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Anthony Chiusano | | September 11, 2017

FCS football players on 2017 NFL rosters

  Former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz was drafted No. 2 overall by the Eagles in 2016.

One hundred and sixty former FCS football players were on NFL rosters in Week 1 of the 2017 season. That makes up about 13 percent of the league.

Seventy-nine current and former FCS schools were represented at the start of the season. Seven programs were represented by at least five former student-athletes, led by Delaware, North Dakota State and Appalachian State with six each. Appalachian State became an FBS program in 2014.

NFL ROSTER BREAKDOWNS: Colleges most represented | DII players in the NFL

Of this total, 22 rookies made the cut. Here are all the first-year NFL players who were drafted or signed after stellar FCS careers:

Jylan Ware, OT Alabama State Oakland Raiders
Julien Davenport, OT Bucknell Houston Texans
Keionta Davis, DL Chattanooga New England Patriots
Corey Levin, OL Chattanooga Tennessee Titans
Cooper Kupp, WR Eastern Washington Los Angeles Rams
Samson Ebukam, LB Eastern Washington Los Angeles Rams
Kendrick Bourne, WR Eastern Washington San Francisco 49ers
Chad Williams, WR Grambling Arizona Cardinals
Jaylen Hill, CB Jacksonville State Baltimore Ravens
Brendan Langley, CB Lamar Denver Broncos
Patrick Ricard, CB Maine Baltimore Ravens
Dylan Cole, LB Missouri State Houston Texans
Tarik Cohen, RB North Carolina A&T Chicago Bears
Jamal Agnew, CB San Diego Detroit Lions
Lenard Tillery, RB Southern Los Angeles Rams
Chase Allen, LB Southern Illinois Miami Dolphins
Lorenzo Jerome, CB St. Francis (PA) San Francisco 49ers
Donald Payne, LB Stetson Jacksonville Jaguars
Jessamen Dunker, OT Tennessee State New York Giants
Tanoh Kpassagnon, LB Villanova Kansas City Chiefs
Avery Moss, DE Youngstown State New York Giants
Derek Rivers, DE Youngstown State New England Patriots

So who in this group will become the next breakout star? One good place to start would be with Rams rookie wideout Cooper Kupp, who was selected in the third round after a college career that included four All-American selections at Eastern Washington. Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen, out of NC A&T, totalled 5,619 rushing yards in college and will get his fair share of carries in Chicago alonside Jordan Howard. 

Roster breakdown:

160: Number of NFL players who played at current FCS programs. This accounts for 53-man active rosters and injured reserve lists.

12: Number of former FCS players on the New York Jets, most in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens (10) are the only other team with more than nine.

6: Number of NFL players from Delaware, North Dakota State and Appalachian State, which is most in the FCS.

3: Number of former Eastern Washington student-athletes on the Los Angeles Rams, the most players from a single school on a single NFL roster. Rookies Kupp and Samson Ebukam joined offensive lineman Aaron Neary in Los Angeles this year.

Position breakdown:

QB: 6 (Notables: Joe Flacco, Josh McCown, Carson Wentz)

RB: 13 (Notables: David Johnson, Charcandrick West, Isaiah Crowell)

WR: 17 (Notables: Cooper Kupp, Chris Hogan, Cameron Meredith)

TE: 10 (Notables: Julius Thomas, Cameron Brate, Will Tye)

OL: 25 (Notables: Austin Howard, Terron Armstead, JC Tretter)

DL: 23 (Notables: Chris Baker, Avery Moss, Derek Rivers)

LB: 26 (Notables: Arthur Moats, Justin Durant, Josh Martin)

DB: 29 (Notables: Mike Adams, Antoine Bethea, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie)

K: (Notables: Adam Vinatieri, Jason Myers)

P: 5 (Notables: Colton Schmidt, Lachlan Edwards)

LS:(Notables: Zak DeOssie, Tyler Ott)

Below is a breakdown of former FCS players in the NFL by school:

Abilene Christian 2
Alabama A&M 1
Alabama State 2
Appalachian State * 6
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 1
Bethune-Cookman 2
Brown 2
Bucknell 1
Cal Poly 1
Charlotte * 1
Chattanooga 3
Coastal Carolina * 4
Columbia  1
Cornell  1
Delaware 6
Delaware State 3
Drake 1
Eastern Illinois  2
Eastern Kentucky 2
Eastern Washington  5
Furman 1
Georgia Southern * 2
Georgia State * 2
Grambling 2
Hampton 2
Harvard 5
Holy Cross 1
Howard 1
Idaho State 2
Illinois State 4
Jacksonville 1
Jacksonville State 2
James Madison 4
Lamar 1
Liberty 2
Maine 1
Marist 2
Missouri State 1
Monmouth  1
Montana  3
Montana State 1
Murray State 1
New Hampshire 1
Nicholls 1
Norfolk State 2
North Carolina AT&T 2
North Carolina Central 1
North Dakota State 6
Northern Iowa 5
Northwestern State 1
Penn 2
Portland State 4
Presbyterian 1
Princeton 1
Richmond 1
Sacramento State 1
Sam Houston State 2
Samford 3
San Diego 1
South Carolina State 5
South Dakota 2
South Dakota State 3
Southeastern La. 1
Southern 1
Southern Illinois  1
Southern Utah 3
St. Francis (PA) 1
Stetson 1
Stony Brook 2
Tennessee State 3
The Citadel 1
Towson 3
UC Davis 1
UT San Antonio * 1
Villanova 2
Wagner 1
William & Mary 2
Wofford 2
Youngstown State 2

* indicates school is no longer playing at the FCS level

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