The 7 Best Non-FBS Players in the 2022 NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft prospect and Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson #WO35 of North Dakota State (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
2022 NFL Draft prospect and Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson #WO35 of North Dakota State (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Joshua Williams, 2022 NFL draft
2022 NFL Draft, Joshua Williams. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

6. Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State

Draft Grade: Late Third Round

As you can probably imagine, there’s not a lot of tape available for Fayetteville State, not that I could track down at least. I did manage to see a handful of games though, and dove deep to watch his efforts at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. All this to say, I came away very impressed with what I found. Joshua Williams moves incredibly well for a cornerback, and he looks the part with his near ideal frame. He uses length and impeccable form to disrupt passes. The major drawback for Williams is the fact that he lacks top-end speed and only shows average play strength. He is a very high IQ player and the work ethic that comes with attempting to be the first Fayetteville State player drafted in 40+ years places a chip on Williams’ shoulder that will ALWAYS be there. I love the developmental potential.

7. Eric Johnson, DL, Missouri State

Draft Grade: Late Third Round

I was late to the Eric Johnson Experience. I never heard his name prior to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and even then it was still minimal. Johnson had a sack in the game, but did not start gaining steam as a prospect until the Senior Bowl. As you can no doubt tell by now, Jim Nagy and the staff that runs the Senior Bowl play a pivotal part of the draft process for small-school prospects. Johnson is one of many to make the most of this opportunity by holding his own with other standout Interior defensive linemen such as UConn’s Travis Jones, Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey, Alabama’s Phidarian Mathis, and Houston’s Logan Hall. That is some elite company for the Missouri State alum to find himself in. Johnson can provide pressure on the interior and has the strength to hold up against the run. He must continue to prove that he belongs in once drafted, but with all the work it took to get to this point, I wouldn’t doubt Johnson.

Honorable Mentions

Other Non-FCS players that carry a draft grade from me heading into the 2022 NFL Draft:

-Cole Strange, OL, UT-Chattanooga (RD 4)

-Ja’Tyre Carter, OL, Southern (RD 4)

-Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota (RD 4/5)

-Cordell Volson, OL, North Dakota State (RD 5)

-Dallis Flowers, CB, Pittsburg State (RD 5)

-Braxton Jones, OL, Southern Utah (RD 5)

-Aqeel Glass, QB, Alabama A&M (RD 5)

-Cole Kelley, QB, SE Louisiana (RD5/6)

-EJ Perry, QB, Brown (RD 5/6)

-Nick Zakelj, OL, Fordham (RD 6)

-Decobie Durant, CB, South Carolina St.(RD 6)

-Dai’Jean Dixon, WR, Nicholls State (RD 6)

-Isaiah Weston, WR, Northern Iowa (RD 6)

-Markquese Bell, Safety, Florida A&M (RD 7)

-Jequez Ezzard, WR, Sam Houston St. (RD 7)