8 In-The-Box: Scouting Beyond Power Five Schools

Join the expert panel from DynastyFootballFactory.com as we tackle all the hot button topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/sit, Non-PPR, PPR and everything in between. We stack the box every week with all the answers for your dynasty minds.

You will find the answers inside with DFF’s 8 IN-THE-BOX

What is the most important trait(s) when you are scouting lower level or non-Power Five prospects?

John Orr – For me, it takes me all the way back to when I was charting games. When I find a defensive player who stands out, who can stand up a lineman and motor around the field, that’s what grabs my attention. I want to see the player blow up a play. When you’re dropping into games where you don’t have a lot of talent, you want to see a player take over a game. Will they be able to pursue the ball? If yes, I am taking a longer look. I look at a lot of LBs, and I am watching to see if they have some bend in their knees. Also, I want them to be able to hold their ground. If the player is around the ball, it’s a good sign to me. Those are some of the things I look for.

Joshua Johnson – I simply ask myself one question when watching their film. Are they the best player on the field? This might not always be the truest blueprint. However, it is certainly a solid basis for forming a forecasting opinion. It is also not very different position by position. You name any position, and you can find a star at the NFL level from a non-Power Five conference. If a guy stands out or makes those “Wow” plays at any level he can translate in certain situations. Talent is talent, and some scouts/coaches/GMs can tell what is going to work for them.

Shaun Laibe – I watch a plethora of YouTube clips when scouting non-Power Five conference players since their games are not usually shown on ESPN. When I do this, I’m looking for something that jumps out as being elite, considering the competition. If you don’t stand out on a YouTube clip against inferior competition, you’re not getting another look. If you do stand out, I’ll take a deeper dive into other key measurables.

Brian Hawkes – Consistent dominance. If a player in a non-Power Five conference is going to become an elite level pro, he should be consistently the best player on the field. The perfect example is Corey Davis. The dude never takes a week off, and consistently dominated against lower level competition. To make matters more convincing, he also flashed against Michigan St. and Wisconsin.

Shane Manila – I like to keep it simple. Either you better dominate since the competition is not as strong or be a metric freak. If you can’t dominate non-elite competition, then I’m leery if you can dominate the most talented and gifted athletes in all of sports. That said, if you didn’t dominate, but you did break the combine, you’ll catch my eye.

Is there currently a buy low QB on your trade radar?

Joshua Johnson – In non-superflex circles I want Carson Wentz. His current ADP (all league types considered) is 108th overall. Some may argue that is too high, but I have seen him go much later. He has his flaws and some definite learning to do, but his pocket poise is that of a seasoned NFL veteran. In those middle rounds, he is around the 12th QB taken. This signifies he is not an every week starter and I can deal with that. However, this is dynasty people, and you want to buy before the price is too risky. Next year I expect a 4 to 6 round spike in ADP for Wentz. So buying him now at a reasonable price adds to the overall value of your squad as you move into next season.

Shaun Laibe – Jared Goff. As bad as Goff was in 2016, I am willing to write that off to the Jeff Fisher effect. New Rams Head Coach, Sean McVay, is the polar opposite of Fisher. As the Redskins’ Offensive Coordinator last season, McVay commanded the NFL’s 3rd ranked passing attack. Now that he is in LA, Goff has a real chance to showcase the ability which led him to being selected #1 overall.

Brian Hawkes – Cam Newton. Newton’s 2016 season included a career-low passing TD%, career low rushing yards, and tied for his lowest rushing TD total. He’s followed by having shoulder surgery this offseason. The team has made an effort to bolster his offensive line via free agency, and I believe they will continue to add lineman and offensive playmakers in the draft. Now is the window to buy the former MVP.

John Orr – Joe Flacco. This guy gets cheaper every year. I’ve been able to get him for 3rd round picks in superflex leagues. Not a bad option.

Shane Manila – If I can get any discount at all on Russell Wilson I’d aim to acquire him. Although his numbers were down, slightly, last season. He was banged up, and the Seahawks seem to be moving towards a more wide open offense (compared to the days of Marshawn Lynch). If there are any non-believers of Carson Wentz in my league’s I’ll happily target him as well.

Who is one 2018 prospect you can’t wait to get your hands?

Joshua Johnson – Like most devy heads I know of and love the UCLA QB, Josh Rosen. He is basically the second coming. However, his price tag is already steep. That’s why I really like Oklahoma State QB, Mason Rudolph. He has Warren Moon like arc and accuracy on his deep ball. His short game is also on point. Standing 6’4” and weighing in the 230-pound range never hurt any QB’s value. He is not a freak athlete, but he understands his position. His vision in the pocket of how he reads route concepts and timing work have always left me impressed. He sees holes in the coverage before they even open up. Since he is not Rosen and he does his damage in the Big 12, he does not get the respect he deserves. All this weighs his value down for your benefit.

Shaun Laibe – LJ Scott, Michigan St. – I flat out love the way this kid runs the football. Scott’s combination of size and physical running style reminds me a bit of a young Marshawn Lynch. Another thing I love about Scott is that he always plays his best in the biggest games. Last season, he combined for 422 total yards and 3 TDs against Sparty’s biggest rivals, Ohio State and Michigan.

Brian Hawkes – Saquon Barkley, RB Penn St. – I feel bad for taking the obvious guy…but at least one of us needs to acknowledge the best prospect in this class, and a player who may be a better prospect than Gurley, Elliott, Fournette, Cook, etc.

Greg Brandt – Deon Cain, WR Clemson – Cain is a very intriguing prospect to me. He’s had good production through his first two seasons at Clemson. He had over 700 yards last season while only playing around 40% of Clemson’s total snaps on the season. He was a bit overshadowed in 2016 due to Mike Williams, Artavis Scott, and Jordan Leggett all of whom have entered the 2017 NFL Draft. Even though he was overshadowed in the Clemson offense, he still produced over 19 yards per reception along with 9 touchdowns. Cain should be the primary target in 2017 for the Tigers. With the departure of DeShaun Watson, the Tigers will be looking for a brand new starting quarterback. If Clemson can find itself a decent starting quarterback, I would expect a big season from Cain. With 72 career catches through two seasons I’m excited to see Cain with a much bigger workload. With more snaps will we be able to see a more well-rounded receiver. This past season when Cain came into the game he primarily ran go routes and screens. Being the primary target in 2017 Cain should be running a more diverse route tree and not just a niche receiver.

John Orr – One of the players I want on my teams in 2018 is Mailik Jefferson, LB, from Texas. The kid ran a 4.39 forty. Will be moving into a 3-4 defense this season. My eyes will be on him this season. My belief is, he comes out for the draft in 2018. Special looking skills, one of the players I enjoy watching. One who will dart around the field, and make plays often.

Shane Manila – I don’t want to limit it to one player, but rules are rules, so I’m going with Courtland Sutton SMU WR. So big at 6’4” and 215 pounds. Watching him on Draftbreakdown.com a few things stand out. SMU’s QB play is just bad, and Sutton seemingly does it all. He can play out of the slot or outside. He can beat press coverage, and if you give him too much of a cushion, he’ll eat you alive underneath. It’s hard to tell if it’s the level competition that he makes it look so easy against or if he’s just that good. Either way, he has my full attention this coming college football season.



I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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