Mid Season Prospect Review
We're about half way through the college football season and a lot has changed in terms of draft prospects. At the beginning of each season, people have their opinions about draft prospects and almost always, those opinions change rather quickly. Today, we'll look at some positions that had good competition coming into the year and see how those top prospects are playing mid way through the season. First up, the quarterbacks.
Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert were the consensus top two quarterbacks coming into this season. I personally had Herbert above Tagovailoa over the summer. After the first half of games this season, those positions have switched. While Herbert has been playing well, it doesn't seem like he's improved a whole lot from last season. Herbert is yet to have the moment that could solidify him as the top quarterback in this class. A good way to put it is that Herbert hasn't done anything to have his draft stock raise, so it's falling. On the other hand, Tua has been doing what he's done since he's been playing for Alabama. Each week he comes out and throws for a whole lot of yards and touchdowns. Sure it helps to have Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy at receiver, but Tua makes some great throws to get the ball to his play-makers. At this point of the season Tua has overtaken Herbert as my QB1 and that doesn't seem like changing. As for Herbert, there's a certain quarterback named Joe Burrow who's been playing some great football that's creeping up on that QB2 spot. We'll revisit this at the end of the year to see where these players stand.
Now it's time for the running backs. Entering the year, there were three players in the RB1 conversation, Travis Etienne, Deandre Swift and Jonathan Taylor. Over the summer, my RB1 was Travis Etienne, but that's changed. Jonathan Taylor has been sensational so far this year and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Now it's not like Etienne and Swift have been bad, they've been quite good actually, but Taylor has been that much better. Taylor has shown great vision, breakaway speed and improved receiving ability this year. Swift and Etienne have shown that they can be a lead running back on a team. The only thing about great running backs is that it's tough to value where to draft them. While all three of these backs project to be starters in the league, the question is where teams will value them. On to the wide receivers.
This years wide receiver class is looking to be the best class since 2014 and every week it seems as if it is getting better and better. Over the summer my top two receivers were Jerry Jeudy and Ceedee Lamb, and while that hasn't changed, there are some guys who have stepped up their game and are making a case to be considered a top receiver in this class. Players like Henry Ruggs, Tylan Wallace, and DeVonta Smith have been incredible this year. It seems like at least half of my top ten receivers this year will be from the SEC and BIG 12. There's not much to say about this wide receiver other than that it is incredible, both with top tier talent and depth. Now onto some defensive positions.
First up for defense, the edge position. The big conversation at edge was at the top coming into the year. The most popular pick for edge1 was Chase Young from Ohio State; the other choice was A.J. Epenesa from Iowa. I had Epenesa as my highest ranked edge prospect coming into this year but that's changed rather quickly. Chase Young has been unstoppable this year, he's been the best player in college football in my opinion and it doesn't seem like that will change any time soon. It seems like each week he pulls out a new rush move to get to the quarterback and get the sack. Epenesa isn't a slouch either, however. Epenesa is an athletic freak for his size. He projects as a 4-3 defensive end on the next level and can beat you with strength or speed. It was a close race entering the year but Young has taken over the lead and doesn't seem to want to relinquish it. Next up, corner backs.
This corner back class is similar to the wide receiver class, they both have great top talent and good depth. The top of this corner class includes names like Kristian Fulton, Paulson Adebo, Bryce Hall and Jeffery Okudah. There was not a consensus CB1 coming into the year and there still isn't. It seems like each of these players are worthy of that CB1 spot and it's quite fun to see. My CB1 coming into the year was Bryce Hall, who is now my CB3. Jeffery Okudah has jumped into my CB1 spot after showing an improvement in ball skills. As for CB2, it's always been Kristian Fulton. I will end up having at least 3 corners graded out as a first round player for me and that number will likely be 4 and I wouldn't be shocked to see it go higher than that. It's a good year to need a corner, because there isn't a shortage of good ones.
That's all I have for you today! I will be doing another one of these articles at the end of the year and then one final one right before the draft. Each week there will be at least one differently themed article, so stay tuned for great content!