We've reached the part of the NFL Draft cycle where folks are onto Mock Draft 38.0, and at this point it becomes just a reshuffled list of prospects that we've already talked about ad nauseam all throughout the process.
How about we do something different to spice things up a bit, while also introducing you to some players that you may not be familiar with?
Introducing my Small-College ONLY Mock Draft!
Here are the rules:
1. Definition of "Small College": Prospects from the FCS, Div. II, Div. III, NAIA & USports Canadian Colleges. Prospects that are from the non-P5 FBS do not qualify as small colleges, they are called Mid-Majors.
2. Picks will be based off how I view these players (www.footballgameplan.com/2021draftguide) and what I view the team needs to be, based off their current roster.
3. It's only a mock draft, so relax, chill, have some fun and learn about some of the sleepers in this draft class.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Trey Lance, 6'4 220, North Dakota State: Lance is the top small-college QB prospect at the position this year and would give the Jaguars a prospect who can be a 'Plus-1' in the run game, a passer who can work all levels of the field, and one who has a winning pedigree coming from North Dakota State. All 3 are exactly what this franchise needs.
2. New York Jets
OLB Alani Pututau, 6'2 235, Adams State: Quietly, pass rusher is one of the areas that the Jets defense still needs to bolster. They've added Carl Lawson, which is a major step in the right direction, why not add another? Pututau finished 2019 with 24.5 TFLs and 13.5 sacks. He would provide the perfect bookend to Lawson.
3. San Francisco 49ers
(from Miami Dolphins)
CB Robert Rochell, 5'11 195, Central Arkansas: A Reese's Senior Bowl standout, Rochell would help bolster the 49ers on the corners with a talented player who can play press or off coverage very well, and one who can match up athletically with any receiver he faces.
4. Atlanta Falcons
CB Mac McCain III, 5'11 175, North Carolina A&T: The Falcons can go in a variety of directions with their fourth overall pick. Because of the era of football we're in, where the passing game reigns supreme, doubling down on cornerback would be a wise move. They took AJ Terrell last year in the first round, and in this mock they add the ball-hawking Mac McCain III from North Carolina A&T, who has 8 INTs, 22 PBUs and 4 pick-sixes in his career.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
OT Dillon Radnuz, 6'6 298, North Dakota State: It's all about protecting Joe Burrow for the Bengals. Radnuz was one of the more dominating offensive linemen at the FCS level, and was able to more than hold his own this past January at the Reese's Senior Bowl.
6. Miami Dolphins
WR Dai'Jean Dixon, 6'4 200, Nicholls: Dixon has declared for the NFL Draft, and also played in the FCS spring season. He finished his seven-game spring with 35 receptions, 514 yards and 7 touchdowns. He'd be exactly what Tua Tagovailoa needs to add on the perimeter.
7. Detroit Lions
WR Mike Strachan, 6'5 225, Charleston: The Lions need a perimeter playmaker, and the 6-foot-5 Strachan is exactly what the doctor ordered. His ability to play above the rim, in addition to his ability to accelerate and track the football, makes him a legitimate weapon outside.
8. Carolina Panthers
G David Moore, 6'1 330, Grambling: Moore was excellent at the Reese's Senior Bowl, and also dropped 20 pounds a few months later at his Pro Day. He would give the Panthers a dominating interior OL, who could also thrive at center if need be.
9. Denver Broncos
S Nelson Lokombo, 5'11 190, University of Saskatchewan: Denver signed both CBs Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby in free agency to strengthen the secondary. I wanted to add more versatility to the unit with Lokombo, who can play either safety spot, blitz off the edge and matchup inside vs bigger WRs and TEs. His game reminds me a lot of Desmond King.
10. Dallas Cowboys
CB Bryan Mills, 6'0 180, North Carolina Central: The Cowboys drafted CB Trevon Diggs last year in the 2nd round. And they get even stronger on the backend with Bryan Mills, who stood out at the Reese's Senior Bowl and one who has outstanding football awareness & ball skills.
11. New York Giants
LB Chris Garrett, 6'2 245, Concordia-St. Paul: Giants continue to stockpile talent on defense with Garrett. He can play any one of the LB spots, showing the ability to pressure the QB and make impactful plays. He was a 2x Div. 2 All-American, 2x Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and owns the DII record for forced fumbles with 15. He also racked up 48.5 TFLs and 36.5 sacks in his career.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
WR Keyion Dixon, 6'3 186, Eastern Kentucky: Dixon is a very fluid athlete that plays with a great deal of fluidity within his game. This shows up in his ability to get open quickly and sacrifice his body for the reception. He would bring another outside weapon for QB Jalen Hurts in the passing game.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
OT Spencer Brown, 6'8 321, Northern Iowa: Brown was able to show at the Reese's Senior Bowl that his pad level had improved significantly, and when you combine that with how excellent he is on both ends of offense, it makes it a no-brainer for the Chargers to add the enormous FCS prospect.
14. Minnesota Vikings
DT Sam Kamara, 6'2 285, Stony Brook: Kamara played this spring and also ended up declaring for the NFL Draft as well. In just three games he picked up 3 TFLs and 2 sacks, finishing his career with 24 TFLs and 15 sacks. He is your classic three-tech who is a highly disruptive player, something the Vikings desperately need on the interior.
15. New England Patriots
WR Donnie Corley, 6'2 190, Texas Southern: It's all about adding weapons around QB Cam Newton. Corley, for a taller guy, has very good short area quickness and agility. He's got enough quicks to be a strong RAC guy at the pro level, which would help the Patriots short passing game have success.
16. Arizona Cardinals
TE Zach Davidson, 6'7 245, Central Missouri: Davidson has excellent athleticism for the position, and would be the ideal vertical stretch player on the inside within this Cardinals offense. He scored 18 touchdowns in his career, and is a 2x All-American and 3x All-Conference performer. If push comes to shove, he can also double as the Cardinals punter, seeing that he led the conference in that regard by averaging 42.8 YPP.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
OT Drew Himmelman, 6'9 318, Illinois State: For a taller OL, Himmelman plays with really good pad level in the downhill run game. A 2x FCS All-American and 3x All-Conference performer, Himmelman would help strengthen the depth up front for the Raiders.
18. Miami Dolphins
RB JaQuan Hardy, 5'10 217, Tiffin: With their second first-round pick, the Dolphins head to the backfield with the talented Hardy. He's an instinctive runner who has very good balance and run power. Hardy averaged 6.4 YPC in his career and scored 28 rushing touchdowns. He's coming off a stellar week at the 2021 College Gridiron Showcase back in January.
19. Washington Football Team
LB Mar'Quess Daniels, 6'3 245, Central Methodist: It'll be hard to find a more impressive backer with upside than Daniels. He's got the ability to rush the passer, evident by his 10 career sacks in only 2 seasons; and can hold his own in coverage, evident by his 3 INTs, with two of those being pick-sixes. Daniels is also a strong point of attack player vs the run, finishing with 108 tackles and 24 TFLs.
20. Chicago Bears
DL Mike Boykin, 6'5 290, North Alabama: Boykin can play all across the defensive front. He's a big, versatile DL and does a fantastic job of using his length to walk the offensive lineman back into the lap of the QB. He does his job so well, that it frees up other players to make plays.
21. Indianapolis Colts
OT Kion Smith, 6'6 295, Fayetteville State: Smith dominated his level of competition, and also went down to the 2021 Tropical Bowl and more than held his own against some of the top players from the FBS level. He's got really good length, athleticism and upside. That's the holy trinity for offensive line prospects.
22. Tennessee Titans
DT Kenny Randall, 6'2 320, Charleston: Randall has terrific point of attack strength with underrated explosiveness. He was a 2021 NFLPA Bowl invitee, and finished his career with 32.5 TFLs, 9 sacks and 2 blocked field goals. He's a very good pressure player that uses his hands very well.
23. New York Jets
QB Brady Davis, 6'4 210, Illinois State: The Jets get their QB in the former Illinois State product. Davis has a legit howitzer for an arm, but also is a very good athlete as well. He can make all of the off-platform throws, in addition to being able to out throw coverage because of his high-level velocity on his passes. His game reminds me a lot of Josh Allen.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Arjay Shelley, 6'3 195, Manitoba: Shelley was impressive at the 2021 Tropical Bowl, showing the ability to match up vs FBS prospects. Because of his length he's able to shrink passing windows, making it very difficult to complete passes his way. He's a solid press player that fits the mold of what the Steelers like at the position.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
LB Ben Hladik, 6'4 238, University of British Columbia: Urban Meyer loves athletes with range and that aptly describes Hladik, who is also one of the top CFL Draft prospects. He's got the ability to play across the 2nd level, and is strong on both ends of defense.
26. Cleveland Browns
OG Pier-Olivier Lestage, 6'3 295, University of Montreal: The Browns are sitting pretty in the draft with a stacked roster. Adding depth along that talented offensive line with a top-tier prospect from Canada in Lestage. He is a finisher up front who plays with the right mentality you want to see from an offensive lineman.
27. Baltimore Ravens
OL Michael Johnson, 6'7 310, Savannah State: There is some uncertainty with the Ravens offensive line when you consider that Orlando Brown Jr. wants a trade. The Ravens get some valuable insurance with Johnson here in Rd 1. He's got very good footwork and lateral agility to play either guard or tackle. For a taller OL, he plays with a good base and balance within his game.
28. New Orleans Saints
WR Cade Johnson, 5'10 180, South Dakota State: The Saints could go CB in Rd 1, but adding another playmaker for the offense was too hard to pass up. Johnson was outstanding at SDSU and at the Reese's Senior Bowl. He has the ability after the catch to be an instant playmaker on offense with franchise QB Jameis Winston.
29. Green Bay Packers
OL Quinn Meinerz, 6'3 320, UW-Whitewater: Meinerz was outstanding at the Reese's Senior Bowl, and was also able to display a good bit of versatility as well, playing some center during the week. It's because of that versatility and flexibility that I like him in Green Bay.
30. Buffalo Bills
OT Logan Bandy, 6'5 315, University of Calgary: Bandy has good patience within his pass set and consistently plays with a good base and eyes for the position. He's expected to be a 1st round pick in the 2021 CFL Draft, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him end up on an NFL roster this summer during training camp. Bills need to add some depth along the offensive line.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
WR James Bryant, 6'0 205, Western Colorado: Bryant works really well in traffic and doesn't shy away from contact, nor the middle of the field. He would give the Chiefs a solid inside presence at WR, who has the knack for finding open space vs. zone coverage.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
S Christian Uphoff, 6'2 210, Illinois State: Uphoff was impressive at the Reese's Senior Bowl. He's an athletic DB who is able to play both safety spots, and is strong in man coverage. He would help continue to strengthen the Bucs on the backend.
Teams without first round picks
OT Calvin Ashley, 6'7 330, Florida A&M: Ashley plays a big man's game with how he's able to power wash defensive linemen out of the way in the run game. He's got a strong punch and ability to stymie defenders at the point of attack. A former 5-star recruit is definitely a developmental prospect worth taking a shot on if you're the Texans.
Los Angeles Rams
H-Back Kevonta Moses, 6'1 240, Shaw University: Moses has confident hands and is legitimately able to catch anything thrown his way. He was a standout at the 2021 Hula Bowl and would be a solid replacement for Gerald Everett, who they lost in free agency.
CB Jeremy Bell, 5'11 185, Charleston: Seattle needs to continue to add talent at cornerback, and Bell gives them someone who can play nickel very well. He's got solid footwork and above-average closing speed on the ball. He's coming off a solid all-star game circuit at both the Tropical Bowl & College Gridiron Showcase.