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 offseason and season, we will look at a different set of devy rankings.
We begin the season looking at the top devy players, beginning with the Top 10 devy quarterbacks overall without regard of position or class. In general, we value the players entering the 2018 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 the Top 10 devy passers without regard to draft class.
10. Luke Falk (Washington) – Many discount the redshirt Senior due to playing in a Mike Leach-coached offense. It is true that few of Leach’s quarterbacks ever sniff the NFL. We think Falk is different. He has the requisite size (6’3, 214 pounds) and is a very good passer with great pocket presence. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote last year that Falk looks like a future NFL starter. That is high praise for the passer. Zierlein went on to say, “Falk will stand in and take the hit to deliver a strike, and he has mobility outside the pocket as well." One thing to watch when evaluating Falk’s chances at being a NFL-viable quarterback is his ability to throw accurately down the field. In the season opener, Falk completed 32 of 38 passes for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, he was 31 of 32 on passes thrown nine yards and shorter, according to Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus. So, yes, Flak has a great completion percentage. But, we need to keep in mind that most of the damage is done on short throws.
9. Mike White (Western Kentucky) – The redshirt Senior is starting get known nationally. He joined the Hilltoppers after beginning his career at South Florida. He started 15 games over two years for the Bulls. In the 2016 season, his first in Western Kentucky, White completed 280 of 416 passes for 4,363 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. Further, his eight games of 300 yards or more passing were fifth-most nationally. In an August Sporting News article, Eric Galko said, “Mike White belongs in the same class as Darnold, Rosen, and Jackson, and he’s set to produce like a Heisman contender in 2017 while impressing NFL scouts like a first-round pick. White’s underdog story has built up to this season. And there’s every reason to be bullish on what he’ll make of it.” One note in that Galko article is that Steve Spurrier, Jr. is White’s quarterback coach. Spurrier said this of his passer, “Mentally he’s so smart. He’s always prepared. He’s very detailed, takes a lot of notes, asks a lot of questions … He’s ready to learn, always asking me questions at all times of the day. And that’s before you pop in the tape on him.” White is a name to remember in devy leagues. He is one of a few quarterbacks who could jump into first-round consideration in the 2018 NFL Draft.
8. Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) – Stidham redshirted last season after leaving the Baylor program following his Sophomore year. The 6’3”, 220-pounder is a redshirt Sophomore. For those that have forgotten about the buzz Stidham garnered as a high school recruit, here are a few quotes. Former Baylor coach Art Briles called Stidham "the best young guy [he's] ever been around." Let’s remember that Stidham played high school football in a Briles system and played well as a Freshman after Seth Russell went down with the neck injury. In its recruiting profile, ESPN compared Stidham to "Derek Carr as a passer and Marcus Mariota as a runner." While that maybe too a little too much adoration, Stidham does have the tools. He ran a 4.66 40-yard dash in high school. The ESPN scouting profile said, "He is only going to get bigger and better with more experience … He's the type of player that can fit into any scheme and add the dimension of a constant running threat. He is extremely attractive because there is a high ceiling for development." At Auburn, Stidham possibly has the best set of wide receivers in the country. We are intrigued to watch him continue to grow and develop.
7. Shea Patterson (Mississippi) – The 6’1”, 197-pound true Sophomore had his redshirt removed late last season and made an immediate impact. In his first contest, the Patterson was awesome. He completed 25 of 42 passes for 338 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 pick. Patterson was an All-American on several lists (USA Today, U.S. Army, among others) due to his play-making ability inside – and outside – of the pocket. He is electric. Patterson was named the Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after completing 6 of his 9 passes for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns while leading his West team to a 37-9 victory over the East. In addition, Patterson was named the Most Valuable Player of the Elite 11 QB competition. We are excited to him play, especially with the talent Mississippi has at the wide receiver position. He has picked up this season where he left off in 2016. In the season opener, Patterson broke the school single-game yardage record, according to Bruce Feldman. In that contest, Patterson completed 28 of 34 passes for 429 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was pulled early in the fourth quarter. Even though he was a high recruit, this game put Patterson in the Heisman conversation.
6. 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 keep drives alive. The issue for the redshirt Senior is his size. Standing just 6’0” tall, Mayfield will be overlooked by most 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 two days of the NFL Draft. We expect him to measure a little less than his school-listed size. Also, his arrest this past February may be a distraction come NFL Draft season. Mayfield has grit and it showed in the upset at Ohio State. He looks like an NFL starter with the only question being his height.
5. Josh Allen (Wyoming) – Allen is one of the more intriguing prospects on this list. He has great physical talent and size (6’5”, 235 pounds) with a strong arm. He was not highly recruited, beginning his football career at a community college in California. There are few quarterbacks in the NFL with better arm strength than Allen. But, it is his consistency and accuracy that cause concern. The Redshirt Junior completes under 60% of his passes. In addition, many question the level of competition since he plays for Wyoming. Bruce Feldman tweeted, “Wyoming QB Josh Allen has gotten a lot of hype. He has a big arm & moves well but in 2 games vs Power 5 opponents he's thrown 1 TD & 7 INTs.” These numbers will scare off some NFL evaluators while others will be enamored by the potential.
4. Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) –The Senior has the look of an NFL quarterback with his 6’4”, 235-pound frame. He was inconsistent a year ago but has been on the top of his game in the first two outings of 2017, against Tulsa and South Alabama. Mark Cooper had a crazy Rudolph stat after the Tulsa opener, “Since the start of last year, Mason Rudolph has thrown more passes of 70+ yards (5) than interceptions (4).” That is very impressive. The strong outing last Friday got several national writers talking. Bruce Feldman tweeted, “Mason Rudolph's last 11 games for #okstate: 28 TDs, 2 INTs. Pretty good.” It is very good. Jake Trotter tweeted, “Mason Rudolph, through two games (not playing the fourth quarter of either): 45 of 62 passing, 638 yards, 8 total TDs, 0 INTs.” The weak defenses of the Big 12 may allow Rudolph and Mayfield to rack up the numbers.
3. Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – The 6’3”, 210 true Junior has been electric this season, continuing the play that led to the Heisman Trophy a year ago. He has drawn comparisons to Michael Vick and other elite athletic quarterbacks of the past. What makes Jackson so difficult to defend is his combination of arm strength paired with speed and elusiveness with the ball in his hands. NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter had this to say about the Louisville star, "Jackson shows excellent speed and agility in the open field as well as enough toughness to get that last yard … The Sophomore isn't consistent with his accuracy, but he could improve in that area with time." Jackson has relied on his naturally-given talent that he now needs to work on improving as a quarterback. In a NFL.com article, an NFC executive said that Jackson "has the look of a first (overall) pick." The executive went on to say, "The thing I took away from the (Clemson-Louisville) game (last year) is that Lamar Jackson has the look of a first (overall) pick, but I don't think (Deshaun) Watson has the same look." We agree. Jackson looks like a better prospect than Watson. After the season opener against a scrappy Purdue defense, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus had this to say about Jackson, “It was a strong game for Jackson who showed excellent accuracy on a number of passes, particularly in the middle of the field. Aside from one poor decision in which he tried to force a pass through multiple Purdue defenders, Jackson dominated in between the numbers, going 20-for-28 for 282 yards and two touchdowns, good for an NFL passer rating of 127.4.” Many criticize Jackson for his slender frame giving his scrambling ability but he has shown to be stronger than expected and will continue to add muscle to his frame. But, consider this stat from ESPN, “Jackson is 2nd player in FBS history to have back-to-back games with 300 Pass yds and 100 Rush yds.” This is after facing a solid North Carolina defense. Jackson has 1,010 total yards and 8 TDs through 2 games. Very impressive.
2. Josh Rosen (UCLA) – As a true Freshman, Rosen showed the poise and a strong arm of an upperclassman. There were rumblings from the scouting community that many were worried Rosen might have attitude and leadership concerns. This was the reasoning given for the lackluster 2016 campaign. Given his talent, these may be the only major concern for Rosen’s professional chances. Rosen has NFL size (6'4”, 208 pounds) and has excelled as a pocket passer. The season opener put Rosen back in the good graces of fantasy owners and devy enthusiasts. In the fourth quarter of the come-from-behind victory against Texas A&M, Rosen completed 19 of 26 passes for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns. These numbers were just for the fourth quarter. His offensive coordinator, Jedd Fisch, had this to say about the performance, “… Rosen’s composure that impressed him most about his starter’s performance. The bullets were flying Sunday night, and he was very business-like. Very mature. He just handled himself in a way that was way above his years.” Rosen’s arm strength and his ability to play from the pocket are NFL-level competent. Unless he falls apart the rest of the season, Rosen looks like a Top 10 NFL pick.
1. Sam Darnold (USC) – The redshirt Sophomore played very well after getting the starting nod a few games into last season. After his first collegiate outing, Dane Brugler tweeted, “Only a RS freshman, but I've already had NFL scouts bring up Sam Darnold's name during convos. They love him.” In his first season, Darnold completed 68.3% of his passes and owned a 24-8 TD-INT ratio. But, in the opener against Western Michigan, Darnold struggled. One flaw that was worse in that game than last year was the elongated throwing motion and dropping his elbow ala Blake Bortles when pressured. This flaw slows down the throwing motion and results in less velocity on deeper passes. As opponents see this on tape, expect the Trojans passer to be pressured often this season. In that game against the Broncos, Darnold only completed two of seven passes greater than twenty yards down the field, including an interception, as per CFB Film Room. His numbers for the game were not as bad as most portray but appeared worse due to heightened expectations. The rebound performance against Stanford solidified this ranking. He was impressive … just like we have come to expect after last season. We still have him as the top devy quarterback but the top three are very close.