What if colleges drafted players instead of recruited them? From the No. 1 pick through 130, here’s how the first round of a college prospect draft would go.
College Football Draft: How Would It Go?
It’s not like players and prospects have any say in the matter, anyway.
Let’s pretend that the NCAA had enough of all the recruiting shenanigans.
Enough of the corruption, enough of the wasted time, and enough of the imbalance in the sport that doesn’t give the smaller schools any reasonable shot and doing anything important.
Also, let’s pretend that everyone has the whole compensation thing figured out – the NFL feeds colleges as a farm system, contracts, etc. The players don’t have a union, so the NCAA and the schools can do anything they want, including how to best acquire talent.
And let’s also realize that there really isn’t much of a student in student-athlete here. Most of the top prospects announcing at their Signing Day press conferences that they’ll “spend their next three to four years at … ” all but ends that.
How would a draft go if all 130 teams got to pick the players they wanted instead of having to beg and plead for their services?
Remember, schools and teams would want to build for the future, but they’d also need to fill holes right away – or for next year.
The draft order is based on record, and then when teams have the same number of wins, it would come down to a committee that decides the order.
Here we go …
1 Liberty (1st year FBS)
Draft Pick: QB Justin Fields 6-3, 220
The new program in the FBS world starts out with head coach Turner Gill getting his franchise quarterback to build around. It’s a coin-flip, though, between Fields and …
2 UTEP (0-12)
Draft Pick: QB Trevor Lawrence 6-5, 200
Liberty will take one of the elite quarterbacks, and UTEP and new head coach Dana Dimel will build the Miner program around the other .
3 Rice (1-11)
Draft Pick: CB Patrick Surtain 6-2, 183
Rice and new head man Mike Bloomgren will need a little of everything. But for a team that couldn’t pick off a pass, grabbing the best corner in the draft is easy.
4 Charlotte (1-11)
Draft Pick: QB Emory Jones 6-4, 179
Jones is a bit of a reach at the four, but the 49ers need a playmaker to kickstart the woeful offense.
5 Kansas (1-11)
Draft Pick: DE Xavier Thomas 6-3, 263
The Jayhawks have a ton of experience, but they need talent. They’ll go with the best player available, trying to generate a pass rush to slow down killer Big 12 offenses.
6 Oregon State (1-11)
Draft Pick: RB Zamir White 6-1, 222
It’ll kill new head coach Jonathan Smith that Emory Jones went with the fourth pick. Instead of reaching for a quarterback, the Beavers get a fantastic back to work the offense around.
7 Baylor (1-11)
Draft Pick: OT Jackson Carman 6-6, 305
Infrastructure. There are a ton of tempting receivers on the board, and getting a quarterback prospect would be nice, but Matt Rhule secures a franchise tackle for a porous front five.
8 San Jose State (2-11)
Draft Pick: DT Taron Vincent 6-3, 285
Commit: Ohio State
The Spartans need everything, but they mostly need to find defensive mainstays. Getting an elite tackle to help a disastrous run D fills a need.
9 Texas State (2-10)
Draft Pick: OT Cade Mays 6-5, 300
The Bobcat offense has to come up with something positive. Finding a top tackle and an elite blocker to build around is a must.
10 Ball State (2-10)
Draft Pick: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown 6-1, 187
The offense that had problems with injuries and inconsistencies has to find receiving weapons to stretch the field. It’s a DEEP group of receivers to choose from, but the Cardinals get one of the top home run hitters.
11 Kent State (2-10)
Draft Pick: WR Terrace Marshall 6-4, 186
The woeful offense needs as many great options as possible fo new head man Sean Lewis. The non-existent passing game takes a No. 1 target to work around.
12 Tulsa (2-10)
Draft Pick: DE Micah Parsons 6-2, 244
Commit: Penn State
Desperate to find more defense, it starts with a pass rusher and a tweener defensive end who can do a little of everything.
13 Georgia Southern (2-10)
Draft Pick: RB Jaelen Gill 6-0, 176
Commit: Ohio State
For what Georgia Southern does with its running game, it might as well have a high-end back who can take the O to another level.
14 Bowling Green (2-10)
Draft Pick: DE Eyabi Anoma 6-5, 235
The Falcons need to start finding more disruptive defensive playmakers, and getting a dangerous pass rusher is a must.
15 Illinois (2-10)
Draft Pick: WR Devon Williams 6-4, 210
Yes, getting a high-end quarterback would be a must, and yes, there are a few there for the taking. However, the Illini offense needs to be more dynamic, and it needs a true No. 1 receiver to build around.
16 Coastal Carolina (3-9)
Draft Pick: OG Jamaree Salyer 6-4, 305
The Chanticleers need to build up their lines. It might not be all that sexy with such a high pick, but a blocking prospect like Salyer can change an entire offense.
17 Hawaii (3-9)
Draft Pick: QB Justin Rogers 6-4, 200
Head coach Nick Rolovich needs his triggerman. There might be a ton of great receivers on the board, but the program needs one great prospect to make the O roll.
18 New Mexico (3-9)
Draft Pick: LB Palaie Gaoteote 6-2, 235
With the program going through a rough patch, finding defensive studs to rebuild is a must. The front seven has to be a whole lot better – fast.
19 Connecticut (3-9)
Draft Pick: WR Justin Shorter 6-3, 220
Commit: Penn State
The passing game started rolling in Randy Edsall’s first season, but finding some great defenders is a must – later. Shorter is too tempting here not to take.
20 East Carolina (3-9)
Draft Pick: DE K.J. Henry 6-5, 220
At some point, East Carolina has to come up with a defensive stop. It starts with generating more pressure into the backfield, and that’s where Henry comes in.