Devy IDP: It’s Never Too Early to Think About 2021
As we enter the prime months for devy drafts, I’ll review the possibilities at the linebacker position. The last time we looked at IDP Devy players we learned a lot from the few available measurables.
Little has changed in terms of the screening process, and I’ll apply the same filter as I review the 2015 and 2016 freshman classes. For those unfamiliar with the process, the previous article goes in depth on the assumptions made about the NFL scouting process.
The LB position is typically the premium for point-scoring, so I’m focusing my efforts there. LBs are also easier to project. I’m not trying to identify players that may get a cup of coffee in the preseason as an UDFA. My goal is to identify players with the best chance of receiving an NFL combine invitation since that greatly improves their odds of being drafted.1
PROCESS FOR SCREENING LINEBACKER CANDIDATES FOR DEVY DRAFTS
- Exclude non-Power Five schools with the exception of BYU and Notre Dame due to NFL combine selection history.
- Identify LBs who have produced 120 or more total tackles in a season, with particular interest given for those that have produced at or above 140 total tackles
- Monitor highly-rated high school players by the recruiting services as scouts appear to begin their process with them.
2017 DEVY TARGETS
The IDP players meeting this profile who should be devy targets in 2017 are the following:
Tier One (IDP Players with 140-plus tackles):
Tier Two (IDP Players with 120-139 Tackles)
Micah Kiser, LB Virginia (2017 Senior)
Tegray Scales, LB Indiana (2017 Junio)
Josey Jewell, LB Iowa (2017 Senior)
Travin Howard, LB TCU (2017 Senior)
Ty Summers, LB TCU (2017 Junior)
This isn’t a huge list, but it can reduce the guesswork when deciding between a couple of LBs in a devy league or using that pick for a current rookie. Micah Kiser is the guy to target this year.
Kiser has earned numerous 80th percentile grades from Pro Football Focus and received several of Team of the Week selections last season. With nearly 140 total tackles, he has my support as the top devy linebacker.
Tegray Scales stands out as another Power Five player with more than 120 total tackles. He made PFF’s list of most improved players in 2016. They noted “he was ranked second nationally in run stop percentage and fourth in pass rush productivity among inside LBs with more than 50 reps.”
Bryan London of Texas State is worth mentioning due to his 140 plus tackle season as a true freshman. An early breakout could send a scout his way, but I won’t be risking a pick on him in a devy draft.
MONITOR THE HIGHEST-RATED DRAFT PROSPECTS
Recruiting rankings services play a role in who gets scouted. Good performance and flashes of preferred NFL combine measurables will increase their odds of receiving an invitation when they become draft eligible.
DEVY LINEBACKER NOTEBOOK
Look below for my tracking of college LBs that are worthy of devy consideration due to either a four or five-star rating or because they broke out last season. I also note those that were injured or kicked off the team.
|Joe Giles-Haris||Duke||2016||3||N||12||107||4||2||CampusInsiders.com Freshman All-American|
|Troy Dye||Oregon||2016||3||N||10||91||5.5||1||Converted from Safety to LB|
|Jordyn Brooks||Texas Tech||2016||3||N||12||85||1||3||Played through shoulder injury the entire season. Having off-season surgery on the shoulder.|
|Shaquille Quarterman||Miami||2016||4||Y||13||84||3.5||1||PFF Freshman All-American|
|Cameron Smith||USC||2015||4||Y||13||83||1||4||Broke out in 2015 but ended season with ACL. Came back strong LY|
|Leo Lewis||Miss St||2015||4||Y||13||79||1||1||Stats from 2016|
|Porter Gustin||USC||2015||5||Y||13||68||5.5||0||Edge rusher|
|Michael Pinckney||Miami||2016||3||N||13||61||2.5||2||Started many games as a true freshman|
|Malik Jefferson||Texas||2015||5||Y||11||60||6.5||2||Considered a versatile and athletic player|
|David Reese||Florida||2016||3||N||8||49||0||0||PFF Freshman All-American|
|Darrin Kirkland||Tennessee||2015||4||Y||8||45||1||0||Broke out as True but missed time with high ankle sprain issues in '16|
|Caleb Kelly||Oklahoma||2016||5||Y||7||36||1||1||PFF Freshman All-Amerirican|
|Asmar Bilal||Notre Dame||2015||4||Y||10||28||1||0|
|Osa Masina||USC||2015||5||Y||9||25||0||0||Expelled from USC for off-field problem|
|Carter Coughlin||Minnesota||2016||4||Y||9||24||2||0||One of Minnesota's highest profile recruits in recent memory is one to watch|
|John Houston||USC||2015||4||Y||10||16||0||0||Missed 2015 due to back injury and finally made it on in subpackages in 2016|
|Chad Smith||Clemson||2015||4||Y||7||13||0||0||Will have a shot at Boulware's weakside starting spot during spring and you want all the Venables linebackers you can get|
|Daelin Hayes||Notre Dame||2016||5||Y||8||12||0||1||Versitile playmaking ability, limited due to preseason shoulder surgery LY|
|Ricky DeBerry||Oklahoma||2015||4||Y||3||5||0||0||Will move to ILB in 2017|
|Keandre Jones||Ohio St||2016||5||Y||4||0||0|
|Justin Hilliard||Ohio St||2015||5||Y||1||4||0||0||Surgery for torn bicep LY cut freshman season short. Could compete at MLB or WLB|
|Nick Conner||Ohio St||2015||4||Y||1||3||0||0||Will compete for MLB in '17|
|Quarte Sapp||Tennessee||2015||4||Y||2||3||0||0||2016 Stats|
|Jahvoni Simmons||Virginia||2015||4||Y||1||1||0||0||Shoulder injury in 2016 but unclear on vanishing in 2016|
|Mique Juarez||UCLA||2016||5||Y||Missed season due to personal reasons|
|Shaq Smith||Clemson||2016||4||Y||Redshirt, will compete for starting role in spring|
|Brendan Ferns||WV||2016||4||Y||Torn ACL in Spring|
|Jaquan Yulee||Marshall||2016||4||Y||Sat out LY due to grades but expected to be eligible in 2017|
|Josh Brown||FSU||2016||4||Y||Played all special teams in '16 but prepared for the SAM LB position during training|
|Keion Joyner||FSU||2016||4||Y||Failed to qualify and was forced to go JUCO to Fort Scott CC|
|Jaleel Laguins||Georgia||2016||4||Y||Played on special teams LY|
|Bryan London||Texas St||2016||2||N||Athlon Second Team AA|
|Josiah Tauaefa||UTSA||2016||2||N||Athlon Second Team AA|
|Adonis Thomas||FSU||2015||4||Y||Went JUCO from Alabama and FSU signed him this off-season|
HOW I’D RANK THEM FOR DEVY DRAFTS
|5||Leo Lewis||Miss St|
|4||Daelin Hayes||Notre Dame|
Malik Jefferson and Porter Gustin are solid bets to receive an NFL Combine invite given their elite recruiting site rankings and early production. Both may be first-round picks, so these two stand out. Gustin projects as an edge rusher with Jefferson drawing early comparisons to Jaylon Smith.
Ben Davis is set to receive snaps next year and will have a shot at starting in the coveted Alabama ILB role, which has sent a number of players to starting jobs in the NFL over the last few seasons. The others possess a combination of the talent, early production, and historical use in their roles.
Devy leagues come in all shapes and sizes. Mine range from a massive universe of players to only a few. Hopefully, the screens here will give you a starting point to consider when making your selections in your devy drafts.
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- Which in turn greatly improves the value of your devy selections. (back)