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 10 devy players without regard for the draft class. We value the players who will contribute at the professional level higher than the younger players.
10. Anthony Johnson (Buffalo) – The redshirt Senior is playing for his third college since leaving high school. As a Freshman, Johnson played at Butler Community College in 2014, catching 21 passes for 559 yards and five touchdowns. He transferred to Buffalo after playing at Iowa Western Community College where he had 19 receptions for 434 yards and two touchdowns in 2015. Johnson has a solid build (6-foot-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 2017, Johnson caught 76 passes for 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns. He started the 2018 season strong with a solid performance in the blowout victory over Delaware State. In that contest, Johnson caught 4 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown as Buffalo rarely needed to throw the ball. The receiver caught-and-ran-in the game-winning touchdown on Saturday. He has a chance to be the top wide receiver drafted in 2019.
9. 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 before ever stepping foot on the Ohio State campus. Dobbins shows great quickness at the line of scrimmage. His jump cuts allow him to escape the linebackers in the hole and break big plays to the outside. The true Sophomore has already had several “highlight reel” runs and his brief career is just beginning to take flight. He excelled as a Freshman last season. During last season, Dobbins ran for 1,403 yards and 7 touchdowns on 194 carries. He added 22 receptions for 135 and another score. Dobbins put up these gaudy numbers while playing behind Mike Weber, a talented runner himself. The Buckeyes have a loaded backfield with these two ball carriers and a solid group of incoming Freshmen.
8. Ryan Herbert (Oregon) – The true Junior is a great athlete with an NFL physique (6-foot-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 was very impressive in year two. In 2017, his completion percentage jumped (to 67.5) and he had a 15:5 TD:INT ratio. We have Herbert as the top passer for the 2019 NFL Draft. In the opener against Bowling Green, Herbert and Oregon started slowly, falling behind 0-10 in the first quarter. But, the star passer showed why his stock is soaring. In that game, he threw for 281 yards and 5 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions. Herbert added another 41 yards a score on the ground. He added another strong game against Portland State. Yes, these were two soft opponents. There will be some rough spots for the Ducks offense given its lack of talent, but Herbert is a star.
7. Ammon Richards (Miami) – Richards suffered through an injury for most of 2017 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 during his Miami career. Richards injured his knee in the season opener against LSU and his 2018 status is uncertain after missing this weekend’s game. He will be in the running for the top receiver selected in next year’s draft even without much recent college production.
6. A.J. Brown (Mississippi) – The stocky (6-foot-1, 225 pounds) Junior from Starkville, MS, made a lot of big plays last year. In 2017, Brown caught 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. He started off the 2018 season in big fashion against Texas Tech. In the opener against the Red Raiders, Brown caught 7 passes for 93 yards and a score. The Texas Tech defense is known for being a sieve, but the performance is a great sign for Brown’s progress. Saturday, against Southern Illinois, Brown hauled in 8 passes for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. His big-play ability will be needed if Mississippi is to make noise in the SEC.
5. Bryce Love (Stanford) – The Senior surprised most NFL Draft experts by choosing to come back to school after 2017 season was over. Last year, he took 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. But, he exploded onto the scene in 2017 as the lead back. Still undersized (5-foot-10, 202 pounds), Love carried a heavy workload last year. He toted the rock 263 times for 2,118 (good for an 8.1 average) and a whopping 19 touchdowns. We expect a larger role in the passing game in 2018 as Love only reeled in six passes last year. He did catch three passes in the lopsided opener against San Diego State. In the victory over USC on Saturday evening, Love started slowly but ended the game with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Given the relative soft defenses of the PAC12, Love will have some monster games as the season rolls along.
4. David Montgomery (Iowa State) – The stout (5-foot-11, 222 pounds) Junior burst into the spotlight and carried the Iowa State offense last season. Montgomery has put up big numbers on the ground and through the air. In 2017, Montgomery carried the ball 258 times for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added 36 receptions for 296 yards through the air. The stout ball carrier was able to do this damage while facing stacked boxes. The game against arch-rival Iowa was a difficult outing for Montgomery. He will rebound. Montgomery is our top ball carrier eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. It is not his fault that the Cyclone offense lacks firepower.
3. N'keal Harry (Arizona State) – Harry is a big receiver (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) who has made a big impact early in his college career. Still a true Junior, Harry could be special by the time he turns pro, possibly in 2019. He put on a show against Texas-San Antonio in the opener with 6 receptions for 140 yards plus a pair of scores. One of those scoring receptions was on every highlight reel for the week where Harry broke several tackles for a 58-yard touchdown. He had another monster game against Michigan State on Saturday. In that contest, Harry caught 6 passes for 89 and a touchdown. The big performance gave Harry 152 catches for 2,030 yards and 16 touchdowns in his collegiate career. This is great production considering Harry is a relative unknown to many football fans.
2. Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) – The 5-foot-11, 214-pound true Sophomore quickly jumped into the national spotlight last year after abusing Florida Atlantic in the first game of the 2017 season. He quickly became 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 game. He had three such games in 2017 as a Freshman. While not the highest-rated recruit coming out of high school on this list, Taylor showed off his talent last year. He kept the momentum flowing with a dominant performance in the opener against Western Kentucky with 18 carries for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Against New Mexico, Taylor established a career-high 253 rushing yards. In his short career, Taylor has 2,375 and 18 touchdowns two games into year-two of his college career.
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 vision, the 5-foot-11, 213-pound ball carrier is the anchor to the Seminoles offense. He is a star even in a crowded backfield. 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. Akers played well against Virginia Tech on Labor Day as the Seminoles were blown out by the Hokies. He also struggled some last week versus Samford in Florida State’s come-from-behind win. The top four players on this list could fluctuate as the season progresses.