Welcome to the third installment of the 2019 Devy Weekly series! Every single week we’ll be covering some top college football players that just helped their case for a shot at an NFL future. We’ll break it down by position, giving you players to target in all areas of need for your dynasty rosters.
If you’re new to Devy Leagues, the long and short of it is this: You get to draft college football players and roster them long before they are drafted to an NFL roster.
Some of these players will be names that you recognize. Others might be the kind of player you didn’t know until yesterday. Regardless, the point is to provide you with some names to tuck away for draft day or give you potential trade targets in your leagues.
There were so many players that killed it in Week 2 of college football! It certainly makes it tough to pick which players to highlight, but just like last week here are seven players who absolutely dominated their respective games.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas
People have been saying “Texas is back!” for a few years now. This time they might actually be right, and it’s partially thanks to quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger most certainly has to work on his overall accuracy and leading receivers, but he’s come a long way in his few seasons with the Longhorns and it shows up clear as day in his numbers.
Sam Ehlinger Progression
|Year||Comp %||Pass Yds/Game||Pass Yds/Att||Adjusted Pass Yds/Att||Pass TDs/Game||Pass INT/Game|
His numbers still aren’t perfect, and intermediate accuracy is still a problem, but everything is trending in the right direction. That continued this past weekend against LSU.
Ehlinger racked up nearly 500 total yards and five touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country. That defense has a handful of future NFL players on it, including a young man that some consider the best defensive player in the country in safety Grant Delpit. It didn’t matter. Ehlinger had success on nearly every offensive drive. Yes, Texas lost the game, but if Ehlinger continues stringing together impressive performances against future NFL defensive players and improves on anticipation throws, he’ll earn himself some draft capital.
Cam Akers, Florida State
In chapter one of Cam Akers‘ college football story there was plenty of pressure on him. He entered college as a top-five recruit in the entire nation. And he certainly wasn’t eased into things as he faced off with Alabama in his first college football game back in 2017. Akers lost that first bout, only amassing 30 rushing yards and one catch for 11 yards. But after that things definitely looked promising early on. Despite Florida State’s historically abysmal offensive line play, Akers still managed four 100-yard rushing performances in his first season.
However, chapter two didn’t go as well in 2018. The Florida State offense imploded (finished 113th of 130 Division I teams in points per game). Akers turned in one of the least efficient seasons among all Power Five running backs. In fact, only three lead backs in the Power Five turned in fewer yards per carry. That led to an off-season of embarrassing takes on Akers’ talent, with one national writer actually giving him an “undrafted free agent” grade.
Chapter three began two weeks ago and Akers is clearly looking to make a statement. He may be playing lesser competition to open this season, but Akers is dominating. This past weekend he actually tallied 41 touches for 248 yards from scrimmage and three TDs against Lousiana-Monroe. And unlike last year, only three of those touches failed to net a positive gain for the offense. However, the real test will start this week again 25th-ranked Virginia. If Akers can continue to gain confidence and create yards on his own, he’ll put his name back in the hat for top RB consideration.
Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
We don’t cover too many players from Appalachian State here at RotoViz (zero, really), but Darrynton Evans needs to be the exception. Mr. Evans just took the NCAA lead in rushing yards after his ridiculous performance against Charlotte this past weekend.
Evans ran for 234 yards and three scores, and added 64 kick return yards and a TD just for good measure.
“But it was against Charlotte!”
That’s true. And it would be one thing if Evans had never done anything like this before. But Evans is currently on an 11-game streak with at least 120 all-purpose yards.
That’s a longer streak than Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin, Rondale Moore of Purdue, and several other Heisman hopefuls. It may be against lesser competition, but Evans consistently shows game-breaking ability every single week. Evans is already on pace to have one of the best Backfield Dominator Ratings in the 2020 NFL draft class. If he adds some receptions to his game, Evans could earn himself some real draft capital.
Justin Jefferson, LSU
As I discussed this summer in my NFL University series, LSU has given the NFL some pretty incredible receivers lately. In fact, since 2014 no other school has accounted for more fantasy points from wide receivers than LSU (yep, more than Clemson). Right now it looks like LSU may have a trio of receivers who could all make it to the NFL, but Justin Jefferson may be the best of the bunch.
Jefferson led the LSU Tigers with 54 receptions, 875 receiving yards, and six TDs last year. Those numbers more than doubled the output for each of the other two top Tiger receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall. Jefferson posted a 32% adjusted dominator rating and already had a better Adjusted Production Index score than Tee Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Collin Johnson, Justyn Ross, Rashod Bateman, Henry Ruggs, and several other top devy prospects after last season.
This season he’s off to an even more impressive start. It’s no surprise that he shredded Georgia Southern for 5 receptions, 87 yards and a TD in 2.5 quarters, but what he did to Texas last weekend was just embarrassing. Jefferson’s hauled in nine balls for 163 yards and three scores. Texas just never had an answer. Jefferson kept finding soft spots in the zone early over the middle. LSU tried to adjust and even challenge him with a few man-to-man reps. It didn’t matter. He quickly ate up seven yards of cushion from the hapless defensive back and high-pointed the ball for his second TD up the seam.
Jefferson gets knocked by some due to his high school athleticism, but that’s an absolutely horrible decision. He’s going to be drafted and start in the NFL one day. It’s only a matter of time.
Rondale Moore, Purdue
If you’ve been following along with college football at all, Rondale Moore’s name has certainly come up once or twice. But you may not know just how much of an absolutely crazy productive college football unicorn he truly is. Moore set the receptions record for true freshman with 114 last season (only Manny Hazard & Michael Crabtree had more as redshirt freshman). He racked up 2,215 all-purpose yards thanks to his kick return ability. And he won the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player in all of college football.
Why does the Paul Hornung Award matter? The last six winners of that award were all first-round NFL draft picks. That last includes Saquon Barkley, Jabrill Peppers, Christian McCaffrey, Shaq Thompson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Tavon Austin.
Now, after just two games this season Rondale Moore is currently on pace for 3,000 all-purpose yards, 156 receptions (two shy of all-time NCAA record), and an even higher dominator rating than his absurd freshman year.
Moore is the kind of player that just casually drops 220 receiving yards in a game and no one’s even surprised. That’s exactly what he did against Vanderbilt last week.
His dominance and legend should only continue to grow.
Jacob Breeland, Oregon
The Oregon Ducks looked like they were in trouble at wide WR to open the year. Grad transfer Juwan Johnson, true freshman Mycah Pittman, and tight end Cam McCormick were all supposed to help fill the gaping void in receiving targets left by Dillon Mitchell’s departure to the NFL. In the meantime, speedster Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd have been trying to force their way open for quarterback Justin Herbert. But really, Jacob Breeland might be the most valuable chess piece on the entire offense.
Breeland already has two four-catch performances and a TD to open the year for Oregon. Plus, since Breeland can run block, he’s virtually always on the field contributing and developing to ready himself for the next level. He’s struggled to stay completely healthy for the past two seasons but now has the best shot at elite collegiate tight end production ever. If Breeland holds pace, he’ll finish with over 50 receptions for nearly 900 yards (potential TE1 in the nation receiving numbers). He isn’t being talked about very much right now, but he’s draft eligible and should have a decent production profile to go with his blocking skills next spring.
IDP (Individual Defensive Player)
Evan Weaver, California (3-4 ILB or 4-3 WLB)
Evan Weaver just destroyed the Washington offense this past weekend with an 18-tackle performance, two for a loss. And this is just another day at the office for Weaver. He actually had the second most tackles in the nation last season thanks to his incredible instincts and discipline. Part of it has to do with California’s 4-2-5 scheme that leaves him on an island in the middle quite often, but Weaver isn’t just a tackle hoarder. He also racked up 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, a defensive TD, and six passes defended last year. Whatever he’s asked to do he can do.
He may not be a 4-3 MLB candidate given his size and skillset, but he’s shown that he could easily play as a 3-4 ILB or 4-3 WLB option as long as he wasn’t asked to play man on wide receivers. Watch for Weaver’s name to climb draft boards as he leads the entire nation in tackles this season.
I hope you enjoyed the third Devy Weekly of 2019! Expect more future NFL prospect coverage throughout the season. Find me @FF_TravisM on Twitter if you have any questions. And until next time, keep living that Dynasty Life!