Josh Morgan/USA TODAY Sports

A clear four-man tier exists atop the quarterback position in Campus 2 Canton and devy leagues. That much is clear after observing the Campus 2 Canton mock drafts curated by Austin Nace this offseason. 

Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler, DJ Uiagalelei and Bryce Young make up that elite tier, and rightfully so. Each is projected to be selected in the first few picks of the first round whenever they declare for the NFL Draft (likely 2022 for Howell and Rattler and 2023 for Young and Uiagalelei). Of those four, Young has played the least while sitting behind Mac Jones during the 2020 season. But he’s shown flashes of brilliance in limited time and arguably possesses the highest fantasy ceiling of these 4 given his natural rushing ability.

Bryce Young ready to take the reins after sitting behind Mac Jones in 2020 (Photo Credit: Kent Gidley/University of Alabama).

There are a lot of question marks after the top 4. Kedon Slovis is most commonly placed in the 5th spot, but there’s no consensus. In fact, Slovis’s C2C value appears to have taken a dip after some less than stellar play at points in 2020. Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels looked like a potential first round candidate as a freshman, but his slender frame (even with his reported weight gain) and less than stellar 4 game 2020 season leaves more questions than answers.

Regardless of which quarterbacks round out the top 5 or 6, the position is always at a premium given the standard superflex format in Campus 2 Canton leagues. Some leagues are even moving to triple superflex on the college side. For that reason, C2C owners should have a sense of urgency about having quarterbacks in their team pipeline given that there is no rookie draft to serve as a parachute if your NFL team becomes depleted at this critical position.

So here are quarterbacks 10-6 that can (1) be drafted at value in Campus 2 Canton startups according to March ADP* and (2) that also have an NFL future. There are a number of lower tiered quarterbacks, particularly amongst Group of 5 schools, that provide high weekly point floors on the college side of Campus 2 Canton leagues. This article is not intended to identify those players. This article is intended to specifically identify the values in Campus 2 Canton startup drafts for quarterbacks who should eventually play on Sundays.

10. Matt Corral, Ole Miss

We’ve seen versions of Corral over the years: Ryan Leaf, Chad Kelly, Jamarcus Russell, Josh Freeman, Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer and others. These players are undeniably talented with the physical gifts to play the position, but flaws in other aspects of their game capped or completely thwarted their potential.

Matt Corral is undeniably talented.

He possesses one of the strongest arms in college football. He can throw on the move and off-platform. He can launch a ball 65 yards without issue and he can vary bullet passes and touch passes as necessary.

The issue with Corral isn’t his ability to make NFL throws. 

The issue with Corral is between his ears.

He can be downright skittish with his decision making. In his game against Arkansas, Corral threw 6 interceptions but should have thrown 8.

Content made on Kapwing

Still, Corral is a natural born passer. Further, multiple interception performances in college did not prevent Jameis Winston from being a first overall pick or a top quarterback in fantasy.

March ADP Analysis – 86.5

With a March ADP of 86.5, Corral is just slightly undervalued. He is going behind freshmen quarterbacks Tyler Buchner and Brock Vandagriff, Devy Debate favorite Carson Strong and UCF’s Dillon Gabriel. Corral already has the requisite physical gifts. With a strong 2021 season, being the third quarterback taken in the 2022 NFL draft is not out of the question.

9. Michael Penix Jr., Indiana

Abby Drey/AP Photo

Michael Penix has a cannon for a left arm, is tough as nails, poised, and frustratingly inconsistent. If Penix could just stay healthy, he might be able to work through the mechanical issues that have led to his unnecessarily inconsistent play.

But Penix has not been able to stay healthy. He’ll miss the 2021 spring while recovering from a right ACL tear. He tore the same ACL as a freshman in October 2018 and was limited the following spring as he recovered. His 2019 season ended with a clavicle injury.  The injury history notwithstanding, Penix’s potential is immense. He simply, and literally, needs to get his feet under him.

March ADP Analysis – 161

Penix has been selected only once through the mock drafts completed this offseason. While talented, drafters are likely turned off by both Penix’s injury history and his inconsistent play. For that reason, Penix is an absolute value in startup drafts, as he can be obtained after the 15th round. 

Like Corral, Penix also has the requisite physical gifts for the next level. But he’ll need to improve his base mechanics in order to improve his consistency and reach his potential.

8. Malik Willis, Liberty

liberty.edu

If there’s a question about Willis, it certainly isn’t his production. Willis is a premium option for the college side of Campus 2 Canton leagues. He finished 5th in points per game in 2020, while accounting for 40+ points in 4 games and a whopping 55 and 67 in two others. 

So, no, there’s no question about Willis’s productivity. The question about Willis is his NFL ceiling. The Auburn transfer is rarely, if ever, mentioned when discussing the top quarterbacks eligible for the 2022 NFL draft. Admittedly, he falls behind Kedon Slovis, Carson Strong and Grayson McCall, amongst others, in my own rankings. But it may be time to reconsider.

In 2020, Willis threw for 2,250 yards while averaging 8.6 ypa with 20 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. He added nearly 1,000 yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns. All of this while planting Liberty’s figurative flag on the college football map as a first time starter for the FBS independent with no history or track record of national relevance.

While Jalen Hurts competed in the SEC, Willis’s 2020 numbers are comparable to Hurts’ 2017 sophomore season, the season before Alabama employed a more even time split between Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. In that season, Hurts passed for 2081 yards and added another 855 on the ground.

Though a bit undersize for the position at 6’1, 215 pounds, Willis’s height shouldn’t be considered as a knock on his evaluation when several prospects at the position over the past three years have been similarly statured (Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler, Zach Wilson, Jalen Hurts).

The question will be whether Willis is an accurate enough passer to run an NFL offense. It’s a question he’ll look to address in 2021.

March ADP Analysis – 113

Drafting Malik Willis could win you the college side of your Campus 2 Canton league. 

Period.

With a March ADP of 113, Willis is criminally undervalued. The potential no. 1 overall point scorer in college fantasy football is being drafted behind Jeff Sims, JJ McCarthy and Phil Jurkovec. None of the aforementioned quarterbacks punches your ticket to the playoffs on the college side of your Campus 2 Canton leagues. Furthermore, it’s not clear that Sims, McCarthy, or Jurkovec are better NFL prospects. Accordingly, Willis is a buy and I may need to adjust my quarterback rankings.

7. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Julio Cortez / AP

The younger Tagovailoa had an up and down season after transferring to Maryland from Alabama and beating out Lance Lagrange of Netflix’s QB1 fame. But Taulia’s highs in the COVID shortened 4 game season were sufficiently high enough to be intrigued, specifically at his March ADP value. 

Against Minnesota, the dual-threat produced 453 yards from scrimmage and 5 TDs while deliberately executing Maryland’s RPO offense. His productivity should continue in 2021 after a full season in the system and the benefit of both spring practices and fall camp.

If you need another reason to like Taulia, head coach Mike Locksley appears to be on to something at Maryland. After snagging a surprise catch in 5 star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett in 2020, the turtles are at it again with a top 20 recruiting class in 2021. This after Locksley secured a top 35 recruiting class in 2020, his first season as the Terrapins head coach.

I’ve pegged Maryland as a potential boat rocker in the 2021 college football landscape. Taulia’s projected development is a big reason why.

March ADP Analysis – 97.75

Taulia’s March ADP is probably fair. But he is being taken behind freshmen quarterbacks Ty Thompson and Drake Maye and Memphis transfer Grant Gunnell, all of whom are significantly lower in my personal rankings.

6. Anthony Richardson, Florida

Tim Casey/UAA Communications

For as good as Florida’s offense was in 2020, Dan Mullen’s crew could be even more exciting in 2021 behind a pair of duel-threat quarterbacks in Anthony Richardson and Emory Jones. In Richardson, the Gators possess a Cam Newtonesque athletic specimen who Mullen plucked from his backyard in Gainesville. 

The 6’4 234 pound freshman got the opportunity to showcase his ability in the Gators blowout loss to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. He showed an ability to take on linebackers and defensive backs and exceptional acceleration for a player of his size.

Reports out of Florida’s spring practice have tabbed Jones, a redshirt junior, as the starter. Still, it would seem that the Gators will use specific packages to take advantage of Richardson’s unnatural size, speed combination. He is one of Florida’s best playmakers and he is unlikely to be kept off the field.

March ADP Analysis – 146.50

Richardson is a huge boom/bust prospect. But his ceiling is absurd. With a March ADP of 146.50, Richardson is easily one of the best values right now in Campus 2 Canton startups. He is being drafted behind the likes of Bo Nix, Dustin Crum, Sawyer Robertson and Tyler Shough. 

Football isn’t particularly difficult. 

Get the best athletes on your team, and good things tend to happen.

Be on the lookout for Part II on Thursday, March 11.

For more content and player evaluations, follow Felix @sharpereview on Twitter and listen to the Devy Debate podcast!

*ADP data provided by Austin Nace @devydeets.

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