs. – Round 3 Pick 105
From: Dayton Flyers To: New Orleans Saints
Isaiah Coulter – Receiver – 6’2″ 198lbs. – Round 5 Pick 171
From: Rhode Island Rams To: Houston Texans
Lachavious Simmons – Guard – 6’5″ 315lbs. – Round 7 Pick 227
From: Tennessee State Tigers To: Chicago Bears
Ben DiNucci – Quarterback – 6’2″ 210lbs. – Round 7 Pick 231
From: James Madison Dukes To: Dallas Cowboys
Derrek Tuszka – Defensive End – 6’4″ 251lbs. – Round 7 Pick 254
From: North Dakota State Bison To: Denver Broncos

While FCS fans are happy for The Lucky Six, the level of disrespect and incompetence to ignore other high caliber FCS players is a crime. If we could press charges it would be done since the injustice is hard to swallow. It seemed as though the message of the draft was “take the mediocre power player over the talented FCS player”. There was an equal amount of FCS players and special teams players taken overall.

The Experts’ Reactions on Twitter

Photo via Craig Haley Twitter.
Photo via Brian McLaughlin Twitter.
Photo via Brian McLaughlin Twitter.
Photo from FCS Football via Craig Haley.

The experts weighed in throughout the night and were just as disappointed as the fans. There was so much FCS talent and yet the prospects were left hoping and waiting for UDFA offers. Only six draft picks is unacceptable, but help was on the way with free agent rookie signings.

UDFA Contracts: The Ones With Second Chances

Despite the bad mood towards the draft, there were 65+ other FCS players to sign undrafted free agent contracts (UDFA). The full list can be found on Hero Sports Free Agent Tracker.

Some highlights on the UDFA list include:

Dante Olson – Linebacker – 6’3″ 240lbs. – UDFA
From: Montana Griz To: Philadelphia Eagles
James Robinson – Running Back – 5’10” 220lbs. – UDFA
From: Illinois State Redbirds To: Jacksonville Jaguars
Josh Pearson – Receiver – 6’4″ 205lbs. – UDFA
From: Jacksonville State Gamecocks To: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bronson Rechsteiner – Fullback – 6’0″ 230lbs. – UDFA
From: Kennesaw State Owls To: Baltimore Ravens
Case Cookus – Quarterback – 6’4″ 205lbs. – UDFA
From: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks To: New York Giants
Charlie Taumoepeau – Tight End – 6’3″ 245 lbs. – UDFA
From: Portland State Vikings To: Dallas Cowboys
Christian Rozeboom – Linebacker – 6’2″ 230lbs. – UDFA
From: South Dakota State Jackrabbits To: Los Angeles Rams
Cam Gill – Linebacker – 6’3″ 240lbs. – UDFA
From: Wagner Seahawks To: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Canadian Five: The Ones Heading North

Meanwhile, our friends up North in the Canadian Football League drafted five FCS products. In the CFL Draft, there are eight rounds of eight picks plus the additions of compensatory picks. While there is a quota of a necessary amount of Native players the FCS players can still make it in the CFL regardless of being a Canadian or not.

The Canadian Five FCS players taken were:

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund – Defensive End – 6’2″ 250lbs. – Round 1 Pick 3
From: Southeastern Louisiana Lions To: Calgary Stampeders
Mason Bennett – Defensive End – 6’4″ 258lbs. – Round 1 Pick 8
From: North Dakota Fightin’ Hawks To: Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Michael Hoecht – Defensive Line – 6’4″ 310lbs. – Round 2 Pick 1
From: Brown Bears To: Ottawa Redblacks
Malik Tyne – Linebacker – 6’3″ 235lbs. – Round 3 Pick 4
From: Towson Tigers To: Edmonton Eskimos
Chris Gangarossa – Offensive Line – 6’6″ 295lbs. – Round 6 Pick 4
From: Wagner Seahawks To: Edmonton Eskimos

The Forgotten: On the Outside Looking In

Between the NFL Draft, UDFA contracts, and the CFL Draft there are still some athletes who have not received their chance. With the uncertainty that this pandemic causes who knows if training camp invites will be as popular, or even used at all. FCS products could be at their biggest disadvantage ever.

Here are some deserving prospects that fans from FCS Fans Nation identified as the biggest snubbed players:

Rashad Robinson – Cornerback – 5’11” 188lbs – James Madison
155 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 13 interceptions, 39 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 2 defensive touchdowns
Mitch Brott – Offensive Tackle – 6’6″ 300lbs. – Montana State
Started all four years, named to multiple All-America teams
Zach Hall – Linebacker – 6’0″ 238lbs. – Southeastern Missouri
406 tackles, 40 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks, 14 pass deflections, 8 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions, 2 blocked kicks, 2 defensive touchdowns
Jacob Knipp – Quarterback – 6’4″ 215lbs. – Northern Colorado
553/903 (61.2%), 7026 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, 29 interceptions
Elijah Bell – Receiver – 6’1″ 225lbs. – North Carolina A&T
202 catches, 2980 receiving yards, 33 touchdowns
Tom Flacco – Quarterback – 6’1″ 205lbs. – Towson
484/795 (60.8%), 6082 passing yards, 50 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Chase Vinaterri – Kicker – 6’1″ 220lbs. – South Dakota State
47/70 (67.1%), long 57 yards, 234 kickoffs, 13727 yards, 58.7 average, 89 touchbacks

Honorable mentions: Marlon Bridges (Safety, Jacksonville State), Dawonya Tucker (Running back, Prarie View A&M), Jordan Bentley (Running back, Alabama A&M), Ahmere Dorsey (Receiver, Rhode Island), Deondre Francois (Quarterback, Hampton), Noah Wanzek (Receiver, North Dakota), Antoine Custer Jr. (Running back EWU), Andre Walker (Defensive lime, Houston Baptist), Dehonta Hayes (Cornerback , Eastern Washington).

While the NFL is missing out on incredible talent we will still hope our FCS players will get picked up in the coming months. Training camp invites are undoubtedly a mystery of how or if they will be a thing. Practice squads will need to be filled and we can only hope the FCS gets their due then.

Thank you to the NFL for taking in as many FCS products as you did this year, but I am sorry for what you will be missing out of the other players who were not taken.


The FCS and Fans