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2018 NFL Draft Preview: Football Championship Subdivision

Next up in my 2018 NFL draft preview is the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). I will cover all 1-AA players of interest in this post. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you read:

  • Ages for prospects are as of December 31st, 2017.
  • For wide receivers, the first season with a 30 percent dominator rating qualifies as a breakout.
  • Market share of rushing yards does not include quarterback rushing yards.
  • I am not including any listed heights or weights, since the accuracy of listed numbers tends to vary greatly.

These are all players I have deemed interesting based on their production profiles and what I’ve read across multiple scouting platforms. It’s possible there are draftable prospects I have not included and vice-versa.

Quarterbacks

PlayerSchoolAgeGamesAttYdYPATDINTAYARushRush YdYPCRush TDYears StartCar YPACar AYA
Kyle LaulettaRichmond22.81143337378.628128.768901.3438.88.7
Jeremiah BriscoeSam Houston State24.41457950038.645168.427-6-0.2338.69.2

Kyle Lauletta is one of my favorite sleeper QB options. He was excellent in his time as a starter for the Spiders, posting a career YPA of 8.8. At the Senior Bowl, Lauletta did his best to prove that he belongs, throwing for 198 yards and three TDs on just 12 attempts. He is also a master of the fade route.

Jeremiah Briscoe is already over 24 but was incredibly accomplished at Sam Houston State. In 2017, he crested the 5,000-yard passing mark and threw 45 TDs. In 2016, he threw 57 TDs and only 10 interceptions. Other than age, the biggest red flag for Briscoe is his completion percentage, which was 58.3 percent for his career. He is a borderline draftable prospect.

Running Backs

PlayerSchoolAgeGamesRushRush YdYPCYPGMSRUYDTDRecRec YardsRec TDCar YPCCar YPGCar RecCar KRKR AvgCar PRPR Avg
Chase EdmondsFordham21.771365774.282.40.70251112906.2136.3862821.70-
Martez CarterGrambling State-121678545.171.20.668103344926.658.4749222.5269.7
Roc ThomasJacksonville State-1217810976.291.40.634132124405.956.654314.30-

The final year numbers for Chase Edmonds really do not do him justice. He averaged 23.3 touches per game over his four-year career, while averaging over 6.0 yards per carry and 10 yards per reception. If he was playing in the FBS, that would be even more appetizing. As it stands, Edmonds is the most prolific FCS RB of this draft class. In addition to what he did on the ground, Edmonds scored 74 total TDs, caught 86 passes, and even totaled 28 kick returns. He is a fantastic prospect.

Martez Carter is not nearly the workhorse but was still very efficient at Grambling State. Carter averaged 6.6 YPC and 13 YPR for his career but only carried the ball a shade over eight times a game over his final three seasons. He has 74 career receptions and was used extensively in the return game, with 26 punt returns and 92 kick returns for his career. If he is successful at the next level, it will most likely be in a third down and change of pace role, while also contributing on returns.

After being a backup for his first two years at Auburn, Roc Thomas transferred to Jacksonville State for a bigger role. He was productive in his two seasons there, averaging over 6.0 YPC and 11 YPR. I would have liked to see him shoulder more raw rush attempts, but he still accounted for over 63 percent of non-QB rushing yards for 2017. Given the big-school pedigree, I expect Thomas to draw interest as we get closer to the draft.

Wide Receivers

PlayerSchoolAgeGamesRecRec YardsYPRRec TDMSRECYDMSRECTDCar RushRush YdCar KRKR AvgCar PRPR AvgCar MSRECYDCar MSRECTDCar YPRBreakout
Justin WatsonPenn21.71081108313.4140.5050.700443390-0-0.4050.40913.219.7
Patrick SmithTennessee State-114264815.480.3170.444835624.7327.10.3820.49016.6RS SO
Jake WienekeSouth Dakota State23.3146596514.8160.2630.45731350-0-0.3630.50317.920.3
Troy PelletierLehigh22.912105129212.3100.3300.3231777129.0136.20.3170.37912.919.9
Daurice FountainUNI-136694314.3120.3080.42910222.5140.2070.30113.8SO
Jordan GandyMurray State21.9116595414.7100.4370.5566918.00-0.1960.27815.320.9

I’m incredibly excited about the prospects of Justin Watson. His career for the Penn Quakers was remarkable. Here are some relevant data points:

  • Career market share of receiving yards of 0.41
  • Career market share of receiving TDs of 0.41
  • Final year dominator of 0.60
  • 44 career rushes for 339 yards
  • Breakout age of 19.7
  • Final age of 21.7

We will see what his tested athleticism looks like, but Watson’s dominance at the FCS level suggests he is one of the best prospects at his position.

I could not find an age for Patrick Smith, but he had quite the career of his own for Tennessee State. Smith broke out as a redshirt sophomore and has a career receiving TD share of 49 percent. He is an experienced punt returner as well. Unfortunately, his final season was markedly worse than his first two and that will dampen his NFL prospects.

Jake Wieneke is the top FCS WR for many pundits, and it’s easy to see why. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Wieneke is a well-established red-zone threat, having scored a ridiculous 59 TDs in his four-year career. Much like Smith, his final year production was below his career averages, but Wieneke also had to share a field with top TE prospect Dallas Goedert. (More on him later.) Wieneke is already over 23 but broke out as a 20.3-year-old redshirt freshman.

I’m shocked that Troy Pelletier has received zero buzz yet this draft season, as he is coming off of a fantastic career for Lehigh. Pelletier earned 32 percent of Lehigh receiving yards and 38 percent of receiving TDs over his career and posted a 0.30 dominator in all four seasons of collegiate play. He broke out just before turning 20. Pelletier is one of my favorite deep sleepers.

Daurice Fountain has seen his stock pick up steam of late, and I have to imagine there is an athletic component to that love. Fountain has a career market share of yards of just 0.207, and his career TD share is a shade above 0.30. Going in Fountain’s favor is a sophomore breakout – though I have no idea how young he was when that happened – and a final year dominator of 0.37. Still, one would expect some more production from an NFL player at the FCS level.

Jordan Gandy was absolutely dominant in his final year, with a dominator of 0.50 in 2017. Unfortunately, his overall career was underwhelming. He also broke out a little late, in his true junior season. Gandy wrapped up his career with two straight seasons of 950 yards and 10 TDs.

Tight Ends

PlayerSchoolAgeGamesRecRec YardsYPRRec TDMSRECYDMSRECTDCar MSRECYDCar MSRECTDCar YPRBreakout
Dallas GoedertSouth Dakota State231472111115.470.3030.2000.2050.16715.122

I’m not sure if an FCS TE has ever been the first off the board in the NFL Draft, but Goedert certainly has a chance to do it. He’s 23, but owns impressive career market share numbers and went over 1,100 yards in his final season. Goedert also averaged over 15 YPR for his career and was a field-stretcher at the TE position.

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