Learn the Name: Devin Singletary
Rookie draft season is upon us. Whether you draft early or in the days prior to the regular season, we have you covered. The FFStatistics team will be breaking down the most intriguing prospects throughout the offseason. In this article, we take a look at an underappreciated name in Devin Singletary.
Learn the Name: Devin Singletary
One name dynasty league managers need to get familiar with is Devin Singletary. Playing for Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic Owls, the exciting running back had a very impressive college career. With career highlights that include six yards-per-carry and 66 touchdowns, it is hard not to take notice. Singletary added 51 receptions over his three college seasons proving that he has the receiving chops to thrive in the NFL.
While Singletary saw his numbers take a slight step back in 2018, it was due to no fault of his own. FAU saw fellow impressive 2019 draft prospect Kerrith Whyte Jr., break out and siphon 134 carries. What makes Singletary’s college exploits even more impressive is the fact that he did what he did behind a sub-par offensive line. At 5’9 and 200 lbs., some draftniks have expressed size concerns. But this is a running back who held up through a 301 carry season followed by a 261. Devin ‘Motor’ Singletary possesses plenty of upside. It’s time for us to put some respect on his name and recognize game.
No discussion of Devin Singletary would be complete without touching on his record-setting 2017 season. A touchdown monster in his sophomore campaign, Singletary became one of only two running backs in the last 25 years to run for 32 or more touchdowns. Only Barry Sanders, Montee Bal, and Singletary have rushed for 32 or more touchdowns ever. To put this in perspective former FAU back Alfred Morris ran for only 27 touchdowns over four years. Singletary ran for 32 in one.
Singletary racked up a workhorse 301 carries, 1920 rushing yards, and 32 touchdowns in his monstrous campaign, putting the dynasty football world on notice. His 32 scores were nine more than the closest competitor. Fellow non-power-five standout and current Seattle Seahawk Rashaad Penny had 23. Fourth in the nation in rushing yards and fifth with 137.14 yards per game, Singletary established himself as one of the most exciting college running backs. Regularly ripping off big runs, he led the nation with 63 carries of over ten yards. Also placing fourth among running backs with nineteen carries of 20 yards, Motor exhibited good burst and explosion. Singletary was actually better in the passing game in 2017 as he posted a 19-198-1 line for the Owls.
As mentioned above Devin Singletary saw his production take a relative step back in 2018. Despite seeing a larger percentage of the teams carries in 2017 Singletary rushed for only 1,348 and 22 touchdowns. Singletary saw his yards-per-carry drop as ‘Motor’ was no longer a secret. Being able to rush for 22 touchdowns on 5.6 yards-per-carry is still quite an accomplishment, just not in contrast to his 2017 campaign. Singletary remained explosive as a junior, as evidenced by his 43 runs of over ten yards. In fact, his sixteen runs of over 20 yards tied him for fourth in the entire nation. After a stellar 2017, it is easy to be down on his very good 2018 season. Every opposing defensive coordinator went into their games scheming to stop Singletary. And he was still able to get it done.
While Singletary did see some work in the passing game he hauled in only six receptions. The team as a whole went from 27 total receptions by running backs in 2017 to 16 total in 2018. The fact that Singletary had more receptions last year than the entire running back room did speak volumes.
When discussing running backs that played in non-power-five conferences, it’s helpful to look at the splits. While Singletary saw his yards-per-carry drop, he put up 69 yards and a score against Oklahoma in 2018 and 68 yards and a score against Wisconsin in 2017. The poor blocking evident on his tape was destined not to hold up against the tougher schools, making his solid games even more impressive. Averaging 68.5 yards and a score behind a line with zero NFL talent should open some eyes.
When reviewing the film on Singletary I made sure to watch his 2018 performance against Oklahoma. Singletary was solid throughout when not victimized by bad blocking. With that said there were a couple touches that really popped. The first play that stood out to me was what Singletary was able to do when he got a pancake from his offensive line.
Singletary shows off his trademark yards after contact and proves he was a dominant runner with good blocking, regardless of competition. This is the type of ability that has Singletary in the mix as a day two selection and a first round dynasty rookie draft pick.
Devin Singletary showing off his chops in the passing game against Oklahoma pic.twitter.com/tMXQbZMZds
— Ankh Heru Hannibal Ra (@HeruRaSports) January 27, 2019
In the clip above Singletary takes a simple angle route 13 yards and is indicative of his upside in the passing game. Even against tougher competition. Singletary has the explosion and passing game chops to succeed at the next level and he was able to assuage some of his small school detractors with plays like the two above.
With 54 touchdowns and over 3250 rushing yards in two seasons, it is very easy to get drawn in by Singletary’s rushing potential. Yards after contact is quickly becoming a measure of the elite backs in the league, and Singletary has the elite tools to rank among the yearly leaders in the NFL. Singletary posted an insane 4.02 yards after contact per attempt for a total of 1,027. To put this in context, this is more yards than Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Justice Hill had overall.
Effort, grit, determination, a good base. Whatever you call it, it is evident Singletary is NFL ready in this area of his game. Singletary has excellent vision and an elite ability to make defenders miss. Traits that could quickly propel him to dynasty league stardom. Singletary forced 94 missed tackles, or 0.36 per attempt, a number that places him second in the nation right behind noted tackle breaking stalwart David Montgomery.
While Singletary has indeed looked outstanding as a runner, to really get excited about any dynasty prospect you want to see elite tools in the passing game. With great cutting ability, natural hands and elite open field ability, Singletary has the tools to become a third-down back right out of the gate. While we showed you the angle route against Oklahoma above, Motor was even more impressed with his over the shoulder reception against Marshall in 2017.
Devin Singletary shows off his downfield ability against Marshall on the trick play pic.twitter.com/vl5Bfz9qzc
— Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext) January 28, 2019
Although it occurred on a trick play that broke the coverage, what we are scouting here is the fluidness in which he catches the ball over the shoulder in stride. This is a translatable skill that could help propel him to the upper echelon of dynasty league running backs. He may not have elite getaway speed but the tools he does have at his disposal will make him a force as a receiver.
Finding a pro comparison for Devin Singletary is quite difficult. The two running backs that come to mind after scrolling through some names were two elite receiving backs. Austin Ekeler was one of the names I landed on. Both backs are around the same size and are plus weapons as receivers out of the backfield. Both possess top-level open field ability due to their proclivity to make defenders miss. With that said, Singletary was better as a runner despite playing division one football.
The other name that came to mind based on running style was Christian McCaffrey. Both are smaller backs with size concerns but had the college workload and productivity to suggest they could have success in a similar role at the NFL level. CMC is and was a much more accomplished receiver, making this is a tough comparison to stick with. Singletary operates like a running back with much more weight behind him due to his outstanding contact balance. While the attempt to find a definitive style and size comparison proved to be a futile exercise, it did crystallize the excitement we can expect from Singletary on Sundays.
Originally committed to Illinois, Singletary was a sought after college recruit. The talent has always there. As is often the case projecting players in the absence of combine numbers or knowing where they land is a tougher task. Opportunity is king in the NFL and if Singletary lands on a depth chart without an elite RB1 it will only be a matter of time before he wrestles the starting job away from the incumbent.
Singletary projects as an RB2 who could see some weekly inconsistency. While it is likely Singletary ends up the lead back in his offense he is unlikely to dominate carries as we saw from running backs like Christian McCaffrey. Singletary should settle in as a 200+ carry, 50 reception type of running back once he secures a starting job. Worthy of a first-round dynasty pick in rookie drafts, Singletary is currently a potential value. He was the fifth running off of the board in FFStatistics first rookie mock of the season but lasted until the first pick of the second round. Singletary is a name to remember for your upcoming drafts. One of the most productive backs in this draft class, it is time for the dynasty community to learn the name.
Raju Byfield is a dynasty writer for FFStatistics. You can visit his archive here. You can debate with and follow him @FantasyContext on Twitter. Stay tuned for his next Learn the name feature: Albert Okwuegbunam.