Each week, college football fans and devy players fire out their hot takes and quick reactions to the weekend’s action. Each week, our writers break down which of these reactions are legit (cold) and which ones are overreactions (bold).
1. Malik Willis is no longer a tier 1 2022 QB
This is why Malik Willis transferred out of the SEC in case anyone was wondering. pic.twitter.com/k3wIOLpIh3— Valley Boys Sports (@VBSofficial_) November 6, 2021
Ole Miss vs. Liberty was one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the year because of QBs Matt Corral and Malik Willis. Unfortunately, the game was a bit of a disappointment for many, and Willis was a big factor in that. His poor performance included 3 interceptions and a big loss. Fans are already moving him down from the top tier of 2022 QBs. Too Cold or Too Bold?
PJ (@mastapj) – Too cold
Although the NFL seems to be moving more towards quarterbacks with rushing upside, I have never really seen Malik Willis as a tier 1 QB. He has struggled against Power Five competition, and I think he will be a big project at the next level. Do I believe that he can get first-round draft capital? For sure. But I would much rather have QBs like Sam Howell or Matt Corral on my team. They also have rushing upside but are much more polished passers and have done it against some of the best competition in the country.
Matt (@Devy2DynastyFR) – Too bold
Was it a positive performance for Malik Willis on Saturday? No. But I don’t think this game told us anything we didn’t already know about him. He still has a cannon arm and elite athleticism. And he’s still a raw prospect who is going to be a project for whichever NFL team drafts him. Not to mention, Liberty was outclassed at every position on the field. This weekend’s game went about as I expected and hasn’t changed my opinion of him at all. You could make the argument that he was never a tier 1 QB to begin with. But if you had him in tier 1, that shouldn’t change because of this game.
Justin (@FF_Hulsey) – Too cold
But not because Malik Willis made some sort of over-reactionary drop in my rankings. For me, the top tier at quarterback consists of one player right now- Sam Howell. Willis is still my QB3 in the 2022 class, and while he has the ceiling to challenge Howell, I am tempering expectations for now. He is a dynamic prospect with a rare skill set. I never expected Liberty to win that game or Willis to torch an SEC defense, but I would have liked to see some of those tools against Ole Miss that make him so special. I do not view him as a player who can make a significant impact as a rookie. I like Willis as a prospect but let’s acknowledge that his developmental arc will look different than Howell, Corral, and Pickett.
2. Rachaad White is a Day 2 prospect
Grades on players tend to vary depending on which NFL teams we talk to but there’s consensus strong opinions on @ASUFootball RB Rachaad White (@3_chaad). One of smoothest runners in 2022 draft. Count how many defenders get a hand on him. We got 9. 📈🤯#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ https://t.co/jQ5JSMStAP pic.twitter.com/PwECcZqivq— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) November 9, 2021
Arizona State RB Rachaad White transferred in as a 3-star JUCO prospect last year and immediately took advantage of his opportunities, taking his 50 touches for a ridiculous 11.4 yards on average. Fans weren’t fully ready to buy into his NFL potential on such a small sample size. However, he has backed it up this year with 143 touches for 965 yards and 13 TDs so far. Week 10 saw an explosive performance from White against USC, where he went for 237 total yards and 3 TDs. He’s starting to enter fans’ minds as a legitimate Day 2 prospect for the 2022 Draft. Too Cold or Too Bold?
PJ – Too cold
White has prototypical NFL size at 6’2” and 210 pounds and has averaged seven yards per carry over his two seasons at Arizona State. However, perhaps more impressive are the 29 receptions that he has so far this season for 286 yards and a touchdown. He has the requisite skills in all phases of the game, and another thing that is overlooked is that he is classified as a senior, which means that he can attend the Senior Bowl after the season and catch the eye of NFL teams and rise up boards. When all is said and done, he’s going to end up with Day 2 draft capital and has a real shot to be a difference-maker at the next level.
Matt – Too cold
Statistical production in college does not always lead to success in the NFL. But when you go beyond the box score, Rachaad White has put up some impressive tape that I believe will impress NFL scouts. He also has fantastic size at 6’2” and 210 pounds. How he tests at the combine will make or break this prediction, but I’m going to say he does get Day 2 draft capital.
Justin – Too bold
Don’t get me wrong, I am a Rachaad White fan, and my devy rankings indicate that I am higher on him than the consensus. Against USC, he displayed great lateral movement and power through contact on his way to a career night. I have Zamir White and Tyler Allgeier at the back end of the day two range, and White is currently outside that group at RB8. He is certainly trending in the right direction, though, and may climb the ranks even further with a strong finish and positive pre-draft testing. The draft debate between someone like Brian Robinson Jr. and Rachaad White is interesting. Both are older backs with a ton of statistical production and are ranked similarly. I would take Rachaad White, although it would be with Day 3 capital.
3. Carson Strong is not a Round 1 prospect
San Jose State defense is causing fits for Carson Strong— Big CROCKY⚡️ (@eric_crocker) November 7, 2021
Nevada QB Carson Strong has been one of the biggest risers of the year. He’s even started to get some round one buzz due to his performance. However, concerns about his lack of mobility have emerged, and a poor performance in a near loss to SJSU has fans concerned about his ability to play against NFL competition. His accuracy and ability as a deep passer will certainly get him drafted, but these concerns have fans expecting his name to be called on Day 2 rather than Day 1. Too Cold or Too Bold?
PJ – Too cold
Coming into the season, I thought Strong was a shoo-in for Day 1 draft capital, but his game has kind of stagnated this year. His completion percentage is slightly up from 70.1 to 70.7 percent. His yards are up by about 340, but he has thrown fewer touchdowns and more interceptions, and his yards per attempt and air yards per attempt are both down. I would expect a player who was going to be a first-round pick to be improving each season. Strong has kind of fallen flat while being surpassed by Matt Corral, Malik Willis, and probably even Kenny Pickett. I think too many other QBs are ahead of him to be a day one pick. I still think he’ll get day two capital and have a chance to be a starter at the next level, though.
Matt – Too cold
He definitely has NFL arm talent. And we’ve seen big-armed QBs from small schools get drafted really high in the last few years (Josh Allen, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson). However, those guys all had elite mobility. At this stage, I can’t see Strong being drafted over Kenny Pickett, Sam Howell, Matt Corral, or Malik Willis. I don’t expect to see another five first-round QBs this year either. The lack of mobility for Strong is more than just a small downside in today’s NFL, and I believe it keeps him out of the first round.
Justin – Too cold
The physical traits are impossible to ignore, but there are four first-round caliber quarterbacks in this class, and Carson Strong is not one of them. He lacks the mobility that the other top quarterback prospects possess and does not handle pressure well at all. We have seen an increase in interceptions this season from Strong, and most of those mistakes have come when he’s pressured and decides to force a throw. He also gets a little too flat-footed, and it’s clear that improvisation is not a strength. There is plenty to like, though. Strong routinely makes NFL throws and has the second-best deep ball in the class. I will have no problem targeting him in my rookie drafts next year in the appropriate range, but right now, he’s a Day 2 prospect.
4. A.T Perry will be a good deep threat at the next level
ONE-HANDED TD CATCH FROM A.T. PERRY 😱 pic.twitter.com/exMCAAtmyc— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 6, 2021
Redshirt Sophomore WR A.T. Perry is having a breakout season for the Demon Deacons. His 10 TDs are second in the P5, and his yard per catch is 5th. He is coming off of four consecutive 100-yard games, with 6 TDs over that span. The 6’5’, 206 lb WR can clearly win deep in CFB – the question is, will he do it in the NFL? Fans are starting to think so. Too Cold or Too Bold?
PJ – Too bold
A.T. Perry has taken the opportunity he was given with the preseason injury to Donovan Greene and ran with it. He’s averaging over 20 yards per reception this season in the Demon Deacons high-flying passing attack with 10 touchdowns. The issue that I have with him is going to be his age. This season is already going to be his fourth season out of high school, and this is the first season we’ve really seen any kind of production out of him. Players with his analytic profile very rarely seem to hit at the NFL level, so I would err on the side of him not having much of a future at the next level.
Matt – Too bold?
I’m torn on this one. I’ve watched a lot of Wake Forest this year, and Perry definitely stands out. He has elite size and contested-catch ability, leading to some excellent production right now in the ACC. It wouldn’t shock me to see that translate to the NFL. However, he’s not a polished route runner, and I’m not sure he has NFL speed either. Ultimately, I have to say too bold because I don’t think he will test well enough to earn the draft capital he’ll need to see the field at the next level. You can’t be a good deep threat if you’re not on the field.
Justin – Too bold
This is tough because I love watching A.T. Perry and the entire Wake Forest offense right now. He is having a breakout season, has NFL size, a dominator rating over 30%, and should command a massive target share in 2022 (not expecting him to declare). My concerns are his age, the lack of pedigree, and his testing ability. Perry does not have the profile of a wide receiver that is drafted in the early-mid rounds, and I question whether he can run a sub-4.5 40.
5. Trey McBride is the 2022 TE1
Trey McBride is your favorite tight end’s favorite tight end pic.twitter.com/gdxy1xs4wP— Justin Michael (@JustinTMichael) November 6, 2021
It’s tough earning national attention as a TE in the MWC, but Trey McBride has started to do just that. This year, he is putting up WR-type numbers, with 838 yards through 9 games. He only has 1 TD, although he showed he could score last year with 4 in 4 games. His production in the passing game and the athleticism he shows on tape have fans ready to move him atop the TE class. Too Cold or Too Bold?
PJ – Too cold
Unlike last season, the tight end class this year is perhaps as wide open as it’s ever been. Still, McBride’s big season has rocketed him to the top of the list. He has 175 more receiving yards than the next closest TE (Derrick Deese), all while running most of his routes (72.4%) inline rather than outside. Couple this with the fact that he has a 75.1 blocking grade from Pro Football Focus and that he’s a senior and can attend the Senior Bowl, and I think his stock will only rise even more once the postseason and combine roll around. At this point, it would be surprising to me if he wasn’t the first tight end off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Matt – Too cold
I really like what I’ve seen from Trey McBride. Yes, he’s doing it against lesser competition. But I do think he has NFL athleticism at the TE position. He should test well at the combine, scouts will love his tape, and it’s hard to argue with his production. More than anyone else in the 2022 class, McBride has earned the right to be called TE1.
Justin – Too bold
Trey McBride has been a fast riser in this class and looks poised to be one of the first tight ends selected in April. He is very advanced as a receiver, an above-average blocker, and has a massive target share in the Colorado State offense. His ball skills are very impressive. Jalen Wydermyer still exists, though, and I prefer him as my TE1 in the 2022 class. McBride has joined Wydermyer in the top tier, and to be honest, no other tight-end prospect is even close to them right now.
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