Devy Top 10, Week 11

A weekly Top 10 list of Devy Dynasty players, broken down by draft eligibility and position.  This week, we look at the Top 10 quarterbacks without regard to draft class

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. 

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 quarterbacks without regard for draft class.  We value the players who will contribute at the professional level higher than the younger players.

10. 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.  Allen was not highly recruited, beginning his football career at a community college in California.  However, there are few quarterbacks in the NFL with a stronger arm than Allen.  But, it is his lack of consistency and accuracy that cause concern.  Further, his mechanics – including footwork – is erratic.  The redshirt Junior completes under 60% of his passes on his career.  This is a threshold for many draft evaluators.  Allen’s completion percentage in 2017 (56.2%) is almost identical to his 2016 percentage (56.0%).  In addition, many question the level of competition since he plays for Wyoming.  Allen played poorly against Iowa and Oregon this season. Bruce Feldman tweeted earlier this year, “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.  He has completed 141 of 251 passes (56% completion percentage) for 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns as opposed to 6 interceptions on the season.  He has added another 5 touchdowns on the ground.  The completion percentage will lead many to doubt Allen’s NFL appeal. 

9.  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 for most of 2017.  There have been a few down contests, but most games have been NFL-worthy.  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 against Tulsa 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.  On the season, Rudolph has completed 234 of 361 passes (65%) and 3,690 yards, 30 passing touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.  He has added another 7 rushing scores on the ground.  The poor showings against TCU, West Virginia, and Oklahoma may quell the adoration.  Rudolph was not sharp in those contests.  A positive sign for Rudolph is that his completion percentage has risen each year of his collegiate career. 

8. Luke Falk (Washington) – Many overlook 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 has a chance to become an NFL quarterback.  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 an NFL-viable quarterback is his ability to throw accurately down the field.  In the season opener this year, 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, Falk has a great completion percentage.  But, we need to keep in mind that most of the damage is done on short throws.  A concerning statistic is that Falk’s completion percentage in 2017 (67%) is the lowest since the 2014 campaign.  For the 2017 season, Falk has 3,224 yards on 320 of 479 passing, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  Three of Falk’s last four games have been poor, with completion percentages at or below 58%.  Keep in mind that the short passing attack inflates the completion percentage.

7. Ryan Findley (North Carolina State) – The redshirt Junior graduated from Boise State in three years and transferred to North Carolina State for the 2016 season.  Findley only appeared in a total of eight games for Boise State prior to transferring.  Findley put up 3,059 yards in his first season with the Wolfpack.  He has continued to improve and anchor the North Carolina State offense.  In his second season with the team, Findley has completed 233 of 367 passes (64%) for 2,665 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just 4 interceptions.  Throwing just four interceptions on 367 pass attempts is astounding.  Findley kept the Wolfpack in the game against Clemson a couple of weeks ago. We like Findley’s development and the chance of being elite in 2018. 

6. Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) – Stidham redshirted last season after leaving the Baylor program following his Sophomore year.  He left the program just as the scandals were hitting the news.  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 reminders.  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 at a high school Briles previously coached 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 may be too a little too ambitious, Stidham does have the tools to be successful.  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 has one of the best young group of wide receivers in the SEC.  We are intrigued to watch him continue to grow and develop.  After the big upset victory over Georgia Saturday, Stidham has completed 163 passes of his 243 passes for 2.210 yards, 14 touchdowns with 3 interceptions on the season.  Notice the completion percentage over 67%.  He completed 70% of his passes Saturday against one of the best defenses in the country.  This is a great sign for his future success. 

5. Ryan Herbert (Oregon) – The true Sophomore is a great athlete with an NFL physique (6’6”, 225 pounds).  He grew up in Eugene, OR and stayed home for college.  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.  Even though he has missed the last few weeks with an injury, Herbert has completed 86 of 126 passes (68%) for 1,264 yards, 9 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions.  The 10-yards-per-pass-attempt is an incredible statistic.  With many quarterbacks on this list turning professional after the season, Herbert could be tops on the list of 2019 NFL Draft eligible passers. 

4. 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.  For us, the issue for the redshirt Senior is his size. Standing just 6’0” tall, Mayfield will be overlooked 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.  We expect him to measure a little less than his school-listed size, too.  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 to begin the season.  He threw for 386 and 3 touchdowns in that contest held in Columbus.  This may have been Mayfield’s best game in his collegiate career.  He looks like an NFL starter with the only question being his height. Even after losing his best two running backs and top wide receiver to the NFL, Mayfield has accumulated 3,559 yards on 213 of 299 passing, 31 touchdowns compared to just 5 interceptions.  Mayfield has added 5 more scores on the ground.  Possibly his most impressive statistic is 71% passing in both 2016 and 2017.  That level of accuracy is unreal and eye-popping.  Mayfield is the Heisman Trophy heavy favorite after his play the past few weeks.

3.  Lamar Jackson (Louisville) – The 6’3”, 210-pound true Junior has been electric again 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 last year, "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 an 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."  Last year, Jackson looked like a better prospect than Watson.  If Jackson can become equal to Watson as a rookie, he will be playing at a high level.  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 given 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 earlier in the year. In 2107, Jackson has 3,003 passing yards, 21touchdowns, and 6 interceptions.  Jackson has added 15 touchdowns on the ground.  He now has consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.  Very impressive.

2.  Josh Rosen (UCLA) –  As a true Freshman, Rosen showed the poise and 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 concerns for Rosen’s professional chances.  He 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.  He has thrown for 3,094 yards on 237 of 381 passing (62% completion percentage), 21 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.  Unless he falls apart the rest of the season, Rosen looks like a Top 10 NFL pick if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft. 

 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 the next week solidified his ranking as the top spot on this list.  He was impressive … just like we have come to expect after last season.  For the season, Darnold has shown glimpses of greatness but struggled versus immense pressure as USC had injuries to the offensive line.  On the season, Darnold has completed 243 of 383 passes for 3,198 yards, and 24 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions.  He has added 4 more scores on the ground.  We still have him as the top devy quarterback but the top four are very close.  There is talk of Darnold staying in school another year, but we are hopeful he will turn professional after the Trojans’ bowl game.

Feel free to (email me) 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.