Small school prospects to know for the 2024 NFL draft

The common wisdom when it comes to scouting players to fill out NFL rosters is that if you have talent, a scout somewhere will find you.

For college football players who don’t play on the FBS level, it might take some time to find a team, and the chances of those players making an NFL roster are cut significantly when factoring in the constant movement every week.

Another concern is the difference in competition between the upper-echelon FBS competition and the lower divisions. Of last year’s opening day active rosters, 89% of those players played collegiately at an FBS program.

But every year, there are some diamonds in the rough who go on to play meaningful snaps, carve out decent careers, and others who become stars.

Here are five small-draft prospects to know for the 2024 NFL draft:

Kiran Amegadije, OL, Yale

Amegadije has prototypical size for an NFL lineman, as he is listed at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, but he missed time at the end of the 2023 season with a quad injury. He is athletic for his size and can project at tackle at the next level, with enough pass projection skill to become a starter, or if a team wants to put him at guard, they can use him to pull or take advantage of his skill for teams that primarily run off tackle.

Jalyx Hunt, DE, Houston Christian

Hunt had a productive senior campaign, winning the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year while totaling 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Hunt, who was a safety during his first two seasons at Cornell, is best when he uses his 4.6 speed to get around linemen and to help in the run game. He may need time to develop as a pass rusher but could make a roster as a special teams player.

Myles Harden, CB, South Dakota

Harden has slot corner written all over him. He competes every play, especially getting runners and receivers to the ground. Until he learns the intricacies of playing NFL cover corner, shipping him inside and letting him roam the field might be the best fit for him.

South Dakota defensive back Myles Harden works out during the 2024 NFL scouting combine.
South Dakota defensive back Myles Harden works out during the 2024 NFL scouting combine.

Khristian Boyd, DL, Northern Iowa

Boyd is an absolute load at 6-2 and 330 pounds, with enough power to be a pass-rushing defensive tackle, and can embarrass offensive linemen with his burst off the line, even though scouts have knocked him for his arm length. His biggest asset could be the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line based on team needs.

Mason McCormick, OL, South Dakota State

McCormick projects as a left offensive guard, as that’s where he exclusively played during his college career. He will fill a need immediately for teams struggling to run the ball consistently and isn’t bad at pass protection, either. In 15 games played last season, the first-team FCS All-American allowed zero sacks and three hurries in 376 pass snaps and only two sacks the last three seasons.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL draft 2024: Small school prospects to know