With the focus being put more on Thursday Night, many teams have their next few rounds scouted and planned out. While nothing is set in stone for the first round, teams do have plans ready for Friday Night’s rounds two and three. Not only are they looking at athletes coming from Division I schools, they’re also looking at the small schools for the steals of the draft. First, here’s a look at some notable names around the NFL that came from Division II and Division III schools.
Tampa Bay fans should remember when the Bucs selected Ali Marpet with the sixty-first pick in the second round of the 2015 draft. Marpet played at Hobart and William Smith College, a Division II school in New York. He is entering his third season with the Bucs and is making another transition on the offensive line, this time moving from guard to center. Marpet played tackle at Hobart before switching to guard in his first year with the Bucs.
Another notable name that Bucs fans know is starting cornerback Brent Grimes, formerly of the Miami Dolphins and division rival Atlanta Falcons. Grimes went undrafted out of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2006, a Division II school. Grimes stood out in his time at Shippensburg and proved it when the Falcons allocated him to NFL Europa. Grimes is just another big name guy who came from a small school.
This draft is loaded with talent from Division II schools. The name that is leading the list of players who will make an impact in the NFL is Adam Shaheen, from Ashland University in Ohio. Shaheen, a 6’6” tight end, set a Division II record for tight ends in 2015 by catching 70 passes that year. Look for him to land in the mid- to late second round.
Another athlete to look for is Billy Brown, a wide receiver from Shepherd University. Brown set three single season records for Shepherd in 2016, reeling in 99 passes for 1,580 yards and 22 TDs. He ran a 4.70sec 40-yard dash at the combine, which is a bit slow for a receiver. However, standing at 6’4” Brown can provide a big body to use in the red zone or in short yardage situations. He could land in either the fourth or fifth rounds on Saturday.
The spotlight is set on the big names from Division I schools, but don’t sleep these athletes from Division II schools. Their names may not be called Thursday, but they’ll make an impact in the league.