The 2023 NFL Draft has come to a close and this year ten FCS players heard their names called over the last three days, down ten from last year’s 20 (these numbers are only counting players who did not transfer out of the FCS or those who spent their final year with an FCS program).
While several of the expect guys got picked up, a handful of others that many thought might were left undrafted including guys like 2021 Buck Buchanan Award recipient Isaiah Land and Chattanooga standout McClendon Curtis. Still, though, it was another successful showing from the nation’s smaller schools and several program milestones were set along the way.
Here’s the newest NFLers that hail from the subdivision.
Cody Mauch, 2nd Round (48th Overall) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The FCS’ two-year streak of having a first round selection was snapped this year as former NDSU guard Cody Mauch had to wait until the second round to hear his name called. Mauch, as expected however, was the first FCS player off the board and will be heading to Tampa Bay to join the Buccaneers O line. While Tampa is currently in the midst of a quarterback battle to decide who will fill the shoes of Tom Bray, Mauch will be tasked with protecting whoever that may be.
Cody Mauch is one of a kind #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/oLCiwMJAKH— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 29, 2023
Marte Mapu, 3rd Round (76th Overall) - New England Patriots
One of the bigger surprises for FCS fans in this draft was that of former Sacramento State linebacker being nabbed as early as the third round as he was projected to be a late fourth round to early fifth round pick. The Patriots took Mapu with the 76th overall selection, though, making him the highest pick to ever come out of Sac State. Mapu is also the first Hornet to be taken in the NFL Draft dating all the way back to 2004. He will look to help the Patriots get back to the playoffs after missing last year.
Tucker Kraft, 3rd Round (78th Overall) - Green Bay Packers
Former South Dakota State stud tight end Tucker Kraft will now be catching passes in Green Bay. Kraft, whom many thought might be a second round selection, had to wait until the third round to go off the board. He is the first SDSU tight end to be taken in the draft since Dallas Goedert was chosen by Philadelphia in 2018. Kraft will likely play an important role on a Packers offense that is trying to adjust to a post-Aaron Rodgers life and will likely serve as a weapon for Jordan Love.
Colby Sorsdal, 5th Round (152nd Overall) - Detroit Lions
After not having any selections in the fourth round, the FCS would have to wait until the 152nd overall pick to see someone else go. William & Mary’s standout offensive lineman Colby Sorsdal got the call from the Lions in the fifth round and became the first Tribe player in seven years to be taken in the draft. Sorsdal will head to Detroit where he will try and earn a role on a Lions O line that has some real talent with guys like Penei Sewell.
B.J. Thompson, 5th Round (166th Overall) - Kansas City Chiefs
The only other FCS pick in the fifth round was Stephen F. Austin’s B.J. Thompson. Thompson will now be a member of the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs and will look to bolster their defense as a defensive end. He became the first SFA player to be selected since 2018 and the second DE from the school in that span as well. Thompson will have a tall order in front of him as he tries to break through into a starting role for a team as deep as the Chiefs.
Andrei Iosivas, 6th Round (206th Overall) - Cincinnati Bengals
It took a while longer than most expected but the FCS’ best receiver finally got off the board in the sixth round. Andrei Iosivas will trade his black and orange Princeton helmet for a black and orange Bengals one as he joins one of the AFC’s best teams in Cincinnati. Guys like Tee Higgins and Jamar Chase make for a crowded receivers room but Iosivas brings a lot to the table in terms of athleticism and speed. He could see solid time as a backup and will have one of the best QBs in the game getting him the ball with Joe Burrow.
Titus Leo, 6th Round (211th Overall) - Indianapolis Colts
The Colts decided to give Wagner defensive standout Titus Leo their selection in the sixth round. Leo has been one of the few bright spots on a Wagner squad that’s struggled in recent years and he will come to Indianapolis where they too need some serious help on that side of the ball. He is only the school’s second selection since the turn of the century, joining offensive tackle Greg Senat (2018). Leo will now suit up alongside another former Wagner standout in Indy in defensive tackle Chris Williams.
Travis Bell, 7th Round (218th Overall) - Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears used the first pick of the final round to take Kennesaw State defensive tackle Travis Bell. Bell is KSU’s first ever drafted player as the school only began its football program back in 2015. Bell joins a Bears team that has been desperate need of defensive help as of late which bodes well for his chances of seeing game time.
Colton Dowell, 7th Round (228th Overall) - Tennessee Titans
For the first time in a decade UT Martin saw one of their own get called up with wide receiver Colton Dowell and he will even stay in-state as it was the Titans that chose him. Dowell will join a Tennessee team that has been the talk of the draft to play alongside newly acquired quarterback Will Levis. Dowell could see an NFL field sooner rather than later as the Titans have lost much of their receiving talent to trades as of late. Despite having little experience on special teams, he may also see action in the return game.
Isaiah Bolden, 7th Round (245th Overall) - New England Patriots
The Patriots were the only team to dip into the FCS pool twice during the draft when they chose former Jackson State cornerback Isaiah Bolden in the final round on Saturday. Bolden knows what its like to be coached by an NFL caliber guy as Deion Sanders served as his coach for two seasons with the Tigers in college. This marks the second consecutive year in which a Jackson State alum has been drafted as Detroit picked Bolden’s former teammate James Houston last spring. Bolden is also the lone FCS secondary player to be selected in this year’s draft.
Several other FCS players with an NFL shot didn’t get drafted will likely sign on with teams as undrafted free agents in the coming days. They include but are not limited to: McClendon Curtis, Xavier Gipson, Isaiah Land, Justin Ford, Ty Okada, Noah Gindorff, Hunter Luepke, Patrick O’Connell, Mark Evans II, Aubrey Miller, Ryan Miller, Spencer Waege, Tim DeMorat, Devonnsha Maxwell and Julian Hill.