Art Shell. Richard Dent. Larry Allen. Quick, without relying on Wikipedia, name the colleges these NFL Hall of Famers attended. Here’s an easier one for fans of the Washington Football Team. Darrell Green.
If you don’t know the answers, don’t feel too bad. I doubt many fans – even reasonably knowledgeable fans – know. Because none of them went to traditional D1 powerhouses. They all went to “small schools.”
Finding that small school gem has become a big thing in the NFL. So, here is a mock draft drafting only players from “small schools.” Plus an undrafted free agent to sign, getting us up to nine total prospects.
I’ll take “small schools” out of quotes from this point on. It is a bit pejorative. Some of them aren’t even small. They just play outside of the top tier – the D1 FBS division. So, the following players all come from D1 FCS (formerly known as 1-AA) and below.
And away we go.
Washington Football Team Pick Round 1: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
There are several other extremely talented small school players available this year, but Lance is, most likely, the only one who will drafted in the first round. Hence, he was my only real choice here.
And although you can run the occasional simulation where he will still be available by the time the Washington Football Team picks at number 19 in round one, that is not going to happen. Lance may be gone as early No. 3, but I am hoping he falls to Denver at nine.
Maurice Jones-Drew had this scenario play out in his latest mock for the NFL Network, and I speculated on it a few weeks back as well. So, I am giving up this year’s first and third-round pick (the first of the two third-rounders), as well as a first and a third next year, to get the quarterback of the future. I am also getting back a sixth-rounder this year, to make up for our missing pick in that round.
Do I really have to tell you much about Lance? Even though few have seen him play, everyone is excited by his blend of athleticism and proficiency.
Playing against second-tier talent, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound Lance was a man among boys in 2019. He completed more than 2/3 of his passes for an astonishing 9.7 yards per attempt. He tossed 28 TDs against ZERO interceptions. (Yes, you read that right.) And he ran for an additional 14 TDs and over 1,000 yards.
He will need time to adjust to the professional game. He will need a mentor. Sounds like the exact kind of situation he would have playing behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in Washington.