Evaluating the last five FCS draft classes: 2016
(STATS) - NFL teams have become more comfortable selecting FCS prospects earlier in the draft.
When the Philadelphia Eagles used the second overall pick on quarterback Carson Wentz in last year's draft, it took that concept to a new level for all future prospects.
John McMullen, a national NFL columnist for FanRag Sports, says the recent success of Wentz and other former FCS players like David Johnson and Josh Norman have opened up the mind of NFL evaluators.
"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."
The fifth and final part of a five-year look at the draft, the following is McMullen's assessment of the best, most underrated and most disappointing FCS picks in 2016.
This year's draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
2016 NFL DRAFT (20 FCS SELECTIONS)=
Philadelphia Eagles (1st, 2) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2nd, 39) - Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
Carolina Panthers (2nd, 62) - James Bradberry, CB, Samford
Pittsburgh Steelers (3rd, 89) - Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
Tampa Buccaneers (4th, 108) - Ryan Smith, CB, North Carolina Central
Detroit Lions (4th, 111) - Miles Killebrew, SS, Southern Utah
Chicago Bears (4th, 127) - Deiondre Hall, DB, Northern Iowa
Cleveland Browns (4th, 138) - Seth DeValve, TE, Princeton
Indianapolis Colts (5th, 155) - Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State
Tennessee Titans (5th, 158) - LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah
Seattle Seahawks (5th, 170) - Cole Toner, OT, Harvard
Los Angeles Rams (6th, 177) - Temarrick Hemingway, TE, South Carolina State
Jacksonville Jaguars (6th, 181) - Tyrone Holmes, OLB, Montana
Chicago Bears (6th, 185) - DeAndre Houston-Carson, FS, William & Mary
Arizona Cardinals (6th, 205) - Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
New England Patriots (6th, 208) - Kamu Grugier-Hall, OLB, Eastern Illinois
Jacksonville Jaguars (7th, 226) - Jonathan Woodard, DE, Central Arkansas
New York Jets (7th, 235) - Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
Indianapolis Colts (7th, 239) - Trevor Bates, LB, Maine
Carolina Panthers (7th, 252) - Beau Sandland, TE, Montana State
Best Player: Carson Wentz (Philadelphia) - It's still early, but the Eagles certainly believe they have found their franchise quarterback in Wentz, who started all 16 games as a rookie and seemed to be ahead of the curve when it comes to things like autonomy at the line of scrimmage. The mechanics, particularly the footwork, need improvement, but Wentz is light years ahead of the one player picked in front of him, former Cal quarterback Jared Goff.
Most Underrated: James Bradberry (Carolina) - In a lot of ways, it was a baptism by fire for Bradberry, who was looked at as the replacement for Josh Norman. That's unfair, of course, but Bradberry battled and held up well as a rookie, especially in coverage. Like a lot of young corners, Bradberry has to figure it out when it comes to supporting the run moving forward.
Most Disappointing: Ryan Smith (Tampa Bay) - It's unfair to label anyone a disappointment after just one year, but Smith barely got on the field during his rookie season as Tampa Bay envisioned him moving to free safety. The fact that the Bucs have publicly stated he will be moving back to corner tells you how that experiment went.