Missouri will be implementing a new offense this season after former OC, Josh Heupel, took the head job at UCF. The good news is they return one of the most talented QBs in college football. Drew Lock finished last season as the CFF QB5. He had this to say in regards to their new offense, “It’s more complicated of an offense, but I do think it’s easier,” Lock said. “It was a little more guessing games last year on what I thought receivers were going to run. And this year I have it set in stone what they’re doing every single play. It makes me a lot more comfortable back there. I know exactly what’s going on.” […] Lock added that his biggest struggle with Dooley’s offense has been the number of plays and formations in the playbook. […] “This is exactly what I want to experience,” Lock said. “I want to be able to speak ball. I want to be able to talk NFL stuff with NFL people, and I wasn’t going to be able to do that.” While it’s possible that he could replicate last year’s production, the short return may not pay as many dividends as this move could for Lock’s future Devy stock. There are several good options behind Lock. Micah Wilson is an exceptional athlete that recently has been taking reps with the wide receivers. I understand wanting to get on the field and maximize his playmaking ability, but I see him as a QB. Beyond him, rFR Taylor Powell would likely be next in line.
At RB, Missouri has a very exciting duo in Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree. The former had an exceptional season as a freshman in 2016. He missed the majority of 2017 due to injury, and he is still rehabilitating. Larry Rountree emerged as a very capable back last season in Crockett’s stead. There will likely be an increase in the number of carries for Missouri backs this season. In my opinion, Crockett is RB1 as long as he is healthy and he can improve his ball security. He has tremendous value in CFF this season, and if he can return to his 2016 form, then he will be a high-value Devy asset as well. Rountree doesn’t have the size that Crockett does, but I think he can be a very nice compliment this season and feature back once Damarea heads to the NFL. It’s unlikely that either player will be heavily used as a pass catcher which would hinder both their CFF value and Devy stock. Beyond those two, the Tigers also return walk-on Dawson Downing, rFR Isaiah Miller, and add two freshmen, Tyler Badie, and Simi Bakare.
The Tigers lose J’Mon Moore at WR but do return several players who caught balls last season. The focal point of the passing offense should be senior Emanuel Hall. He finished 2017 with 33-817-8. Hall is the ideal vertical receiving threat. He has fantastic speed, runs good routes, and tracks the ball well. There are some challenges in forecasting production in Dooley’s offense, but I believe his skill set will make him their WR1 and a very high-value CFF target. Nate Brown is the other big WR that I believe could be in line for a productive season. He was last productive in 2015, so it’s entirely possible the window has closed on him, but I think he has the skills to be an effective outside WR in 2018. Johnathon Johnson is a smaller receiver that I like a lot. The 5’10” and 185-pound rJR may be the Tigers’ most dynamic athlete on offense. He will likely line up in the slot and look to build on his 41-724-6 from 2017. Richaud Floyd is a similarly sized rJR that made the bulk of his contributions on special teams last season. Hall and Johnson have both the highest floors and ceilings from a CFF and Devy standpoint.
Albert “Aqua Man” Okwuegbunam came out of nowhere last season and finished as the overall CFF TE2. He was targeted 42 times and made 29 catches for 415 yards and scored 11 TDs. I think it’s highly unlikely that he manages to find the end zone as frequently in 2018 but I still believe he is an extremely valuable asset in both CFF and Devy leagues.
Missouri has a lot of uncertainty on the defensive side of the football. They have loads of talent but very few have proven it yet at the collegiate level. Demarkus Acy is a punishing defender whose best fit is at safety. If he is going to be able to play at his most natural position, a talented youngster like Adam Sparks will likely need to lock down one CB spot. Tyrone Collins is a very good looking freshman corner that enrolled early but based on his measurements, and he may need a year to get stronger. The crown jewel of the Missouri defense is DT Terry Beckner. The former 5-star recruit from Nelly’s neighborhood chose to spurn the NFL and come back to Missouri for his final season. Unfortunately, the 2019 DL class for the NFL Draft may be the best in the past several decades so he may not get (too*) rich off his rookie deal. The thought of Beckner lining up alongside Texas transfer, Jordan Elliott, will keep opposing team’s OLs up at night. There are a host of other talented players on the Missouri DL, and they will be creating opportunities for a talented LB in Terez Hall to make a lot of tackles. Overall, Missouri has a nice collection of veterans and talented youth on both sides of the ball.