By Alex Kurpeski, Oz Jones, & Tzali Nislick
Before we get around to the intro for this piece I’d just like to thank Jesse Reeves @JesseReevesFF for inspiring this series and supplying us with some of his own data and research for future sections. If you haven’t checked out Jesse’s work then you’re missing out on some of the best insight there is. – Alex
Finding the right devy is arguably the toughest task imaginable in fantasy football, as your choice must depend on some combination of a player’s measurables, level of competition, college production, high school production, flexibility, floor, ceiling, median, injury history, off-field issues, athletic pedigree, etc, etc. It’s a tall task to determine all of these things accurately without the tools and advanced access allowed to NFL scouts (who are prone to making mistakes even with their resources). At a certain point, gut feeling needs to be placed on the back burner, replaced by the data-driven lizard brain that lives deep inside of our pink, squishy command center. Today, we here at 3CoSports are looking to provide you with a small sample size of devy prospect analysis, with fingers crossed that our self-scouting is as accurate as we believe it to be. There will be some aspects of this analysis that are a bit arbitrary, but we feel as though these parts are warranted. So without further adieu, let’s take a look at our finite list of devy targets for 2020 and beyond.
Rubric for Devy Analysis Grade
- Level of Competition → 1 (Big 10, SEC), 2 (ACC, Pac-12, Big 12), 3 (American, C-USA, MWC), 4 (other FBS conferences), 5 (Non-Div 1A)
- Athlete Scale → 1 (elite athlete), 2 (above average athlete), 3 (average), 4 (below average), 5 (poor athlete – rare)
- Production → 1 (elite-level production), 2 (above average production), 3 (average production), 4 (below-average production), 5 (poor production)
- Experience → 1 (played in > 75% of eligible games), 2 (75-65%), 3 (50-64%), 4 (25-50%), 5 (<25%)
- “Fit” (how well a player’s skill set translates to the NFL) → 1 (fits in any system), 2 (fits in the majority of systems), 3 (fits in certain systems), 4 (fits in few systems), 5 (fits in almost no system)
- Breakout Age (using Jesse Reeves data) → 1 (18), 2 (19), 3 (20-21), 4 (22), 5 (23+)
- “Help” (strength of team around them) → 1 (top tier team + coaching staff in all relevant areas related to player), 2 (above average), 3 (average), 4 (below average), 5 (poor)
- Grade Scale: (1-1.99 = A+ to A-), (2-2.99 = B+ to B-), (3-3.99 = C+ to C-), (4-5 = D+ to D-)
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Bryce Young, Alabama
D.J Uiagalelei, Clemson
Kedon Slovis, USC
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
In our second to last installment of this series, we take a look at three passers (D.J Uiagalelei, Jayden Daniels, & Kedon Slovis) with true franchise QB potential.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State (ETA: 2022)
An extremely mobile passer who can protect the ball while also operating as an explosive fulcrum for a team’s offense, Daniels has the chance to become a super prospect if he makes the proper strides in his development. As a true freshman last year, his numbers were nothing to sneeze at, especially the 17:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. While he didn’t throw for 3000 yards, the Sun Devils also heavily relied on the run game last year. With running back Eno Benjamin and first-round WR Brandon Aiyuk gone to the NFL, it will fall on Daniels’ shoulders to take the reins of leadership for ASU’s offense. Increasing his completion percentage from 60.7% should be a point of emphasis, as should getting his weight up: he’s currently listed at 175 pounds, and he simply needs to put on good muscle weight if he’s going to absorb hits and stay healthy.
Daniels’ worst game last year came against Utah; he was 4/18 for 25 yards. Then again, against 6th-ranked Oregon, he dropped 408 yards for 68.8%, plus 3 TDs passing. Best game, best opponent – and players who play their best, especially as a true freshman, in the biggest games are tough to ignore. It’s worth noting that Daniels also led the NCAA in game-winning drives last season, which speaks to his ability to play under pressure.
Among returning Power-5 passers, Daniels had the third-most completions of 25+ yards (37), while also registering the third-highest passing grade on throws of 30+ yards downfield among the same group, per PFF. While he had moments where he disappeared, Daniels has the skillset to absolutely dominate college football in these next couple of seasons. I’d go as far as to compare him to Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson in terms of his approach to the position, though Daniels is significantly taller than those two, which can only help him once he reaches the NFL.
— thehojo (@thehojo) August 1, 2020
This year, ASU opens at USC, which should be better (we’d hope); more importantly, it should provide an immediate test for Daniels, as he probably won’t be tested until the last four games of the season: home against Cal, at Oregon, home against Utah, and at rival Arizona. If Daniels shows his stuff in those key games, he should position himself well to be one of the top QBs for 2022, and thus a potential NFL first-round pick.
– Oz + Alex
Devy Analysis Grade: 1.71 (A)
Ceiling: Russell Wilson
An excellent dual-threat who excels in a West Coast scheme, Daniels has some high’s as an efficient heat check QB in fantasy while deferring to his teammates when he has to. A true QB1 thanks to his legs and his arm.
Median: Tyrod Taylor
As dynamic of a bridge starter as you can imagine, Daniels manages to stick around as a low-end starting QB for a few seasons, serving as a trustworthy backup when there’s no role for him.
Floor: Tahj Boyd
Exposed as a conservative passer from a scheme filled with NFL talent, Daniels fails to become anything of note as an NFL QB.
D.J Uiagalelei, Clemson (ETA: 2023)
A giant at 6’6, 245 lbs, Uiagalelei has the build and skillset of a young Cam Newton. While Trevor Lawrence is entrenched as the Tigers starting QB for the foreseeable future, Uiagalelei is the next in line for the throne, and he should have plenty of success from the get-go as he will likely be paired with more experienced versions of Joe Ngata and Frank Ladson upon his promotion. While I wouldn’t typically project a Heisman winner from this far out, I would not be surprised if Uiagalelei hoisted the award in 2022, as he has the chance to become one of the best QBs in the history of Clemson football. Big praise for a big man, but we like D.J a lot.
Dabo Swinney on D.J. Uiagalelei: “Sometimes he just kind of makes Trevor look normal with his ability to rip that football… never really seen a guy quite like him.” Um, hello. That’s a heck of a statement.
— Matt Connolly (@MattatTheState) April 3, 2020
Though we’ve yet to see him throw a pass as a college QB, few players possess the natural talent and athleticism that we’ve seen from Uiagalelei’s high school tape. With Trevor Lawrence likely off to the NFL following this season, we could see this super prospect unleashed relatively soon. Based on upside alone, Uiagalelei is worth investing an early Devy pick on.
Devy Analysis Grade: 1.57 (A)
Ceiling: Daunte Culpepper
Equipped with a cannon for an arm and a body built to withstand even the league’s hardest hitters, Uiagalelei could develop into one of the league’s most dominant passers just as Culpepper did in the early 2000s.
Median: Justin Herbert
It’s entirely possible that Uiagalelei suffers from the same issues that plagued Herbert throughout his collegiate career, as well as the same biases that larger QBs tend to face nowadays. While Clemson’s spread offense is catered more towards Uiagalelei’s strengths than Oregon’s was for Herbert, it’s possible that the “fit” with Clemson could be a bit weird.
Floor: Jacoby Brissett
Considering Brissett has proven his value as a spot starter on multiple occasions in the past, this floor is not nearly as low as it could be. While it would be disappointing for Uigalelei to be merely a bridge starter, we’ve seen worse fates for players with his hype.
Kedon Slovis, USC (ETA: 2022/2023)
Like the aforementioned Howell, Slovis was a standout freshman from last season, called into action following a season-ending injury suffered by former five-star recruit J.T Daniels in the Trojans’ first game. As a true freshman, Slovis completed 72% of his passes while registering a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio, efficiency that’s unheard of from a player of his age, let alone one ranked 705th overall coming out of high school. But command the offense he did, to the tune of 3502 passing yards, and a 30:9 ratio. He was accurate, too, as he had only one game with sub-60% passing (56.1% against Oregon, where he also threw three picks); his next lowest completion percentage was 67.9 against Arizona.
USC QB Kedon Slovis (@Kedonslovis) Highlights
Slovis finished the regular season with four 400-yard performances in his final 5 games, including a record-breaking 515-yards against UCLA. His 3,242-yards are most for a Freshman #FightOn
— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) November 30, 2019
Among qualified passers last season, Slovis threw the lowest percentage of uncatchable passes (12.1%) and the highest percentage of on-target throws of 10+ yards (35.8%), displaying his outstanding accuracy. You wouldn’t call him a scrambler, but Slovis possesses some highly developed pocket awareness and movement. Though we only have a one-year sample size of his work, Slovis may have had the best season we’ve ever seen from a college freshman. Yes, there’s going to be much more tape on him for defenses to study this season. But when you look at the weapons that surround him, it’s hard to imagine Slovis taking many steps back before he becomes draft-eligible, if any at all.
Certainly, having Michael Pittman and Amon-Ra St. Brown to throw to last year made his life easier; but though Pittman is gone to the NFL, St. Brown is still there, along with a bevy of talented wideouts including Bru McCoy and Kyle Ford. The PAC-12 may be better this year – the potential is certainly there – and if Slovis can put together a sophomore season similar to or better than 2019, he could enter the 2021 season competing with Sam Howell to be the top draft-eligible QB in the 2022 draft.
– Alex + Oz
Devy Analysis Grade: 1.57 (A)
Ceiling: Kurt Warner
An accurate passer with tremendous leadership abilities, Slovis becomes one of the better quarterbacks in the league thanks to his consistency and reputation. Becomes a highly capable fantasy QB in the process.
Median: Kirk Cousins
An accurate passer who thrives in a clean pocket, Slovis develops into the type of QB who can win you enough games to be a playoff team. Solid but unspectacular, the USC product winds up as a perennial QB2 for fantasy.
Floor: Chad Pennington
An accurate passer who has a few other good traits, Slovis meanders about as a middle to lower-tier starter for a mediocre team. In this scenario, Slovis is more a victim of circumstance than a victim of his own shortcomings.