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Compiling even a modest list of devy talent can prove to be a fool’s errand. Ranking 100 is sheer lunacy. However, many members of Dynasty Scouts have never been known for their sound decision-making, and when devy is your game, failures are sure to pile up.
This grouping will undoubtedly look misguided in five years. However, that is the charm of the devy game. It is even more of an inexact science than traditional fantasy football. At the very least, it is fodder for anyone that cares to nerd out at the office water cooler.
Instead of a traditional ranking set, this is going to be broken down into tiers, with each tier representing players of similar value. This fourth set looks at players on the cusp of joining the elite. For more extensive rankings, check out DLF’s rankings page within the Dynasty Scouts section.
KD Cannon, WR Baylor Bears
Waco has been dripping with receiving talent in recent years, and the 2015 Baylor outfit could have has many as six receivers worth a roster spot in devy leagues. You could make a case that KD Cannon is the best prospect of the group after a true freshman campaign that saw him emerge as one of the nation’s better vertical threats. As the 29th player off the board, per March Devy ADP, he may be a touch overrated at this point, but his ability to press a defense vertically will always be in demand, and it makes him a prospect to monitor closely over the next few years.
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Royce Freeman, RB Oregon Ducks
Despite a sluggish performance during the Ducks two game playoff run, it was a banner year for running back Royce Freeman. A decorated true freshman campaign led many drawing juxtapositions between Freeman and former Duck Jonathan Stewart. At this stage, Freeman lacks Stewart’s burst, and the lack of a true top-end trait may prevent him from becoming a truly elite prospect. However, any back with a NFL-ready frame and incredible production is going to get noticed, and it makes Freeman one of the top devy prospects at the position.
Demarkus Lodge, WR Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels
There’s no object on earth that can get between Demarkus Lodge and a football. Possessing arguably the best ball skills in this year’s recruiting class, Lodge seldom loses in jump ball situations, combining elite high pointing ability with physicality at the catch point. Early production will likely be minimal with a bevy of pass catchers ahead of him on the depth chart. The long-term upside, however, is immense.
Rashard Higgins, WR Colorado State Rams
Everything is more picturesque in Colorado, including the stat line of Rashard Higgins. He emerged as one of the nation’s elite vertical threats, notching 18.2 yards per reception despite hauling in 96 passes, a large sample size. I’m not seeing an elite prospect when I see him; more of a periodic contributor that provides more real life value than NFL value.
Bo Scarbrough, RB Alabama Crimson Tide
Despite failing to qualify in 2014, Bo Scarbrough is still highly valued in the devy community, as evidenced by his March devy ADP of 28. A brute of a man with the fluidity of a slot receiver, Scarbrough offers a unique versatility that should get him on the field early in Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, Scarbrough suffered what has been reported to be a torn ACL during last week’s spring practice.
Trent Irwin, WR Stanford Cardinal
Perhaps the most refined receiver in this cycle, Trent Irwin wins with precision and complements his technique with effortless acceleration and a solid athletic profile. It is rare for true freshman to play and carve their niche in the Cardinal offense, but Irwin is so advanced he could become an exception.
Samaje Perine, RB Oklahoma Sooners
It was supposed to be the Joe Mixon show in Norman. After he was declared ineligible following an off-field incident, Keith Ford once again took center stage. Ultimately, it was Samaje Perine that assumed the starting gig, engineering a monster campaign that included setting the single game collegiate rushing record. Despite gaudy statistics, Perine is not in league with the elite devy backs, but he’s a road grading runner that does not waste steps. He could work well in a power run scheme.
Allen Lazard, WR Iowa State Cyclones
Seldom does premier talent amble to Ames, yet the Cyclones were able to secure in-state talent Allen Lazard during the 2014 recruiting cycle. A lanky receiver with a huge catch radius, Lazard is more of an over the top target at this point. He’ll need to add strength and explosion if he wants to breach the top tier.
Roc Thomas, RB Auburn Tigers
Roc Thomas had a small role in the Auburn offense as a true freshman, ceding most of the work to do everything tailback Cameron Artis-Payne. If Thomas can integrate more north-south running to his game and learn to harness elite natural running skills, he will take off in an offense tailor-made to his skills.
Jonathan Williams, RB Arkansas Razorbacks
Despite being a highly regarded recruit at a SEC school that has reached a high level of production for three years, Jonathan Williams just can’t seem to get much love. What he lacks in flash he makes up for in substance, and there’s really no weakness to his game. Even if he is not drafted to be a team’s starter, he should have a long and successful NFL career.
Devante Noil, WR Texas A&M Aggies
Despite the moniker “Speedy”, Devante Noil is more quick than fast, yet he also plays bigger than his size, showcasing the ability to attack the football in mid-air. He’s perhaps not quite as dynamic as recruiting hype would indicate, but he still has an excellent chance at becoming a top prospect if he can master the nuances of the position.
Thomas Tyner, RB Oregon Ducks
It was a disappointing year for Thomas Tyner, as he slipped on the Ducks depth chart and looked a bit sluggish as a runner. His stock has been a bit rejuvenated by his strong performance in the college football playoff, and despite being a stiff, straight-line runner, he has a lot of upside in a downhill scheme that suits his strengths.
Damien Harris, RB Alabama Crimson Tide
Like clockwork, Alabama has landed another highly decorated high school running back in Damien Harris. Unlike the Tide’s previous two big running back recruits – Derrick Henry and Bo Scarbrough – Harris is not a freaky athlete, but compensates with a heady game predicated on balance and vision. He has a chance to contribute early, despite the program’s depth at the position.
Josh Doctson, WR TCU Horned Frogs
One of the rare players to score a touchdown for and against his former team during his collegiate career, Josh Docston blew up along with the rest of the Horned Frogs offense in 2014. A jumbo receiver with strides that can chew up yardage and the ability to elevate, he has a lot of appeal as a downfield, outside receiver, though his overall game needs refining.
Josh Malone, WR Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee receivers are in danger of carrying a stigma, following the sluggish returns on Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and Da’Rick Rogers in the early stages of their careers. Of course, you cannot judge Josh Malone by their failures, and despite a lukewarm freshman season there’s still plenty of reason to believe Malone is the long-term number one receiver for the Volunteers. He possesses as much upside as any of the 2017 receivers.
Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford Cardinal
Quietly the best NFL legacy in the Cardinal backfield, Christian McCaffrey played and produced as a true freshman, which is rare for a Stanford program that routinely redshirts true freshmen. With incredible balance and versatility, he should be a centerpiece of the Cardinal offense throughout his tenure, though he may lack the workhorse profile we have seen from many recent Stanford runners.