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2011 NFL Draft Stock Watch (1 Viewer)



2011 NFL Draft Stock Watch: 12/14/10

Written by Joe Everett Tuesday, 14 December 2010 17:09

It’s almost time for the college bowl games to begin and the countdown clock to the NFL Draft is always ticking here. Each and every week we see prospects that elevate their draft stock, but we also see players that slide down draft boards for a number of different reasons. With that in mind, it’s time for another edition of “Draft Stock Report,” a list of six players that are on their way up draft boards and six other players that are heading in the opposite direction as of this writing.


Cam Newton continues to rise up draft charts.

CAM NEWTON - QB - AUBURN: There couldn’t be a more polarizing figure in all of college football and even though this year has been filled with controversy, Newton is still going to be a very high pick in the NFL Draft if he declares. It’s been quite the 2010 season for Newton. Not only has he won all of college football’s biggest awards, he has the Auburn Tigers in contention for the National Championship. The former Blinn College standout has given the Tigers offense a new dimension and while he may have only a handful of games on his resume, he brings an intriguing set of intangibles to the table. Newton has a very lively arm and great mobility but at 250 pounds, he is next to impossible to bring down to the ground. This is a player who has gone from a blip on the radar to one of the brightest stars on the college football scene. Expect his name to dominate draft conversations over the next few months.

JEFF FULLER - WR - TEXAS A&M: The junior out of McKinney, Texas has taken his game to the next level this year. The Aggies’ leading receiver has NFL bloodlines; his father Jeff was a standout safety for the Aggies in the early 80’s before moving on to a six-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers. The younger Fuller has been very impressive, showing the ability to get open against all manner of different coverages and succeeding despite sub-par quarterback play for much of the year. Fuller is a big play waiting to happen and his 12 touchdowns prove how dangerous he is as a deep threat. In what looks to be a very crowded class of junior wide receivers, Jeff Fuller has clearly made a name for himself.

TYRON SMITH - OT - USC: The underclassman has always been gifted with tremendous athletic ability but his technique still needed refinement coming into the season. The light really turned on in pass protection this year and the Trojans’ ground game has been very solid as a result. Smith’s best asset is his surprising mobility for a man of his size, as he consistently finds ways to get to the next level and wall off linebackers in the running game. The Trojans have averaged 189 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry on the season and as a result, Smith has been selected to the All Pac-10 First Team. Don’t be surprised to see Smith among the first tackles selected if he declares for this year’s draft.

VON MILLER - OLB - TEXAS A&M: Miller is a player who considered coming out for the 2010 Draft after leading the nation in sacks with 17 last season, but ultimately decided to return to school. It didn’t look like the right decision at the start of the year. Texas A&M switched to a 3-4 alignment, resulting in more coverage assignments and less blitz calls for the outside linebacker, but it was a high ankle sprain that really caused his early season struggles. Once healthy, Miller got back on track and again led the Aggies with 9.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. He’s a very disruptive presence on defense and that, along with his non-stop motor, explains why the Butkus Award will be going in Von Miller’s trophy case. He will be extremely appealing to 3-4 teams in need of an edge-rushing llinebacker who has coverage ability. With his tremendous athletic ability he’s a lock for the first round.

JABAAL SHEARD - DE - PITTSBURGH: 2010 certainly got off to a rocky start for Sheard with an off-season arrest due to an altercation outside a bar on the south side of Pittsburgh. He was charged with two felonies, which were later dropped, and plead guilty to a smaller charge of disorderly conduct but was later eligible to return to the team as a captain. Scouts had been accustomed to giving most of their attention to Pittsburgh’s more heralded pass rusher, Greg Romeus, but what has been a lost season for Romeus has turned out to be a dream year for Sheard. The senior has been a dominant force against the run and the pass, racking up nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. The Big-East Defensive Player of the Year had four forced fumbles, 15 quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery and four pass breakups in addition to his 52 tackles.

JOSH BYNES - ILB - AUBURN: He’s been an extremely durable player, missing only one game due to injury during his career at Auburn. He’s started more than 30 games for the Tigers and is an irreplaceable leader on their defense. Bynes has not only been the quarterback of the defense, he’s come up big in the biggest of games. In Auburn’s comeback victory against Alabama he racked up 10 total tackles and two passes defended. He possesses good size and the instincts to weave through traffic and find the football. While he may not be drafted in the first few rounds, he remains a very pro-ready player who has gotten the most out of his senior season and college career, elevating his stock in the process.


Iowa's freefall could hurt Ricky Stanzi's draft stock.

RICKY STANZI - QB - IOWA: The fifth-year senior helped lead the Hawkeyes to a 7-2 start to the season, but Iowa ended the year on a three-game losing skid. He has been a liability in some games and his completion percentage in the team’s last three contests was barely above 50%. He’s not a bad quarterback, he’s just not that good and in a class that is littered with great prospects at the position, Stanzi will have an uphill battle on his hands if he is to be drafted in April.

JOHN CLAY - RB - WISCONSIN: The Badgers’ big back started off the year hot, barreling his way to 887 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in just the first eight games of the year, before a sprained MCL in his right knee against Purdue derailed his junior season. He played very sparingly in Wisconsin’s reaming three games and appeared to be drastically slowed down in the season finale. Clay has the option of returning for his senior season and most scouts feel he should take it because of the way his 2010 played out.

JONATHAN BALDWIN - WR - PITTSBURGH: Jonathan Baldwin just didn’t have the season a lot of scouts expected of him to have. He possesses the size that NFL teams covet but suspect quarterback play and a lack of intermediate routes hurt Baldwin’s numbers. He finished the season with 52 catches for 810 yards and five touchdowns and is still one of the more intriguing prospects at the wide receiver position. However, he’s leaving an awful lot up to his combine numbers and postseason workouts because his 2010 tape leaves a lot to be desired.

DERRELL JOHNSON-KOULIANOS - WR - IOWA: Johnson-Koulianos has been a dynamic deep threat for the Hawkeyes since the day he set foot on campus and there’s no doubting the playmaking ability he has with the 46 receptions for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns he hauled in this season. The issue with this young man is his recent arrest on drug charges that resulted in head coach Kirk Ferentz suspending him from all team activities. Court documents say Johnson-Koulianos and a roommate were arrested after officers executed a search warrant as part of a drug investigation. Police say investigators found more than $3,000 in cash, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs in their house. Not only does this mark the end of his collegiate career, Johnson-Koulianos has all but killed whatever chance he had at being drafted after this stunt.

IAN WILLIAMS - DT - NOTRE DAME: This nose guard is a prospect that has a lot going for him, most notably size and very active motor. He can get into the backfield quickly and anchor the point of attack because he has extremely strong hands. Williams is a player who took to Notre Dame’s new 3-4 defensive alignment but he hasn’t played since October 23rd against Navy, when he left the game with a sprained MCL. Outside of this injury he has been fairly durable, but he really needs to make a splash for the Irish in their upcoming bowl game against Miami if he wants to get his draft stock back to where it was.

RASHAD CARMICHAEL - CB - VIRGINIA TECH: Carmichael has all the athletic ability in the world because of his quick acceleration and phenomenal recovery speed, but his technique is still suspect. The senior would be ranked a lot higher but he’s a very beatable corner who isn’t very active in the running game. His 4.3 speed won’t do him much good if he can’t stay on the field; Carmichael missed the majority of two games this last month with a sprained ankle, although he did return for the second half of the ACC Championship Game. He’s a late-round prospect right now and really needs to combine a big game against Stanford with solid postseason workout numbers if he wants to hear his name called in April.

2011 NFL Draft Stock Watch

Written by Joe Everett Thursday, 11 November 2010 12:27

With 10 weeks of college football now in the books, there’s a lot of players that have improved their draft stock but there’s also a few that have played poorly and seen their draft stock plummet as a result.

The following is an early look at the top draft eligible risers & fallers thus far in college football and what we can expect from them going forward.

Stock Up

ROY HELU JR. - RB - NEBRASKA: There’s no more productive college back as what he’s done with the carries he’s been given. No running back is gulping up more yards per carry at 7.3 and he already has four 100 yard games on the season. No game showed how destructive Helu could be than the contest against Missouri when he rushed for more than 300 yards on 28 carries. He’s a huge reason for Nebraska’s winning record this season and while he is sharing carries, he’s got the ability to do even more if given the opportunity.

I see Roy Helu Jr. as a more shifty version of Cadillac Williams that possesses great vision and while he does not possess elite speed, he still has the ability to break away from defensive backs. He’s a natural tackle breaker with good balance and a low center of gravity. The Cornhusker has been one of the most impressive senior running backs this year and he could continue to elevate his stock if he can stay healthy and max out his speed at post-season workouts.

MIKEL LESHOURE - RB - ILLINOIS: This junior from Champaign, IL has done a great job building off of his strong finish to the 2009 season and has elevated his draft stock with a terrific 2010 thus far. He has already topped 900 yards rushing in only 9 games and this year, he’s also shown the ability to contribute in the passing game with good hands out of the backfield and now has 12 total touch downs on the season. For a player who wasn’t even mentioned as far as top backs in the nation coming into the start of the year, he’s certainly in the conversation now and might be one of the best backs in the Big Ten.

He reminds me of a poor man’s Jamal Lewis with his great size and running power. When LeShoure gets a head of steam, he’s almost impossible to stop which makes him an extremely effective goal-line and short yardage runner. This Illinois underclassman has really put himself in a great place to declare early and take advantage of what looks to be a weak running back class this year. He’s definitely an intriguing back that most NFL teams will take a look at because of his strength, speed, and size.

DEREK SHERROD - OT - MISSISSIPPI STATE: The big man has been huge for the Bulldogs this year and he’s also been a big hit in draft circles, as he’s now being regarded as one of the better options from a weak offensive tackle class. At one point in time he was regarded as a potential late first rounder but at this point in time, he’s almost a lock to fit into the first round. This guy helped pave the way for a rushing attack that averaged whopping 227 yards per game on the ground last season and the Bulldogs running game is currently ranked 14th in the nation with a 218 yard average.

Sherrod, a former 4-star recruit coming out of Mississippi’s Caledonia High School, is in his third year as a starter for Mississippi State. Sherrod plays with good leverage, he has tremendous base strength, and he’s very explosive out of his stance. This kid knows how to get to the second level and deliver punishing blocks when he gets there, but he also understands angles well enough to wall off would be tacklers. While he may not be elite, he’s shown he has what it takes to be a solid starting tackle in the NFL.

NICK FAIRLEY - DT - AUBURN: This underclassman has played like a man possessed this season and he’s clearly made a quantum leap from his sophomore to junior years. Fairley leads the SEC with 18 tackles for loss and is second in sacks with 7 1/2. “Nick is the closest thing I’ve seen to Warren Sapp in all the years I’ve been coaching,” Auburn coach Mark Richt said. “He’s that big of a load, and you have to have some plan for the guy and even that doesn’t always work.”

While I can’t fault the Warren Sapp comparisons on his coach, I’d be much more inclined to compare him to an upgraded version of Marcus Stroud. He’s a player that not only offers imposing size at 6′5″ 300lbs but he’s so good at using his hands and staying active, that he’ll be a versatile fit for either a 3-4 defense or 4-3. He’s simply a force of nature when he wants to be and it’s very possible that he takes advantage of his stellar 2010 campaign because he stacks up so well with the rest of the defensive tackles in this class.

J.J. WATT - DE - WISCONSIN: Talk about an imposing specimen. Watt, a Central Michigan transfer, practically lives in the opposition’s backfield with 29 tackles for loss in less that two full seasons as a Badger. He had two sacks and 3 tackles for a loss in a big game against Ohio State this season and continues to race up draft boards nation wide. He was recruited as a tight end until arriving at Wisconsin but that athleticism and range have given him the edge he needed to be a difference maker on the defensive line.

Watt projects as a potential first rounder after and while he doesn’t compare favorably to many current NFL defensive ends, I like to think of him as a more mobile version of Adam Carriker with his great frame and playing strength. He has the ability to play inside or outside in a 4-3 front because of his size and could fit in a 3-4 as a 5-technique but his ideal fit would be as a 4-3 end. Once again, a very unique athlete that must have yeast stuck in his shoes because he’s rising to the top of this defensive end class in a hurry.

CAMERON JORDAN - DE - CALIFORNIA Speaking of the top of this defensive end class, Watt will have company if he declares because California’s Cameron Jordan is having a sensational Senior year in Berkley. He’s coming off of a career high 12-tackle performance against Washington State that included 4 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. What’s even more impressive is where he’s getting the job done from which is the 3-4 end, not a notoriously famous spot to rack up stats but he’s still getting the job done.

Much like his former teammate Tyson Alualu, Cameron Jordan could find himself vaulting up team’s draft boards because of his versatility and nose for the football. What will help his case is that he’s a phenomenal athlete that is more than likley to help himself when it comes to senior games and off-season workouts. While Jordan may not be a day one shocker like Alualu, I’d be shocked if this senior did not fit into the first round conversation in New York.

Stock Down

JAKE LOCKER - QB - WASHINGTON: It’s sad to say because physically, this guy has so many of the great traits a QB should have, but he’s just not putting it all together like a 5th year senior should. Locker has legit wheels w/ 4.3 speed, he’s got a cannon for an arm, and he can throw a 70 yard frozen rope but he’s been wildly inaccurate this year. He threw 2 interceptions in a loss to Nebraska, he also had a very forgettable game against Arizona, and a 2 INT performance in the blowout loss to Stanford. What complicates things even further is a broken rib that has already cost Locker the Oregon game and could result in missing even more time. Locker remains a first round prospect on athletic ability alone but if his senior year continues to get any worse, he’ll be relying on his post-season workouts and combine alone at the draft.

CHRISTIAN PONDER - QB - FLORIDA STATE: Ponder was billed as an accurate decision maker coming into this year of college football but he’s only been a glimmer of what he was last year before the injury, when he ranked among the nation’s top quarterbacks in virtually every statistical category. In 2009 Ponder was going off at a 300+ yard clip but in nine games this season, he has failed to even come close to that mark. Ponder now has a nagging elbow injury that has resulted in missing practice time but the worst of all is the passing offense, which just isn’t getting the job done averaging 212 yards per game. Ponder is still the best senior prospect outside of Locker but he’s no longer a borderline 1st rounder, he’ll be lucky if a team takes him in the 2nd at this point.

JERROD JOHNSON - QB - TEXAS A&M: This one takes me back to right after the 2010 NFL Draft, as I was trying to get a good grasp on the senior QB prospects and all I can say is at least Johnson had that five minutes of fame. I’m not sure this guy can fall any farther, throwing nine interceptions in the first five games of the season and now forced to split time at QB with backup Ryan Tannehill as a result. While there have been rumors of a phantom shoulder injury that’s causing his slide in production, I think it’s about time Johnson start exploring the WR position and how best he can make the transition because that’s about his only shot at getting drafted at this point.

NOEL DEVINE - RB - WEST VIRGINIA: I’m not trying to pick on this guy because he’s an impressive athlete that was one of the great prospects coming out of high school but he’s been struggling with a foot injury for most of the month of October that has hampered his game. He’s still an explosive player but at his size, he’s a marginal running threat at the next level and might need to convert to wide receiver in a similar fashion to Ole Miss’ Dexter McCluster. Right now he’s a mid-round pick at best and I don’t see his stock going back up unless he gets out of the current funk he’s in.

ROSS HOMAN - LB - OHIO STATE: The senior captain has not been the same player he was in 2009 and while a lot of that can be attributed to the ankle sprain he suffered in the Wisconsin game, the tackle numbers certainly haven’t been the same. The outside linebacker is expected to return against Penn State this weekend but he’ll need to finish the season strong because he’s not a workout warrior and he needs solid on the field production if he wants an NFL team to take a chance on him as an undersized outside linebacker.

CURTIS BROWN - CB - TEXAS: Brown entered the season as one of the top senior corner back prospects in the nation but he struggled early on with a bothersome neck injury and his constant mental lapses have been very troubling. Most recently in the Baylor game he muffed a punt that the special teams was able to recover but threw his helmet off in aggression, while screaming profanities, and kicked it to the sideline. While he let the moment get the best of him there, he’s slowly falling out of the top corner topic and into the mid-round pick conversation. Of course, Brown is a good enough athlete to make up for it with a great workout at the combine.

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