Since this is the first edition of our developmental player rankings, we will discuss the most important qualities to look for when deciding which developmental ("devy") players to draft before jumping into the rankings and player writeups. Having set criteria makes the near-impossible task of ranking players with a diverse range of experience and competing against a wide range of competition (both on-field opposition and against teammates for playing time) more manageable.
The goal is to provide as much context and information as possible and then allow you to adjust the rankings to make them your own based upon how the players pass the "eye-test" for you when you watch them. To that end, we have provided a link to a highlight video of each player in the Top 100 so you can take a look make your own judgments.
Context and Criteria for Developmental Rankings
1. Production- On one hand, production is pretty simple to judge: We want guys who put up big numbers in college. When it comes time for the NFL draft, teams are ultimately going to look first at the players who put up big stats in college. For receivers, the number of touchdowns scored has had a high-correlation with going on to NFL success. We see this emphasis in looking at the top receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft: Corey Coleman scored 20 touchdowns through his first 8-games in 2015. Will Fuller going off the board as the second receiver was a surpise to many, but he scored 29 touchdowns over the 2014 and 2015 seasons against tough competition. Josh Doctson scored 25 touchdowns over his final two college season. Especially for prospects who have been in college for two or more seasons, we want to see big numbers before investing a high developmental draft pick. Productive big-school players such as Leonard Fournette, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Deshaun Watson are easy to rank highly.