Each week, @CFBBritBaller is bringing you Prospect Watch. The very latest when it comes to College Football’s offensive weapons who will be rookies in the NFL next season.
Keep up to date with all of the fantasy relevant positions that you’ll need to know before next year’s draft season. Who’s trending up/down and what round he’s projecting they will be drafted come the real NFL draft in Paradise, Nevada in April 2022.
Prospect Watch – Trending Up
Sam Howell – North Carolina Tar Heels
Howell is getting some negative press this season and I don’t think it’s warranted at all. Sure, it’s been a rough start to the season for the Tar Heels. But, what do you expect after they lost their 4 biggest producers from 2021 in Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, Javonte Williams and Michael Carter.
Despite only having a 2-2 record so far this season, Howell is still performing to an elite level. He’s proving to NFL scouts that he can still produce big numbers even if he’s had to adjust to a new plethora of weapons. Howell now has 3 back-to-back 300+ yard passing games with 10 passing touchdowns in those games.
Not only is he getting it done through the air, he’s also vastly improved his scrambling ability since last season; having already surpassed his previous 2 seasons combined with 259 rushing yards with 3 rushing touchdowns.
Current NFL Draft Projection: Top-10 (Previous – 1st Round)
Sincere McCormick – UTSA Roadrunners
McCormick has continued to improve every year since his freshman season in 2019. He’s continued that trend into this season too and is coming off an impressive 184 rushing yards and 3 rushing TD’s from 42 carries in week 4 versus a stout Memphis Tigers team.
The Roadrunners now sit at 4-0 on the season, their best start to a season since their inaugural year in 2011. This terrific start is thanks in part to 2 or 3 key players on offense of which McCormick is one.
McCormick has now had over 100 yards rushing in 3 out of the 4 games this season. The only game he didn’t get to that landmark was somewhat of a cupcake game vs Lamar, where he was withdrawn at half time thanks to the positive score line.
Despite his improvement year on year and showcasing the ability to withstand heavy workloads, McCormick will still only be considered a Day 3 prospect at this point in the season. For now though, he should at least be on scouts radars with his arrow pointing in the right direction.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 6th/7th Round (Previous – UDFA)
Breece Hall – Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones have had a less-than convincing start to the 2021 season. Currently sitting at 2-2 when they were expecting to be chasing a top-10 finish with the experience of players like Brock Purdy (QB), Charlie Kolar (TE) and Hall supposedly bringing success to Ames, Arizona.
After a lacklustre opening 2 games for Breece Hall, he managed to build on a good showing in week 3 and perform to the elite level expected of him in Saturday’s loss to Baylor. Despite the result, Hall flashed a 7.0 yards per carry average to finish the day with 27 carries for 190 yards and 2 TD’s. He also contributed in the passing game too, notching 5 for 51 and adding a receiving TD. It really was the case of a one-man team taking on a vastly improved Baylor team.
For anyone that might have questioned Hall’s potential RB1 status heading into next years’ draft, the last 2 weeks (48 carries, 6 receptions for 341 combined yards and 5 total TDs) has shown that he’s every bit of the elite talent we have come to love over the last 2 1/2 years.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 2nd Round (Previous – 2nd/3rd)
Jahan Dotson, Penn State Nittany Lions
Dotson continues to improve year-to-year and is rising up draft boards as the weeks progress this season. He’s had a touchdown in each of the opening 4 games thus far and is ticking a lot of boxes for what scouts look for in a pro WR.
Good hands, decent route tree, x-factor ability, Dotson has the makings of being a superstar at the next level. If he continues producing 100+ receiving yard games he’ll fly up NFL draft boards. Yes, this week’s opponent was in the shape of FCS team Villanova, but with some testing games on the slate from now on, if he continues to impress, there will be no stopping this upwards trend.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 2nd Round (Previous – 3rd Round)
Emeka Emezie – N.C State Wolfpack
Plenty of people switched on the Clemson @ N.C State game on Saturday evening to see Tigers superstars like Justyn Ross (WR), Will Shipley (RB) and D.J Uiagalelei (QB) dominate in a get-right game against N.C State.
Instead, they were treated to a clinic by Devin Leary (QB) and Emeka Emezie from the Wolfpack who took full advantage of the maimed Tigers’ defense. Emezie has been a steady receiver for N.C State since 2017. But, has elevated his performances in this, his Redshirt Senior and final season in college football. Now with 3 games of over 70 yards receiving and this impressive dominant possession game against one of the top teams in the nation, scouts will be taking a further look into the former 3-star recruit.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 7th Round (Previous – UDFA)
Jelani Woods, Virginia Cavaliers
You know how Kyle Pitts had the ability to catch anything from anywhere and dominate any kind of coverage? Yeah, that’s why he was a top-5 pick in the last draft. I draw a lot of similarities when I watch Jelani Woods. He’s dominant, has safe hands and has the ability to breakdown a defense if given half an opportunity.
Now, Woods does not have a top-5 draft projection. nor will he come April. But, it does mean he will be a diamond if he doesn’t get drafted until later on day 3. After 3 mediocre seasons in a porous Oklahoma State Cowboys offense, Woods took advantage of the new transfer rules to go play for the Cavaliers. After 4 games for Virginia, he’s put up 16 receptions for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns – all career highs. The 6’5″, 265lbs athletic mis-match is currently course for over 700 yards and 9 TDs. A mark which will surely catch the eye of the NFL scouts
Current NFL Draft Projection: 5th – 7th Round (Previous – UDFA)
Tre McBride, Colorado State
McBride almost declared for the 2021 draft but decided to stay another year to try and boost his draft stock. So far through 4 games he’s done precisely that. McBride currently leads all CFB tight ends in receiving yards with 398 receptions from 36 receptions.
He opened up the season with 3 back to back 100+ receiving yard games and looks to cement his draft stock for 2022. With a relatively easy going schedule for the remainder of the season, his stock certainly shouldn’t decline.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 5th-7th Round (Previous – UDFA)
Jake Haener, QB – Fresno State Bulldogs. Kenny Pickett, QB – Pittsburgh Panthers. Sean Clifford, QB – Penn State Nittany Lions. Kenneth Walker III, RB – Michigan State Spartans. Chris Rodriguez Jr, RB – Kentucky Wildcats. C.J Verdell, RB – Oregon Ducks. Jaivon Heiligh, WR – Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Khalil Shakir, WR – Boise State Broncos. Treylon Burks, WR – Arkansas Razorbacks. Sean Dykes, TE – Memphis Tigers.
Prospect Watch – Trending Down
Spencer Rattler – Oklahoma Sooners
Despite the Sooners being 4-0 on the season, you’d think it was 0-4 the way they are playing week-to-week and how their fans are acting. In the third quarter in this Saturday’s matchup versus West Virginia, the O.U home fans we’re actively chanting for 5-star true freshman and backup QB, Caleb Williams, to come and supplant Rattler.
Not a great look for Rattler (100/135, 1017yds and 8tds) who just hasn’t looked the same under centre than he has done previously his whole career. He looks indecisive in the pocket and just isn’t utilizing star receivers Marvin Mims and Jadon Haselwood in the way that Sooners fans were expecting.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 1st/2nd Round (Previous – Top 5)
Kedon Slovis – USC Trojans
Another QB who hasn’t looked a shadow of his former self this season is Kedon Slovis. After underperforming all-season and taking a knock against Washington State in Week 3, Freshman Jaxson Dart was given a chance to put pressure on Slovis, and succeeded.
Slovis now finds himself in a Quarterback battle with a talented true freshman, and with so much upheaval scheduled in and around the program within the next few months, the Juniors future whether declaring for the draft or transferring to another school is about as clear as mud. One thing is for sure though, if he’s planning on declaring for the 2022 draft, he must get better.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 4th/5th Round (Previous – 1st Round)
Kevin Harris – South Carolina Gamecocks
After a scintillating sophomore campaign (185 carries, 1138 yards, 15 tds), it’s fair to say we we’re expecting Harris to continue his rise to dominance in college football. However a “minor procedure” for a back problem kept him out most of the off-season and also out of week 1. It looks as if that “minor” issue has indeed affected his game.
After starting the last 3 games for the Gamecocks, he is currently averaging just 2.7 yards per carry. He is yet to have a game over 38 yards and hasn’t hit the paydirt yet. Granted, Harris has faced the elite defense of the Georgia Bulldogs and a stout front 7 for Kentucky. But, we still expected more.
Hopefully, as he gets closer to being back to 100% and the Gamecocks schedule lightens up a little, Harris can recapture his form from last year and propel him back onto draft boards
Current NFL Draft Projection: UDFA (Previous – 5th-7th Round)
George Holani – Boise State Broncos
Holani suffered a torn MCL last season so it might be unfair of me to put him this section straight away. However, the fact remains, we all were expecting big things from the Broncos star rusher heading into this season once it was common knowledge he was “back to 100% and ready to go”.
Well, someone was hiding something early in the season as Holani was clearly hindered by something for the first few games of the campaign and was seemingly on a snap count. That was quashed this week though as he saw the bulk of the carries in Boise’s victory over Utah State. Considering last season before the MCL injury, Holani had 133 scrimmage yards and 2 total TDs against this team, it was somewhat disappointing to see him only produce 3.5 yards per carry and 2 receptions for 11 yards this time around.
There’s plenty of time for Holani to get back of the draft board horse before the season is out, but for now – stock down.
Current NFL Draft Projection: UDFA (Previous – 6th/7th Round)
Reggie Roberson Jr. – Southern Methodist Mustangs
Another player that has not been able to bounce back after a brutal injury last term is SMU’s Reggie Roberson. After being on pace for a 1,200+ yard receiving season before sustaining a season ending knee injury. This was after a foot injury saw his 2019 season cut short too.
Despite the savage injury plagued college career, had he bounced back again he would have likely been on NFL scouts radars as a solid mid-round option. Unfortunately though, with the ‘injury prone’ tag looming over his name tied with a disappointing drop off to average just 4 receptions for 50 yards per game, Roberson has likely lost any interest that may have surrounded him this time last year.
Current NFL Draft Projection: UDFA (Previous – 4th Round)
Chris Olave – Ohio State Buckeyes
We thought Olave was set on entering the 2021 NFL draft but changed his mind at the eleventh hour to stay at Ohio State for another season. It was a gamble as had he have entered the draft last April he would have probably been an early day 2 pick.
This was thanks to an impressive 104 receiving yards per game average last season. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes’ star receiver, despite a scintillating start to the season, the last 2 weeks have seen only 2 targets for 12 yards come his way. I expect as the season progresses he will regress back to the mean of what we have come to expect from him, but for now, it’s a slight knock on his draft stock.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 2nd Round (Previous – 1st Round)
Jalen Wydermyer – Texas A&M Aggies
Granted Wydermyer is still on track to have his best statistical season of his collegiate career, but it’s been far less impressive than what we hoped for. Considering he hasn’t seen more than 4 receptions in a game this season yet, as the “top tight end prospect” in the class, you’d expect more production.
Only 1 game over 40 yards receiving (66 yards in week 2 vs Colorado) and still yet to grab a touchdown, Wydermyer is in danger of falling back in this class. Hopefully for his sake the Aggies get things going on offense and he becomes the focal point once again.
Current NFL Draft Projection: 4th Round (Previous – 2nd Round)
‘Not so’ Honourable Mentions:
Brock Purdy, QB – Iowa State Cyclones. D’Eriq King, QB – Miami Hurricanes. Eric Gray, RB – Oklahoma Sooners. Austin Jones, RB – Stanford Cardinal. Zamir White, RB – Georgia Bulldogs. Master Teague, RB – Ohio State Buckeyes. Frank Ladson Jr., WR – Clemson Tigers. Zay Flowers, WR – Boston College Eagles. Jadon Haselwood, WR – Oklahoma Sooners. Alec Pierce, WR – Cincinnati Bearcats. Greg Dulcich, TE – UCLA Bruins.
By Rob Grimwood – @CFBBritBaller
Thanks to Rob from the NinetyNine Yards team for Prospect Watch and we look forward to working together this season!
Feature Image Credit: gopack.com