It is time for the annual installment of the Devy 100, the third-most ballyhooed set of devy rankings completed within the greater Southwest Minneapolis area. As always, whittling this down to a mere one hundred was no simple task. If there is anybody you believe was omitted erroneously, feel free to pop in the comments and express your displeasure.
The Devy 100 is designed for the community of DLF to be as informed as possible about all the college prospects and future dynasty stars whether they play in devy leagues or not. Remember, all this information becomes archived in our library of content and goes into our annual Rookie Draft Guide for you to review when each of these players becomes eligible for traditional rookie drafts.
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5. Cam Akers, RB Florida State Seminoles
Profile: An elite dual-threat quarterback in high school, Cam Akers was a bit of a project at running back yet one with a limitless ceiling. Despite limited experience at the position, Akers thrived in year one and quickly became the Seminoles’ top offensive weapon, surpassing 1,000 yards in his freshman campaign.
Akers leaves little to be desired athletically; he’s smooth, powerful, and can cut on a dime without changing directions. His contributions in the passing game were not enormous in 2017 but he’s shown the ability to be a capable pass catcher and puts forth effort as a blocker. Still growing as a back, Akers could easily be the top back eligible come 2020 as his game matures.
2018 Outlook: The biggest hurdle for Akers is the absolute mess in Tallahassee. Jimbo Fisher’s apathy towards the end of its tenure took its toll, and Willie Taggart has yet to find a formula for success. Opportunity will be enormous as Akers is Florida State’s best chance to move the football, but his value could remain somewhat depressed in a sluggish offense.
4. Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin Badgers
Profile: Wisconsin’s churned out highly productive backs for years, with the well-known Badger stigma being attached given only Melvin Gordon has gone on to achieve any sort of NFL success. Tagging Taylor as another product of the system would be lazy analysis, however, as he is a solid 220-pound back with elite long speed and an understanding of how to work in harmony with his offensive line to maximize production.
The major concerns with Taylor are ball security and his activity in the passing game. His hands can often look like oven mitts and costly fumbles have marred some of his monster performances. To be fair to Taylor, however, monster workloads and a tough running style can lead to a few fumbles, and his ability as a receiver is a far bigger concern long-term. Already a workhorse back and with plenty of athleticism, Taylor is a safe bet to be a quality prospect come 2020.
2018 Outlook: Wisconsin’s strategy has changed little from Barry Alvarez to Brett Bielema to Paul Chryst: They’re going to be run-heavy with a brutish offensive line and productive backs. Another heavy workload is in store for Taylor in 2018. Health and gains in the passing game are the major aspects to watch.
3. J.K. Dobbins, RB Ohio State Buckeyes
Profile: Few backs are tailor-made to play the running back position like J.K. Dobbins. He’s got the prototypical build with incredible short-area quickness and the innate ability to avoid big hits. He’s adept at picking his way through the defense before hitting the hole with elite burst. While lacking sprinter speed, Dobbins can hit the big play due to his excellent feet and underrated power. There are few flaws in Dobbins’ game; he’s an incredibly advanced runner given he’s such a young runner. He’s in the elite tier of what is likely to be an elite running back class.
2018 Outlook: Dobbins will work in tandem with Mike Weber in 2018. While not the talent Dobbins is, Weber is a very good collegiate running back and his presence actually helps Dobbins long-term. Weber can handle a heavy workload and keep some tread off Dobbins’ tires. Even splitting reps, Dobbins is a lock for a great season in an elite Buckeye offense.
2. D’Andre Swift, RB Georgia Bulldogs
Profile: It is a testament to Swift’s skill he has attained such a lofty perch in Devy Rankings despite playing apprentice to Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Perhaps most importantly, Swift was able to stand out in the group due to his pass-catching prowess. Swift is a natural as a receiver and has the ball skills many receivers would be jealous of. Swift can work between the tackles or in space, and has no issues effortlessly changing direction or hitting the home run. Even in a loaded class of runners, Swift stands out, and his receiving ability could prove to be what separates him from his peers.
2018 Outlook: Gone are Chubb and Michel. In is D’Andre Swift’s opportunity as lead back. Georgia has other talented runners (Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien) but Swift is a class above and will be leaned upon when Georgia faces top competition. This is his backfield and his true breakout season is on tap.
1. N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State Sun Devils
Profile: N’Keal Harry may finally end the search for the slam-dunk, top two rookie pick at wide receiver which has been fairly elusive these past few seasons. Harry’s got NFL size at 6’4” and 220 pounds and has incredibly RAC ability. His size in conjunction with his agility conjures up memories of a young Demaryius Thomas.
He’s more than just an immediate receiver as well, as Harry shows elite body control and strong hands. He can get downfield and should test fairly well despite athleticism not being his ultimate trump card. Harry is a complete receiving prospect poised to crash the top ten party next April.
2018 Outlook: Harry is the guy for Arizona State and really has been since the day he stepped on campus. He should simply elevate his profile with another dominant campaign.