Yesterday featured one of the highest profile matchups we could see for the entire college football season. The clash between Big Ten titans #4 Penn State and #3 Iowa prompted me to devote two of this weeks three slots to their top players.
#6 Oklahoma faced their toughest task as well, so their leader will roundup this weeks edition of Dylan’s Dimes!
Dylan’s Dimes will be a ten step breakdown of three of the biggest draft eligible players taking the field in some of the biggest matchups each week. I analyze background, on the field performance, off the field traits, opinions around the NCAA, all leading up to the dropping the dime on how they could fit with gang green.
Iowa is a powerhouse this season. It seems as though they’ve figured out the rhythm they need to achieve to manufacture a playoff caliber season. One of their biggest strengths this season is the offensive line anchored by superstar lineman,Tyler Linderbaum.
The Penn State offense could provide Iowa’s biggest test of the season. They have one of the most electrifying players in the country, a guy that ESPN’s Mel Kiper has as the top receiver in the entire draft class, wide receiver, Jahan Dotson.
Heading into the draft, he led the way as one of the highest profile quarterbacks expected to come out. Anticipated to carry the torch of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts, this week’s final breakdown will be of Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler.
-From: Solon, Iowa
-From: Newark, NJ
-From: Phoenix, AZ
At Solon High School, Linderbaum played in the trenches on both sides of the ball. He was honored as a 2018 U.S. Army All American and committed to Iowa to play defensive line at the next level. Linderbaum is a former four-sport athlete in high school, a leader at all levels and so versatile he was willing to make a position switch. Linderbaum moved to center in order to benefit the team and he took it in stride becoming one of the best offensive lineman in the country.
Jahan Dotson went to Nazareth Area High School for three of four years and attended Peddie High in New Jersey for junior year. Despite only playing three years, Dotson is immersed in Nazareth history setting the school records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Dotson also won state championships in the 4×100 meter relay and long jump as well. He committed to UCLA before recommitting and staying in PA at Penn State.
Rattler certainly had an atypical high school experience. He set the Arizona high school passing record, won MVP in Elite 11 and stood out as one of the most polarizing high school players in the country. So polarizing, he was offered the shot to star in a Netflix show. After being suspended and finding himself immersed in controversy, he missed the remainder of his senior year. Ultimately, he committed to Oklahoma as the top quarterback in the country.
2020 & 2021 (so far) Statistics:
2020: 8 games, 91.5 PFF grade, three pressures allowed on 280 pass-blocking snaps.
2021: 5 games, 89.5 PFF grade
2020: 9 games, 52 receptions, 884 yards, 17.0 YPR & 8 TDs.
2021: 5 games, 35 receptions, 446 yards, 12.7 YPR & 6 TDs.
2020: 11 games, 214/317, 67.5% completion percentage, 3,031 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs, 9.6 Y/A, 160 rushing yards & 6 TDs.
2021: 5 games, 122/16- 76.3% completion percentage, 1,260 yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs, 7.9 Y/A, 95 rushing yards & 2TDs.
It’s a rarity to see a 290 pound man move as nimbly as the running back he’s blocking for, but Linderbaum does just that. His athleticism is elite, and I could probably devote an entire article to raving about it. Linderbaum also encompasses the football IQ to play anywhere on the line although he’s been a great center for the Hawkeyes. Linderbaum’s greatest asset may be off the gridiron though. Linderbaum is a leader on the team serving as a leadership group member as a sophomore, but he’s also a leader in the community racing tens of thousands for the Iowa children’s hospital. On and off the field, Linderbaum is a well rounded prospect.
Dotson has quietly been establishing himself as one of the top perimeter threats in the country over the past two years. This season, paired with the Nittany Lions success, and his own play, he has risen from household name to legitimate star totaling up six touchdowns in five games. Dotson is constantly making big plays, his footwork and route running are exceptional and his ability to catch the ball at any spot is second to none in the class. His ability to pick up yards after the catch has been evidenced in the Lions new quick paced offense this season. Dotson is versatile, lining up all over and returning punts as well.
Spencer Rattler may have the best arm of the quarterbacks I have taken a look at in this class. Rattler has the strength to make just about any throw downfield. His movement within the pocket is outstanding and he has the athleticism to make just about any throw. His footwork allows for him to adapt quickly to pressure at an elite level.
For Linderbaum the two glaring flaws are size and inexperience. Neither of which have held him back to this point. Linderbaum at 290 is not the biggest center, so he could stand to add more weight to his frame before taking the jump to the next level. Linderbaum also made the switch from defensive line to offensive line and although he’s a dominant blocker, his game still can benefit from getting more and more experience and learning more nuances to the position over time.
Dotson’s biggest issues stem from being an untraditional perimeter threat. His size is not at the same level as some of the other outside threats in the class and it shows in his competition with larger defensive backs. Dotson thrives on the outside though and although his size may make him suitable for a natural kick inside to the slot, if Dotson continues to play well outside, he can command enough respect to justify a top selection.
Rattler’s issues are all related to trying to do too much or having too much confidence in his arm. Rattler makes poor decisions at times and tries to force the ball to certain receivers rather than taking it all in and making smarter decisions. Rattler has had fumbles in the past that have cost his team when he’s tried to do too much. His aggressive play style can be an asset, but also a detriment.
7/10-The Focus of Improvement:
Dotson: Continue to Show Out
Rattler: Don’t Cost Your Team/Play More Conservative
The sky is the limit with Linderbaum. Regardless of if he builds on his frame I think fellow Iowa product and now Super Bowl Champion Tristan Wirfs has shown athleticism and smaller stature can work at the next level. Linderbaum can have that Wirfs like effect on an offense. His athleticism will make him a weapon in run blocking, but his pass blocking will elevate him into the conversation of top centers in the NFL relatively quickly.
Dotson is hard to breakdown. I could see Dotson landing in the right spot, being used in multiple different packages that suit his skill set and becoming a suitable weapon. I could also see offenses neglecting to tailor to his skill set and him becoming a complimentary piece. For Dotson, the skills are there to be a talented reciever, but fit will be paramount to his success at the next level.
Rattler is hard to project. I think as a prospect he provides a lot of raw potential to be molded into a polarizing franchise quarterback. For me, I grade him similarly to Justin Fields. If he can stop making costly mistakes and start going through his progressions more efficiently he could become a franchise quarterback. I also think him landing somewhere as a backup similar to Patrick Mahomes would be ideal, a spot like Atlanta comes to mind as a good potential spot to develop. If Rattler fails to show progress towards the back half of the season and lands in the wrong spot, it’s a lot harder for me to see Rattler having success, fit and development are paramount to his success.
9/10-The Outside Opinion:
“Look for him to win 1st Team All-Big Ten Honors this year as a Hawkeye and become a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He is a player any NFL organization would be thrilled to have due to his athleticism, strength, and mental toughness.”- CJ Errickson, Yardbarker
“That’s the thing about them. They’ve got a lot of guys that are just really good players … That’s what you have to realize. You’re playing a team that can close the gap really fast because they’ve got some guys. He’s one of those guys. He’s THE guy, a really good guy.”-Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
“Rattler has a very quick release and he plays with energy and urgency. He flashes the ability to stick the ball into tight windows down the seam. The OU signal-caller is at his best throwing on the move. He is accurate rolling to both his right and left, and he has a good feel for applying the proper pace and trajectory on the ball. He threw some beautiful deep balls in the three games I watched”- Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
I’ll be open about it, I have found my favorite prospect in the class. I don’t know if I could gush about Linderbaum anymore than I have. If the Jets can get him by any means, they should. Linderbaum could anchor the center position for the next decade and pair with AVT and Mekhi Becton to build one of the best offensive lines in football. If the Jets want to do everything in their power to build a playoff contender, adding Linderbaum could give them an elite line capable of taking the offense to the next step.
Dotson is a unique potential fit. If he slips I could see the Jets taking a chance on the electrifying prospect, but after using a second rounder on receivers in back to back drafts I could see Douglas rocking with his group and passing up on Dotson. Although I personally love Dotson, I think his fit could be tough given the current personnel and scheme.
Similar to Matt Corral last week, the Jets are seeing Zach Wilson grow week to week and demonstrate progression, especially last week when he racked up rookie of the week honors. Although Rattler has the skill set to be a good quarterback, he won’t be doing so in the green and white.