Three FCS prospects to look out for in the 2024 NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is loaded with talent, including some high-level FCS prospects
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Draft is right around the corner and this year’s class is stacked with elite talent. Everyone knows who’s going early in the first round like Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Joe Alt, but what about the non-first-rounders who didn’t play at a big-name school? Where’s the love for these guys?

While most people overlook guys who didn’t go to a group of five or power five school, we’re not gonna do that. We respect these guys and can see their talent even if no one else does. Let’s take a look at a handful of FCS prospects in this year’s draft and see why you should keep your eye on them as the draft quickly approaches.

1. Mason McCormick, Interior Offensive Lineman, South Dakota State

Mason McCormick has had a wild pre-draft process, going from an afterthought early in the process to someone who could go in the fourth round and possibly even higher.

In early February, the 23-year-old guard was ranked in the 300s on the consensus big board. Then the combine happened and after putting up elite marks across the board, he slowly became a top 150 player by the beginning of March. Although this was a huge development for his draft stock, you could argue he’s still being underrated.

McCormick’s calling card is his pass-blocking. His career PFF pass-blocking grade of 81.8 ranks in the 87th percentile of all interior offensive line prospects since 2017. On top of this, he allowed a pressure on just 1.7% of his pass-blocking snaps, which is an elite mark for a guard. His pass-blocking numbers in true pass sets, pass plays without screens, play action, and rollouts, took a bit of a dip, but they were still good as well.

He doesn’t have many huge weaknesses in terms of his production, but he does commit a lot of penalties and last season he had 10 penalties across 832 offensive snaps. Also, his run-blocking grades were good on gap runs and zone runs, but they weren’t quite elite.

My biggest problem with his profile is that he played six seasons at an FCS school and a lot of his good production came later in his career. This is important context that could affect how he translates to the NFL.

Still, McCormick has a very strong profile as an athletic guard who is an elite pass blocker and a good run blocker. He is not a first-round caliber prospect in my eyes, but he is a great player who is far better than his consensus ranking. If a team has fallen in love with him, don’t be surprised if he’s drafted in the second or third round.

2. Jalen Coker, Wide Receiver, Holy Cross

Everyone on draft Twitter loves the big, athletic receivers who had underwhelming production in college like Brian Thomas Jr. and Adonai Mitchell. This makes sense because those guys are talented and will likely be drafted to a good situation in which they will be given a ton of opportunities to succeed.

However, none of these types of receivers is my No. 1 draft crush this year. Instead, the receiver who has captured my talent-evaluating heart over the last few months is Jalen Coker from Holy Cross.

Truthfully, Coker may not get drafted. He’s currently 254th on the consensus big board and he’s projected to go in the 7th round. However, his statistical and athletic profile show he could be one of the biggest sleepers in this year’s draft.

Jalen Coker played four seasons at Holy Cross and he was very productive during his final two seasons in 2022 and 2023, producing just under 2,000 receiving yards and over 25 receiving touchdowns across these seasons.

While he is a four-year player from an FCS program, there’s a lot to like about his profile. He’s a boundary receiver with good size and elite explosiveness who is solid at forcing missed tackles, had solid production vs. zone coverage, and is one of the most productive deep threats in the entire class.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have elite speed and he was below average in contested situations across his collegiate career. This could limit his ability to win on deep routes in the NFL. He also isn’t a big YAC threat and his hands are nothing to write home about.

Still, he plays a valuable role as an outside receiver and he tested pretty well at the combine. On top of this, he is one of the more efficient receivers in this year’s draft, as he had two seasons with 3.00+ yards per route run and he graded fairly well as a run blocker. 

If Jalen Coker had elite athletic testing numbers, I would be more bullish about his ability to translate to the next level. However, in a class with few receivers that produced at a high level at bigger schools, he certainly stands out.

3. Dylan Laube, Running Back, New Hampshire

There’s this narrative out there that this year’s running black class is weak and I’m not sure this is true. There is plenty of talent in this year’s running back group and the top of the class is pretty good, even if it isn’t quite elite.

One of the sleeper running backs in this year’s class is Dylan Laube from New Hampshire. Just to be clear, Laube is not a hidden superstar waiting to explode if given the opportunity. He’s more of a specialist who has one elite trait that could allow him to succeed in the NFL despite being projected to go in the fifth round.

Laube is one of the more interesting running backs in this year’s draft because he doesn’t have a long track record of being a good rusher. He played five seasons at New Hampshire and didn’t have a significant load as a runner until his fourth season, in which he recorded 1,205 yards and 15 touchdowns. The next season he played fewer snaps, but was still fairly productive on the ground, recording 745 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

While Laube put up decent rushing totals in 2022 and 2023, his rushing profile is very concerning. When you look at his career production and how it stacks up to all running back prospects since 2017, you’ll notice that he’s one of the least efficient rushers in recent memory and even his production in terms of volume was below average.

So what makes him an intriguing prospect? The one thing that makes Laube special is his ability as a receiver.

Dylan Laube is one of the best pass-catching running back prospects in recent memory. He ranks No. 1 among running back prospects since 2017 in every per game receiving metric, including routes, targets, receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and receiving first downs per game. He’s also very efficient as a receiver, putting up top-15 marks in yards per route run and first downs per route run.

With this playstyle, it’s no surprise that Laube tested extremely well at the combine in terms of agility, recording a 4.02 shuttle (98th percentile) and a 6.84 3-cone (94th percentile). Good agility is common for skilled receivers, so this isn’t shocking.

To fully understand how good of a receiver Laube is, I have a metric that uses career receiving stats to measure a running back’s receiving ability and Laube’s score ranks in the 98th percentile behind Jahmyr Gibbs, Christian McCaffrey, and Joe Mixon.

I’m not completely sure what to make of Dylan Laube because he doesn’t project to be a starter who can handle a large load of carries. However, he has one skil in which he is better than everyone else in the class. Perhaps he never works out in the NFL, but at least he is a fun prospect.