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.
Army at Rutgers
Player spotlighted: Jawan Jamison, RB Rutgers
As promised, I took a hard look at Jawan Jamison this week. My previous exposure to him has been limited to the highlights. I’d heard a few folks compare him to Ray Rice, which seems to be the guy we compare all 5’8” guys nowadays. With Jamison it goes a step further because they also share the same school as well.
Let’s get the Rice comparisons out of the way because he’s nowhere near his level when it comes to skill set and explosive talent. He has nice cutback skills and he’s a tough compact runner for his size. He has multi-purpose skill set, as he’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. I don’t see any elite traits that would lead me to think he’d be a great running back at the next level.
He could be roster worthy for dynasty owners because he does have some ability, but let’s temper the expectations down from “could be Ray Rice.” I can see him going in the fourth round range of the NFL Draft, and with playing time he could contribute to fantasy rosters.
I will continue to monitor his games to make sure my first impression of him is on target.
Texas A&M at Alabama
Player spotlighted: Johnny Manziel*, QB Texas A&M
As I mentioned in last week’s installment, I was eagerly waiting for this matchup to measure Manziel’s development from the LSU game to what he did against Alabama.
Early on he was poised and made plays with his feet and his arm (what’s new?). He led A&M to a 20-0 lead over the Crimson Tide by starting off 8-for-9 for 76 yards in the air and 74 yards rushing on five carries. Alabama didn’t know what hit them and they had no answers in the first quarter.
Looking back, Manziel had similar success early against LSU and I was expecting a similar fast start until the defense adjusted. Predictably Alabama did adjust and Manziel found it harder to be effective in the second and third quarters. Only this time, Manziel also adjusted to how the defense was playing him.
In the fourth quarter, he turned on the playmaking skills and willed his team to victory and put an end to the Tide’s 13 game winning streak. It was a championship caliber performance for the redshirt freshman. The moment wasn’t too big for him and I saw him develop as a decision maker from his first big national game to this one.
Now he’s on his way to national stardom so prepare yourselves to hear a lot of hype about him over the next couple of years. I expect it to reach the hype level that Andrew Luck received. There will be an ongoing debate whether his game will translate to the next level. Some will buy it and some won’t. Five years ago, I would not be a buyer, but in today’s NFL, he’s the prototype of the kind of duel threat quarterback NFL offenses are evolving to.
Below are my top 35 dynasty prospects as of 11/17/2012.
1. Marqise Lee*, WR USC
This is something I’ve been considering for weeks and I’ve finally concluded that Lee is without question the best player in college football right now (offensive side of the ball obviously).
2. Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
3. Sammy Watkins*, WR Clemson
4. Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
5. Keenan Allen, WR California
6. Todd Gurley*, RB Georgia
7. Giovani Bernard, RB North Carolina
8. Stepfan Taylor, RB Stanford
It was another all-purpose day for Taylor as he scored touchdowns via rushing and receiving. Taylor is still tremendously underrated on the national scene. I’m not sure what else he has to do to get noticed, given the state of this year’s running back class.
9. Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama
10. Andre Ellington, RB Clemson
11. Robert Woods, WR USC
12. DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
13. T.J Yeldon*, RB Alabama
It was a tough game for the true freshman against the Texas A&M. He was held to 29 yards on 10 carries, and even though he did manage to score a touchdown, his day was ruined by a fourth quarter fumble (now two weeks in a row where he’s coughed up the ball) was costly. It certainly impacted the game and played a part in the upset loss for his team. We’ll chalk it up to growing pains because I think he’ll bounce back quickly.
14. Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
15. Terrence Williams, WR Baylor
16. Cardarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
17. Marquess Wilson, WR Washington State
It’s pretty much a done deal now. Wilson is officially off the team. I don’t even want to go into the drama of the “he said” stuff. He’s a talent, but will now have character issues to address during the draft process. I lowered him in the rankings a few notches because of the red flags but his evaluation is far from over.
18. Ameer, Abdulla*, RB Nebraska
19. Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas
20. Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
21. Tyler Bray, QB Tennessee
After three consecutive weeks of consistency, I’m moving Bray up the rankings. It’s exactly the kind of quarterback play I’ve been asking for from him so I’m going to give him credit for delivering. His last three games he’s over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns and he’s only thrown one pick. Can he keep it up? I’m still skeptical but this is a career best stretch for him and maybe, just maybe, he’s turned the corner.
22. Mike Gillislee, RB Florida
Keep an eye on Gillislee’s landing spot in the draft. I don’t want to label him as a sleeper, because I think he’s better than that, but he could emerge as a real under the radar fantasy producer if he lands with the right team.
23. Matt Barkley, QB USC
24. Dennis Johnson, RB Arkansas
25. Jonathan Franklin, RB UCLA
26. Knile Davis, RB Arkansas
27. Duke Johnson*, RB Miami, FL
The Duke of Miami had another incredible all-purpose game this week. Johnson rushed for a 150 yards, threw a touchdown pass and ran in a 95 yard kickoff return for a TD (second of the season). His last two weeks (now healthy again) he’s averaging over nine yards a carry. He’s also starting to receive the bulk of the running back load even though he’s technically not the listed starter.
28. Da’Rick Rogers, WR Tennessee Tech
29. Logan Thomas, QB Virginia Tech
30. Joseph Randle, RB Oklahoma State
He’s number one on some draft boards. Athletically it’s justified but personally I haven’t seen the running back instincts and elusive skills it will take to be a consistent producer at the next level.
31. Jordan Reed, TE Florida
32. Le’Veon Bell, RB Michigan State
33. Christine Michael, RB Texas A&M
After a long senior season of losing his starting position and spending half the year in the coach’s doghouse, Michael has carved a nice role for himself as the goal line back. He still gets regular carries but he’s excelled at the role. For everything he’s been through anything he can put in the positive category is a plus at this point. Against the stout Alabama defense, Michael successfully punched it in from the one yard line twice.
34. Jawan Jamison, RB Rutgers
35. Montee Ball, RB Wisconsin: Rumor has it scouts are telling Wisconsin coaches that Ball is this year’s top running back prospect. Maybe a scout is saying that, but I find it hard to believe this is a shared view among scouts.
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.