Devy 100: 30-26

Rob Willette

As dynasty owners putter about the interwebs discussing short shuttle times and dissecting the nuances of the Dominator Rating, Devy owners are intently watching Spring Practices and eyeing key positional battles. They say dynasty football never sleeps, but devy football never even rests. From Signing Day (both of them) to fall camp, devy calendars are chock-full of important dates.

The Devy 100 is a breakdown of some of the best collegiate talent around. Players will be missed; others will emerge. My rankings will be cursed from Juneau, Alaska to Key West, Florida. Yet hopefully it provides a modicum of assistance to those navigating the murky waters of deep leagues, struggling to identify their tenthround selection as they decide between Auburn’s third-string running back and an incoming freshman receiver at Ohio State. Without any further inane ramblings, on to the list.

30. Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU Tigers

The Skinny: Toolsy receivers are an LSU program staple, and Ja’Marr Chase is the latest to flash immense talent at a young age. Mature beyond his years with a filled-out frame and nuanced route-running, Chase looked like an upperclassmen as he emerged as a weekly threat behind breakout star Justin Jefferson.

He’ll bludgeon defenders with his hands and will; few freshmen showcase such a willingness to battle at the line of scrimmage. After several de-commits during the recruiting process, Chase seems to have settled into a home in Baton Rouge.

2019 Outlook: Long a program dwelling in quarterback purgatory, the Tigers got encouraging returns from transfer quarterback Joe Burrow in 2018. Even if the ceiling is not tremendously high, the stability provided is massive for a team which has across the board talent few can match. His presence allowed for Chase to jump off the screen in limited opportunities and provides the foundation for another step forward in 2019, even if Chase is still second banana to the aforementioned Jefferson.

29. Trey Sermon, RB Oklahoma Sooners

The Skinny: The wordless sermonizing Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon does weekly can be mesmerizing. Packing 224 seemingly fatless muscles onto a six-foot frame, Sermon has the frame to thrive in the power game yet combines it with the agility of a man half his size (a three-foot-tall, 112-pound back would be unstoppable).

Sermon is best described as a Gladiator in the backfield, asking the audience if they’re entertained on every carry. His assertiveness can be a negative at times, as he can simply run into tacklers without allowing his blocks to materialize. You’d rather have to calm someone down then rev them up, however, and Sermon’s motor is generally an asset. Also a capable if not above-average pass catcher, Sermon has a complete toolkit primed for workhorse potential.

2019 Outlook: While Rodney Anderson’s injury in 2018 opened the door Sermon to receive more work, it also allowed Kennedy Brooks to emerge as legitimate weapon out of the Sooner backfield. Along with the gifted T.J. Pledger, Oklahoma has a full stable at running back. Sermon’s style and three-down ability – in confluence with Oklahoma’s offensive excellence – portend a big season from the junior, but he’ll have to fight to earn work given fierce competition.

28. George Pickens, Georgia Bulldogs

The Skinny: George Pickens is a bit more sum of his parts as opposed to the whole at this juncture of his career, but the parts alone are in high demand. Pickens towers over defenders and effortlessly plucks the football away, with the ball in his hands looking like an Infinity Stone in the grasp of Thanos. He’s not going to beat defenders with elite footwork but once he gets his legs churning he’s got plenty of speed; few supersized receivers can match Pickens’ top-end speedometer reading.

With a few years in the weight room and refinement of his footwork and crispness in routes, Pickens could be a physically overwhelming collegiate receiver with high first-round potential.

2019 Outlook: Following J.J. Holloman’s abrupt departure, there is ample opportunity to contribute early for the Bulldogs. The issue may be Georgia’s philosophy; they’ve shown little interest in force-feeding one receiver, though much of this may be due to personnel. They have been deep in the backfield and lacked a true lead man type on the perimeter. Still, Pickens is arguably the most talented receiver on the roster and has already flashed during fall practice. It is likely he is near the top of the receiving pecking order come week one.

27. Anthony McFarland, RB Maryland Terrapins

The Skinny: Anthony McFarland – if he hadn’t already – insinuated himself into the national consciousness following a monster performance against Ohio State. McFarland’s stop and start ability is special and few are going go stride for stride with him in the open field. In space, McFarland is among the most dangerous runners in America.

At 5’8” and just a sandwich over 200 pounds, there’s not a ton of authority to McFarland’s running style but he does run with toughness and is not one to shy away from contact. An accomplished receiver on high school tape, McFarland only caught seven passes in 2018. While I believe he can be asset in a receiving role, we need to see it proven on the field before we anoint McFarland’s one of the nation’s elite all-purpose backs.

2019 Outlook: Big-play threat Ty Johnson is gone, leaving McFarland as the heavy favorite to pace the Terrapins in rushing once again. Of course, there are many unknowns in Maryland. New head coach Mike Locksley should be smart enough to lean on his explosive redshirt sophomore but we don’t have a clear picture of how he will distribute carries. No doubt McFarland will figure prominently into this offense, but it would be ideal to see him move closer to the 200 carry range.

26. Bryan Edwards, WR South Carolina Gamecocks

The Skinny: Bryan Edwards has seemingly been around forever, which will happen when you establish yourself in the SEC as a 17 year old. Somewhat surprisingly, Edwards returned for his senior season, and reports indicated the Draft Committee came back with a rather unflattering grade. Edwards has a NFL frame and elite body control, though he is a bit of a one-note athlete, which may have led to a lukewarm response from those relaying his draft stock.

Still, mediocre athleticism is certainly not a career-killer given how well big, aggressive receivers with elite ball skills and body control have acquitted themselves at the NFL level. Edwards may be best served as a second option at the NFL level, but he’s a next-level player and possibly one of the safer devy investments.

2019 Outlook: While they’re different types of players, the departure of Deebo Samuel is good news for Edwards’ target share. For all his faults, Jake Bentley has a wealth of experience and knows what he has in Edwards. He should push past the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career, entering the NFL Draft with an incredible production profile.

rob willette