The ink is barely dry on the NFL Draft, but that hasn’t stopped media outlets from already projecting some top picks for next year’s draft. CBS Sports recently came out with its five first-round QB picks for 2024. They were USC’s Caleb Williams with the top overall pick; North Carolina’s Drake Maye at No. 4; Texas’ Quinn Ewers No. 16, Oregon’s Bo Nix No. 17 and Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr. No. 31. Missing from the list, which isn’t really a surprise: Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke.
But a year ago at this time many had Van Dyke as a first-rounder after he was ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021.
So what changed? Well, Van Dyke’s injury-plagued season. A receiving corps that didn’t step up. An offensive line that was a sieve. Josh Gattis’ offense. Take your pick of any of the above or all of the above.
It resulted in Miami’s offense being ranked toward the bottom of the nation – No. 85 out of 130 teams in total offense (367.1 yards) and No. 96 in scoring offense (23.6 points).
But now Van Dyke has a reshaped offensive line in front of him. His receiving corps gets back Xavier Restrepo healthy (he was injured in game 2 last year and was never the same afterward) and added speedsters Ray Ray Joseph and Robby Washington in recruiting without losing any of the WR talent from last year. There’s also a new coordinator, Shannon Dawson from Houston, whose hybrid Air Raid is extremely QB friendly.
So go ahead and call Van Dyke the forgotten guy on these preseason lists this year after he was even found on pre-season Heisman Trophy lists heading into last year.
A quick refresher on Van Dyke: He was a backup behind D’Eriq King as a true freshman in 2020 (playing off bench in 2 games), then in 2021 was again expected to be behind King. But he was thrust into a starting role after King’s season-ending injury and wound up starring as a starter in the final 9 games of the season. He earned ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors after completing 62.3 precent of his passes for 2,931 yards with 25 TD passes and just six INTs.
Then last year Van Dyke was slow out of the gate in Gattis’ new Miami offense. In the first four games, including a trio of perceived overmatched opponents Bethune-Cookman, Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee, he totaled just four TD passes with three interceptions. Then he came alive vs. UNC (496 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) and Virginia Tech (342 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) before suffering what was essentially a season-ending injury in the first half vs. Duke.
He ended with 1,835 passing yards, 10 TDs and five INTs. Not the year he had hoped given the high expectations off his outstanding 2021 performance.
You want to pick against Van Dyke showing he can be a first-round NFL pick next year?
Sure, there’s reason to do that.
But there’s also a reason Alabama reportedly made a run at him with hopes he’d transfer.
Van Dyke has an NFL arm and pro accuracy. All he needs is receivers that can get open and a system that supports his skills.
He might just have that in 2023.
The post ANALYSIS: Is Tyler Van Dyke the forgotten man on projections for next year’s first round of the NFL Draft? appeared first on On3.