Saints 2021 NFL Draft Prospects: FCS edition
The FCS has produced a lot of NFL talent and many of them throughout the years have been vastly underrated. One of the most under-appreciated players to come out of an FCS school who played many great years for the Saints is Marques Colston who was drafted out of Hofstra. So many FCS players have first round talents but just get overlooked because of the school they went to. Let’s take a look at 5 FCS players the Saints should take a look at in the upcoming draft.
5) Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas
In 2016 Rochell was redshirted. 2017 is when he got his chance to play. In 2017 he appeared in 11 games, making three starts and in those 11 games he made eight tackles, all solo, broke up six passes, intercepted one pass, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble. In 2018 he appeared in all 11 games with eight starts at cornerback. He led the Bears with four interceptions, added six pass breakups, and forced a fumble. 2019 was by far his best season at UCA. In 2019 he appeared in all 13 games at cornerback in which he started all of them as CB1. He was named first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and second-team All-American by STATS FCS. He was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection, named the Southland conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 3 after a win over FBS Western Kentucky when he had 7 tackles, an interception and 2 pass breakups. He finished 209 with 44 total tackles, including 37 solos, had 2.5 tackles for loss, had team-high 5 interceptions, broke up team-high 13 passes, and had 1 fumble recovery. He tied for 1st in SLC in passes defended with 18 and interceptions with 5. Rochell is projected to go in the later rounds of the draft. Saints could benefit from having another solid CB
4) Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
Cade Johnson is an interesting prospect. He was a redshirt in 2016, but just like Robert Rochell mentioned before, he got his first crack at playing time in 2017. In 2017 he was a dynamic player on offense and just absolutely electric special teams. As a ST player in 2017 he set an SDSU single-season record with 839 kickoff return yards in a season and became the first Jackrabbit player in 54 years to record more than one kickoff return for touchdown in a season and he finished the season with a team high with 1,166 all-purpose yards and topped the 100-yard mark in a game six times. In 2018 he made major strides as a WR. He earned All-Conference and All-America awards after emerging as the team’s top receiver and finished 2018 with 67 receptions for 1,332 yards and a single-season school-record 17 touchdown catches. In 2019 he picked up where he left off, and received the team’s Adam Timmerman Offensive MVP award after leading the team for the second year in a row in all receiving categories. In terms for the Saints, comparisons think of like a Deonte Harris type of player but taller.
3) Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
In 2017 Radunz was having a pretty good season, helping pave the way for the Bison rushing attack, but after suffering a knee injury in week 1 he was out for the season. In 2018 he was named HERO Sports FCS Sophomore All-American and All-Missouri Valley Football Conference second team. Started all 15 games at left tackle and was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week after helping NDSU put up 527 yards of total offense. In 2019 he was named Consensus first team All-American by the Associated Press, AFCA, STATS, HERO Sports, FCS Athletic Directors Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Phil Steele Athlon Sports, and was also All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team. He started all 16 games at left tackle. In 12 regular-season games, played 682 snaps with 63 pancakes and zero sacks allowed which is quite impressive. He started his final and only game in 2020 at left tackle which was a North Dakota State victory. He was invited to the 2021 Senior Bowl. Saints could be looking to move on from Terron Armstead soon and Dillon Radunz would be an absolutely great plug and play player for the Saints right away. I expect Radunz to go as high as the third round.
2) Quinn Meinerz, OL, Wisc.-Whitewater
Quinn Meinerz is someone who started to climb draft boards during his time at the 2021 Senior Bowl practices. Many scouts and reporters were all like “who is this guy”? He dominated almost all of the top Defensive Linemen during senior bowl practices and that’s when he had everyone’s attention. If you’re looking for a mauler on the OL then look no further. For those who do not know Quinn Meinerz played for a Division-III school. In 2018 he was named D3football.com second team All-West Region, first team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American for his commitment to strength and conditioning. He appeared in 14 games for the Warhawks and helped pave the way for the Warhawks number one scoring offense. In 2019 he was named Associated Press first team All-America, American Football Coaches Association first team All-America, D3football.com second team All-America, D3football.com first team All-West Region, first team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was named one of four team captains, was the winner of the team’s Glen Wills Offensive Lineman Award and the team’s Most Valuable Player award, WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll, D3football.com second team Preseason All-America, and Lindy’s second team Preseason All-America. WOW! So many accolades! Saints have met with him virtually already, and he would give Andrus Peat a run for his money at the LG position if the Saints do so happen to draft him.
- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
What needs to be said about Trey Lance that hasn’t already been said? Trey Lance is going to be a first round pick that is a given because if you look at his short career at North Dakota State it was a good, solid career. In 2019 Trey Lance had a great season both through the air and on the ground, he’s a complete dual-threat QB. He finished the 2019 season with 2,786 yards passing and 1,100 yards rushing with a total of 42 TDs while leading North Dakota State to a 16-0 season and winning the FCS Championship. The 2020 season because of the pandemic limited North Dakota State to just one game total. Trey Lance in his one game in 2020 finished with 149 yards passing with two passing TDs, and 143 rushing yards with two rushing TDs. Trey Lance is expected to be a top 10 pick and if the Saints want him badly enough they will have to trade up for Lance. Lance would be a great QB for the Saints starting a new era in Saints football.