The Watch List: 2019 C-USA Season Preview

Updated: July 3rd 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

Storylines to Watch

Heisman Contender: Mason Fine, QB, North Texas.  Fine is the C-USA quarterback most likely to put up Heisman-worthy numbers in 2019.  He also has notable, but winnable, non-conference games against Cal and Houston.  If the Mean Green end their opening slog 5-0, Fine may get some national publicity.  More on him below…

Underclassman to Watch: Brendan Knox, RB, Marshall.  Knox is a compact but powerful redshirt sophomore who took over as the starter last November.  In his five starts, he topped 100 yards in three.  The marquee game was a 27-204-2 explosion against Virginia Tech.  I found two highlight packages online and was surprised by how nimble he looked because he’s listed at 6000/223.  He’s definitely smaller than that listed size but he appeared to have a good combination of power and elusiveness.  I’ll flag Knox’s name for 2021 and check back in on him next offseason. (By the way, that late season makeup against Virginia Tech was such a fascinating situation for sports administration nerds like myself.  Va Tech needed the makeup because they cancelled a game in September due to a hurricane and wouldn’t have been bowl eligible with a 6-5 record.  Luckily for them, nearby Marshall also cancelled a game that same weekend.  So the teams devised a contingency plan that would schedule a game on December 1st if the Hokies were one win away from eligibility.  Marshall got a cool $300,000 and a future home-and-home series out of the deal.  If the game wasn’t needed, Marshall still would have pocketed $100,000.  Love it.)

Newcomer of the Year: BJ Emmons, RB, Florida Atlantic.  Emmons will see the field for the first time as an Owl in 2019 — he signed last year but sat out the season.  He’s reunited with Lane Kiffin who was his OC at Alabama in 2016.  Due to an injury and a backfield logjam, Emmons played in just seven games as a true freshman for the Tide that season, earning 35 carries.  He transferred down to Hutchinson Community College, where he rushed for 694-10 on 150 carries in 2017.  Emmons was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and was the top running back per Rivals and ESPN, so he has a pedigree and some underlying talent.  He remains an unknown but he looks to have some power and some pop on his JUCO highlights.  It’ll be interesting to see if he can take over for Devin Singletary and show that he was worthy of his younger plaudits.

Coaching Carousel: The top C-USA teams all managed to hold onto their head coaches.  The only changes come at Western Kentucky (Tyson Helton) and Charlotte (Will Healy).  I won’t pretend to have had a feel for him before doing some research, but I’m interested to see how Helton does in his first year as a head coach (at any level).  He’s the younger brother of USC’s Clay Helton.  Helton the younger bounced around smaller schools for years — his first coordinator job was here at Western Kentucky — before landing on his brother’s staff at USC as the quarterbacks coach.  Last year he moved on to be the OC at Tennessee.  Helton’s resume may not yet inspire confidence, but his roster may.  The Hilltoppers return sixteen starters, ten on the offense; per Phil Steele’s experience chart, they return nearly 80% of their offensive yards from last season.  That will help the offensive-minded Helton find some success in his rookie season.  Non-conference games against Louisville and Arkansas offer the possibility of a season-making upset.  (Here’s a scheduling oddity that struck me: Western Kentucky and Louisville will be playing their neutral site game in Tennessee.)

Players to Watch

Mason Fine, QB, North Texas

Over the last two seasons, Mason Fine has put up an impressive 7,845 passing yards and 58 TDs. That yardage total leads the FBS over that span. You may have recently heard of some of the guys just behind him on that list: Drew Lock, Ryan Finley and Will Grier. I don’t think Fine will be a Top 100 prospect like that trio but I don’t think we should ignore him just because he’s undersized (5110/185).

When I watched Fine’s film from Liberty 2018, it was clear that his size did impact his game, however he is often able to overcome.  I noted a few times when he needed to improvise and either had to jump-throw or modify his arm slot to try and complete a pass.  His feet can be inconsistent, especially when on the move because he doesn’t always try to set himself, instead relying on his arm strength.  It may be a strike against him for his pro evaluation, but Fine’s improvisation can be successful and makes him fun to watch.  This play is a simple illustration of Fine needing to jump in order to complete a throw.

Fine’s greatest trait may be his awareness and how that translates to an ability to read the rush, the field and the situation.  When he scrambles he keeps his eyes downfield; if there’s nobody open, he decides when it’s best to throw it away or try to gain a few yards on the ground.  He doesn’t force the ball into his first read and instead checks it down underneath (I wish I saw him go to a second downfield read but I didn’t see that in my study).  Fine often deploys a pump fake to try and manipulate defenders — a skill that only the top prospects usually display.

Fine has a strong arm which is capable of 50 yard scrambling deep balls as well as deep outs to the opposite hash.  If he improves his mechanics he could have a great arm.  This play from one of Fine’s highlight reels shows a combination of some of the notes I shared above: pocket awareness, scrambling with an eye downfield, a strong arm and an unconventional delivery that ultimately ends positively.

Whether or not we value undersized quarterback prospects like Fine or Houston’s D’Eriq King for 2020 is going to weigh heavily on Kyler Murray’s rookie season. Admittedly, Fine is far from the athlete that Murray is, but he’s going to finish as one of the most productive passers of the decade and should get a shot to prove himself in an NFL camp.

Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic

Before we get into Harrison Bryant’s stats and film, I have a confession to make. I consistently confuse the names of Harrison Bryant (TE, Florida Atlantic) and Hunter Bryant (TE, Washington) when I’m writing. I really don’t think it’s fair to have two H. Bryant tight end prospects in the same class. I’d like to submit that one of the two go by their middle name going forward.

Harrison Bryant improved on an encouraging sophomore season with an even better junior outing. All told over the two seasons, Bryant has 77 receptions for 1,070 yards and 9 TDs. Bryant’s size (6050/240) and production mirror the new trend of “move tight ends” who are basically big slot receivers. When I first flipped on his film, I was surprised at how much he really did look like a receiver out there — he’ll need to bulk up a bit prior to that combine weigh-in.

My first impression was that Bryant was going to be a liability as a blocker but that wasn’t the case.  He spends about half his time lined up in the slot with the rest in an h-back role (I only noted a handful of in-line alignments).  His best blocking attempts come from that h-back spot, either leading the running back through the hole or sealing off the edge.  This play might have been Bryant’s best blocking effort of the day.  He initially chips the end before getting to the linebacker in the second level.  He turns the defender to keep him out of the play and as the play develops he stays with the block.  He and the linebacker end up in the middle of the action so Bryant finishes the block by taking his man to the ground.  If he can consistently complete that play he’ll earn a lot of snaps in the NFL.

His soft hands and speed are especially valuable when he’s a believable blocker.  There was one sequence of plays against North Texas that perfectly encapsulate Bryant’s potential.  The first two plays have Bryant blocking up the gut for the back.  Once the defense was expecting run on 3rd and 1, Lane Kiffin calls for play action.  Bryant splits the defenders who are reading run and streaks up the seam for an easy touchdown catch.  It was a wonderful showcase for a player like Bryant.

Bryant is listed as the tenth best draft eligible tight end by DraftScout.com in Phil Steele’s season preview magazine.  I haven’t studied many tight ends yet this offseason but I think it’ll be hard not to put him higher.

Honorable Mentions

Spencer Brown, RB, UAB: UAB reinstated their football program in 2017 and true freshman Spencer Brown was a huge factor in their surprising 8-5 season. He amassed 1,329 rushing yards and scored 10 TDs. He followed that up with another great season in 2018: 1,227 and 16. His touches went up and his yardage went down which is a slight concern but he’s a high volume guy who hasn’t yet missed a game. The knock against his production would be that he has just twelve career receptions. Listed at 6000/220, Brown is built and runs with power. He lacks game-breaking speed but he’ll find a role in the NFL as an early down runner.

Rico Bussey, WR, North Texas: Bussey, a senior, enjoyed his most successful season in 2018. He totaled 68 receptions for 1,017 yards and 12 TDs, the biggest beneficiary of Mason Fine’s prolific arm. I was happy to see that Bussey was listed at 6020 because so many productive mid-major receivers are undersized slot guys. He’s a little light, especially in his lower body, but he appears to have enough speed and strength to win as an outside receiver in C-USA play. Whether he can do that against tougher competition will be key. The Mean Green have the aforementioned matchups against Cal and Houston which will give Bussey two tests this season against tougher non-conference competition. In his two career games against the Power 5, versus Iowa and Arkansas, Bussey has just 6-34-1. His highlights included a number of acrobatic contested catches so I’m excited to see more.

Ty Lee, WR, Middle Tennessee State: Speaking of undersized slot guys, Ty Lee is a name to know. Lee measures just 5090/178 but he’s a dynamo. He’s been a steady presence in the Blue Raiders offense for three years even though he has never eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in a season. His average receiving line is a solid 71-845-7. If he continues the trend he’ll have one of the most consistent resumes of all FBS receivers. Lee is also featured as a runner with 234 career yards and 2 scores on 49 attempts. Surprisingly he’s rarely been used as a kick or punt returner which would be the natural assumption for a player of his profile. With the ball in his hands, Lee is nearly unstoppable. His change of direction is silky smooth and he strategically deploys a wicked spin move. Players like Tarik Cohen have shown that there is a role in the NFL for Ty Lee and I expect him to get a shot. He may not be worth drafting in your rookie draft but I’d bet there’s a week or two in 2020 where he’s fantasy relevant.

 

Notes: Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When studying a player I rely on game film “cuts” which are most frequently found on Youtube. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels.  Keep in mind these highlight reels are the best plays of that player. When I have the option, I will choose to watch a game versus the better defense. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources. I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2020 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters, depth charts and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a certified park and recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper

The Watch List: 2018 Bowl Game Previews, Part I

Updated: December 9th 2018

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players and matchups from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout bowl season as The Watch List will preview every game and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your draft capital next year. 

Celebration Bowl, North Carolina A&T (9-2) vs Alcorn State (9-3), Sat 12/15 at 12:00pm on ABC

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: Lamar Raynard, QB, North Carolina A&T
    • I recalled watching Raynard last year in the Celebration Bowl and wanted to learn some more so I watched his 2018 film against Jacksonville State.  I came away more encouraged than I expected.  He has a good arm that allows him to chuck an effortless looking deep ball, however, his accuracy appears below average.  His footwork in the pocket is crisp.  I think he may be a little eager to leave the pocket but he has enough speed to pick up extra yardage.  Raynard had a great 2017 season (2,932-27-7) but regressed a bit in 2018 (1,630-18-5).  His career completion percentage is a shade under 60% which backs up my accuracy concerns.  Raynard is lanky at 6040/195 so a few extra pounds would do him well.  A&T primarily plays a zone-read offense but I did see him take some snaps from under center which is a bonus.  Given his height and arm strength I think somebody will give Raynard a shot, probably as a priority UDFA, to back up their running QB.
  • My Pick:  North Carolina A&T, -7.5
    • I won’t pretend to have a feel for this game because I don’t.  Chances are, your book won’t list this game anyway (I had to find a line on a European site) but if you do decide to play it, go for the Aggies.  A&T beat FBS team East Carolina earlier, has a recognizable name at quarterback and is on a four game winning streak.

Cure Bowl, Louisiana Lafayette (7-6) vs Tulane (6-6), Sat 12/15 at 1:30pm on CBSSN

  • Draft (In)Eligible Player to Watch: Trey Ragas, RB, Lousiana Lafayette
    • I struggled with selecting a worthy draft eligible player for this game.  I cheated and selected sophomore back Trey Ragas instead.  I figured it would make more sense to watch film of somebody who might actually factor into the game than somebody we’ll never hear from again.  I watched an extended highlight package of the Cajuns blowout loss to Alabama so I could glimpse Ragas against a top foe.  Ragas is a stout back at 5110/227 and as such prefers running straight ahead between the tackles.  He doesn’t stray from contact and in fact shows good contact balance and an ability to keep his feet moving leading to long runs.  I also thought he looked to be an eager, albeit over matched, blocker against an elite rush.  He didn’t record any receptions in the Alabama game but he does have 22 receptions and 188 receiving yards on the year.  That pairs with his 1,040 rushing yards and 8 rushing TDs to make for a great season.  Ragas won’t factor into the 2019 draft class but we could be talking about him again a year from now.
  • My Pick: Louisiana Lafayette, +3.5
    • This one is a toss-up between mediocre teams so I’ll take the points.  Louisiana-Lafayette is 9-4 ATS this season whereas Tulane is 5-7, which is just confirmation of the way I was leaning anyway.  The Cajuns have a strong rushing offense (fellow sophomore Elijah Mitchell added 866-12) and Tulane’s rush defense allowed 153.9 yards per game during the regular season.

New Mexico Bowl, Utah State (10-2) vs North Texas (9-3), Sat 12/15 at 2:00pm on ESPN

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: EJ Ejiya, LB, North Texas
    • While I was looking through statistics for these two teams, Ejiya stood out to me because he had both a high number of tackles (113) and a high number of sacks (9); he also had a conference-leading 23.5 tackles for loss.  It’s uncommon for somebody to have tallies that high in all three categories, especially for an inside linebacker.  I figured, “surely this guy must be a one year wonder.”  But he had an almost as impressive 108-12.0-7.0 line in 2017 as a junior.  I sampled Ejiya’s tape against Florida Atlantic and Rice from 2018.  What I saw tempered my expectations.  Ejiya looks small on the field (listed at 6030/230 which is a bit light anyway) and was often caught in the trash in the middle of the play.  I rarely saw him make quick, instinctual reads of the play.  Despite whatever he may lack, Ejiya does keep coming and is determined to make the play.  I saw him ultimately make the tackle on numerous snaps where it looked like he was going to be blocked or out of the play.  Ejiya has the capability to take over a game (four games with 11+ tackles, four games with 3.0+ tackles for loss, three games with 2.0 sacks) so it’ll be interesting to see him lined up across from Utah State’s standout sophomore QB Jordan Love (3,193-28-4, plus 60-6 rushing).
  • My Pick: Utah State, -10
    • Utah State has lost against the spread in their last two contests but prior to that they were 9-1 on the season.  Their offense ranks 3rd overall in the FBS in points scored (47.2) while North Texas averages 36.4.  Both teams feature strong quarterback play (Mason Fine, who helms the Mean Green, is efficient and prolific but too small for NFL consideration I believe) so I expect this one to be full of offense and Utah State’s is better.

Las Vegas Bowl, Arizona State (7-5) vs Fresno State (11-2), Sat 12/15 at 3:30pm on ABC

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
    • The Las Vegas Bowl is becoming known as the “One of These Teams has a Premier Prospect but Who Knows if They’ll Play Bowl.” Last year it was Oregon RB Royce Freeman (who ultimately declined to play). This year it could be N’Keal Harry. Harry has publicly said he didn’t yet make a decision about playing. If he does play, you’ll get a glimpse of the possible WR1 in the 2019 class. Harry has 6040 height but the speed and RAC ability of smaller receivers. He succeeds in contested situations because of his strength and vertical. If he plays, his 2018 stat line of 73-1,088-9 will improve and be right on par with his production from 2017 (82-1,142-8). If Harry does not play, keep an eye on Fresno WR KeeSean Johnson (no relation to Keyshawn). Johnson has improved year over year and looks like a mid-rounder for 2019.
  • My Pick: Fresno State, -3.  
    • I took Fresno and the points against Boise and they ended up winning straight up (really wish I took that moneyline!). They will easily handle Arizona State, especially if the Sun Devils are missing Harry. As I mentioned last week, seven of Fresno State’s last eight have gone under.

Camellia Bowl, Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs Georgia Southern (9-3), Sat 12/15 at 5:30pm on ESPN

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: Tyler Wiegers, QB, Eastern Michigan
    • This one is a bit of a stretch but there aren’t too many draft prospects in this game. I briefly considered Southern RB Wesley Fields (959-9) and Eastern’s edge rusher Maxx Crosby (62-7.5) but settled on Wiegers. Whenever you’re looking for a draft prospect, you can do worse than a 6040/227 quarterback. Wiegers started his career in Iowa but grad transferred to Ypsilanti for the 2018 season. He has a small sample size, just 270 career attempts, but as I’ll say dozens of times this offseason, it’s a weak quarterback class. Admittedly, I haven’t watched Wiegers tape, save for a few minutes of live game time here and there. His stat logs show an efficient, yet unexciting passer: 64.8% completion percentage, 7.1 yards per attempt, 11 TDs and just 3 INTs. In EMU’s last three wins, Wiegers has thrown for just 418-1-2 so let’s not get too excited.
  • My Pick: Georgia Southern, +3.5
    • Georgia Southern runs a triple option offense so I’ll give them the nod for novelty. The narrative will be that Eastern Michigan has time to prepare but by virtue of playing on the first day of bowl games, it’s not that much longer than usual. Southern has five guys with 300+ yards and as a team average 261.5 rushing yards per game (9th best in the FBS). Despite having such a robust rushing attack, they somehow manage to place dead last in the FBS in offensive plays per game – that was very surprising. They’ll roll against the Eagles’ 93rd ranked rushing defense and win this one straight up to hit double digit wins for the first time in program history.

New Orleans Bowl, Middle Tennessee (8-5) vs Appalachian State (10-2), Sat 12/15 at 9:00pm on ESPN

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: Ty Lee, WR, Middle Tennessee
    • I profiled Blue Raider QB Brent Stockstill last week so I figured this week I should focus on one of his targets. Lee is diminutive at 5090/178, but unlike his quarterback he’s been able to stay healthy throughout his career. Lee’s three seasons have been pretty similar and average out to a 69-820-7 line. In 2017 he also had 39 “rushing attempts” for 109-1 (presumably, most of these were screens that went backwards, save for some wildcat snaps). I watched segments of Lee’s 2017 Florida Atlantic tape and loved how varied his usage was. I saw him line up in the slot on both sides, flanking the quarterback and in the wildcat. I didn’t see too much speed so I checked for an estimate on DraftScout.com and they have him in the 4.49 range – hopefully he tests a bit quicker than that. He’s primarily a screen and swing receiver but his versatility could earn him a limited role at the next level.
  • My Pick: Middle Tennessee, +7
    • I’m going with an intangible, emotional argument on this one. MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill will be playing in his last game for the school and for his dad, Rick who is the head coach. Stockstill has spent six years with the program after gray-shirting in 2013. As I mentioned last week, he’s an old and oft-injured prospect but he’s got a good story. There’s nothing to back this up but I think his teammates will play for him and get the W. (Plus, App State is 0-1-2 in their last three contests ATS).

Boca Raton Bowl, Northern Illinois (8-5) vs UAB (10-3), Tue 12/18 at 7:00pm on ESPN

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: Sutton Smith, LB, Northern Illinois
    • I skipped over Sutton Smith last week to feature Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson. I think Mr. Smith took that to heart because he came out with a dominating 10 tackle and 2.0 sack performance in the MAC Championship Game. I was only half watching the game but it felt like I heard his name called on nearly every play. Smith’s stats are outstanding and he’s been rewarded for them (2017 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2017 Consensus All-American). Over the last two seasons, he’s combined for: 109 tackles, 51.0 tackles for loss and 27 sacks. If he were bigger, we’d be talking about him as a potential first rounder. He’s listed at 6010/237 and that feels favorable. Smith will be drafted and be given a chance as a situational pass rusher but I think he’ll be one of those college stars that doesn’t translate in the pros.
  • My Pick: UAB, -1.5
    • I figured that UAB RB Spencer Brown would be the key to the C-USA Championship Game, if he played, and he was. Brown returned with a vengeance, racking up 31 carries for 156 yards and a score. He was, no doubt, the key to the rematch against Middle Tennessee. Northern Illinois has the nation’s 14th best rush defense so it’ll be a good strength vs strength battle. I’m looking forward to studying Brown for the 2020 draft so I’ll pick with my heart and lean Blazers.

Frisco Bowl, San Diego State (7-5) vs Ohio (8-4), Wed 12/19 at 8:00pm on ESPN

  • Draft Eligible Player to Watch: AJ Ouellette, RB, Ohio
    • Oullette is your basic vanilla mid-major runner. That sounds like an insult but I promise it isn’t. He has back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and catches just enough passes to be relevant (19 receptions in 2018). From my limited exposure over the years, I don’t think he does anything particularly great but he’s good enough all-around. He’s a straight-ahead runner without much long speed. He does have enough wiggle to make a cut through a hole or make a defender miss and is a fall-forward kind of runner. As I write this, UDFA Gus Edwards is having a moment for the Ravens, and I feel like that’s the type of career Ouellette can have in the NFL. He’ll be a late rounder or a priority free agent and just about everybody will forget about him until he makes an unexpected impact. It probably won’t matter for fantasy purposes but as an actual fan of his NFL team you’ll be glad you had him.
  • My Pick: Ohio, -3
    • In addition to Ouellette, the Bobcats feature dual-threat quarterback Nathan Rourke. Rourke finished the season with a four score rushing performance against Akron (he ended with 816 rushing yards and 13 TDs). He’s also an efficient passer when called upon. The Aztecs have been a mess for bettors this year (3-9 ATS) and RB Juwan Washington doesn’t seem to be fully recovered from his midseason injury so I wouldn’t think twice about giving the points here.

Lines and betting stats courtesy of OddsShark.com, as of 12/2.

Notes: In an effort to standardize the description of key positional traits, I frequently use the following adjectives: elite, good, above average, average, below average, poor.  My experimental grading system uses a Madden-like approach by weighting position relevant traits on a 100-point scale; bonus or negative points are awarded based on production, size, injury history and character.  Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When watching film for a player, I typically pick two games.  When time permits, I may add a third game. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had so they really need to jump off the screen. I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability. If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching college players I use a number of resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites…

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, foxsports.com, mcubed.net
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2019 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, walterfootball.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, 247Sports College Football, College Fantasy Football: On Campus, Underdog Pawdcast, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com, the media home for FWAA members
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: oddsshark.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper