FCS represented in draft
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 16:04
It was a busy weekend in the world of the National Football League, as the annual NFL Draft went down, calling 253 of the best athletes in the college world up from amateur contention to the promise of being a pro.
Outside of the Andrew Lucks and Matt Kalils of the world, a number of players from NDSU's league, the Football Championship Subdivision, got their phone call that signifies the first step in the life of a professional football player.
Far and away the biggest surprise of the draft was the aptly-named Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick, whose height of 6'5" and 11 touchdowns on a tough Mountaineers team in 2011 garnered him attention across the nation as a lanky playmaker with burning speed.
Quick had been considered to the point as a fringe candidate for the third round, so his spot as the first pick in the second by the St. Louis Rams was a surprise for FCS fans.
Another FCS player by the name of Trumaine Johnson, a corner from Montana, was also taken by the Rams in the third round. Johnson was widely considered one of the top corners in the FCS in 2011, and his participation on a resurgent Montana team did not go unnoticed.
What kept Johnson from being taken higher, though, were his off-the-field issues. An arrest in late October that included a resisting arrest charge and a taser scared some teams off from taking him higher, but didn't stop the Rams from bolstering a defensive backfield that also added Cortland Finnegan this offseason.
As a point of interest, that same defensive backfield includes former Bison Craig Dahl. Perhaps the Rams earned themselves a few more fans in this neck of the woods.
Speaking of this area of the country, former South Dakota offensive lineman Tom Compton was picked up by Washington in the sixth round.
It goes to show that regardless of a team's success, good players will get drafted if they play well. Considering the height of Compton's football career might have been a win over Minnesota in 2010 in an otherwise 4-7 season, his draft position speaks well of his ability on the field.
While thirteen total players from the FCS heard their names called on draft day, a few names more recognizable to FCS fans might be found in the free-agent signings list.
South Dakota State receiver Dale Moss, Missouri State receiver/quarterback Jermaine Saffold and Montana State receiver Elvis Akpla all joined up with pro teams for their upcoming rookie camps that will determine whether or not they make training camp later in the fall.
Of course, one name stands out far more to Bison fans than any already mentioned, namely one Matt Veldman, tight end, North Dakota State, who signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.
Veldman received a certain amount of attention for his impressive size and ramped-up production his senior season, but ultimately a career spotted with injuries kept his name out of the draft. Considering his father played for the Dallas Cowboys in the ‘80s, Veldman certainly has the pedigree and drive to be a successful NFL football player.