It’s that time of year when I turn my focus to the college bowl games to gain insight. I will do my best to find some draft eligible players that could improve your dynasty teams. This article intends to start conversations and encourage continued thought throughout the entire draft process. These are my observations based on the bowl games, unless otherwise indicated. I am listing these players alphabetically.
Joseph Fauria, TE UCLA
Joseph Fauria is the nephew of former NFL tight end Christian Fauria. He is a good receiving threat, but will not be mistaken for a skilled blocker. This tight end/receiver was effective lined up outside, like the Patriots use Aaron Hernandez, but he is not as fluid of an athlete. Fauria runs good routes, can climb the ladder to get to high throws, and anticipates where his quarterback is going with the ball. On his touchdown reception, he ran a seam route untouched and made a leaping grab. If the tight end were a more physical player, he might have had two more touchdown receptions. Both times the defensive back got into his body to break up the pass. Fauria might become a low-end TE1 like Jacob Tamme in the NFL.
Johnathan Franklin, RB UCLA
Franklin did not have the type of game he wanted as he finished with 14 carries for 34 rushing yards. I expected much more from this agile/fast running back. When he found a crease in the defense (which was not often), you could see he was good in open spaces. Franklin has good hands, but the quarterback kept on forcing the ball down the field as the Bruins were behind almost immediately. When he did get carries, the running back kept on getting strung out by Baylor’s front seven and did not show power/drive after contact. Franklin demonstrated some toughness pass blocking as he tried his best to keep his quarterback’s jersey clean. I look forward to seeing him in a college all-star game to assess more.
Khaseem Greene, LB RUT
Greene was very impressive from the first snaps of the game. He was very quick on the edge from the outside linebacker spot. When a shotgun snap went awry, he chased down the quarterback in the end zone, stripped the ball and recovered it for a touchdown. Greene flows well to the ball with great lateral movement. There were a few times he was unable to slow himself down enough to make the play, though. I don’t know if it was the flowing hair, but he reminded me of Troy Polamalu with his reckless intensity. Although, the linebacker is bigger than Polamalu, he caused the same type of havoc with a delayed sack blitz, sniffed out a screen for a loss, and appeared to enjoy smashing whomever had the ball. Greene will need to work on his coverage skills as he was fortunate that the tight end he was covering dropped the ball in the end zone. I would look to get him early in big play IDP rookie drafts.
Jawan Jamison, RB RUT
Jamison was not at his best on Friday. He looked very shifty early and usually made the first man miss. Too bad for him, the rest of the Virginia Tech defense was ready to smash him. The only plays that worked were designed cut back runs and delayed handoffs. Jamison has a good spin move that he used to keep from losing yardage on more than one occasion. He hurt his ankle in the second half and did not return. I liked that his effort, regardless of his offensive line play, did not dampen. His value is very dependent on which team drafts him in April.
Ryan Otten, TE SJS
He is a big target at 6′ 6″ who is a bit lanky at 245 lbs. Otten got separated from the ball on his first target by a head hunting linebacker and laid on the ground for a few minutes. It looked like the young tight end would not return, but he came back the next series. The San José State grad is one of the few two-way tight ends as he does a good job run blocking as well as catching the ball. Otten did not line up as an inline blocker often, instead he split out wide or in the slot. His inconsistent effort confused me as he would jump high to make a catch on one play and on the next, he gave a half-hearted attempt at securing the ball. It was troubling that he caught most of his targets with his body and that he could be boxed out by defensive backs. If he can add more muscle and become a bit more physical versus coverage, Otten could become a decent TE2.
Conner Vernon, WR DUK
Vernon does a great job of plucking the ball out of the air at its highest point and knows how to sit down in coverage anticipating his quarterback’s decisions. While the young wide receiver is not a physically dominant player, he does a decent job blocking downfield and braces well for impending big hits. Vernon lined up in the slot and split out wide. In the NFL, he will probably be used in the slot as he struggles to get separation unless by design. He showed good lateral movement, ran precise routes, and fought for every yard. I was impressed with his ability to shield his cornerback from the ball on his ten yard touchdown reception.
Terrance Williams, WR BAY
Williams is a complete wide receiver. He excels at the little things in the passing game and the running game. On his routes, he showed good separation and used the sidelines as another blocker after the catch. I was impressed with the head fake he gave his cornerback as he sold it well. This gave Williams a small window to scream down the field and make a beautiful catch in stride. He was denied a touchdown as he ran out of room (thanks to the free safety) on the sidelines. It happened again when he was head slapped a second before the ball arrived on what should have been a 60+ yard score. Williams did a good job blocking his man on run plays and made a point to keep on blocking downfield when other receivers caught the ball. I can’t put my finger on it, but he reminds me of another Williams aka Tampa Bay Mike. I’m not sure if he will ever be a true WR1, but I like him to develop into a WR2.