Since the Division 1 college football split in 1978, Division 1-AA (now known as the FCS) has had several NFL Draft picks every year. The average number of selections in the draft (Rounds 1-7) from 1994 to 2021 is 19.
The FCS could hit a rarity this year, though, with multiple first-round selections.
Twenty-one D1-AA/FCS players have been drafted in the first round dating back to 1979. But the subdivision has had two first-rounders in the same year just three times: 1988, 2000, and 2008.
This year, Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning has been a consensus first-rounder since the start of the draft process.
And then a second FCS name has splashed onto the scene mid-process as a potential Day 1 pick.
North Dakota State Christian Watson’s stock has skyrocketed since the 6-foot-4 wide receiver tested as one of the best athletes at the NFL Combine.
Several mock drafts have Penning and Watson getting drafted in the first round, including BetMGM’s Colton Pool.
The BetMGM online sportsbook, which has NFL Draft odds and college football odds, lists Penning with the fifth-best odds at +4000 for the first offensive lineman to be drafted. Meanwhile, Watson has the seventh-best odds at +5000 to be the first receiver selected.
The two would join elite company as first-round draft picks from Division 1-AA/FCS:
FCS First-Round Draft Picks
Morehead State QB Phil Simms
7th overall, New York Giants
Alcorn State DB Roynell Young
23rd overall, Philadelphia
McNeese DB Leonard Smith
17th overall, St. Louis
Southern Illinois DB Terry Taylor
22nd overall, Seattle
Mississippi Valley State WR Jerry Rice
16th overall, San Francisco
Northwestern State RB John Stephens
17th overall, New England
Eastern Kentucky DE Aaron Jones
18th overall, Pittsburgh
Northern Arizona WR Shawn Collins
27th overall, Atlanta
Liberty TE Eric Green
21st overall, Pittsburgh
South Carolina State DL Robert Porcher
26th overall, Detroit
Jackson State OG Lester Holmes
19th overall, Philadelphia
Alcorn State DE John Thierry
11th overall, Chicago
Alcorn State QB Steve McNair
3rd overall, Houston
North Carolina A&T OT Jamain Stephens
29th overall, Pittsburgh
Jackson State WR Sylvester Morris
21st overall, Kansas City
Jackson State DB Rashard Anderson
23rd overall, Carolina
Tennessee State DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
16th overall, Arizona
Delaware QB Joe Flacco
18th overall, Baltimore
North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz
2nd overall, Philadelphia
Alabama State OT Tytus Howard
23rd overall, Houston
North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
3rd overall, San Francisco