Whether you enjoy college football or just want to gauge the talent pool for next year, we’ve got you covered. The purpose of this article is to provide information that can help you better assess the trade value of your first or second rounders as the season progresses. This way when you make a trade that involves rookie draft picks, you have a better idea of what those picks are worth.
Here are my notes from the prospects’ games I had the opportunity to watch.
* denotes player NOT eligible for 2013 draft.
Tennessee at South Carolina
Players spotlighted: Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina
Let’s get right down to the biggest story of the week – the horrific injury to the likely number one running back prospect of this year’s class, Marcus Lattimore.
I’ve included an excerpt from the University of South Carolina official release that discusses the injury. Notice there was no broken bone, as initially reported:
“University of South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a significant impact to the front of his right knee during the Tennessee game on Saturday. The ensuing hyperextension of the knee resulted in injury to several ligaments. There were no fractures or additional injuries, according to team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy. Lattimore’s surgically repaired left knee was uninjured during the play.”
The hit itself was absolutely gruesome and hard to watch. It brought back memories of the hit Willis McGahee took in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. The hit McGahee took tore his ACL, PCL, and the MCL on his left knee. The injury was severe and threatened his career.
The above press release further underscores the similarity of the two injuries and that’s another reason to bring up McGahee because we can look at his post injury success as a plausible road to recovery for Lattimore.
McGahee could have returned to school after the injury, but instead decided to forgo his eligibility and enter the 2003 draft. A likely top five pick prior to the injury, McGahee slipped into late first round where the Buffalo Bills took him with the 23rd pick.
He sat out all of the 2003 season and rehabilitated the knee after multiple surgeries but did return for the 2004 season—roughly a year and a half between the injury and getting back to playing football again. Since his return, he’s only missed eight games over his ten year career.
With Lattimore’s injury being similar to McGahee’s, I would speculate a similar timeline in the recovery of one-to-two years.
Early reports and rumors indicate that Lattimore is expected to return to school to get his rehab and treatment, but I wouldn’t take them for anything more than rumors at this point. There are still a couple of months for him to decide whether to enter the draft or return to school.
I’d suspect he’ll get advice from the NFL Draft Advisory Board (pro scouts that advise underclassmen on their possible draft demand) before making his final decision.
If I’m advising him, I tell him to enter the draft. Even if he’s a sixt round pick, he can rehab with NFL doctors and get a start on his pro career. There’s little to gain to go back through another year pounding at the college level and risk yet another injury. He’s shown on film what he can do when healthy and someone will sign him and rehab him back to health. Either way, I expect him to play football again. Advancement in sports related injuries and the fact he has the “want to,” tell me he will be back at some point.
Now, down to the fantasy football side of the conversation. If you already own his draft rights in developmental leagues, I would advise to do nothing. He’s still a roster worthy stash for a future date. He’s probably not worth trading at this point and his future potential is such that he’s worth stashing for a couple of years – that’s how I’m proceeding. I fully expect to see him playing again at some point.
Because of the injury, however, I will take him out of the rankings until there’s a definitive answer on his draft intentions.
Below are my top 35 dynasty prospects as of 11/3/2012. I expanded the list from 30 to 35 prospects for discussion purposes.
1. Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
2. Sammy Watkins*, WR Clemson
3. Marqise Lee*, WR USC
Can you say wow? Lee put up 16 receptions for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns this week. An incredible feat on its own, but considering that USC runs a dink and dunk type of offense; it’s even more of an unbelievable accomplishment. Most of those numbers are due to his run after catch ability. The only thing to debate is whether to rank him above or below Sammy Watkins.
4. Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
5. Keenan Allen, WR California
6. Todd Gurley*, RB Georgia
We got a great look at Gurley going against a great Florida defense. Getting 118 hard earned yards and a score against this defense is an achievement. The fact that he’s leading this list of running backs as a freshman should tell you all you need to know about what kind of star potential we’re talking about.
7. Giovani Bernard, RB North Carolina
The battle between Bernard and Stepfan Taylor is very close. This week, Bernard just edges past him with his fourth straight 100 yard game and also playing a huge factor in the UNC passing game.
8. Stepfan Taylor, RB Stanford
9. Andre Ellington, RB Clemson
10. Robert Woods, WR USC
11. Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama
12. Marquess Wilson, WR Washington State
13. DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
14. Ameer, Abdulla*, RB Nebraska
15. Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
16. Terrence Williams, WR Baylor
17. Cardarrell Patterson, WR Tennessee
18. T.J Yeldon*, RB Alabama
19. Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas
20. Matt Barkley, QB USC
21. Da’Rick Rogers, WR Tennessee Tech
22. Logan Thomas, QB Virginia Tech
23. Knile Davis, RB Arkansas
He’s just barely involved in the offense now. As much as I think of his capabilities, I can’t justify having him ranked as high as I have had him. Until he shows something different he’ll continue to drop in the rankings. I can’t put any credence to his 2010 tape any longer. Reality may be this is the player he is now, post injury.
24. Jonathan Franklin, RB UCLA
25. Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
26. Duke Johnson*, RB Miami, FL
27. Mike Gillislee, RB Florida
28. Dennis Johnson, RB Arkansas
29. Joseph Randle, RB Oklahoma State
30. Jordan Reed, TE Florida
A TE/H-back type player who is making his way up the draft boards. What is really promising about Reed is that he’s got a great build and is much more physical than your traditional H-backs. That bodes well for him to see early playing time at the NFL level—because he can block. By the way, he happens to lead his team in receptions this season.
31. Le’Veon Bell, RB Michigan State
I’m not sure I see why everyone else likes Bell so much. He’s ranked fairly high on many people’s lists. I’m just not sure he fits the majority of today’s NFL offenses.
32. Christine Michael, RB Texas A&M
33. Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee
If this week’s version of Bray showed up every week there’d be no doubting he’s a first round pick. The kid can make all the throws. He’s tall, big armed, and confident. Unfortunately, his decision making is a huge concern. This week against South Carolina he was nearly impeccable in his accuracy and decision making and he nearly willed his team to a victory. I want to see this version on him to close out the season.
34. Jawan Jamison, RB Rutgers
He may climb this list quickly once I get a better look at his game. I’m judging him by the highlights I’ve seen so far.
35. Montee Ball, RB Wisconsin
Not overly impressed by his skill set, but he deserves to be in the conversation.
Paymon Shokoohi is an NCAA/NFL skill position analyst, Senior Writer for DLF and can be found on Twitter @setmyroster and in the forums as dlf_paymons.