Every week of college football is filled with big performances and disappointments alike. Here, our writers react to some takes around the CFB world to help distinguish between recency bias and take lock.
Too Cold (agree with the take) or Too Bold (disagree with the take)
1. The 2023 NFL Draft QB Class Could Be One of the Best EVER
There’s a little bit of buzz from pundits that the QB class in 2023 could be one of the best of all time, and it’s got some traction. There could be six or more teams needing QBs, and some names are gaining traction. Obviously, CJ Stroud and Bryce Young are top ten picks. Then there is Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, toolsy guys like Jaren Hall and KJ Jefferson, and lots of wild cards. Tyler Van Dyke, Michael Penix Jr., Hendon Hooker, Jordan Travis, Grayson McCall, Sam Hartman, and even former phenoms Bo Nix and Spencer Rattler could test the draft waters. Is it crazy to think it could be a great NFL QB draft class?
Erik (@ekballer) – Too bold. We have two locked-in first-round QBs, and a host of guys that could play themselves into that conversation. My best guess at this point is that a couple of the “toolsy” guys (Richardson, Levis, Jefferson) find their way into the first, with a few other guys going in the second or third.
It seems like the NFL is getting a bit savvier about not reaching on QBs. This year will be a big litmus test for that theory.
Andrew (@fakefootballs) – Too bold for me, although technically, anything “could” happen.
Stroud and Young’s draft stock remains steady right now, but I question if either of them will enter the NFL and automatically be elite professional quarterbacks. Behind those two, there’s still a lot of unknown at this point. There’s lots of intrigue in guys like Hall, Levis, Van Dyke, and company, but the jury is still out on them.
Tyler (@FF_TJHernandez) – Too Bold. The only two QBs that are seen as first-round “locks” are Young and Stroud. Outside of those two, there haven’t been many signal callers that warrant a first-round pick. Even for the few teams with an immediate need at QB, there looks to be much better talent elsewhere in the first round, so I wouldn’t bank on more than three QBs to be taken on night one. Though all the QBs that make up this class always have the potential to enter the league and become a dominating force, I currently doubt that the 2023 QB draft class will be one that sets the world on fire.
2. Quentin Johnston is NOT a Top WR Draft Option
QUENTIN JOHNSTON WHAT IS THIS!?! Gets behind the safeties and only needs one hand. 53 yards. pic.twitter.com/7ogGvP4PPB— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) September 4, 2022
We have QJ as our WR4 in our Devy Rankings, and I’ve seen recent mock drafts that have him as a round one draft choice in April. TCU has pummeled their first two opponents and has featured the rushing attack. While QJ has only five receptions for 44 yards on the season thus far. Do we keep projecting him as a victim of the offense, or is it time to start fading Johnston?
Erik- Too bold. I do get, on the one hand, that at some point, an alpha has to do alpha things. On the other hand, we just saw George Pickens get drafted in the second round after a 5/107/0 junior season.
The lack of production will keep him ranking behind the likes of Addison, JSN, and Boutte, at least- I like prospects with production profiles that match their film- but his film and athleticism should keep him in the second-day range for NFL teams.
Andrew – Too bold. It’s too early to drop Johnston in the 2023 rankings. As mentioned, TCU has not really needed to rely on him thus far, and that’s not bad for anybody, but us devy degenerates. TCU will start to utilize their star wideout once the opponents get more difficult, and they need to use him more. Their opponents so far have been Colorado and something called Tarleton State.
Tyler – Too bold. As conference play begins and TCU faces actual defenses, the test will begin for Johnston. It is always easy to blow games out of proportion, whether based on good or bad, during the NCAA “preseason.” Facing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in October, QJ’s production will move the marker on its own, but it is currently too early to move him down.
3. Eric Gray has FINALLY arrived! He’s a dark horse back in the 2023 class y’all!
Eric Gray doing a bit of everything today pic.twitter.com/XRIQvSVnCq— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) September 17, 2022
It feels like we have been waiting for Gray to be unleashed. To be the lead back. To get enough touches to prove just how good he can be. Oklahoma finally started feeding Gray, and the 3-0 Sooners are featuring him. He’s not getting a full workload, but he has 37 carries for 286 and a pair of scores on the ground – 7.7 YPC for the analysts – and has also caught four passes. And now Oklahoma is getting into games in which they will need him. Is Gray finally here? Is he going to see decent draft capital in April?
Erik- Too bold. Gray has always had traits, and it seems like he’s put it all together. But let’s not kid ourselves- Kennedy Brooks put up serious numbers in that offense, and he was a UDFA.
Gray is better than Brooks, but he’s a third-day guy at this point. I could see a world where he lights up the senior bowl and finds the third round, but the stacked RB class this year isn’t going to help his case for DC.
Andrew – I guess I’ll go too cold here, but it’s more “slightly cool” than “too cold.” Gray has been hyped in the devy community for a while, and I’m almost bored of him at this point, but his skill-set does translate well to the NFL, and if a guy like James Cook can see solid draft capital, maybe Gray can too. Had that previous devy hype never been there, I’m not sure we’d all be so excited about Gray just yet.
Tyler – Too bold, but not by much. Like I said with Johnston, it’s easy to blow things out of proportion based on early games against subpar defenses. Before I go all in on calling him the dark horse back of the 2023 class, I want to see the stat lines continue as they have been against better teams. He has passed the eye test, and the statistics obviously speak for themselves, but there is always more to be seen. I think that if this question is asked to me again in a month, Gray will have more concrete evidence for this decision to turn from bold to cold, but we will have to wait and see.
4. Brock Bowers is THE Next Stud TE
After a slow start to the season, Bowers rewarded his C2C and CFF owners with the TE1 performance we were hoping for. Five catches for 121 yards and a pair of receiving scores to go with a rushing score. And then my freakin’ timeline was flooded with comparisons to Gronk, proclamations of being the highest TE drafted ever (over Kyle Pitts), and all sorts of crazy claims. Is Bowers it? Is he the truth? Did he cut down 7,321 trees after the game with only a small ax because he still had work to do?
Erik- Cold as ice! Bowers has rare production, rare athleticism, and electrifying film. He’s a bonafide stud- and I’ll be acquiring as many shares as possible next year.
Andrew – Too cold. No explanation is needed. Just watch the man play football.
Tyler – Too cold. If your favorite team doesn’t have Mark Andrews or Kyle Pitts (love Kelce but age is a factor), you better hope Brock Bowers is on your sideline come week one of 2023 and beyond. He has all the ability in the world to be THE next stud TE, and I believe he will be a dominant force for many, many years.
5. Charlie Jones, aka Chuck Sizzle, is a Legitimate Draft Prospect
Through three games, Jones has 32 receptions (first in the NCAA) for 474 yards (second in the NCAA) and five scores. He’s got great size at 6’0” and 190 lbs., but is an older prospect. He came into college in 2018, I couldn’t find his age, but he is likely 22 or 23. So his breakout age will be an issue for the numbers nerds. But man, Jones is having a great season and making it look easy. Is Chuck Sizzle a draft prospect?
Erik- Too bold, my friends. Stranger things have happened, but I’ll never put stock in any prospect with a senior breakout. Freshman production is overrated, but if a guy didn’t do anything before he was a 22-year-old playing against kids 2-3 years younger, I’m out.
I love Jones for CFB and C2C, but I’ll let someone else invest in him if he’s drafted.
Andrew – Sorry, Mr. Sizzle, no disrespect intended, but I’m saying “too bold” here. The athletic profile isn’t there for Jones to become an elite NFL wideout. He’s not explosive or dynamic, and he makes his money with his zonal awareness and pre-snap understanding of what defenses are going to. To me, Jones might have an NFL career, and maybe even a lengthy one, but likely not a meaningful and consistent fantasy producer.
Tyler – Too bold. Charlie Jones is lighting up the stat sheet, but that’s about it for all I’ve seen. While Jones is a high-IQ receiver who has made his way through the portal a couple of times, I don’t think we will see teams chomping at the bit to draft him earlier than Day 3 of the NFL Draft. This isn’t to say that Chuck Sizzle can’t or won’t have a career at the next level; I just don’t see him being a viable fantasy receiver. Great receivers in football sometimes aren’t great receivers for fantasy, and I sadly think Jones falls into this category.
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