(Image by: USA Today Sports)
Written By: David Connors
Author Note: Matthew Berry’s Love/ Hate articles are fantasy football articles where he points out players he is low on or high on based on their projected points. I do not hate or love any of the prospects I mention in this article, but only their projections based on their grade given to them by the Blitzalytics scouting staff. If by a small slim chance you read this Mr. Berry, I do not write this in jest, but out of respect. I am a huge fan of your writing and it has had a huge influence in my own writing style. So I will try to replicate (because Matthew Berry’s Love/ Hate can never be duplicated) my own version of this article. Be sure to check out all of the Blitzalytics ranking, scouting reports, and prospect graded here.
Matthew Berry always starts Love/ Hate with a personal story. He peels back the current and reveals so much of himself to the world. I am writing this on April 15, 2021, making today 32 years since Dave and Darlene Connors said their wedding vows. They began seeing each other in ‘87, but their time together was limited while Dave was serving in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii for most of ‘’88. When Darlene became pregnant with a little girl, her father, Harry Booty (that is his real name) approached Dave and told him “you are going to marry my daughter, right?” Now Pappy never said much, but when that intimidating man did, you listened. So on April, 15th 1989 they tied the knot and the rest is history. Now, here we are 32 years later and Dave and Darlene are going as strong as ever. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!
Alright, without further ado, the prospects…
Quarterback Prospect I Love
According to our scouts, Justin Fields' biggest knock is that he is a “one read” Quarterback. This is a tricky chicken or the egg situation. Is Fields a one read Quarterback or is he just running a “one read” system? I am willing to bank on the later. When Fields has needed to go beyond his first read, albeit few and far between, he made really good decisions. He has shown an unwillingness to check down, but who can blame him when he has that arm at that school going against other Big 10 schools. Fields is a top notch athlete, however, the trait that jumps off the tape for me is his accuracy. Ben Solak from The Draft Network’s said it best when he said, ‘Fields does not throw the football, he chooses where it goes.” Fields is our third rank QB so I am only one spot higher than our group, but I think Fields is a special player. I think he is the third best QB prospect to come out in the last 3 years behind only Burrow and Lawrence.
Quarterback Prospect I Hate
I see the upside with Zach Wilson. It does not seem to matter what platform Wilson throws off of, he flips that wrist, and the ball comes screaming out. The Blitzalytics scouts credit his touch and accuracy as his strength, but I just do not see any touch with his passes. Even his deep ball comes in on a straight trajectory. Without touch, a corner has a much better position on a deep pass than if the ball is falling over the shoulder of the receiver. In fact, I am concerned with his deep ball altogether. Zach Wilson RedZone efficiency is also a huge red flag. He is a fun athlete with a lot of translatable qualities, but he is QB4 in the 2021 NFL class for me.
Skill Position Player I Love
I think whichever team takes a swing on Chuba Hubbard is getting a steal. His 2019 tape is too good for him to have just fallen off the cliff. Chuba shows the ability to drag fools who think they can take him one-on-one. I think Hubbard’s ‘20 tape is a lack of effort. Sure, that is not what anybody wants to hear in a prospect, however, his disagreements with his coach during the summer leading into the 2020 season were quite public. The scouting report says he did not play like a 6’1” 207 pound back, and he did not. I just had a hunch he was just getting his 4 to 5 yards and avoiding major contact. Whether he was preserving himself for the NFL or just was not “feeling it” due to lack of respect for his coach, I am willing to bet it is still in there.
Skill Position Player I Hate
Travis Etienne did most of his damage outside the tackles with Clemson, but he lacks the hands to be a pass-catching back. In the NFL, it is a lot harder to take a handoff outside. His speed is other worldly, there is no doubt about that, and he will probably still be one of the faster players on the field on Sunday, I am just concerned when the margin from his speed to the rest of the players on the field is closer than it was in the ACC, will he still be the weapon he is in college. I have the same concerns with Etienne that I did with Ronald Jones coming out.
Trench Player I Love
I think Alex Leatherwood is a victim of the pendulum swing conundrum. He was seen as a top recruit coming into the 2020 season, so when he did meet those expectations, he is now thought of as a bad prospect. Guys, Leatherwood is fine. He is tough and smart, two traits that can help him have a good, long career in the NFL. I think he will be a good Interior Offensive LIneman who can flex outside and be fine. He is a little stiff, but he makes great first contact and plays aggressive. He may not be ideal in a spread offense, but his aggression in the run game could make him a perfectly suitable Guards in a one-gap system.
Honorable Mention: Jayson Oweh out of Penn State is going to be a superstar.
Trench Player I Hate
Levi Onwuzurike out of Washington worries me as a prospect. Scouting defensive lineman out of Washington is a challenge because of the unique way they deploy their player. Onwuzurike was a productive player, however, most of his production seemed to come out of gap penetration and schemed up pressure as opposed to him generating pressure on his own accord. I am concerned how an interior defensive lineman of his size of 290 pounds fairs against NFL Guards as opposed to PAC 12 Guards.
Secondary Player I Love
I think Elijah Molden is the third best corner in this class. I think he is getting a little undervalued because he is a slot corner, but with the way the NFL is played now, I think he can be an essential part of any defense. This is considered a deep WR class, but the average height of the WR projected to go Day 1 and 2 is under 6’. Slot WRs are becoming a key part of how a team moves the ball. Now for Molden...he is good. He is sticky in coverage and understands space well which is essential when playing the middle of the field. He is not afraid to hit a player with all of his 190 pounds, and what he lacks in straight line speed he makes up for in recognition and instincts.
Secondary Player I Hate
I like Richie Grant, however, the Blitzalytics scouting team gave him a score of 7.65. That I just cannot get behind. He is a good athlete, but his play recognition concerns me for a safety who primarily plays in the box. He can be seen out of position often and he often gives ball carriers better positioning when engaging. His ball production is tantalizing, but to say he is a better prospect than Jaelen Phillips out of Miami is too rich for my blood.
I had my fun challenging the Blitzalytics scouts with my opinion on prospects they are either too high or too low on in my opinion, but I want to end this article but commending the hours of time they have committed to watching the prospects of the upcoming class. Their hard work cannot go understated.