Cleveland Browns: Who Could Be Considered From The FCS During The Draft?

Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

There will be a number of FCS players in the 2017 NFL Draft that the Cleveland Browns could use, but which players specifically sticks out?

Working hands on with numerous soon to be NFL players is very rewarding at the yearly Senior Bowl. For the Cleveland Browns, this week could help approaching their draft board differently.

The strong likelihood is that they will go with Texas A&M EDGE Myles Garrett at one and possibly one of the top defenders at 12. That could occur, but what happens if the Browns actually does something different from that?

More and more it appears that Cleveland’s identity is going to be on defense. That said, with how the depth is in this upcoming draft, they could postpone drafting a player like an EDGE, cornerback, etc and instead draft a quarterback for example.

More from Factory of Sadness

Should that happen, the Browns could still get a player at one of those players with a similar skill set later on, possibly at a lower level of play. There are numerous players at the FCS and lower levels who has great talent that can help teams. With that mindset, here are three of the more impressive FCS players that should not be overlooked that would help Cleveland.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, defensive lineman – Villanova

Kpassagnon has been an intriguing player all season for the Wildcats. In 2016, he accumulated 45 tackles, 11 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. The 6’7 lineman is more athletic than one gives him credit for.

Kpassagnon’s stock should increase after this week’s Senior Bowl practices and game. How much so is the million dollar question. Power and elusiveness are strengths of his.

The more schemes Kpassagnon can put himself in, the more beneficial it is for him and his new team. FoS writer Jay Frierson made a case for San Diego linebacker/defensive end Melvin Ingram.

"Since coming back, Cleveland never had two good pass rushers. They’ll have one, but never multiple players."

As Frierson pointed out, Cleveland needs more pass rushers. If Cleveland does not end up with the Chargers’ pass rusher, Kpassagnon would work too in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ 42 schemes! At the moment, Kpassagnon is a mid-round prospect, but it would not be surprising to see his projection change soon.

Derek Rivers, defensive end/linebacker – Youngstown State

How about a NE Ohio defender staying in the area moving from the 330 to the 440? Kpassagnon as mentioned does not get the credit for being as athletic as he is. That is not the case with Rivers who was a dominating force leading the Penguins’ defense during his time in college.

Related Story: Browns Three Round Simulation

Without Rivers, YSU would not have had the success they had in 2016, ultimately finishing up in the FCS National Championship game. Regardless of whether or not Garrett ends up as the top pick, the Browns need playmakers.

More from Cleveland Browns

If they want to get additional front seven help at 12 or in the second round but fails, Rivers would be a great alternative in the beginning third round. Rivers is best suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but in sub-packages he should be able to excel with his hand in the ground.

He constantly pressured quarterbacks, while regularly dropping back into coverage defending against tight ends and other receivers. While with the Penguins it did not matter where he lined up, as Rivers was consistently a step ahead of opposing offensive linemen.

Cooper Kupp, wide receiver – Eastern Washington

Kupp made some money this week thanks to his great practices during the Senior Bowl. Outside of Corey Coleman, Kupp is a better prospect than any of the Browns’ drafted wide receivers from a year ago.

I understand Cleveland’s view of another WR drafted early is in a sense not needed, but Kupp is too talented to ignore. His play compared to that of some Browns wide receivers are not even close!

The chances he gets drafted by Cleveland is slim, but still. For Cleveland’s sake, they will need to hope to he can fall into the second round. Right now that does not appear likely and the chances of doing so are decreasing. There is no doubt Kupp translates well to the NFL.

He is not exceptional at all phases of the position. However,in the areas he strives in, Kupp is actually the best at the FCS level. The positive traits of his include but are not limited to breaking out of his break flawlessly, route running skills (including readjusting his route on the fly), and simply makes the big plays when needed and on a constant basis.

Next: Pre-Combine Big Board

For many reasons, Cupp could become a star. He has a similar skill set to that of Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson. Injury issues aside, comparing the EWU product to Nelson is very realistic and every team should want to draft him.