Is your Devy team in rebuild mode? Below, I list four playmakers who are eligible for the 2023 NFL draft that you should target in your Devy rebuild.
The dynasty/devy rebuild process is different for everyone. However, we all need to understand our windows of putting together a championship team. If you’re a borderline contender, you need guys who will get drafted and contribute immediately, so paying attention to landing spots is important when determining player value.
When in rebuild mode, we look at players who have NFL talent who can help us long-term because of talent, or whose value will increase drastically, allowing us to trade for more assets. Let’s look at some 2023 draft-eligible prospects to target in your devy rebuild who have NFL potential.
4. Jaden Walley, WR, Mississippi State
*Sprained his MCL during a spring game
The 2020 Freshman All-SEC and second-team Freshman All-American, Jaden Walley, saw action quickly. Later in the season, he became a focal point at Mississippi State, mainly lining up in the slot in Mike Leach’s air raid offense. When you watch Walley’s tape, the first thing that stands out is his toughness.
Walley is a very physical runner after the catch and with a natural talent for catching the ball in traffic. Walley’s route tree seems very limited due to the offense running hitches and many drags in the Y/H under and Mesh concepts. If his route running can develop, he has all the tools to be special.
Devywatch.com currently lists Walley as the number 37 WR off the board, based on ADP. Targeting him low 30’s is the sweet spot. We all know the struggles Mississippi State had last season. Walley only scoring twice was a blessing in disguise for us. As he continues to be the featured target in their offense, his stats alone increase his popularity. Get him now while there is still value to his draft spot.
3. E.J. Smith, RB, Stanford
It is safe to say you will not find a prospect with a better pedigree than that of E.J. Smith, son of Hall of Famer and all-time NFL leading rusher Emmitt Smith. E.J. has tremendous ball skills. He was both a running back and wide receiver in high school and, drew comparisons to C.J. Prosise during his time at Notre Dame.
Smith’s downfall is his speed. He is not the burner that many other running backs are, but his route running out of the backfield is elite. Everything Smith does looks so smooth and easy, like tracking and catching the ball. His draft value is created by his lack of playing time as a true freshman, as he only caught a couple of passes last season.
It is most likely that Smith will be blocked for playing time by Austin Jones. Jones is a solid producer, though probably not NFL quality. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith get the third-down work and receive plenty of targets out of the backfield. If Smith takes over by the end of the season, his ADP will blow up, so it is best to get him now while the time is right.
Just like his dad, E.J. Smith has been a major production machine. While in high school, from sophomore to senior year:
Legend @EmmittSmith22 son EJ Smith is a 4⭐️prospect #3 APB headed to Stanford this spring. Playing tonight in the @UAFootball game. Shows some burst and hands! Love #devy deep diving!@TDDR_DraftRoom @DevyHappyHour @DynastyHHPod #TDDR pic.twitter.com/wbQc1TSVAS
— Brandon Lejeune (@DevyDeepDive) January 3, 2020
2. Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington
McMillan was named to the CalHiSports All-State first team. He racked up 1,600+ receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior and during the Under Armour All-American game. McMillian, as a four-star sophomore, will lead the Huskies in targets this year.
He is an absolutely complete receiver that only has to compete against Texas Tech sophomore transfer Ja’Lynn Polk and Terrell Bynum, who had 31 catches in 2019. In addition, Austin Osborne and Marquis Spiker, University of Washington wide receivers, have entered the transfer portal. McMillan has made a name for himself inside the WR room.
John Donovan, the Offensive Coordinator for UW, saw McMillan’s ability with the ball and set him up in fly-sweeps during his first start as a true freshman, last year against Stanford. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, receiving numerous D-1 offers for baseball by major schools. I absolutely love McMillan’s route running, which is huge when translating into NFL projections.
He reminds me of Stefon Diggs, while he was at Maryland, with how fast his feet are at the line of scrimmage. The Haurd/McMillian combo is going to lethal for the Pac-12 to handle.
Bryce Young to Jalen McMillan for 7 immediately at the All-American Bowl. pic.twitter.com/0vdYxZcabv
— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) January 4, 2020
1. Demarkcus Bowman, RB, Florida
Demarkcus Bowman committed to Clemson but has since transferred to Florida. He sat behind first-round selection Travis Etienne and 4-star Lyn-J Dixon, who is also projected to play in the NFL. Only getting nine carries, Bowman’s stock has dropped — his Devywatch.com ADP is RB20, 52nd overall. When it comes to locking in pure talent at a value, this is good as it gets.
Bowman is a legit playmaker — 5-star recruit, 7A Player of the Year, First-team All-State (Florida), First-team Max Preps Junior All-American, 2019 All-American honors from USA Today and Sports Illustrated, Polk County Player of the Year, and 2018 Mr. Gatorade Runner-Up. He is the definition of a home run hitter, with not only the speed to take it the distance, but the strength to break arm tackles.
All the scouting reports have come back with comments about Bowman’s vision. Watching his tapes, what jumps out to me are his one-step bursts through holes and his ability to maintain high-end speed.
Bowman will not be a bell cow this year. He may even be number three or four on the depth chart, as Florida has some other, older, talented backs that will get the bulk of the carries this year. Bowman is still a transfer freshman, so they are not in a hurry to get him on the field. He is a buy-and-hold asset right now.
Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter — @JoeRoth88 — and reach out for any Devy help! | #BetTalentOverTrends