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. During each week of the season, we will look at a different set of devy rankings.
We began the season looking at the potential 2017 NFL Draft class, starting with the quarterbacks. For the last three weeks of the season, we will look at overall devy rankings without regard for draft class. We value the players entering the 2017 NFL Draft higher than future classes just due to the added risk associated with projecting into the future.
As we survey devy prospects, we will be looking at traits, abilities, and skill sets that will translate to the NFL. This week, we will look at players 30-21 as we count down the next three weeks.
30. Jordan Leggett (Clemson) – The 6’5”, 255-pound Senior has shown great promise this season. But, his emergence occurred began in last year’s National Championship loss to Alabama. In the game, Leggett caught five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Leggett has the ability to play in-line, in the slot, or out wide and his versatility will add to his NFL appeal. Early in his collegiate career, Leggett was benched for his laziness in practice and lack of willingness on improving his game. He has grown strides in both areas. Leggett still needs to show dedication in improving as a blocker and the nuances of the position but could splash in the NFL. He is at his best in motion or in space, both allowing him to expose the mismatches against slower linebackers or smaller safeties. Leggett has been outstanding in the red zone. This is evidenced by his 15 touchdowns on just 78 receptions the past two seasons.
29. Demetris Robertson (California) – Robertson is a slender pass catcher (6’0”, 175 pounds) who will add weight after another offseason training program. The true Freshman from Savannah, GA, is having a big season. Many recruiting services had him as the top receiver in the country out of high school. For the year, Robertson has 50 receptions for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Freshman has been great at making big plays for the struggling Bears offense. There is a good reason. Robertson has big speed as evidenced by his 10.51 100-meter dash in high school. His track coach gave a glowing review of who Robertson is as a person. Coach Deedee Colter said, "He’s wonderful, talented, respectful, does anything you ask him to do … He cares about the other kids. It’s amazing what he can do to rally a team. He’s always asking how the other kids did, supporting them, no matter how good they are." We like seeing the positive stories about the top recruits. While Robertson plays on a below-average California team, he is still making plays and could become a quality pro pass catcher.
28. Corey Clement (Wisconsin) – Clement has been able to remain healthy this season and has more carries in 2016 than his first three years combined. In 2016, the Senior has 1,304 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 292 carries. He has been a true workhorse and has at least one touchdown in five consecutive games. In addition, Clement has topped the 100-yard mark in eight of his twelve games this season. The Senior has NFL size (5’10”, 227 pounds) and we expect him to be drafted on the third day of the NFL Draft.
27. Deon Cain (Clemson) – Many people who follow and write about college recruiting had Cain as one of the top players in the entire 2015 recruiting class. The former high school quarterback has been clocked at 4.44 40-yard dash. The issues for the talented Sophomore are all off the field. Last year, he reportedly failed a drug test last year and was suspended from the team. This suspension caused Cain to miss the National Championship game against Alabama, a game the Tigers could have used the talented receiver. Before the suspension, Cain emerged to fill the void left by Mike Williams, who was lost for the season after suffering a broken neck. Cain is a physically impressive player (6'1”, 210 pounds), with great speed, and is still learning how to become a star at the receiver position. If he was not already well-known nationally, the big game against Louisville earlier in the season solidified Cain as a top pass catcher. In that contest, he caught five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Zierlein wrote about the future NFL star, “Cain was a prominent contributor on a Clemson offense that was loaded with weapons. Keep in mind that Cain was a high-school quarterback, and has had very limited time at the wide receiver position. As he continues to get more comfortable at the position and learns the nuances of route running, his stock should steadily rise as he has the size and speed that NFL teams covet.” We very much concur. On a team with at least three NFL pass catchers, Cain could be the best pro. With Mike Williams and Artavis Scott heading to the NFL, Cain will be the primary receiver in the revamped Clemson offense.
26. Malachi Dupre (LSU) – The Junior possesses optimal size (6'3”, 195 pounds) and makes huge plays in the air. Dupre is tall and a tremendous leaper. Draft maven Todd McShay wrote in August that Dupre is "fearless working the middle of the field and shows excellent focus in traffic." He will grow into a red-zone threat over time. Dupre is not relied upon as much as he could be due to his team having Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice lined up in the backfield. Those who just look at box scores will be disappointed in Dupre. He is the player who has moved down the rankings this season due to his lack of improvement in getting open and making plays.
25. Artavis Scott (Clemson) – The Clemson offense spreads the ball around enough that each of the pass catchers does not put up big numbers on a weekly basis. The Tigers have three wide receivers and a tight end on this list and have many solid options in the passing game. The Junior looks like an NFL slot receiver and could be a solid fantasy option due to his yards after the catch ability. Scott’s size (5’11, 190 pounds) will be misinterpreted by many. He is short but now small. Scott is a stout receiver and is strong with the ball in his hands. The Junior has already announced his intention to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
24. Mike Weber (Ohio State) – Weber is a stout (5’10” 215 pounds) running back who has gotten a chance to shine after Ezekiel Elliott bolted for the NFL. The redshirt Freshman has added a powerful element to the Buckeyes running game. In the big win against Oklahoma earlier this season, Weber carried the ball 18 times for 123 yards. Later in the season, Weber was stifled for most of the game against Michigan. In that contest, the Freshman only carried the ball 11 times for 25 yards and a touchdown. This was the week following the outburst against Michigan State where the Freshman ran for 111 yards and a score on 14 carries. On the season, Weber has toted the rock 177 times for 1,072 yards and 9 touchdowns.
23. Royce Freeman (Oregon) – The Junior has been the best asset on the Oregon offense since Marcus Mariota left for the NFL. He finished the season strong with outstanding outings against Stanford, Utah, and Oregon State, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in each contest. Freeman is a big runner, standing 6'1”, 220 pounds, who gets little buzz in the Pacific Northwest since he plays games after most of the fans east of the Mississippi are snuggled up in bed. Freeman has improved as a runner and receiver every collegiate year, even those his numbers have declined as the Ducks have been losing an inordinate number of contests. With the depth of the running back draft class, we expect Freeman to be undervalued by many fans and fantasy owners only to surprise as an NFL player.
22. Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) – After breaking the single-game rushing record as a Freshman, Perine has failed to live up the lofty expectations the past two seasons. In fact, he has seen his carries, yards, and touchdowns decrease each year. The Sooners have graduated plenty of talent on the offensive line the past two years and have endured turnover at the quarterback position which has not helped the running game. But, this does not explain how Perine has been outplayed by Joe Mixon. By the way, Mixon is not included on this due to his off-the-field history. It is ugly. The 5'11”, 243-pound Perine is big and fast (running a 4.48 40-yard dash). Few people would guess that - entering the 2016 campaign - Perine had over 3,000 rushing yards through two seasons. He will be a factor in the very deep 2017 running back NFL Draft class. His fantasy upside will be determined by landing spot.
21. Wayne Gallman (Clemson) – The redshirt Junior is a great fit for the high-powered Clemson offense. He is a tough runner between the tackles and a very good receiver. Gallman is a bigger back (6’0”, 215 pounds) who will still need to add weight to his frame. In a recent NFL.com article, an NFC college scouting director called Gallman “underrated” and said, "he (Gallman) can do a little of everything. Runs extremely hard and can play on all three downs." Gallman burst on the scene in 2015, rushing for 1,523 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2016, Gallman accumulated 1,002 yards on 196 carries and scored 15 touchdowns. Even though it gets little press, Gallman is solid in pass production which should help him see the field sooner as a pro. He has already announced his intention to turn pro after the season. Gallman has a good body of work in a deep draft class.
Note, we did not include Joe Mixon or Dede Westbrook in the list. Mixon’s domestic violence video will not be welcomed in the NFL. As for Westbrook, expect his domestic violence story to become more visible. The following is a quote from a recent Tulsa World story, “Before his improbable rise from nowhere — before he won the Biletnikoff Award, became a finalist for college football’s most coveted trophy and constructed one of the best seasons in OU football history — Westbrook was twice arrested on family violence complaints, according to police reports and court documents obtained by the Tulsa World. In 2012, Westbrook was accused of throwing the mother of two of his children to the ground. In 2013, Westbrook was accused of biting the same woman’s arm and punching her in the face with a closed fist. OU began recruiting Westbrook in the fall of 2014, the semester immediately following Joe Mixon’s high-profile arrest for punching a woman in the face. Near that time, OU linebacker Frank Shannon and transfer receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had also been accused of violence against women.” In addition, these two situations are not a good look for the Sooners.
Feel free to email me (Tefertiller@Footballguys.com) with feedback. Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.