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Analyzing likely replacements for non-Power Five draft picks

It wasn't just the big boys in the Power Five leagues that produced a number of players in the 2015 NFL Draft as front offices scoured schools big and small across the country once again. The American (AAC) had 11 draftees this year to pace the Group of Five leagues, followed closely by the Mountain West with 10 players. Conference USA had six draftees this year but UAB, which has dropped its football program, had two of those players selected. FCS (17), Division II (2) and Division III (1) also all produced a player, including second-roundersJaquiski Tartt from Samford and Ali Marpet from tiny Hobart.

Here's a look at all of the draft picks from schools outside the Power Five conferences and who is in line to replace them this fall.



CB Byron Jones

Round 1 (27), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: Sophomore Jamar Summers (6-0, 177) started the final five games last season after Jones suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Summers' play was impressive for a true freshman, and he appears to have a bright future.

WR Geremy Davis

Round 6 (186), New York Giants
Possibilities: UConn lost both its starting wide receivers, but it's not as if the Huskies were all that impressive throwing the ball anyway. Davis and fellow senior Deshon Foxx were the only Huskies with at least 30 receptions -- and they combined for just 74. Junior Noel Thomas (6-1, 193) should be the go-to guy this fall in Davis' absence; he had a big day (two TD receptions) in UConn's shocking upset of UCF last season. While Thomas appears to be a talented player, the question -- as always with the Huskies -- is whether UConn has a quarterback who can adequately throw the ball.

East Carolina

WR Justin Hardy

Round 4 (107), Atlanta Falcons
Possibilities: ECU has slightly tweaked its offense with the departure of coordinator Lincoln Riley to Oklahoma. While the alignments might not necessarily be the same, the Pirates still are going to throw it around, and junior Isaiah Jones (6-1, 197) will be expected to take over Hardy's go-to receiver role. Jones is used to being a target -- he has 143 career receptions -- but he has averaged barely 10 yards a reception and needs to be more than just a possession guy this fall. Senior TE Bryce Williams (6-6, 258), who had 18 receptions last season, should become a bigger part of the passing attack with Hardy's departure.


CB Bobby McCain

Round 5 (145), Miami Dolphins
Possibilities: Memphis lost both starting cornerbacks, and juniors Chauncey Lanier (5-10, 183) and Dontrell Nelson (6-1, 170) will go into fall camp as the projected starters. Nelson served as McCain's backup last season, and while he could stand to add some bulk, his height is a positive.

DE Martin Ifedi

Round 7 (227), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Junior Latarius Brady (6-2, 275), who began his Memphis career as a tight end before moving to the defensive line as a redshirt freshman in 2013, emerged from spring drills atop the depth chart at Ifedi's old spot. Brady was productive in a reserve role last season, finishing with 30 tackles. His pass-rush skills need to show up this fall, though.


CB Lorenzo Doss

Round 5 (164), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Tulane lost three of its top four corners from last season, and junior Richard Allen (5-9, 178) was atop the depth chart at Doss' old spot following spring practice. Allen played in seven games last season, and given that he is majoring in cell and molecular biology, it seems unlikely he will be overwhelmed with his responsibilities.

CB Taurean Dixon

Round 7 (251), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Dixon actually was Tulane's nickel back last season, when the Green Wave used a ton of five-DB sets. That role seems likely to be filled by one of two redshirt freshmen, either Donnie Lewis (5-11, 170) or Stephon Lofton (5-11, 195).


WR Breshad Perriman

Round 1 (26), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: UCF's receiving corps took a giant hit, with the Knights losing their top four receivers, including Perriman, who led them in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs. The top three receivers this season likely will be junior Taylor Oldham (6-1, 200), sophomore Jordan Akins (6-3, 237) and redshirt freshman Tre'Quan Smith (6-1, 180), who drew spring praise from normally close-mouthed UCF coach George O'Leary. Akins played four seasons of minor league baseball in the Texas Rangers' organization before returning to football last season. While the trio has potential, they also combined for just 15 receptions last season.

SS Clayton Geathers

Round 4 (109), Indianapolis Colts
Possibilities: Geathers was a four-year starter, and sophomore Jordan Franks (6-3, 225) will head into fall camp as the leading contender to replace him. Franks has excellent size and played in all 13 games as a reserve last fall. He was more accomplished as a wide receiver than as a defensive back in high school.


OLB Reshard Cliett

Round 6 (211), Houston Texans
Possibilities: USF has changed its defense, going from a 3-4 to a 4-2-5, so Cliett's old outside linebacker spot is gone in the new scheme. Cliett was USF's best pass rusher, and the hope is sophomore DE Josh Black (6-2, 228) can become a good edge rusher. Black played in the final five games last season as a true freshman, and that growth continued when he turned in a solid performance in spring drills.

C Austin Reiter

Round 7 (222), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Sophomore Cameron Ruff (6-3, 303) backed up Reiter last season and is expected to take over for him this season. Ruff did start one game at guard last season as an injury replacement. He is known as a good run blocker.


Eastern Washington

OL Jake Rodgers

Round 7 (225), Atlanta Falcons
The massive 6-foot-7, 300-pound Cassidy Curtis was listed as Rodgers' backup and figures to get the first crack at filling the right tackle void. Senior T.J. Boatright might also be an option.



CB Tye Smith

Round 5 (170), Seattle Seahawks
Starting safety Donnell Lewis was listed at cornerback so he is likely to fill one corner spot. Juleon Killikelly-Lee has starting experience and Jahmal Pardner would provide some length to the other corner spot.


TE Nick Boyle

Round 5 (171), Baltimore Ravens
Boyle's duties figure to be split between Brandon Whaley (the better blocker) and Ryley Angeline (the better pass catcher) but there are a number of other tight ends who could contribute.

William and Mary

WR Tre McBride

Round 7 (245), Tennessee Titans
Former Virginia Tech transfer Christian Reeves has the ability to take over as the No. 1 receiver while speedster DeVonte Dedmon should be the one who stretches the field like McBride used to.


Florida Atlantic

CB D'Joun Smith

Round 3 (65), Indianapolis Colts
Possibilities: Smith's spot in the starting lineup likely will go to sophomore Raekwon Williams (5-11, 174), though sophomore Reggie Brown (5-11, 170) -- who missed spring practice recovering from knee surgery -- will be in the mix in fall camp. Smith's spot as FAU's "lockdown corner" will go to senior Cre'von LeBlanc (5-11, 175), who is coming off a solid junior season and has pro potential.


CB Darryl Roberts

Round 7 (247), New England Patriots
Possibilities: Senior Keith Baxter (6-0, 192) is expected to take over for Roberts. He was a part-time starter last fall after missing the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. Baxter -- who started nine games in 2012 -- has yet to play a full season because of injuries. Sophomore Antavis Rowe (5-10, 165) and redshirt freshman Chris Williams-Hall (6-0, 183) are in the mix for the starting corner job and the role of nickel back.


DT Christian Covington

Round 6 (216), Houston Texans
Possibilities: The Owls already have experienced life without Covington, who missed the final five games last season with a knee injury. Senior Ross Winship (6-4, 295) took over for Covington last season and is scheduled to start this season, too. Talented senior DT Stuart Mouchantaf (6-3, 290), who missed last season recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2013, is expected to be healthy this fall and line up next to Winship. His return will help mitigate Covington's loss.

Southern Miss

DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Round 6 (217), Kansas City Chiefs
Possibilities: The Golden Eagles lost both their starting tackles. Wil Freeman (6-6, 261) and converted senior Michael Smith (6-4, 277), who was moved from defensive end in the spring, were the top two guys on the depth chart at tackle after spring practice. Freeman started four times in 2013 when Nunez-Roches was injured, but he could stand to add more bulk. Sophomore Rod Crayton (6-1, 287) is a guy to watch in fall camp.



LS Joe Cardona

Round 5 (166), New England Patriots
Junior Josh Antol emerged atop the depth chart as the starting long snapper heading into fall camp.

Notre Dame

TE Ben Koyack

Round 7 (229), Jacksonville Jaguars
Durham Smythe enters 2015 as the most well-rounded of the options at tight end while Tyler Luatua has the option to see the field quite a bit more after being a part of the game plan in the bowl win over LSU. Freshman Aliz'e Jones has plenty of hype surrounding him as he heads to South Bend and could be the answer, too.



OL Ali Marpet

Round 2 (61), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Junior Matthew Mancuso brings similar size to Marpet and is in line to man the left tackle spot for the Statesmen.


Delaware State

DT Rodney Gunter

Round 4 (116), Arizona Cardinals
Junior Frankie Glenn or sophomore Michael Hurd each has the size to fill in for Gunter, but there are a number of options for the Hornets to consider along the defensive line.



DT Kristjan Sokoli

Round 6 (214), Seattle Seahawks
The Bulls are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 under a new coaching staff so nobody will exactly fill Sokoli's shoes, but Max Perisse and Brandon Crawford appear to be in line to start at defensive tackle.

Central Michigan

DT Leterrius Walton

Round 6 (199), Pittsburgh Steelers
After a few years of being a rotation player, Shafer Johnson will be asked to step up to man the middle as a senior.

Miami (Ohio)

CB Quinten Rollins

Round 2 (62), Green Bay Packers
Sophomore Bert Birdsall saw some action last season and figures to take Rollins' role on what should be a veteran secondary for the Redhawks.

Northern Illinois

WR Da'Ron Brown

Round 7 (233), Kansas City Chiefs
The Huskies have no issues with depth and should find a number of players who can replace the production of Brown. Tommy Lee Lewis figures to be fully healthy and take one spot alongside Aregeros Turner and Juwan Brescacin while transfer Kenny Golladay could add some size to the position, too.


Illinois State

TE James O'Shaughnessy

Round 5 (173), Kansas City Chiefs
Sophomore Michael Clements is the only tight end with a start under his belt among a young crop of tight ends, but senior John Nicholson might also be in the mix.

Southern Illinois

TE MyCole Pruitt

Round 5 (143), Minnesota Vikings
Pruitt leaves tremendous shoes to fill, but the Salukis will hope a number of inexperienced players can step up in a new up-tempo offense. Junior Shaq Findlater and senior Josh Skadeland have the most experience, but sophomore John Gardner could be a receiving threat, too.

North Dakota State

LB Kyle Emanuel

Round 5 (153), San Diego Chargers
Junior Brad Ambrosius already has starting experience under his belt and should help contribute to another FCS title run for the Bison.

Northern Iowa

RB David Johnson

Round 3 (86), Arizona Cardinals
Former Rutgers running back Savon Huggins might finally get his chance to shine in replacing Johnson after an up-and-down career in New Jersey. Darrian Miller, another FBS transfer, was second on the team in rushing last season and will also be in the mix.


Boise State

RB Jay Ajayi

Round 5 (149), Miami Dolphins
The Broncos will likely go from workhorse back to committee after the departure of Ajayi. Sophomore Jeremy McNichols might be considered the front-runner to start with Devan Demas, Jack Fields and Charles Bertoli also splitting carries.

Colorado State

OT Ty Sambralio

Round 2 (59), Denver Broncos
Senior Sam Carlson is likely to flip from right tackle to the left side and occupy Sambralio's old spot.

QB Garrett Grayson

Round 3 (75), New Orleans Saints
Nick Stevens is the slight favorite to take over for Grayson with new coach Mike Bobo, but he will have to fight off a challenge from Coleman Key in fall camp.

Fresno State

DT Tyeler Davison

Round 5 (154), New Orleans Saints
The departure of Davison and his backup forced some shuffling along the defensive line. Nate Madsen will get first crack inside, but he could be part of a rotation featuring Ryan Steele and freshman Jaleel Carter.

S Derron Smith

Round 6 (197), Cincinnati Bengals
Junior Dalen Jones likely stays in his strong safety spot while Smith's backup Shannon Edwards will likely fill the starting free safety position despite missing spring practices with an injury.

OL Cody Wichmann

Round 6 (215), St. Louis Rams
Sophomore Alan Gonzalez would be the next man up as a young option to joint a relatively experienced offensive line despite the loss of both guards this offseason.


RB Joey Iosefa

Round 7 (231), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Junior Steven Lakalaka will assume the starting running back role for the Warriors with a number of other veterans getting reps as well.

San Diego State

OL Terry Poole

Round 4 (130), Seattle Seahawks
Senior Pearce Slater is a candidate to move over from right tackle or mammoth junior Kwayde Miller could be the replacement for Poole on the blindside.

San Jose State

DB Akeem King

Round 7 (249), Atlanta Falcons
The Spartans won't have a huge drop off in the secondary with so many experienced players returning, plus seniors Simon Connette or Vincent Miles taking over King's old safety spot.


LB Mark Nzeocha

Round 7 (236), Dallas Cowboys
Lucas Wacha filled in as the strong side linebacker when Nzeocha went down with an ACL and will be the lone veteran starter in the position group for the Cowboys.



WR Neal Sterling

Round 7 (220), Jacksonville Jaguars
Here's an option to replace Sterling at wide receiver: Reggie White Jr. No he's not the son of thatReggie White, but rather the former defensive lineman of the same name who spent four years in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers after being a sixth-round pick. Juco transfer DeAndre Black and sophomores Matt Choi and Romeo Harris are also in line to start.


Tennessee State

OL Robert Myers

Round 5 (176), Baltimore Ravens
Iowa State transfer Duaron Williams could take over the position if redshirt freshman Thomas Burton doesn't win it in the fall.

OL Anthony Morris

Round 7 (218), Oakland Raiders
Sophomore Evan Clay might be the answer after starting down the stretch last season.

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Mars Hill

Denzelle Goode

Round 7 (255), Indianapolis Colts
Senior Richard Taylor could be flipped from the right tackle spot if sophomore Chris Bumgarner doesn't win the job.


LB Edmond Robinson

Round 7 (232), Minnesota Vikings
It will be difficult to find anybody to replace Robinson's versatility, but sophomore Will Elm might be the best option with a number of other smaller players also taking snaps.



S Jaquiski Tartt

Round 2 (46), San Francisco 49ers
Depending on how the new coaching staff wants to re-configure the secondary, sophomore Sam Pettway was Tartt's backup and will wind up the starter unless senior Josh Kimberlin slides from strong safety to free.


LB Davis Tull

Round 5 (148), New Orleans Saints
Junior Keionta Davis is likely to fill the defensive end position that Tull played while senior Toyvian Brand is coming off a redshirt year and is expected to quickly contribute as well.


Central Arkansas

WR Dezmin Lewis

Round 7 (234), Buffalo Bills
The Bears will be noticeably smaller at the receiver position in 2015 with only sophomore starter Courtney Whitehead being listed over 6-foot-2. Desmond Smith is the leading returning receiver and could step up as the new No. 1 target.

Northwestern State

NT Deon Simon

Round 7 (223), New York Jets
Damon Medcafe took over for Simon when he went out with a knee injury down the stretch last year, but with the senior also gone the Demons will turn to DeMarcus Drumgo to man the middle of the defense alongside Randy Woodle.



DL Christian Ringo

Round 6 (210), Green Bay Packers
Sophomore Taboris Lee backed up Ringo last season and got some good playing experience under his belt after appearing in all 13 games for the Ragin' Cajuns.

Texas State

CB Craig Mager

Round 3 (83), San Diego Chargers
Senior David Mims will likely remain as the top starter at cornerback while sophomore Dila Rosemond takes over Mager's old spot at boundary corner.

LB David Mayo

Round 5 (169), Carolina Panthers
Senior Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon already has four starts under his belt and extensive playing experience so he will more than likely step in the starting SAM backer.


Texas Southern

CB Trey Walker

Round 4 (136), Baltimore Ravens
A number of juniors and sophomores will compete in fall camp to replace Walker.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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