Evaluating last five FCS draft classes: 2012
(STATS) - Everybody is empowered on draft day by the many knee-jerk reactions and grades, but the true evaluations come over time.
FCS prospects provide the opportunity for significant value because NFL teams usually don't invest a particularly high draft selection on them - Carson Wentz notwithstanding.
John McMullen, a national NFL columnist for FanRag Sports, says the recent success of players like David Johnson and Josh Norman have opened up the mind of NFL evaluators, and that Carson Wentz is light years ahead of Jared Goff because at North Dakota State he played in a system that translates to the pro level.
"Most NFL decision makers now understand if a kid reaches the base skill set you need to play in this league, it doesn't matter if you are from Alabama or North Dakota State," McMullen said. "Talent is talent."
Following is McMullen's assessment of the best, most underrated and most disappointing FCS picks from the 2012 draft. Parts 2-5, spanning the 2013-16 drafts, will run later this week.
This year's draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
2012 NFL DRAFT (15 FCS SELECTIONS)=
St. Louis Rams (2nd, 33rd) - Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
St. Louis Rams (3rd, 65) - Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
Baltimore Ravens (4th, 98) - Gino Gradkowski, OG/C, Delaware
Baltimore Ravens (4th, 130) - Christian Thompson, FS, South Carolina State
Green Bay Packers (4th, 133) - Jerron McMillian, SS, Maine
Dallas Cowboys (4th, 135) - Matt Johnson, SS, Eastern Washington
Carolina Panthers (5th, 143) - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
New Orleans Saints (5th, 162) - Corey White, SS, Samford
Baltimore Ravens (5th, 169) - Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly
Seattle Seahawks (6th, 172) - Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State
Arizona Cardinals (6th, 177) - Justin Bethel, DB, Presbyterian
Oakland Raiders (6th, 189) - Christo Bilukidi, DE, Georgia State
Washington Redskins (6th, 193) - Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota
Dallas Cowboys (7th, 222) - Caleb McSurdy, LB, Montana
Green Bay Packers (7th, 243) - B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga
Best Player: Josh Norman (Carolina) - Norman developed into a star in Charlotte and proved even more after signing a big-money deal with Washington before the 2016 season. The lengthy Norman was regarded as a really good zone corner behind a great front seven with the Panthers and was much more than that when given more responsibility inside the Beltway. Norman is in the conversation with players like Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman and Aqib Talib as the best corner in football.
Most Underrated: Trumaine Johnson (St. Louis) - Johnson isn't underrated by the Rams. They franchised him for the second straight season and essentially picked him over another solid corner in Janoris Jenkins, whom they let walk in the 2015 free-agency period. A solid zone corner with tremendous instincts, it will be interesting to see how Johnson translates into Wade Phillips' 3-4 defensive scheme, which requires more bump-and-run coverage.
Most Disappointing: Brian Quick (St. Louis) - Quick was the first selection in the second round for a team in desperate need of help at receiver, and his best season was 41 receptions and three touchdowns on 77 targets a year ago. That's poor production from a premium pick. Quick will hope for better success with the Redskins after signing as a free agent last month.