Hi there. In case you missed it, all of us here at The Draft Network took the time to update our big boards to mark the beginning of October last week. As such, this week's Studs & Duds is dedicated to the biggest risers and fallers from my August Big Board (Top 50) and October Big Board (Top 75).
If you missed our Big Board updates, you can read them here:
- Kyle Crabbs' October Big Board
- Joe Marino's October Big Board
- Jon Ledyard's October Big Board
- Trevor Sikkema's October Big Board
Below are the biggest risers and fallers of the first month of the season.
STUD - DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
August Ranking: N/R
October Ranking: 15th
It's hard to rank a guy you've never seen in action before, hence why Williams didn't make the original cut. Maybe we can just start assuming third stringers at Bama will elevate themselves here with consistency? Should I just move that guy into 2020 rankings without ever having watched a snap?
Its a frustrating part of what we do: you think you're thorough. And then a guy like Quinnen Williams comes along and is immediately one of the best interior defensive lineman in the country. Disruptive, quick, smooth...Williams checks a whole lot of boxes on the inside.
DUD - CB Levonta Taylor, Florida State
August Ranking: 19th
October Ranking: 70th
It's been a roller coaster start for Taylor. I'll say this: I think he's a good football player still. Believe it or not, I'm allowed to like guys *with context*. That's what Taylor's film and projection require: context.
If you feel you can isolate Taylor's quickness and aggressiveness while simultaneously mitigating his exposure to having to body up receivers at the catch point? Good for you. I'd love to hear your game plan there.
Taylor's athletic abilities make him a great candidate to play a lot of nickel in the NFL. There's no shame in being the nickel defender, it requires a special set of skills. But Taylor's 2018 film resume has me skeptical that he can play as a boundary defender.
STUD - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
August Ranking: N/R
October Ranking: 17th
Haskins is on pace for 50 passing touchdowns this season, for some context on how his year is going. The single season school record belongs to the man he replaced: J.T. Barrett had 35 in 2017.
Haskins will have that before the calendar turns to November. But where does his NFL profile fall into all this production? Haskins has been in complete command of his offense. He's does well extending plays with his feet, but he's not a scrambler.
Haskins has shown touch to all levels of the field. And he plays a style of play in this Buckeyes offense that has never been more translatable to the NFL.
DUD - QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
August Ranking: 14th
October Ranking: 33rd
Raise your glasses and pour one out! Lewerke's been in Studs & Duds before, but for totally different reasons. If you're petty like me and keep track of who was right or wrong over the summer, you've probably already given me an earful on this August ranking. That's okay.
I'll say this: summer scouting is all about setting baseline expectations. They aren't meant to be final. Is it fun to be first? Hell yes it is. But nobody has ever lost their job or respect over a misguided summer scouting report.
As it pertains to Lewerke: the entire offense is a hot mess. His offense line is essentially five revolving doors stood up next to one another. His receivers are either hurt or can't separate against press and man coverage. The play-calling is woefully predictable:
- Run on 1st down for 2 yards
- Incomplete pass
- Completion short of the sticks and immediately tackled
I love it! The Joe Philbin special!
...anywho. Lewerke himself has exacerbated the issues by not taking any steps forward as a player. He's still refusing to climb the pocket to avoid the rush. He's still pretty loose with the football.
I am very much a subscriber to Lewerke's upside as a player and think with the proper development he's an NFL starter. But whatever he's getting at Michigan State is not proper development.
STUD - OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
August Ranking: N/R
October Ranking: 21st
We've been so desperate to settle our search for a quarterback worth writing home about that we've seemingly glossed over the fact that this year's offensive tackle class is in an equally dire situation.
Heck, we're already getting the murmurs of how Alabama's Jonah Williams might be better off inside (he's not, but do your thing, narratives...). After Williams, the competition for OT2 comes down to Wisconsin's David Edwards and, based on what I've seen this year, WVU's Cajuste.
Cajuste is big, long and pretty nimble for his size. He, like Edwards, is going to require some added polish to his footwork. But Cajuste isn't quite as clunky as Edwards from a natural athleticism perspective, plus he plays on the left side.
Cajuste and the Mountaineers will get their big tests in November. Strong play could catapult him even higher on future boards.
DUD - OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
August Ranking: 41st
October Ranking: 56th
I would say this for Greg Little: he isn't exactly a disappointment. Nor has he played at a level that has surprised me. He's generally been who I expected.
"So then why did you drop him 15 spots on your board, Kyle?"
That's a great question. I'm so glad you asked! Little's positioning comes down to the emergence of others in the talent pool. Little was in the original 50 (41st) and now stands at 56, a drop of 15 spots for non-math majors in the crowd.
Of the 15 places he dropped on the board, 14 of them were by players who were unranked in the initial top-50 board in August.
STUD - WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
August Ranking: N/R
October Ranking: 25th
Speaking of players who were unranked in August, hi there J.J. Arcega-Whiteside!
The Stanford pass catcher has become a staple of Studs & Duds and he's played himself into generally being considered one of the best wide receivers in the country.
Arcega-Whiteside is one of those players who you'd swear is 6-foot-5 based on his size and then he actually checks in around 6-foot-2. He plays with the biggest presence on the field and bullies defenders of all comers at the catch point.
It's a gift. A natural ability that serves as a separator for the wideout relative to his peers.
Threads Of The Week: The Missouri Tigers
Great news, people who aren't Oregon football fans: The Ducks were off in Week 6, which means your team might have actually had a chance to do the damn thing and show off some sweet threads.
[caption id="attachment_23241" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
White, black and gold is never bad. It's written in the stars and in the color branding of The Draft Network.
Missouri gets the win based on these sweet helmets alone, which have me questioning my loyalties and have me ready to risk it all.
The only thing that could cool down how hot the Tigers looked in these was a ton of rain. And Drew Lock turnovers. And....you know what? Nevermind. These helmets were hot.