One hundred and sixty former FCS football players were on NFL rosters in Week 1 of the 2017 season. That makes up about 13 percent of the league.
Seventy-nine current and former FCS schools were represented at the start of the season. Seven programs were represented by at least five former student-athletes, led by Delaware, North Dakota State and Appalachian State with six each. Appalachian State became an FBS program in 2014.
Of this total, 22 rookies made the cut. Here are all the first-year NFL players who were drafted or signed after stellar FCS careers:
|Jylan Ware, OT||Alabama State||Oakland Raiders|
|Julien Davenport, OT||Bucknell||Houston Texans|
|Keionta Davis, DL||Chattanooga||New England Patriots|
|Corey Levin, OL||Chattanooga||Tennessee Titans|
|Cooper Kupp, WR||Eastern Washington||Los Angeles Rams|
|Samson Ebukam, LB||Eastern Washington||Los Angeles Rams|
|Kendrick Bourne, WR||Eastern Washington||San Francisco 49ers|
|Chad Williams, WR||Grambling||Arizona Cardinals|
|Jaylen Hill, CB||Jacksonville State||Baltimore Ravens|
|Brendan Langley, CB||Lamar||Denver Broncos|
|Patrick Ricard, CB||Maine||Baltimore Ravens|
|Dylan Cole, LB||Missouri State||Houston Texans|
|Tarik Cohen, RB||North Carolina A&T||Chicago Bears|
|Jamal Agnew, CB||San Diego||Detroit Lions|
|Lenard Tillery, RB||Southern||Los Angeles Rams|
|Chase Allen, LB||Southern Illinois||Miami Dolphins|
|Lorenzo Jerome, CB||St. Francis (PA)||San Francisco 49ers|
|Donald Payne, LB||Stetson||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Jessamen Dunker, OT||Tennessee State||New York Giants|
|Tanoh Kpassagnon, LB||Villanova||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Avery Moss, DE||Youngstown State||New York Giants|
|Derek Rivers, DE||Youngstown State||New England Patriots|
So who in this group will become the next breakout star? One good place to start would be with Rams rookie wideout Cooper Kupp, who was selected in the third round after a college career that included four All-American selections at Eastern Washington. Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen, out of NC A&T, totalled 5,619 rushing yards in college and will get his fair share of carries in Chicago alonside Jordan Howard.
160: Number of NFL players who played at current FCS programs. This accounts for 53-man active rosters and injured reserve lists.
12: Number of former FCS players on the New York Jets, most in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens (10) are the only other team with more than nine.
6: Number of NFL players from Delaware, North Dakota State and Appalachian State, which is most in the FCS.
3: Number of former Eastern Washington student-athletes on the Los Angeles Rams, the most players from a single school on a single NFL roster. Rookies Kupp and Samson Ebukam joined offensive lineman Aaron Neary in Los Angeles this year.
QB: 6 (Notables: Joe Flacco, Josh McCown, Carson Wentz)
RB: 13 (Notables: David Johnson, Charcandrick West, Isaiah Crowell)
WR: 17 (Notables: Cooper Kupp, Chris Hogan, Cameron Meredith)
TE: 10 (Notables: Julius Thomas, Cameron Brate, Will Tye)
OL: 25 (Notables: Austin Howard, Terron Armstead, JC Tretter)
DL: 23 (Notables: Chris Baker, Avery Moss, Derek Rivers)
LB: 26 (Notables: Arthur Moats, Justin Durant, Josh Martin)
DB: 29 (Notables: Mike Adams, Antoine Bethea, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie)
K: 2 (Notables: Adam Vinatieri, Jason Myers)
P: 5 (Notables: Colton Schmidt, Lachlan Edwards)
LS: 4 (Notables: Zak DeOssie, Tyler Ott)
Below is a breakdown of former FCS players in the NFL by school:
|Appalachian State *||6|
|Coastal Carolina *||4|
|Georgia Southern *||2|
|Georgia State *||2|
|North Carolina AT&T||2|
|North Carolina Central||1|
|North Dakota State||6|
|Sam Houston State||2|
|South Carolina State||5|
|South Dakota State||3|
|St. Francis (PA)||1|
|UT San Antonio *||1|
|William & Mary||2|
* indicates school is no longer playing at the FCS level