National Championship Game Review: A Devy Newbie’s Perspective

INTRO

As most of you know, I’m not a devy writer. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written a devy article for DFF, mostly focusing on dynasty and redraft. I’ve published 377 articles without writing a single devy article thus far.

However, that’s all about to change. Like most football fans, I tuned into the National Championship game, where Alabama defeated Ohio State 52-24. I noticed that Alabama was the far superior team, although even I knew that much from my cursory knowledge of college football. This game was the first college game I watched from start to finish all season, so I’m genuinely a new viewer.

Even though I wanted to watch the game just for fun, I also got into some of the draft prospects. I know that Alabama and Ohio State are both loaded with incoming NFL talent, especially Alabama. Let’s jump into some of what I saw from a newbie’s perspective.

ALABAMA

Alabama’s offense looked terrific in the championship game. They scored 52 points, led by quarterback Mac Jones. Jones completed 36/45 of his passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns. He also added four carries for 11 yards.

Going into this game, I knew that Jones was a contender for the QB3 in this class, behind Trevor Lawrence and tonight’s opponent Justin Fields. I believed that Zach Wilson and Trey Lance had a slight edge on Jones, and Jones might be a borderline first-round pick. However, I know that NFL teams focus too much on big games, just like I do. I’d be surprised if Jones weren’t at least a mid-first rounder after his performance tonight.

Of course, I’ve heard of running back Najee Harris, who I expect to compete for the rookie RB1 with Travis Etienne. Harris had 22 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns, but he starred as a receiver with seven receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Overall, I loved getting a chance to watch Harris, and I think he’ll probably be the first running back off the board in April.

Alabama also has two receivers projected to go early in the NFL Draft in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Smith won the Heisman this year, and I couldn’t believe how good he was. He caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns in just the first half before leaving with a hand injury. Smith is every bit the talent that I had heard about, and he’ll likely compete with Ja’Marr Chase to be the WR1 in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As for Waddle, I knew he had missed multiple games with an injury, and he wasn’t 100% healthy coming into this game. He had three receptions for 34 yards, but he wasn’t playing at full strength. It was nice to see him on the field, though, and I expect to see him selected relatively early in the NFL Draft.

I also noticed that John Metchie III stepped up when Smith left with an injury. He caught eight balls for 81 yards, seamlessly fitting into the offense. Metchie III isn’t eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft, but he’s going to be a name to remember. I’d heard his name before, but this game was my first real shot at learning anything about him.

OHIO STATE

I didn’t have the same knowledge about Ohio State’s team coming into the game as I did about Alabama’s. Regarding Alabama, I knew that they had four premium fantasy-relevant draft prospects in Jones, Harris, Waddle, and Smith. However, regarding Ohio State, Justin Fields was the only player I knew well.

Fields certainly didn’t have his best game against Alabama’s tough defense. He completed 17/33 of his passes for only 194 yards and a touchdown, although he took six carries for 67 yards. However, I’m not going to overreact. I know that Fields had two excellent college seasons, and I still have him as my #2 overall quarterback. But I wish he had a better game here.

I saw that Trey Sermon left almost immediately with a collarbone injury. It’s a shame because I knew he had gathered a bit of hype over the past few weeks from talking to my friends in devy circles. I’m not sure yet where he’ll land in the NFL Draft, but it sucks that I didn’t get to see him showcase his skills.

Master Teague III replaced Sermon, taking 15 carries for 65 yards and two touchdowns. I’d heard Teague III’s name before on a devy podcast, but outside of the name, I knew nothing about him. I think he’ll return to Ohio State in 2021, and I’ll remember his name when we come around to the 2022 NFL Draft.

Chris Olave led the Buckeyes in receiving with eight catches for 69 yards. He didn’t jump off the page, but that’s likely because I was so impressed by Smith’s play on the other side of the field. I know that Olave is at least a Day 2 pick, so I’m excited I got to see him play. But I honestly don’t have much to say about him.

Nobody else on Ohio State’s team truly stood out to me. I noticed that tight end Jeremy Ruckert made a ridiculous one-handed 36-yard catch, but that catch represented his only reception. After doing a bit of research, it doesn’t seem like Ruckert is a premium NFL asset, so he’s probably not particularly relevant. Even so, if he’s a late-round pick, I’ll certainly remember his excellent catch from this game

CONCLUSIONS

Honestly, I enjoyed watching a bit of college football. I did feel some of the negative feelings I often feel toward college football. NFL games occur at a far higher overall quality, and college football seems a bit quirky in comparison. That’s the reason I typically don’t watch a lot of college football, as I simply enjoy the NFL game far more for its added complexity and better play.

However, I’m glad I could see a bit from some of the draft prospects on both Alabama and Ohio State. Even if it’s only one game, I’ll remember this contest when doing my rookie draft evaluations. But, of course, I won’t overvalue what I saw. Rookie evaluations should encompass the player’s entire college career, NFL Combine, NFL Draft capital, and landing spot. I certainly won’t let one game override all of the other data. 

It’s more of a fun thing to remember than anything else. Fantasy football, especially dynasty, is all about fun. I’m always happy when I have some fun with fantasy football, just as I had writing this article.

Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.

jkarp

Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate. Director of content, writer, and ranker for @DFF_Redraft and writer for @DFF_Dynasty. #DFFArmy #FantasyFootball You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Karp.

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