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


  • 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.


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.


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.


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.

NameSchoolSeasonYear250GTotal TacklesSacksPDNotes
Joe Freshman All-American
Markus BaileyPurdue20153N129720
Logan WilsonWyoming20152N149434
Troy DyeOregon20163N10915.51Converted from Safety to LB
Jordyn BrooksTexas Tech20163N128513Played through shoulder injury the entire season. Having off-season surgery on the shoulder.
Shaquille QuartermanMiami20164Y13843.51PFF Freshman All-American
Cameron SmithUSC20154Y138314Broke out in 2015 but ended season with ACL. Came back strong LY
Leo LewisMiss St20154Y137911Stats from 2016
Porter GustinUSC20155Y13685.50Edge rusher
Michael PinckneyMiami20163N13612.52Started many games as a true freshman
Malik JeffersonTexas20155Y11606.52Considered a versatile and athletic player
Anthony WheelerTexas20154Y116001
Darrell WilliamsAuburn20154Y135202
David ReeseFlorida20163N84900PFF Freshman All-American
Darrin KirklandTennessee20154Y84510Broke out as True but missed time with high ankle sprain issues in '16
Caleb KellyOklahoma20165Y73611PFF Freshman All-Amerirican
Asmar BilalNotre Dame20154Y102810
Josh WoodsUCLA20154Y92600
Osa MasinaUSC20155Y92500Expelled from USC for off-field problem
Carter CoughlinMinnesota20164Y92420One of Minnesota's highest profile recruits in recent memory is one to watch
Jeffrey McCullochTexas20164Y72210
Dontavious JacksonFSU20164Y8200.50
Tre LamarClemson20165Y101711
John HoustonUSC20155Y101600
John HoustonUSC20154Y101600Missed 2015 due to back injury and finally made it on in subpackages in 2016
Curtis RobinsonStanford20165Y51420
Curtis RobinsonStanford20164Y51420
Chad SmithClemson20154Y71300Will have a shot at Boulware's weakside starting spot during spring and you want all the Venables linebackers you can get
Daelin HayesNotre Dame20165Y81201Versitile playmaking ability, limited due to preseason shoulder surgery LY
Daniel BituliTennessee20164Y4900
Mack WilsonAlabama20165Y8800
Brandon WellingtonWashington20164Y5700
Ricky DeBerryOklahoma20154Y3500Will move to ILB in 2017
Keandre JonesOhio St20165Y400
Justin HilliardOhio St20155Y1400Surgery for torn bicep LY cut freshman season short. Could compete at MLB or WLB
Krys BarnesUCLA20164Y3300
Josh SmithVanderbilt20154Y530.51
Nick ConnerOhio St20154Y1300Will compete for MLB in '17
Quarte SappTennessee20154Y23002016 Stats
Erick FowlerTexas20165Y100Redshirt
Jahvoni SimmonsVirginia20154Y1100Shoulder injury in 2016 but unclear on vanishing in 2016
Mique JuarezUCLA20165YMissed season due to personal reasons
Ben DavisAlabama20165YRedshirt
Rashaun SmithClemson20165YRedshirt
Shaq SmithClemson20164YRedshirt, will compete for starting role in spring
Brendan FernsWV20164YTorn ACL in Spring
Jaquan YuleeMarshall20164YSat out LY due to grades but expected to be eligible in 2017
Josh BrownFSU20164YPlayed all special teams in '16 but prepared for the SAM LB position during training
Keion JoynerFSU20164YFailed to qualify and was forced to go JUCO to Fort Scott CC
Jaleel LaguinsGeorgia20164YPlayed on special teams LY
Bryan LondonTexas St20162NAthlon Second Team AA
Josiah TauaefaUTSA20162NAthlon Second Team AA
Adonis ThomasFSU20154YWent JUCO from Alabama and FSU signed him this off-season


2015 Class
1 Malik Jefferson Texas
2 Porter Gustin USC
3 Chad Smith Clemson
4 Cameron Smith USC
5 Leo Lewis Miss St


2016 Class
1 Caleb Kelly Oklahoma
2 Ben Davis Alabama
3 Shaquille Quarterman Miami
4 Daelin Hayes Notre Dame
5 Troy Dye Oregon

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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  1. Which in turn greatly improves the value of your devy selections.  (back)
By Eric Braun | @FFPlanetX | Archive

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