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College Football Week 8: Too Cold or Too Bold

Each week, fans around the country react to big games and disappointing ones alike. Each week, our writers decide which reactions are legitimate and which aren’t.

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)

1. Quinn Ewers is not a top 5 devy QB

In his first two games back from injury, star Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers threw 7 touchdowns and 1 interception in two solid wins against Oklahoma and Iowa State. He looked like he hadn’t lost a beat. Then, the Longhorns visited Oklahoma State, where Quinn threw three interceptions while completing under 40 (!!) percent of his passes in a close loss to the Cowboys. His ugly performance has some fans eager to drop him outside of their top five devy quarterbacks. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Sam – Too cold. The top three for me are Stroud, Young, and Williams, in any order. After that, there are a few guys with arguments for rounding out the top five. Ewers is one of those guys, but right now, I like Drake Maye and Hendon Hooker over him. Despite his elite recruit status, he hasn’t done enough at the college level yet to warrant a top-five spot at the position.

Tyler – Too cold. With multiple risers at the quarterback position with quarterbacks like Henson Hooker and Drake Maye, the top of the devy quarterback ranks are getting crowded. That being said, Ewers has been on the wrong side of the top-five argument for me. Though he has shown traits of a top-five devy quarterback, I don’t think he will break into the top-five until after the 2023 draft class is in the league.

Justin – Too bold. Ewers is still in my top five despite a rough performance in Stillwater. I doubt we are even having this discussion if Xavier Worthy stays on his feet and hauls in a well-thrown ball to take the lead late. Ewers still had a handful of wow throws, and you can clearly see why he was one of the highest-ranked recruits ever. Young, Stroud, Williams, and Maye are the only quarterbacks I want ahead of him.

The Verdict: Too Cold (2/3)

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s Round 1 chances are decreasing – he should’ve sat out 

Ohio State’s receiving leader in 2021 was not top-ten pick Garrett Wilson, nor was it first-round pick Chris Olave. It was Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a sophomore at the time. He caught an incredible 95 passes for 1606 yards and 9 TDs, and now has just 5 catches for 43 yards in 3 games played so far this year. He seems unable to get over a hamstring injury he suffered early on. As he hasn’t had the chance to produce and apparently can’t stay healthy, some believe his draft stock is sliding and are wondering whether he should have sat out the year to secure Round 1 capital. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Sam – Too bold. There is plenty of season left for JSN to bounce back. But even if he doesn’t return to form, I think he did enough last year to earn round 1 draft capital. We’ve seen plenty of prospects in recent years sit out or get injured in their final years and still get elite draft capital, such as Ja’Marr Chase and Derek Stingley. The Ohio State wide receiver might not have the same profile as those two, but he doesn’t need to in order to remain a first-round pick. The talent is too good for 32 teams to pass up.

Tyler – Too bold. While the hamstring injury has hindered JSN’s ability to build off his sophomore campaign, I believe the Ohio State receiver is still a bonafide first-round talent. On top of his dominance within a loaded receiver room last year, there has not been a group of receivers that have shown enough this season to knock JSN to Day Two of the draft. If the hamstring injury continues to linger, there is a real possibility he is not the first receiver taken in Round 1, but I don’t believe he slips any lower.

Justin – Too bold. I think JSN’s draft stock is relatively insulated based on what he did last year and the success of other Ohio State receivers from this coaching staff. He still has plenty of season left to build off his record-setting sophomore season. I also take note when a player like Garrett Wilson calls JSN the best he’s ever seen. Betting against him isn’t a good strategy, and I think NFL teams know that.

The Verdict: Too Bold (3/3)

3. Jayden Daniels still has a chance to play in the NFL

Daniels had an intriguing freshman season at Arizona State, where he turned a lot of heads by showing off his deep ball and mobility. He followed that up with two straight years of disappointment before transferring to LSU, where he is having something of a resurgence. So far this year, he has a career-best in completion % (69.9), passer rating (150.3), and TD:INT ratio (12:1). He is running the ball as well as he ever has and has the Tigers off to a solid 6-2 start. Some are starting to call him a legitimate NFL prospect again. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Sam – Too cold. I don’t like his chances to be a perennial starter, but Daniels has some NFL traits. He is putting together a year that could earn him a selection on Day 3. My issues with him after his freshman year were accuracy and size; he has improved in both departments. He has solid arm strength and is a plus athlete at the position. I wouldn’t count on him being great or a highly relevant dynasty asset, but he should get a shot at some point in the big leagues.

Tyler – Too cold. I think Jayden Daniels has the ability to play in the NFL. I don’t believe that Daniels will be in the top five picks at the position or a starter in the league, but I think Daniels will play in the NFL. Quality backup quarterbacks have become a necessity in the league now more than ever, and Daniels could fit this bill perfectly. So with the question focusing on his chances to play in the NFL, I’d say he has shown enough to make an NFL roster and continue to grow in his game.

Justin – Too bold. Daniels seems destined for a practice squad, and if that counts for this take, then I buy it. Otherwise, I can’t get on board. He has been a valuable college fantasy option, but I don’t see an NFL quarterback when watching Daniels. I am more interested in someone like Bo Nix, who has the tools but started his career in a quarterback wasteland. Daniels lacks the frame and is very inconsistent with downfield accuracy. I can’t buy that Daniels has the arm talent to be a meaningful contributor at the next level.

The Verdict: Too Cold (2/3)

4. Zach Charbonnet is a top-5 RB in the 2023 class

Charbonnet surprised some when he returned to college after a strong 2021, but it may not have been such a bad idea. He’s having the most efficient season of his career by a good bit, helping lead the UCLA Bruins to a 6-1 record and a ranking of 12th in the nation. He’s reminding everyone of his ability to run between the tackles with excellent power and contact balance. Some are declaring him a top-five back, even in a stacked class like this one. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Sam – Too bold. The class is just too stacked to have room for Charbonnet in the top five. I do think he looks like a potential NFL starter. He has a non-zero chance at Day 2 draft capital should a team fall in love with his power and ability as a between-the-tackles grinder. However, with the 2023 class being as absurd as it is, he falls in the RB6-10 range in rookie rankings. Scoop up those second-round picks while you can, folks.

Tyler – Too cold. Even in a stacked class, Charbonnet jumps off the board for me. Many backs in the 2023 class are fantastic, but I think Charbonnet’s size and power will propel him forward in the draft. Though he profiles as more of an old-school running back, I think teams will see the benefit of sticking with powerful runners between the tackles. There is still competition to get into the top five at running back in this draft class, but I think the UCLA product has shown enough in terms of traits and consistency to secure his spot here.

Justin – Too bold. This is a historic running back class, and while Charbonnet fits in somewhere, it’s not in the top five. The NFL may have already told us their opinion of Charbonnet, so I have draft capital concerns. He’s a Day 3 prospect for me right now. In the 2023 running back rankings, there are at least eight backs who are a tier or two ahead of him at the moment. There is a lot to like about his profile, but ultimately it comes down to draft capital and the questions I have currently about that.

The Verdict: Too Bold (2/3)

5. Kaytron Allen is a threat to Nick Singleton’s emergence

Penn State fans were excited to see how their backfield would play out this season – specifically, how much Nick Singleton would play. The #1 rated freshman running back has started his college career strong. However, he’s sharing the backfield more than expected with another freshman: Kaytron Allen. The 4-star recruit has only two fewer touches than Singleton so far. While Singleton has been more efficient, the gap is closing, and Allen is starting to earn more work. Some suspect Allen may hold Singleton back a little and that he might be a solid devy asset himself. Too Cold or Too Bold?

Sam – Too bold. Kaytron is impressive, but Singleton is on another level. There is room for Allen to get touches while Singleton still emerges as one of the nation’s top backs. His combination of size, speed, and athleticism is rare for a player his age. He’s a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball, and he’ll get plenty of opportunities to do so over the coming years. Once the 2023 class leaves for the NFL, Singleton will slot in as a top 3-5 devy running back. I don’t expect him to look back from there.

Tyler – Too bold. Allen’s recent production could help Singleton, if anything. Everyone in the nation could turn on a Penn State game, and 10/10 would agree that Singleton is the better player. We were able to see that before he stepped foot on campus. The increased workload of Allen has cut into some of Singleton’s touches, but are we going to get upset about a known talent being preserved? Getting the lion’s share of touches as a true freshman is great for seeing production and growth through college. It can also run a potentially great pro running back into the ground before they can make an actual NFL career. We all know what Nick Singleton is, and we should thank James Franklin for taking some of the load off the true freshman’s back by using a dynamic tandem with Kaytron Allen.

Justin – Too bold. Although, I recall James Franklin’s praise of Allen leading up to the season. I see no reason why they can’t both emerge. There are many recent examples of top running back prospects who have a strong, complimentary RB2 on the team. With Singleton’s pedigree and early production, the only real threat to his emergence is a serious injury. He is an elite devy running back. Allen stealing some carries and keeping some tread on Singleton’s tires is not a bad thing. Drew Allar leading a Penn State offense next season that features two top backs is an exciting thought.

The Verdict: Too Bold (3/3)

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