NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko
With a little less than a month remaining in college football regular season, we are starting to get a very good sense of what players have really helped their draft stock this year and what players have damaged theirs.
Riser-Robert Griffin III, Baylor-
Griffin has always had unbelievable athletic ability, with Olympic caliber speed, but not many people, if any, thought of him as an NFL quality QB. This year however, Griffin has made tremendous progress as a QB. He has been extremely accurate all season. His accuracy combined with his athleticism and his ability to throw the football make his a legitimate NFL prospect and some scouts even view him as a top 20 pick.
Other Risers- Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M, Brandon Weeden Oklahoma St.
Faller- Nick Foles, Arizona-
I have never been a Foles fan, but some people thought that if he improved on his decision making and his ability to make tougher throws, then he could rise in the the draft rankings. I just haven’t seen too much improvement in Foles. He will likely be drafted and maybe even in the mid-rounds, but I wouldn’t touch him.
Other Fallers- Kirk Cousins- Michigan State, John Brantley- Florida
Riser- Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)-
Miller has always had the talent and has been highly regarded, however this year Miller has elevated his game to another level. Only a redshirt sophomore, Miller has been discussed as a possible 1st round running back.
Other Risers- Chris Polk-Washington, Bernard Pierce-Temple
Faller- Boom Herron, Ohio State-
Herron’s stock has fallen mainly because he hasn’t been on the football field this season. Suspended for the first 6 games due to the OSU tattoo scandal, other RB have been able to pass him by. While not flashy or overly athletic Herron is a solid, tough runner. He will still get drafted, but he has cost himself some money with his suspension.
Other Fallers- Vick Ballard-Miss.St., Tauren Poole-Tennessee, Brandon Bolden-Ole Miss.
Riser- Dwight Jones, North Carolina-
Jones has skyrocketed up the WR rankings with his breakout season. Jones looks like he is the next in a line of NFL quality WR. Jones has a very good size-speed combination and can make tough catches look routine. The WR position has been one of the more fluid positions this year with a number of prospect either hurting or improving their stock.
Other Risers- Rueben Randle-LSU, Nick Toon-Wisconsin, Marvin McNutt-Iowa, Kendall Wright-Baylor, AJ Jenkins-Illinois, T.Y. Hilton- Florida Int.
Fallers- Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina-
Jeffery isn’t your traditional faller where he is expected to drop 3-4 rounds, but Jeffery’s down season has raised questions. Now granted it’s not all Jeffery’s fault. The QB situation at South Carolina has been a trainwreck all year. But questions have been raised about Jeffery’s ability to run routes, his overall speed and athleticism, and if he will be more than just a “throw it up” to him target. Jeffery is still going in round 1, but I don’t think he ends up going top 10 anymore.
Other Fallers- Jeff Fuller-Texas A&M, Chris Owusu-Stanford, Greg Childs-Arkansas
Riser- Dwayne Allen, Clemson-
The consensus #1 TE heading into the season was Mizzou’s Michael Egnew, however, Allen has surpassed him and is now #1 on alot of boards. His combination of size, speed and athleticism make him extremely attractive to NFL teams who want a 4 down TE, which appears to becoming the new en vogue trend in the NFL.
Other Risers- Zach Ertz-Stanford, Tyler Eifert-Notre Dame, Rhett Ellison-USC
Faller- Michael Egnew, Missouri-
Egnew has been passed by a handful of tight ends who are more athletic complete players. Besides Allen, Egnew has also been passed by Colby Fleener and Tyler Eifert.
Riser- Reilly Reiff, Iowa-
Coming into the season it appeared there were two offensive tackles who could be picked in the top 10. Reiff has played extremely well all year, dominating his defender at times. Reiff is your protypical Iowa OT- smart, fundamentally sound, strong and athletic. He has joined Matt Kalil and Johnathan Martin as the 3 elite tackle prospects in the upcoming draft.
Faller- Nate Potter, Boise St. –
My first film room study I broke down Nate Potter in depth. I said he needs to prove that there is more to his game than meets the eye. But with Potter he “is what he is”. Not an overly athletic or strong tackle, he plays a more finesse, heady game. His lack of athletcism and his lower ceiling has allowed other tackles who may be a little bit more raw that Potter to pass him.
Interior Offensive Line
Riser- David DeCastro, Stanford-
This one is a layup. DeCastro has has probably the best season of any offensive lineman in the country. Not only has he elevated himself into the #1 ranked OG and securely into the first round. He has also created speculation that he could possilbly be drafted in the top 10. If DeCastro is able to pull that off he would be the first Guard drafted in the top 10 since Chris Naeole was pick #10 in the 1997 NFL Draft.
Faller- Ben Jones, Georgia-
I have had the chance to scout almost every top Center prospect in this years draft. I haven’t been overly impressed with Jones. I still think Jones is drafted in the top 4 rounds, but I have questions about his ability to succeed in the NFL.
*Look for the Defensive Risers and Fallers later in the week