It’s that time of year when I turn my focus to the college bowl games to gain insight. I will do my best to find some draft eligible players that could improve your dynasty teams. This article intends to start conversations and encourage continued thought throughout the entire draft process. These are my observations based on the bowl games, unless otherwise indicated. There will be much more in-depth, thought-provoking discussions later in the offseason. I am listing these players alphabetically.
DT-Ethan Farmer, North Carolina- The defensive tackle gets good initial penetration off the snap, using his strong upper body to keep blockers away from him. He anchors well with his thick trunk and low center of gravity, forcing the ball carrier to run away from the space he is occupying. This forces the offensive line to double team the defender to remove him from the play. Farmer has quick feet, changing directions while crashing down the line of scrimmage against the run. The defender plays much better against the run than attacking the quarterback in the pocket. His motor is always running, never giving up on plays, and can use a spin move to free himself from blocks.
TE-Matt LaCosse, Illinois- This versatile tight end can line up as an inline blocker or split out wide. He runs more routes than typical tight ends, but is not a fluid athlete. LaCosse runs a bit stiff, but is an effective blocker in the run game, keeping engaged with the defender by sealing off the edge. The tight end gets free in the middle of the field and could become a starter on a run-first team in time.
LB-Terrance Plummer, UCF- The linebacker has good vision and diagnoses plays quickly. He moves well sideline to sideline, never giving up on the play. Plummer is best fit for a weak inside linebacker spot at the next level, because of his inability to shed blocks with consistency. He got sealed off too many times on counters, because of a false step. The backer also can run wildly without the ability to stop himself, which makes it difficult for him to break down if the ball carrier changes directions quickly. He has good balance and tackles with power, controlling their hips until they are on the ground. Plummer gets physical in pass coverage, using shadowing the tight end. The young linebacker drops back into coverage well, but is not much of a pass rusher.
WR-Jaelen Strong, Arizona State- The junior finished off his college career with seven receptions for 103 yards in the bowl game. Strong catches the ball in stride, has soft hands, and very explosive with the ball in his hands. The receiver has very quick feet that he uses to start and stop his body forcing defenders to commit to one area while Strong is going the other way. This wide out tracks the ball well in the air, and contorts his body to make the difficult catch with tight coverage. I love the way he plucks the ball with his fingertips and he makes it look easy especially on bubble screens that take advantage of his quickness in open spaces. Strong sees the field well and is good at finding the cutback lane down the field. He uses the sidelines as an extra blocker and looks like a professional when he toe-taps both feet down on timing patterns right at the sticks. The receiver didn’t see a lot of press coverage off the line, but when he did, Strong used his quick feet and hands to create separation always fighting for the ball. He has great concentration and gets to full speed within two strides down the field. I am very excited about Strong at the next level.
QB-Marquise Williams, North Carolina- He is a read option quarterback who makes quick decisions. The quarterback is very accurate within ten yards of the line of scrimmage, but is inconsistent with passes longer than 25 yards. Perhaps it is because he doesn’t always set his feet before throws the pigskin, relying on his arm strength. Williams steps up in the pocket and can move away from danger to find a check down receiver underneath. He usually throws passes accurately into tight windows hitting his receiver in stride, but sometimes doesn’t protect them by hanging the ball in the air too long. Williams can hold onto the ball too long, but is durable enough to take the pounding.
Williams runs when the play breaks down and takes what the defense gives him. He isn’t afraid to dive head first to gain additional yardage. As an option runner, his pitches were not reliable. He got rattled and muffed two of them. The quarterback took all of his snaps from the shotgun, which is also a concern as most teams at the next level do not use that formation exclusively. Williams kept on battling back and did not seem to let the game get away from him despite being down. His best pass of the night was a 40 yard bomb that got called back due to offensive pass interference.
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