Philadelphia, PA - How 'bout that Jimmy Football? – Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - How 'bout that Jimmy Football?
When drafting, go (Terrance) West, young man.
Sure, almost all the fanfare is on the FBS ranks as the NFL heads toward its annual college draft from May 8-10.
But there's more to the draft when teams look a little deeper for the hidden gems. This is a strong year for FCS prospects, especially at the top of the class.
So who needs Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney and Blake Bortles when there's so much talent to be scooped up from the FCS level.
If NFL teams could only select from the FCS this year, here's how the first round would go:
1. Houston Texans - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois. Call this the lock of the FCS draft. Who needs Johnny Football when new Texans coach Bill O'Brien was out getting a first-hand look at Jimmy Football on his pro day.
2. St. Louis Rams - Billy Turner, OT/OG, North Dakota State. It's a tough call over Furman's Dakota Dozier, but the veteran of three straight FCS national championship squads is slightly bigger and faster.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Terrance West, RB, Towson. With Maurice Jones-Drew no longer in the mix (replaced by Toby Gerhart), the Jaguars indeed go West, grabbing the FCS single-season rushing record holder to pound through defensive lines.
4. Cleveland Browns - Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman. Dozier made the move from college tackle to pro guard look so smooth at the East-West Shrine Game. The Browns come away delighted by their pick.
5. Buffalo Bills (trade from Oakland Raiders) - Jordan Tripp, LB, Montana. The Bills sense Tripp will be gone by their No. 9 pick, so they switch spots with Oakland and give up a trio of former FCS wide receivers - Brandon Kaufman (Eastern Washington), Cordell Roberson (Stephen F. Austin) and Chris Summers (Liberty) - a position of need for the Raiders.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton. The best player available is supposed to be the smart pick for a team. The Falcons prefer to get an edge rusher, but Reid is the best player available and a smart player to boot.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern. The Buccaneers follow the Falcons' script and take an obvious talent, even if it's not a pressing need. McKinnon may have tested better than any player at the NFL Combine.
8. Minnesota Vikings - Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell. The men in purple have been known to reach for a quarterback. Mathews is a first-rounder, just not at this point in the draft. That's two Ivy Leaguers in the top 10.
9. Oakland Raiders (trade from Buffalo Bills) - Kadeem Edwards, OG, Tennessee State. The Silver & Black might have been better off taking Reid at No. 5, but they get a much-needed offensive lineman after bungling free agency.
10. Detroit Lions - Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty. Much like the Rams' tough call at No. 2, the Lions go Aikens over Maine's Kendall James to man a corner. Aikens is bigger; James is faster.
11. Tennessee Titans - Rakim Cox, DE, Villanova. Cox's four-year productivity jumps out at the Titans, and an edge rusher just happens to be a position of need.
12. New York Giants - Kendall James, CB, Maine. The G-Men need more speed and athleticism in the secondary. That's where James comes into the picture.
13. St. Louis Rams - Erik Lora, WR, Eastern Illinois. The Rams can picture Lora putting up Danny Amendola-type numbers on the carpet. Not a bad first- round haul with Turner and Lora.
14. Chicago Bears - Zachariah Kerr, DT, Delaware. The Bears are astounded when Kerr falls to them, and they're probably right considering he has top-10 talent.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern. The tackle who's needed isn't available, so the Steelers decide to make their secondary a bit younger and better with Westbrooks.
16. Dallas Cowboys - A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State. The Cowboys just miss out on teaming Westbrooks with his former teammate J.J. Wilcox in their secondary. The selection of Leonard allows them to move toward post-Jason Witten days.
17. Baltimore Ravens - Walter Powell, WR/RS, Murray State. The Ravens are focused on improving in the skills positions, and they get a double-threat - pass receiving and kickoff returns - in Powell.
18. New York Jets - D.J. Morrell, OG, Old Dominion. Success on the offensive line in recent seasons with former FCS players (Willie Colon and Austin Howard) draws the Jets to Morrell.
19. Miami Dolphins - Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State. The Dolphins go fishing for a running back who can be effective as a pass catcher or pass blocker on third down. There's some running ability in those legs, too.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Brad Daly, OLB, Montana State. Daly isn't an ideal size for the NFL, but it's clear the 2013 Buck Buchanan Award winner can get into an opponent's backfield.
21. Green Bay Packers - Tyler Starr, OLB/DE, South Dakota. The Packers need more playmakers on defense and Starr, with long hair, looks a little like Clay Matthews. Sold!
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Marcus Williams, CB, North Dakota State. As the Eagles try to shore up their secondary, they go for the flash of Williams over the more understated Todd Washington of Southeastern Louisiana.
23. San Diego Chargers (trade from Kansas City Chiefs) - Todd Washington, CB, Southeastern Louisiana. With Washington still on the board, the Chargers jump up two spots in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, giving up former FCS quarterback Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah) to make it happen
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Nick Addison, FS, Bethune-Cookman. The Bengals feel like the Bungals because they were ready to pick Washington before the Chargers leapfrogged them. The Bengals go with Addison, the fourth junior- eligible prospect after West, Leonard and Crowell.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (trade from San Diego Chargers) - Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina. The way Hazel kept getting better at Coastal impresses the Chiefs, who are in the market for wide receivers.
26. Cleveland Browns - Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB/FB, Coastal Carolina. Having addressed a need with Dozier at the fourth pick, the Browns get a hard- charging back to work behind him. Ironically, the pick came from Indianapolis when the Browns traded away a running back, Trent Richardson.
27. New Orleans Saints - Josh Wells, OT, James Madison. Wells was a four-year starting quarterback in high school, but he doesn't pose a threat to Drew Brees. The Saints like his athleticism for their O-line.
28. Carolina Panthers - Tony Washington, WR, Appalachian State. It didn't quite work in Carolina for former App State quarterback-turned-wide receiver Armanti Edwards, but the Panthers aren't gun shy from it and select a Mountaineer who actually played on the perimeter.
29. New England Patriots - Kerry Wynn, DE, Richmond. Wynn will be able to move around on the Pats' defensive line and make plays. He's a value pick this late in the first round.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Karim Barton, C/OG, Morgan State. The 49ers feel Barton has too much talent to have fallen this far. A tackle at Morgan State, he has the versatility to play different spots on the O-line.
31. Indianapolis Colts (trade from Denver Broncos) - Greg Hardin, WR, North Dakota. Without a first-round pick, the Colts trade up to keep Hardin playing indoors. They send former FCS safety Corey Lynch (Appalachian State) and their second-round pick to Denver in the trade.
32. Seattle Seahawks - Nic Jacobs, TE, McNeese State. The Seahawks had their eye on Hardin, but the Super Bowl champs still get a pass catcher in a different variety. Jacobs is the fifth early-entry selection from the obviously talented FCS.
Houston, you're on the clock for the start of Round 2 ...