Welcome back to another edition of Dishing on the Draft. This week, we talk about the coaching carousel starting to spin, another batch of underclassmen and opt-outs declaring, and more.
THIS WEEK’S DRAFT NEWS
The Detroit Lions have parted ways with head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn. The move was expected but was expedited after their poor performance against the Texans on Thanksgiving Day. Whoever takes over will have to deal with the premise of an expensive 32-year old QB and a bevy of pending free agents.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will also have another person calling the shots. They relieved GM Dave Caldwell of his duties. It is widely expected that head coach Doug Marrone will follow him out the door in a few weeks. The Jaguars’ job on the surface appears to be more attractive. They are flush with cap space and draft picks, including a likely Top-2 selection.
Detroit and Jacksonville join Atlanta in looking for a new coach/GM combo and Houston in looking for a new coach.
The New Orleans Saints join the Raiders as teams who have been deemed repeat offenders of the NFL COVID protocols. The Saints were fined $500K and stripped of a 7th-round draft pick.
On Monday, Florida State junior CB Asante Samuel, Jr., LSU junior WR Terrance Marshall, Texas junior OT Samuel Cosmi, and Wisconsin junior CB Rachad Wildgoose all opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season and entered their names into the 2021 NFL draft pool. Samuel and Marshall project as Top-100 talents and Cosmi could be a first-round pick. I have not studied Wildgoose.
On Tuesday, Texas safety Caden Sterns, Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins, UCF WR Marlon Johnson, and Arkansas RB Rakeem Boyd all opted out of the rest of the season as well. Sterns and Jenkins should be top-100 players. Johnson is one of the most productive receivers in the nation. Boyd has been oft-injured over the last two years. His draft projection is a tad murky.
Five more prospects were added to the list of Senior Bowl invitation acceptances this week. Georgia offensive Ben Cleveland (7.75 DFD Tape Grade), Ohio State LB Tuf Borland and RB Trey Sermon, SMU TE Kylen Granson, and Washington corner Keith Taylor are all expected to be in Mobile in late January.
For people like me that only understand standard fantasy football, explain the difference (if any) between Devy & Dynasty fantasy leagues. Explain why we should want to play in those leagues.
A dynasty league is a league where you keep all of your players from year to year, drafting the incoming rookies. Devy leagues take it one step further. It is a dynasty league with an additional draft selecting college players (as “developmental” players,) that you keep on your dynasty roster and can trade. You still do everything you did before, but it opens up more trade options trading for devy players/picks. The sky is the limit on how to set up devy leagues to fit your league, but it is an awesome addition if you want a new twist!
You stepped away from the NFL Draft game for a while but now you are back. What brought on the Shane Hallam comeback tour?
Just finding ways to balance my time! Honestly, the quarantine situation allowed me to really focus back on the draft last spring and has gotten me excited again for watching film and analyzing prospects. I’m not sure how long I can sustain the level I did for the 2019 draft, but so far so good! It is exciting to be back and chatting about college prospects again!
I’m not sold on any of the other prospects to be Top-15 level NFL starters. I think the next four all have some great traits that could lead to one or two of them hitting that Top-15 status. Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones have the SEC experience and mental acuity while North Dakota State’s Trey Lance has the size and athletic ability to work in the modern NFL. Perhaps the best chance is BYU’s Zach Wilson with his arm and accuracy. The issue is none are the complete package. Trask and Jones have some physical limitations, Lance is heavily inexperienced, and Wilson has never played well against top defenses. I’ll take my chances with Lawrence being a Top 5 NFL QB and Fields being in the Top-15 by Year 2 or 3.
Who is going to be RB1 for you? Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, someone else?
For me, it is Travis Etienne. He has the top-end speed and receiving ability to be an Alvin Kamara type in the NFL. Add in a ton of experience, good vision, and high Football IQ, and I think he will be a stud with the correct usage. I do expect Najee Harris to be the first off of the board as a late first-round pick. Harris is built to be a 3-down RB, and NFL teams will value that a bit more. I would love to see Najee end up with former teammate Tua on the Dolphins, and Travis Etienne would fit in well on a team like the Cardinals where his athleticism can be utilized.
Who are a couple of under the radar prospects you would bang the table for this year?
At Quarterback, I really like Pitt’s, Kenny Pickett. Big, tough, and athletic with a good arm, I think he has the skills to be an NFL back-up who can keep a team afloat if their starter goes down.
At Running Back, I love Louisville’s, Javian Hawkins. He is my RB4 right now. He is short, but he added weight and has high-end speed. Extremely productive with top vision and footwork, he needs to be talked more in terms of Day 2 RBs.
At Wide Receiver, Ohio State’s Chris Olave should be talked about more with the top receivers in this class. With good speed and tons of experience, he has been Justin Fields’ favorite target for two years. He can be a contributor for an NFL team immediately as a starter.
At Tight End, Central Missouri’s Zach Davidson is my favorite small school prospect at the skill positions. He is huge with good leaping ability. He can at least block and be a red zone threat. I wish we could have seen him this year.
WHAT’S ON TAP
Louisiana-@-Appalachian State-7:30 PM-ESPN (Friday)
Boise State-@-UNLV-8:30 PM-CBSSN (Friday)
Oklahoma State-@-TCU-11:00 AM-ESPN2
Texas A&M-@-Auburn-11:00 AM-ESPN
Boston College-@-Virginia-2:30 PM-FSN
West Virginia-@-Iowa State-2:30 PM-ESPN
UCLA-@-Arizona State-9:30 PM-FS1
Fresno State-@-Nevada-9:30 PM-FS2
Washington State-@-Southern Cal-6:30 PM-FS1 (Sunday)