Two weeks of college football are in the books. As we watch the action unfold, we all have reactions to the performances we’re seeing and start to make takes about devy players. Luckily, our writers are here to tell you whether these takes are for real (too cold) or overreactions (too bold).
1. The 2022 RB class is in serious trouble
The perception of the 2022 draft class has always been low. However, one of the few aspects holding it up has been what people consider a solid top-two RBs in Breece Hall and Isaiah Spiller. Hall has struggled through two games to the tune of 4.1 yards per touch, while Spiller got shut down in the run game by Colorado. Meanwhile, favorites for the RB3 spot such as Eric Gray, Kyren Williams, Zamir White, and more have not done much to stake their claim as Day 2 prospects. This class might not have a Round 1 RB nor many enticing Day 2 selections. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Jared (@JaredWackerlyFF) – Cold.
I mentioned the other night on @RayGQue’s week two recap stream that I’m not sure if there is even a day two back in this class. I don’t think Hall or Spiller is dynamic enough to warrant day two draft capital. The most impressive 2022 eligible back so far has been Zach Charbonnet. Through two games, he’s rushed for 223 yards on only 17 attempts. He looks like an absolute freight train when running the ball.
Matt (@DevyMatt) – Bold.
While this running back class is weaker than previous classes, there are still several backs I am excited about. Isaiah spiller is a dynamic three-down back, and Hall has the speed to be a dynamic home run threat. While Gray’s usage has been below expectations he made the most of his snaps last week and was incredibly efficient. Williams is also an intriguing back that will get on the field due to pass blocking chops. Someone is eventually going to step out in this class a la Javonte Williams.
Sam (@DevyCramps) – Cold.
I do like the depth of the class. The five backs mentioned above all have some potential to be relevant in the NFL, and others such as Charbonnet, Jerome Ford, Tyler Allgeier, Zonovan Knight, and more have the chance to rise. However, there isn’t any back I’m particularly loving that will warrant a Day 1 pick. Spiller and Hall are both solid, but neither is the type of explosive athlete you like to see at the top of the class. The RB class is undoubtedly shaping up to be the weakest out of the ones surrounding it.
2. David Bell is a Tier 1 WR in the 2022 class
David Bell is doing his best Rondale Moore impression through 20 games at Purdue pic.twitter.com/L5lESahofS— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 11, 2021
All David Bell does is produce, produce, produce. It seems much of the community was down on his ability to separate in the offseason, listing Treylon Burks and Garrett Wilson ahead of him. He’s off to a hot start in 2021, tallying 255 yards and three TDs through just two games. He’s now averaging 105 yards and a TD per game over his last 17. It’s hard to ignore the production and count him out of tier 1. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Jared – Cold.
I think Bell is one of the best WR prospects in this class. He’s put together a very productive year so far. If he continues this pace, it’s not a hot take to say he could be a round one pick. He possesses excellent body control that makes him lethal at the catch point. It was nice to see him make some plays in the open field this past week.
Matt – Cold.
Going back to when Rondale Moore went down with an injury, Bell has stepped up in a big way. While I don’t believe Bell does anything at an elite level he does everything at a very high level. He possesses great route running and body control and has shown to be more of a threat after the catch this year than in previous years. I firmly believe that come NFL Draft time Bell will be a first-round pick.
Sam – Cold.
Bell has been tier one WR for me since the end of last season, and his start to 2021 has only solidified that. While he may not have elite separation speed, he still runs some crisp routes, finds soft spots against zones, and has excellent hands. He can win at all levels of the field, and does some damage after the catch as well. His analytical profile is as strong as they come, too.
3. Zach Evans could be a Tier 1 2023 RB
Zach Evans. The 5 star!!!! pic.twitter.com/jQwhTV8wQl— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) September 11, 2021
Everyone is stoked about the 2023 draft class, in large part due to the prospects of RBs Bijan Robinson, Tank Bigsby, and Jahmyr Gibbs. And yet, Zach Evans was the second-highest ranked RB recruit in the class, and his 8.0 yards per touch beats all of the backs mentioned. After being disciplined by the team in game 1, he exploded for 204 scrimmage yards in week 2 and looks to have a stranglehold on the backfield touches. He could end up as a tier 1 back in the class. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Jared – Cold.
Tier one in the 2023 running back class could feature four backs, with the addition of Evans. Gibbs, Robinson, and Bigsby are the most discussed backs in this class, but let’s start putting some respect on Evans’ name. For a long time, he was considered the RB1 in that recruiting class, before some of the off-field incidents moved him down. Evans is as talented as all three of the other players mentioned above.
Matt – Cold.
The talent level was never the question for Evans. He was touted as the best running back in his class and, while Robinson has firmly cemented himself as RB1 for most, Evans is an incredibly talented running back. The only thing that might make coaches weary is the mental aspect of his game. If he can begin to keep this in check and go incident-free up until the NFL Draft he could easily be among the best in this class.
Sam – Cold.
Evans has been disciplined on a few occasions and hasn’t yet had the chance to dominate, which is the only thing holding him back from being tier 1 in the eyes of the community. Every time he has gotten a chance he has looked just as if not more explosive than the other top backs in the class. As long as he maintains a clean act he could end up a top 3 back in the class and it wouldn’t surprise me.
4. No one will emerge from the South Carolina backfield
Not Kevin Harris, not Marshawn Lloyd, not Zaquandre White…— Evan (@Big_Eazzzzy) September 11, 2021
True freshman Juju McDowell is carrying this running backs group.
Marshawn Lloyd, a 5-star RB that will be eligible in 2023, got a lot of hype coming out of high school. Then he tore his ACL, and Kevin Harris exploded onto the scene in 2020. Many expected them to split touches in 2021 and were curious to see who would emerge. I don’t think anyone saw them being third and fourth in backfield touches to Juju McDowell and Zaquandre White, which has been the case through two games this year. It’s looking like the backfield may not produce a legitimate NFL prospect. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Jared – Bold.
I think it’s too soon to write off both Lloyd or Harris. Harris is coming off of back surgery so I think it was in the plan to work him back slowly in week two. Lloyd, as mentioned above, is coming off a major knee injury. The jury is definitely still out on Lloyd, but we saw very good production from Harris last year. We need to give the situation more time to develop.
Matt – Bold.
As mentioned, Lloyd is coming off a major knee injury. While medicine has come a long way and ACL’s are not nearly as worrisome as they once were, it will still take time for Lloyd to rehab. He was one of my favorite guys coming into his class and I firmly believe that talent will shine through. I think while snap share has been strange, both Lloyd and Harris are going to rebound fine. It is still very much early in the season.
Sam – Cold.
I wasn’t particularly high on Harris coming into the season, as I didn’t love his tape, nor some of his peripheral metrics. I was curious to see what Lloyd would look like, but McDowell and White are not going to simply lie down and give him the lead when he’s fully recovered and up to speed. In my opinion, Harris will likely be a Day 3 pick, and Lloyd may never get the chance to truly dominate in such a crowded backfield.
5. UVA QB Brennan Armstrong has Day 1 potential
In what is seen as a muddy QB class, someone is bound to emerge out of nowhere. So far, that someone appears to be Brennan Armstrong. He’s put up 744 yards and seven TDs through the air in two games this year en route to consecutive ACC QB of the Week honors. Should he continue this trend, he may hear his name called on Day 1 next April. Too Cold or Too Bold?
Matt – Bold.
Brennan Armstrong is off to an incredible start, and there is little argument on that front. However, most of his starts look a lot better than the relatively slow starts by some of the other quarterbacks in this class. With that being said, rarely do we see more than five quarterbacks taken on day one. Between some of the other top quarterbacks like Rattler, Howell, and Willis, and a fast riser in my personal Heisman favorite this year Matt Corral, I do not believe there is enough room in this class for Armstrong to be a day 1 pick. I think he will slide into the top half of round two in this year’s class.
Sam – Cold.
Armstrong has been explosive to start the season and has displayed some NFL traits. He has a strong arm (no pun intended), and good mobility as he rushed for over 500 yards last year. Should he continue to improve on his accuracy and mechanics, and especially should he put on a show against some good competition in UNC this week, he will shoot up the draft boards pretty quickly. I wouldn’t call him a lock for Day 1, but I do think he has that potential.
That’s a wrap on week 2’s Too Cold or Too Bold. As the season continues and we see players string together multiple performances, good or bad, we’ll start to have a better idea of what to expect from them in the NFL. Stay tuned for next week’s edition.
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