There is a growing movement in the Dynasty community toward “devy” players. The term “devy” refers to developmental players carried on the dynasty league rosters. These devy players are usually college players but can even be high school athletes. Each week of the offseason and season, we looked at a different set of devy rankings.
As we survey devy prospects, we examine traits, abilities, and skill sets that will translate to the NFL. This week, our final edition of the season, we will look at the Top 25 devy players without regard for the draft class. We value the players who will contribute at the professional level higher than the younger players.
25. Ryan Herbert (Oregon) – The true Sophomore is a great athlete with an NFL physique (6’6”, 225 pounds). In high school, Herbert threw for 3,130 yards and 37 touchdowns as a Senior. He added another 543 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Herbert hit .400 for the baseball team and had a 1.98 ERA. Additionally, Herbert was a starter for the 6A’s school basketball team that lost the state championship as a Sophomore. After completing 63.5% of his passes and owning a 19:4 TD:INT ratio as a true Freshman, Herbert has been very impressive in year two. Bruce Feldman tweeted this stat out on the star quarterback, “How much of a stud is #Oregon soph QB Justin Herbert? Based on the seven games he started, Oregon averaged over 52 points per game (No. 1 in the country); 281 rush yards (No. 6) and 7.13 YPP (No. 7).”
24. Anthony Johnson (Buffalo) – The redshirt Junior is playing for his third college. He transferred to Buffalo after playing at Iowa Western Community College where he had 19 receptions for 434 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. As a Freshman, Johnson played at Butler Community College in 2014, catching 21 passes for 559 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson has a solid build (6’2”, 207 pounds) and is fast. He has three cousins in the NFL, including Jadeveon Clowney, so he has the genetics for success. Many will discount Johnson due to playing at Buffalo and bouncing around colleges, but there is no denying his talent. In his last three games (against Bowling Green, Ball State, and Ohio), Johnson has 21 receptions for 468 yards and 8 touchdowns. In three games.
23. Mark Walton (Miami) – The 5’9”, 205-pound speedy runner was lost for the season in early October after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the win over Florida State. The Junior had a breakout 2016 season with 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 209 rushes (5.3 yards-per-carry average). The injury ensured that Walton cannot repeat those gaudy numbers. He is expected to turn professional after the season.
22. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) – Few college quarterbacks are as fun to watch as Mayfield. He is elusive, inside and outside of the pocket, and makes plays to keep drives alive. For us, the issue for the redshirt Senior is his size. Standing just 6’0” tall, Mayfield will be downgraded by some draft evaluators. While Mayfield checks many of the other boxes (leadership, arm strength, playing in a pro-style offense, and pocket awareness just to name a few), his lack of height could keep Mayfield from being selected on the first night of the NFL Draft.
21. A.J. Brown (Mississippi) – The stocky (6’1”, 225 pounds) Sophomore from Starkville, MS, has made plays this year. Against arch-rival Mississippi State last week, Brown hauled in 6 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown to lead the Rebels over the in-state rival. He also grabbed 10 receptions for 109 yards against Auburn a few weeks ago. Brown is a star in the making.
20. Damien Harris (Alabama) – The Junior has been the best back in the Alabama backfield this season. While others get more press, it is Harris who consistently makes plays. Harris has been oft-injured in his three years at Alabama. He is likely to stay in school another year. There is risk due to the injuries, but Harris seems to be getting better as a runner and receiver.
19. Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – The 6’3”, 210-pound true Junior has been electric again this season, continuing the level of play that led to the Heisman Trophy a year ago. After another great season, he now has consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. Jackson is one of the players we are monitoring during the draft process. He could be a dynamic fantasy option in the right professional system.
18. Ammon Richards (Miami) – Richards has suffered through a hamstring injury this year after an impressive 2016 campaign. He is a quality player and has the look of an NFL WR1 at times. The quarterback play has not been strong this year for Miami, so Richards has seen his production slip a little. He will be in play for the top receiver in next year’s draft.
17. James Washington (Oklahoma State) – Possessing just average size (6’,0”, 205 pounds) and speed, it is remarkable the manner that Washington gets open deep and across the middle of the field so frequently. He has topped the 4,000-yard mark in his collegiate career. We see the Senior as a Pierre Garcon-type of pro.
16. J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) – Dobbins was one of the top 2017 recruits at the position. The youngster enrolled early (in January) and committed to the Buckeyes without ever stepping foot on the Ohio State campus. He has excelled this season. Dobbins shows great quickness at the line of scrimmage. Dobbins’ jump cuts allow him to escape the linebackers in the hole and break big plays to the outside. The true Freshman has already had several “highlight reel” runs and his career is just beginning.
15. Nick Chubb (Georgia) – Chubb’s comeback has been nothing short of amazing. Before he tore his PCL in Georgia's sixth game of the 2015 season, the Senior was included in the conversation for the top running back in the draft class. Many thought he was as good of a prospect as Leonard Fournette. Chubb was playing at that high of a level. He has returned to play at a very high level during his Senior season. It takes two full years for some players to get back to 100%.
14. Auden Tate (Florida State) – The Junior was expected to have a huge season, but the loss of Francois at quarterback and a shoulder injury have limited Tate’s production. If he turns pro this spring, there is a chance that Tate is a first-round pick. He has flashed big-time potential and could be a star.
13. Calvin Ridley (Alabama) – Ridley has been dominant in spurts but lacked consistent targets in the Alabama conservative offense. He excels down the field and tracks the ball well on deep passes. Ridley should be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
12. Sam Darnold (USC) - The redshirt Sophomore played very well after getting the starting nod a few games into last season. He makes great plays and is able to make throws uncommon for many NFL quarterbacks, but it is the erratic play under pressure which lead to his cross-town rival getting ranked higher at the end of the season. Many observers speculate that Darnold may stay in school another year, but we see him turning professional instead of taking a beating behind the poor Trojans offensive line for another year.
11. Josh Rosen (UCLA) – As a true Freshman, Rosen showed the poise and strong arm of an upperclassman. The epic comeback against Texas A&M showed the nation that he can play under pressure and lead his team to unlikely victories. Accuracy on the intermediate throws is what differentiates Rosen from most quarterbacks.
10. David Montgomery (Iowa State) – The stout (5’11”, 222 pounds) Sophomore has carried the Iowa State offense this season. Montgomery has put up big numbers on the ground and through the air. He is our top ball carrier eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft.
9. Ronald Jones II (USC) – Jones is fast and elusive. He is thin (6’0”, 200 pounds) but reminds us of a young Reggie Bush. Jones hits the hole hard and can break open big plays. Jones’ size should not be a detriment. There are ample cases of a 200-pound back excelling in the NFL. After the victory over Stanford Friday night, Bruce Feldman tweeted about Jones’ great season, “Ronald Jones over 140 yards tonight.. 9th 100-yard game this season.. Fantastic talent. Deland McCullough #USC's new RB coach deserves credit too. He's gotten great results everywhere he's been.
8. Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) – The 5’11”, 214-pound true Freshman quickly jumped into the national spotlight after abusing Florida Atlantic in the first game of the season. He has been the focal point of the Badgers offense and still put up monster numbers. Taylor was just the fourth true Freshman in school history to record a 200-yard. He now has three such games.
7. Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame) – The Junior is expected to stay in school and graduate next year. He has impressed even with the poor quarterback play this season. The 75-yard touchdown on Thanksgiving weekend showed the nation that St. Brown is vastly underrated.
6. N'keal Harry (Arizona State) – Harry is a big receiver (6’3”, 210 pounds) who has made a big impact early in his college career. Just a true Sophomore, but Harry could be special by the time he turns pro, possibly in 2019. Keep an eye on how the Arizona State coaching change will impact the offense.
5. Courtland Sutton (Southern Methodist) – Sutton returned to school a year ago, much to the dismay of devy players everywhere. He could do so again, but most observers expect the huge receiver to head to the NFL.
4. Bryce Love (Stanford) – The Junior has taken over the role Christian McCaffrey vacated by leaving for the NFL. During his first two seasons at Stanford, Love ran the ball just 141 times. He has been a workhorse this season but is still averaging nine yards per carry. As evidenced by the game against UCLA a few weeks ago, Love ran the ball 30 times for 263 yards and 1 touchdown, Love has dominated the conference in 2017.
3. Derrius Guice (LSU) – Finally healthy, Guice has been great late in the season. He has a low center of gravity and big-time speed in the open field. In a loaded running-back class, Guice could be the best professional.
2. Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – Barkley has had a bit of a down season after posting almost 1,900 total yards and 22 touchdowns a year ago. He is the likely top ball carrier drafted in this coming draft. A stout build (220 pounds) will allow Barkley to hold up under the NFL pounding. He is a much better back than most give him credit. Barkley is tough between the tackles and has the speed to break open big plays.
1. Cam Akers (Florida State) – Akers was considered the top running back recruit in 2017 class and still looks the part. With good size and patience, the 5’11”, 213-pound ball carrier will be a household name on the national scene very soon. He is a star in the making while still a true Freshman. Akers played quarterback and running back Clinton High School in Clinton, MS. As a high school Senior, he rushed for 2,105 yards and 34 touchdowns, and passed 3,128 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. With a new coach next year, expect a focus on getting Akers his touches to anchor the offense.