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Scouting Saturday’s non-FBS Playoff Games: James Robinson leads list of NFL prospects

Scouting non-FBS Playoffs: James Robinson leads list of NFL prospects
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

While Army-Navy is the game that will garner the nation’s attention today, NFL scouts will be watching four college football playoff games featuring teams from the FCS, Division II, and Division III that possess some next-level talent.  We will see several of these prospects at the Senior Bowl or Shrine Game next month.

Illinois State vs North Dakota State

North Dakota State is in familiar territory, playing their way through the FCS playoffs. However, in uncommon fashion, the bulk of the game’s talent actually resides on their opponent’s roster – the Illinois State Redbirds.

James Robinson is the top senior prospect in this game and someone who receives a variety of opinions in the scouting community.  Robinson was a bit inconsistent during the season but has had two monster games in the FCS playoffs.  His pass-catching leaves much to be desired and he presently grades as a late-round pick.  We will see Robinson at the Shrine Game. PFN’s Scott Gorman also wrote extensively about Robinson earlier this season.

Devin Taylor has had a monster season, intercepting 5 passes and breaking up 18 more.  He’s a cornerback with nice size and outstanding ball skills who could make a big move up draft boards over the next 12 months.

John Ridgeway is a big, bulky nose tackle prospect with great explosion.

Illinois State vs North Dakota State

 
Grade Rnd Full Name School Pos # Yr
3.49 4-5 James Robinson Illinois State RB 25 4Sr
3.45 5th John Ridgeway Illinois State DT 99 3So
3.35 6th Devin Taylor Illinois State CB 3 4Jr
3.00 FA Adam Solomon Illinois State T 52 5Sr
2.95 FA Luther Kirk Illinois State S 14 5Sr
2.88 FA Brady Davis Illinois State QB 1 4Jr
2.84 FA Zack Johnson North Dakota State T 68 5Sr
2.81 FA Derrek Tuszka North Dakota State DE 91 5Sr
2.72 FA Ben Ellefson North Dakota State TE 82 5Sr
2.62 FA Gabe Megginson Illinois State G 59 5Sr
               

 

Minnesota State vs Slippery Rock

Our first look at a Division II playoff game has just one prospect of mention in this game – a quarterback sneaking up draft boards.

Slippery Rock QB Roland Rivers came into the season graded as roster fodder by scouts, but at this point, it would not be a surprise if he slides into the very late picks of the 2020 NFL Draft.  Measuring 6-feet-2-inches and 225 pounds, Rivers has the size, arm strength, and athleticism to compete at the next level.

His numbers this season are gaudy and includes completing 70% of his passes for 4,261 yards, 50 touchdowns, and just 6 interceptions.  Some team is going to draft this Rivers.

Minnesota State vs Slippery Rock

Grade Rnd Full Name School Pos # Yr
3.00 FA Roland Rivers Slippery Rock QB 14 4Sr
2.69 FA Shane Zylstra Minnesota State WR 84 5Sr
2.68 FA Eric Glover-Williams Slippery Rock CB 7 4Sr
2.61 FA Evan Heim Minnesota State T 69 5Sr

 

West Florida vs Ferris State

Often times during small school games just one team has next-level prospects, and that’s the case with this one.

Ferris State defensive end Austin Edwards has the size, growth potential, and upside to get late-round consideration if he checks off all the other boxes in the lead up to the draft.  He’s coming off a monster season which included 55 tackles, 16.5 TFL’s, and 10.5 sacks.  Though not a pure edge rusher, Edwards shows ability in all facets of the game.  We’ll see him at the Shrine Game.

West Florida vs Ferris State

Grade Rnd Full Name School Pos # Yr
3.03 FA Austin Edwards Ferris State DE 8 5Sr
2.72 FA Tyler Allison Ferris State G 68 5Sr

 

St John’s vs Wisconsin-Whitewater

We move to Division III where again, just one team has prospects that interest NFL scouts, including the highest-rated D-III player in the nation.

Ben Bartch entered the season graded as a priority free agent and has already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.  He’s a tall, lanky college left tackle that I project to guard in the NFL.  He’s strong, nasty, and works hard but many question his next-level athleticism.

Quarterback Jackson Erdmann is an accurate game manager who lacks a next-level arm.

St John’s vs Wisconsin-Whitewater

Grade Rnd Full Name School Pos # Yr
3.23 FA Ben Bartch St. John’s – Minnesota G 78 4Sr
2.82 FA Jackson Erdmann St. John’s – Minnesota QB 2 4Sr

 

Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365.

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