REBECCA RENNIE BIG BOARD: SMALL SCHOOL 150 (Page 6)
By Rebecca Rennie
As with every draft class, there is exceptional talent to be found outside the FBS. This presents my Top 150 of those small school prospects. Whether used pre-draft or after your team has picked up one or more of these players during or after the draft, I hope this provides some useful information or reference.
The first five pages provide profiles on the Top 50 small school prospects. Page 6 contains brief notes on the next 25. The final page contains the full Top 150 Big Board as a list.
There are a lot of players on this big board, many of whom will appear lower down on the list. I fully believe though, that with the right opportunity, every player included has the potential to be a successful pro.
In fact, there are countless other prospects that I know I will have missed. Unfortunately, this was a one-person operation without a full scouting team to hand. I’ve tried to get to as many players as possible, but had to get this posted eventually.
All draft boards are subjective and will have it’s share of misses along with hits. That’s part of the fun though, it would be dull if everyone was working off an identical board! Thanks for taking the time to look and enjoy the 2020 NFL Draft.
51. Dieter Eiselen, IOL, Yale
6’4”, 308lbs. A limited athlete but well built with good strength and length. Eiselen plays with a mean streak. Physical and aggressive at the point of attack, he’ll finishers defenders to the turf. His good base and sturdy anchor stand out, holding his ground well and proving tough to bull rush.
52. Kameron Cline, DL/EDGE, South Dakota
6’4”, 283lbs. High motor lineman who wins with good reactions and initial upfield burst. His direct straight-line attacks into the body provide good power and leg drive. He does require more in the way of hand usage and general upper body technique. The Hula Bowl standout plays with good balance and body control, while offering good size and hustle to contribute.
53. Daniel Reid-Bennett, S/CB, Elon
6’0”, 199lbs. The college corner has good size and length but may lack ideal speed for the position. He could see some consideration at safety or as a versatile depth player across the secondary. He shows smart reads and ball skills. Footwork and reactions can impact his ability to stay tight at the top of routes. He can allow separation and give up some easy completions.
54. Michael Bandy, WR, San Diego
5’10”, 190lbs. His innate feel for space and zones over the middle of the field and work after the catch with the vision of a running back sees the Toreros senior maximize his touches. Versatile in his deployment, Bandy changes up his positions in the formation, making him difficult to track and account for. He’s able to impact the game on multiple levels and areas of the field. He piled up 75 catches for 1152 to yards and 12 TDs as a senior.
55. Marcus Willoughby, EDGE, Elon
6’3”, 252lbs. Previously listed at around 275lbs, it wasn’t ideal to see Willoughby measure in much lighter. His game isn’t suited to rushing off the edge, rather as an intense, physical point-of-attack lineman. He still has a lot to like though with fast, violent and polished hands. His stout base and aggressiveness shedding blocks stood out. He’s more disruptive than the stats indicate and showed up in a key matchup with Wake Forest this season.
56. Aaron Patrick, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky
6’4”, 245lbs. The flashes of rush moves and bend round the edge are enticing. Though not truly explosive, there’s flexibility to turn the corner. The former tight end is still developing but has been productive at the lower levels and an ascending prospect. There’s a way to go with technique and stringing moves together but finds wins through aggression and hustle. There’s upside to latch on to and potentially develop on a practice squad.
57. Juwan Green, WR, Albany
6’0”, 187lbs. Green has a slight build but catches the eye with his breakaway speed. He has the natural quickness to work himself open and finishes once loose on the second and third levels. There are tantalizing examples of vertical prowess and spectacular grabs over coverage. His dominant senior season included 83 catches for 1386 yards and 17 touchdowns. Though making no catches in the game, he reportedly had a good week of practice in front of pro scouts at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl event.
58. Darius Williams, S, Carson-Newman
5’10”, 195lbs. A versatile playmaker in the back seven, Williams lines up all over the field from deep to blitzing off the edge. Basing his game off Jamal Adams, Williams is a highly physical hitter, balanced out by good instincts and football IQ. The D2 prospect’s range is aided by good footwork and loose hips. Williams works hard on and off the field to maximize his impact, despite modest size and top-end speed.
59. Kurt Rawlings, QB, Yale
6’2”, 203lbs. Whether Rawlings gets the right opportunity at the NFL level is far from certain. That said, he has that moxy, confidence and indefinable edge to his game some have and some just do not. He’s a fantastic competitor and leader with a winning mentality. Rawlings impresses with his instinctive vision and anticipation as a passer. He shows quick decision-making, timing and ball placement. Rawlings has average arm strength and may not be the most technically conventional, but he makes things happens, unafraid to step up and make a game his.
60. Shane Zylstra, WR, Minnesota State
6’3, 213lbs. While not the most dynamic or explosive, Zylstra is a polished receiver who uses his size to his advantage. Using varied releases and savvy hands, along with clean routes and minimal wasted motion, he does enough to get open or position himself favorably relative to coverage. Zylstra has a good head on his shoulders with the competitiveness and work ethic to carve out a role. He will be a little older as a 24-year-old rookie.
61. Prince Robinson, CB, Tarleton State
5’10”, 187lbs. Lack of size hurts, with a slight frame and very short arms and wingspan. Robinson is otherwise very well-rounded. His production includes 4 pick 6’s and a pair of special teams return TDs. The ball skills show up on film along with good instincts and positioning to make plays. Though projecting to nickel, he has experience inside and outside along with a variety of techniques and alignments. He looks the part in press, off, man and zone. In man coverage, the D2 standout mirrors well with excellent footwork and reactions.
62. Riley Stapleton, WR/TE, James Madison
6’4”, 230lbs. A concerning off-field incident will put off many teams, but should he get a chance, Stapleton has a useful hybrid skill set. He’s confirmed a willingness to add weight if requested to transition to TE. He already stands out as a fantastic blocker and overall physical presence from receiver. Stapleton was a consistently reliable target as a possession receiver and red zone target, excelling in contested situations and in traffic.
63. Aaron Parker, WR, Rhode Island
6’2”, 209lbs. This ranking is lower than most for one of the higher profile small school prospects. Parker was one of the few non-FBS Combine invites but has concerns on film. His rawness as a route runner and too many concentration drops are worrisome. He loses focus often at the catch point and can mistime his jumps as the ball arrives. His 26.5 vertical jump at the Combine was one of the more surprising testing results at the event. He was superbly productive as a senior. Parker totalled 81 receptions for 1,224 yards and 9 TDs in 2019.
64. John Daka, EDGE/LB, James Madison
6’3”, 227lbs. Daka is not an easy projection to the next level, as an undersized defensive end in college. The more games watched as the season progressed, the more Daka impressed. He may not have ideal size but is combative at the point of attack and wins with his excellent quickness and flexibility to dip and rip through block attempts. The motor runs scorching hot and his work in pursuit might aid as a stand-up edge or linebacker convert. He formed one of the more devastating pass rush duos in FCS this season with RonDell Carter.
65. Drew Wiley, FB/LB, Villanova
6’1”, 242lbs. He could have earned a look at the pros on his play at linebacker alone. However, Wiley excelled at his pro day in working out as a full back, which could be his primary role in the NFL and ticket to a roster spot. In all, Wiley can offer intriguing versatility at LB, FB and as a special teams warrior. He tested well with mid-4.6 speed, 32.5” vertical, 9-9 broad and 18 bench reps. At linebacker, Wiley shows good range with lateral and backward agility in space. His aggression is awesome and threatened with delayed blitzes up the middle.
66. Jonah Williams, EDGE/DL, Weber State
6’5”, 265lbs. This may be too low for Williams, but his status as a 25-year-old rookie when the season starts is a factor. He does have an ideal frame and uses his length well to keep blockers off his frame. He can tend to play a bit upright out of his stance with a narrow base. Williams has good power but often appears to lack ideal footwork and balance. With questionable flexibility, change of direction and athleticism, he’s unlikely to offer much pass rush or consistent backfield pressure.
67. Domenique Davis, DL, North Carolina-Pembroke
6’2”, 315lbs. Davis had unspectacular numbers as a senior with 6 TFLs and 3 sacks. He was the constant focus of double teams though and looks more disruptive on film that the stats indicate. Davis has a powerful, compact frame with nice arm length for his size. His thick lower half features tree trunk legs with intensity and motor to back up the power. His rush plans and hand technique are more accomplished than most small school prospects. He routinely lifts anchors and drives O-linemen back as if on skates or ragdoll blockers out of his way. Davis is currently recovering from a torn labrum.
68. Kristian Wilkerson, WR, Southeast Missouri State
6’1”, 200lbs. Though a smooth athlete and deep threat on film, Wilkerson still surprised with outstanding pro day testing. He logged a hand-held 4.46 dash, 39.5” vertical and 10-8 broad. He added unofficial agility times of 4.09 in the shuttle and a 6.68 3-cone. Wilkerson has good fundamentals, with good positioning, footwork on the sidelines and strong hands. He tracks the ball well and is physical under close coverage. A dominant FCS receiver, Wilkerson totalled 71 receptions, 1350 yards and 10 TDs.
69. Jackson Erdmann, QB, St Johns (MN)
6’3”, 206lbs. The former walk-on at Penn State won the Gagliardi award in 2018 and almost won again in 2019. He piled up 5040 pass yards with 47 TDs to 10 interceptions, completing 64% of his throws. Erdmann has solid measurables with good size and plenty zip on his passes. There’s an unconventional release, almost partially crouching as he rotates and releases. Ball placement is generally good but has his moments of making receivers work to bring in catches. He can be a touch slow at times working through progressions.
70. AJ Hines, RB, Duquesne
5’11”, 235lbs. His senior season didn’t quite go to plan, including battling through a shoulder injury. Hines is an imposing power-through-contact runner with better-than-expected quickness at his size. He’s light on his feet with more lateral agility than many of his build. Hines shows good vision and patience to set up his blocks. He’s relatively unproven as a pass catcher and could face durability concerns. Jordan Howard would be a reasonable style comparison for Hines.
71. Zack Johnson, IOL/OT, North Dakota State
6’6”, 315lbs. It almost feels as if Johnson has been around for the entirety of the Bison dynasty. His size and length, along with experience starting at both tackle and guard are appealing. There’s the potential to offer depth at multiple spots. Despite his stature he’s not as physically dominant at the FCS level as expected, not helped by some inconsistent footwork, balance and pad level. There’s a low ceiling with Johnson but his frame and experience are worth a look in camp.
72. Steven Newbold, WR, Tennessee State
5’10”, 180lbs. Searching out film of Newbold is highly recommended. The smaller receiver is ultra-competitive and permanently fired up. He plays as if he were the stature of Julio Jones. Newbold has outstandingly strong hands, making some highlight grabs high pointing the ball, outside his frame and under tight coverage. He may lack ideal top speed but is quicker-than-fast and plays with an attitude.
73. Adam Smith, S, James Madison
6’0”, 190lbs. There’s almost a passive presence to Smith at times that can go almost unnoticed during many James Madison games. Yet he was a key part of a stellar Dukes defense providing the discipline and safety net at the back end. Though not overly dynamic or bursting with energy, he is a solid athlete with nice range. He plays smart, consistent football and reads the game well. He reminds a little of Bucs safety Andrew Adams who has had a solid low-key career to date.
74. Eli Mencer, LB/EDGE, Albany
6’2”, 233lbs. A position switch from off-ball to a stand up end “dog” position resulted in a massive increase in production. Mencer’s monster 2019 season included 61 tackles, 24 TFLs and 14.5 sacks. He tested superbly with a 4.56 (1.51 split) laser timed dash. He added a 34” vertical, 10-2 broad, 4.21 shuttle, 7.13 cone and 18 bench reps. He has concerning lack of length though with under 31” arms. His film includes excellent fluidity and upfield burst. The flexibility to dip and turn the corner could translate. He has the quickness in space for a pursuit role if converting back to off-ball.
75. Jon Kanda, TE/FB, Marist
6’3”, 232lbs. While his name seems to be nowhere on the radar, Kanda deserves a shot. His powerful and athletic frame is ripped. Taking pride in his blocking, he’s strong and physical. The route runner and general technique are certainly raw but is relatively new to the sport still, and still improving. After 6 TDs as a junior it was a little disappointing to have none as a senior. Playing TE in college, he could excel in a full back role should he get the opportunity.
CFB/NFL DRAFT analyst
Rebecca is an NFL Draft analyst focusing primarily on the FCS and Group of Five conferences, and a fan of both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Stanford Cardinal. You can find her other articles here and follow on Twitter @bex_r86.