Draft day has come and gone. Draft season however, never ends. Time to get on board for next year. Before the season gets started, before lineups need to be set, before trades need to be made, before championships need to be won, it is time to do your homework on next year’s possible rookies. Oh, and while you’re there, why don’t you check out the 2020 eligible draftees? Sound like a lot of work? Well that’s what I’ve been up to and what I will continue to work on until (and let’s be honest, throughout) the season. Ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure, a quick Devy player update. And as always, tell me what you think, tell me how wrong I am, or ask me to expound upon my below pontifications.
5) Ahmmon Richards – WR – Miami – Junior – 6’1” 190 lbs
2017 Stats – 24 receptions for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns – Injury shortened season (7 games)
As one of my favorite prospects for 2019, I liked the outlook for Richards a lot in a high powered Miami offense last year. It was a real bummer to see his season shortened by injury. He has a lot of talent and plays all over the field. He is a good route runner and has a knack for finding spaces against zone coverage. He also shows terrific concentration in traffic situations keeping his focus on the ball and not any defenders.
Often he will catch with his body in traffic which could be more of an issue at the next level. He is not nearly as shifty as Brown, but he is strong in space and capable of creating after the catch. One area of his game that will get him playing time early and often at the next level is his stellar blocking. He wants to make an impact when blocking and is willing to throw his weight around. His technique is good, but he can make some mistakes that can be coached out. Overall, I want to see a nice season returning from the knee for Richards before I slide him back up in my rankings to where I think the talent dictates. For now though, the injury and the coaching up he needs drop him down stacked receiver class.
6) Dekalin Metcalf – WR – Ole Miss – Junior – 6’4” 225 lbs
2017 Stats – 39 receptions for 646 yards and 7 touchdowns
Currently, I would describe Metcalf as a red zone threat. He is big and athletic with solid body control. His hands look average to me. He needs to improve in a lot other areas and really stretch that skill set to be more effective in between the 20’s. He could learn a lot from his teammate A.J. Brown who possesses a much more well rounded game and resides a little higher on this list. He is not as good along the sideline, and he often relies on his athleticism to win.
Better route running and an improved overall route tree would do wonders for a guy who was once considered to be right at the top of this class, with Harry. The potential is still there and he certainly has the physical tools (yes, you have heard this before, and you’ll hear it again before we are done, but I can’t wait for the combine results here), but he needs to continue to improve in the mental area of the game. I have him this high based on that potential, but guys like Anthony Johnson, Bryan Edwards, or Rodney Anderson have a chance to hop over him depending on everyone’s performance this year.
7) Bryan Edwards – WR – South Carolina – Junior – 6’3” 216 lbs
2017 Stats – 64 receptions for 793 yards and 5 touchdowns
Edwards is tough to evaluate in a weird South Carolina offense. The offense relied heavily on Deebo Samuel before he got injured early in the season and that allowed Edwards to thrive with less defensive attention. Edwards struggled some as the main focus of defensive attention. He faced a lot of double teams. He also proved he can win in those situations up by going up top. The big issue I have with him is his willingness to go down on first contact.
He is not good after the catch. He is a good downfield threat, which is good because he doesn’t make much happen with the ball in his hands. He shows the speed and quickness necessary running his routes, so I could see him turning it completely around this year. I look forward to another year of film on Edwards as his numbers haven’t jumped of the page at me yet. He again has all the tools to be a WR1 which is kind of the theme in this class, but until I see him separate himself from the pack a little bit more on film and improve on those numbers, I will remain a little low on him.
8) Rodney Anderson – RB – Oklahoma – Junior – 6’2” 218 lbs
2017 Stats – 188 carries for 1161 yards and 13 touchdowns, 17 receptions for 281 yards and 5 touchdowns
Anderson has the most room to rise of anyone in this group here and he has only been climbing over the past 6 months. Repeat that touchdown production in an offense that just lost Baker Mayfield, Mark Andrews and Orlando Brown Jr? He will rocket up my list. I love the size and he runs like a much smaller back. He is a superior athlete which is huge for me, because you can’t teach that!
The best part about Anderson is that he doesn’t rely on that athleticism. He has great vision and love to make guys miss as opposed to taking the hits. This is nice for a bigger back like him as these guys often rely on their ability to run through arm tackles. The flip side of this is that Anderson can struggle in tighter spaces, likely in part due to his height.
He can get wrapped up near the line of scrimmage when the hole is too small. He is good however, at getting what is blocked and taking advantage of the holes he is given. Anderson does have some injury history, but a healthy season this year will alleviate those concerns for me. Like I said, he could find himself in my top 5 before the season is out if he shows out again.