In the blink of an eye, half of the college football season has passed by. It seems only a moment ago that training camp was in full swing, and the world of Devy was merely guessing who the NFL stars of tomorrow might be. Halfway through and the storylines have become more clear. Opportunity questions have been resolved. The most talented, consistent players have risen to the top and are showing their muster week in and week out. Dynasty managers should begin preparations for the 2022 NFL draft and subsequent Devy drafts with that in mind.
Devin Neal, Kansas, Running back: UP
Ever the well-known hotbed for NFL running back development, Kansas...said nobody, ever. Last season, the school did have a decent back, one by the name of Pooka Williams. Many draft pundits thought that Williams would get a shot in the NFL. While he did land on a team eventually, his role has been nonexistent. Devin Neal is the next man up at Kansas. Unlike Williams, Neal already has the requisite size for an NFL back at 5' 11", 208 lbs, and is expected to add a few pounds over his next two seasons.
Additionally, he's already producing as a true freshman against top talent. Aside from the first game of the season, Neal has garnered at least ten carries in every game this year for the Jayhawks, totaling 418 yards and four touchdowns in the process. Neal might not be the best running back in the 2024 class, but there's a fair chance he finds himself drafted on day two, should his production continue. As a result, Neal moves up the Devy rankings this week.
Max Johnson, LSU, Quarterback: DOWN
Picking the right quarterback in Devy is always a challenge. It's a difficult position for anybody to play successfully. Occasionally, the right set of tools, pedigree, and opportunity line up perfectly, only to result in disappointment. That's what is currently happening for Spencer Rattler, D.J. Uiagalelei, and now Max Johnson. With a Myles Brennan injury occurring just before the season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Max, the son of former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, to take the reigns and succeed. Unfortunately, a combination of lackluster coaching, team injuries, and poor play all culminated in Johnson getting benched halfway through this week in favor of true freshman Garrett Nussmeier. The coaching staff continues to view Johnson as the starter but will look to get Nussmeier reps where appropriate. That likely suggests that Nussmeier will take over whenever the team is getting blown out. For Devy managers, those words are a death knell for Johnson's value.
Devon Achane, Texas A&M, Running Back: UP
Coming into 2021, Devon Achane was a forgotten man in most Devy circles. Isaiah Spiller was present to soak up most of the starting carries this year. Top-recruit, true freshman L.J. Johnson was widely expected to lead the backfield when Spiller leaves after this season. That situation doesn't provide ample opportunity for Achane. Surprisingly though, he has cast those preseason assumptions aside and created an undeniable role for himself. This past week, Achane racked up 20 carries for 154 yards and a touchdown alongside Spiller. On the season, he's managed 86 carries for 608 yards and five touchdowns. While not the biggest in stature at 5' 9", 185 lbs, Achane is a track star, who will continue to make his bones as a speed merchant. The NFL has shown that it continues to value speed over size in recent years, and that trend is likely to continue. Managers can expect Achane's value to rise into 2022 Devy drafts, and therefore it only makes sense to increase his ranking now.
Agiye Hall, Alabama, Wide Receiver: DOWN
Widely considered one of the top freshman wideouts coming into 2021, Agiye Hall has done little to support that billing. A stellar spring game saw Devy managers dreaming that he might step in at Alabama and cement a starting role right out of the gate. Unfortunately, due to the many mysteries of Nick Saban, Hall has barely seen the field. There are plenty of other talented receivers at Alabama, and through the first half of the season, Saban trusts those players more than Hall. This isn't an unusual treatment for freshman receivers at elite programs and wouldn't require a rankings downgrade if not for Saban's comments on player behavior and Hall's cryptic tweets. When asked about playing time for Hall, Saban commented that "We have protocols. When guys miss so many things, they don't get to play in the game." After the game against Mississippi State, Hall tweeted "Yea, nah, calling it quits," and later deleted the tweet. While certainly not a condemnation of Hall's talents, it's these types of off-the-field antics that will continue to keep him, well, off the field. For Devy, concerns like this will give managers fits.
Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia, Wide Receiver: UP
There's little-to-no chance that Dontayvion Wicks was drafted in any Devy drafts completed before the season began. Now, it seems that he may very well have the potential to be a Devy asset. Wicks did little as a true freshman in 2019, and while the coaching staff was excited about him going into 2020, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for the year. Now healthy, Wicks has been lighting up the ACC. On the season, he has 38 catches for 847 yards and eight touchdowns. If he continues this production level, he might capture day two draft capital in 2022 or, more likely, 2023. That possibility will certainly make him a worthwhile selection in 2022 Devy drafts.
Blake Corum - Michigan - Running Back
Deuce Vaughn - Kansas State - Running Back
Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh - Quarterback
Cole Turner - Nevada - Tight End
Charleston Rambo - Miami - Wide Receiver
Noah Cain - Penn State - Running Back
D.J. Uiagalelei - Clemson - Quarterback
Troy Franklin - Oregon - Wide Receiver
Trey Sanders - Alabama - Running Back
Hundreds of prospects ranked and updated throughout the season. Stay updated on all the NFL Draft eligible players and where they could go in the draft.
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