2017 NFL Draft Week 9 Risers and Fallers


Week 9 brought an unusually high number of heretofore lesser known players, some of whom rose to prominence because of the next man up philosophy when injuries occurred.  This Risers list includes some players who may not have even been on the radar of NFL teams before as they have had very little playing time.



1.  RYAN CONNELLY - ILB - 6-2 235 - SOr - WISCONSIN - mark his name down for the future, though he is technically eligible to declare for the draft this year. He is a former walk-on and only a redshirt sophomore with limited playing experience, so it is highly unlikely that he would come out after this year.  He only received starting time in the OT victory over Nebraska due to an injury to starter Jack Cichy and he revealed that not only is he a good athlete, but also one who produces as he had 7 Solo Tackles, 4 Assists, 2 Tackles for Loss and 2 Passes Broken Up.  His speed and agility were obvious, which he used to roam sideline to sideline and he showed an ability to read and react to offensive plays.  He had a TFL on a run play to help stall Nebraska's final drive. In the first game of the year against LSU he got to play after the starter went down on the 1st play of the game and he had 7 Tackles in that game including a key 3rd down stop of Leonard Fournette where he read the play working inside out from his ILB position, jumped over a cut block and made the tackle short of the first down marker.

2.  GARRETT DOOLEY - OLB - 6-2 247 - JRr - WISCONSIN - filling in for injured All Big Ten performer Vince Biegel for a few games, Dooley has taken advantage of his opportunity with a strong performance in those games.  Biegel did return for the Nebraska game, but Dooley also played and had another outstanding performance which included a Sack.  As he is more of a downhill player, his best spot may be as an ILB.  Chances are that he will return for his Senior year as he has had limited playing experience in the Badgers crowded LBer corps.

3.  VICTOR BOLDEN, JR. - Slot Receiver - 5-9 181 - SR. - OREGON STATE - playing for a 2-6 team with little hope of making a bowl game, Bolden had a chance to show his wares in the loss to Washington State with a 7-113-16.1-0TD night.  He was able to show his quickness and instant acceleration after making a catch on a quick out and then his run ability after the catch.  Always a great athlete with sub 4.4 speed who has also performed for the OSU Track Team, he hasn't had many opportunities on a losing football team.  He did have 72 receptions in 2014 when QB Sean Mannion was still in town.  He also handles the Kick Return and Punt Return duties for the Beavers and has an upside as a Slot Receiver and Return Specialist at the next level.

4.  D'ONTA FOREMAN - RB -6-1 249 JR. - TEXAS - although I have included him as a Riser in the past; his 32-250-7.8 average -2TD stat line in the upset win over undefeated Baylor is deserving of him being mentioned again as he is now over 1,000 with 10 TDs after 7 games that he has played.  In the game against Baylor his usual move the pile and tackle breaking ability were on display again, but he also showed the speed to turn the corner on wide plays and, at 249 pounds he would have to cause anxiety in  cornerbacks coming up to tackle him.  Only a 2* recruit out of H.S. who never started a game before this season, he has to be a major Riser up draft boards and the reason that I have included him again is that he has gone from Rising onto the radar of NFL scouts to Rising into a possible top 3 round draft choice.  With the down seasons for Royce Freeman and Nick Chubb, Foreman could rise above them.  Foreman has been slowed by ankle, groin and abdomen injuries this year and only has 3 pass receptions on the year and NFL teams will have to determine if that is because of the Longhorns offensive scheme or because he is not a good receiver; which brings us to his brother and that is:  ARMANTI FOREMAN - WR - 6-0 206 - JR. - TEXAS - who has emerged as the Longhorns leading receiver after 8 games and he too had an outstanding game against Baylor with 4 receptions for 142 yards and a 35.5 per catch average with 1 TD.  Armanti has been a big play receiver who has also made some difficult catches.  He was a 4* recruit out of H. S. which makes one wonder if Texas only offered D'ONTA his 2* brother a scholarship in order to insure getting ARMANTI.

5.  KAMRYN PETTWAY - RB - 6-0 240 - SOr - AUBURN - thought of strictly as a FB because of his size and reported lack of speed, he then became a backup RB to Soph Kerryon Johnson.  His opportunity arose in the Ole Miss game and he had rose to the challenge with a 30-236-7.9 average - 1 TD - 41 Long stat line while displaying RB skills.

6.  DARE OGUNBOWALE - RB - 5-11 205 - SRr - WISCONSIN - a Walk On defensive back to backup RB, his running ability was crucial to the Badgers win over previously unbeaten Nebraska.  He is a physical tackle breaking back with quickness to turn the corner and had a 11-120-10.9-1TD stat line with 1 reception in the win, while starter Corey Clement had a 10-82-4.3-0TD stat line with 0 receptions in the same game.  Ogunbowale also contributed on Special Teams.  Conclusion - His production for this showdown game was greater than the highly rated starter.

7.  DAYON PRATT - OLB - 6-3 237 - SRr - EAST CAROLINA - a former 2* recruit as a WR to 2013 Conference USA All Freshman Team as an OLB after a Redshirt year to barely getting playing time in 2014 and 2015 other than Special Teams duty where he did stand out.  He became a full time starter in 2016 and had a standout game in the 41-3 win over UConn where he had 6 Solo Tackles 1 Assist 1 Sack and 1 Pass Broken Up and he showed real athleticism in the process.  A long shot for sure, but he does have the size and athleticism (Coaches claim he ran a 4.54 forty) and this year thru 8 games he is 2nd on the team in Solo Tackles and in Total Tackles along with 2 Sacks 5 more Tackles for Loss,  4 Passes Broken Up,  1 QBH and 3 Forced Fumbles. 



1.  ROYCE FREEMAN - RB - 5-11 230 - JR. - OREGON - from first team All-Pac 12 last year to struggling this year.  In the 54-35 win over Arizona State where the Ducks offense played well, Freeman only had a 17-38-2.2-1RD-10L stat line which follows his previous two games of failing to go over 50 yards in either game.  Even though he did have a leg injury earlier this year his production is way off from what his prior two years have been.

2.  NICK CHUBB - RB - 5-10 220 - JR. - GEORGIA - another of one of the greatest RB crops ever, he too has fallen on hard times relative to his draft status.  He had 9 carries for 20 yards and a paltry 2.2 yards per carry 1 TD with a long run of 10 yards against a stout Florida defense.  He too has suffered from a sprained ankle earlier this season, but his production is also way off from previous seasons which will make NFL teams concerned about how much of the drop off is attributable to his offensive line and injury.

3.  CORDREA TANKERSLEY - CB - 6-0 195 - SR. - CLEMSON - in the close win over Florida State, Tankersley had a couple of Pass Interference calls as he was beaten on pass plays.  And while he has 0 Interceptions on the year he does have 5 Tackles for Loss and 7 Passes Broken Up indicating his talent so perhaps this was just a blip on his radar screen.  Scouts will be watching to see if these Pass Interference calls continue.

4.  ADAM BISNOWATY - LT - 6-5 300 - SRr - PITTSBURGH - highly rated LT did not have a strong game in the Thursday night game against Virginia Tech.  He struggled on Pass Protection and was not dominant in run blocking.  This would be of concern to NFL teams in need of a LT as there is a dearth of prospects for the position.  Add in CHAD WHEELER - LT - 6-7 310 - SRr - USC - who also played on Thursday night against California and he had a rough night on Pass Pro which makes for a thinning crop of top Tackle prospects.

5.  JOSH DOBBS - QB - 6-3 207 - SR. - TENNESSEE - highly regarded as a collegiate QB but never too highly rated as an NFL prospect, he was still considered an intriguing prospect as Dak Prescott has some of the same concerns last year.  But his 12-26-161 yards - 1TD 2 Interceptions with 2 Sacks performance against a beatable South Carolina team and the Volunteers 3rd loss in a row will more than likely place him in the Free Agent category.  On the year he has a 57.1 completion percentage and 15-11 TD - I ratio which does not make for a high draft choice.



1.  SHAQUEM GRIFFIN - OLB - 6-1 215 - JRr - CENTRAL FLORIDA - in the 34-21 loss to Houston he had 12 Solo Tackles 2 Assists 2.5 Sacks and 1 Interception and on the year (8 games), he has 8.5 Sacks and 2 Forced Fumbles.  The amazing part is that he only has one hand as he lost one hand to a childhood disease.

2.  BEN BRADEN - LT - 6-5 322 - SRr - MICHIGAN - a starter at LG who moved to LT because of an injury he was a Riser last week for his play against Illinois and, while not a Faller this week his play against Michigan State, he was not quite the same.  While his kick-slide at LT was good against Illinois it wasn't against MSU and he would appear to be limited to being a prospect at Guard only.

3.  CALEB BRANTLEY - DT - 6-2 300 - JRr - FLORIDA - in the win over Georgia Brantley did not have much in the way of statistics but spent much of the afternoon in the Bulldogs backfield as a disruptor of their offense.

4.  VINCENT TAYLOR - DT - 6-3 310 - JRr - OKLAHOMA STATE - considered a mid round draft choice going into the season, he had a monster game against previously unbeaten West Virginia with 5 Solo Tackles 1 Assist 2.5 Sacks 1 Pass Broken Up and 1 Forced Fumble.  He was quick off the snap and dominated blockers for much of this game and if he can continue with this type of effort he would seriously elevate his draft stock.

5.  MASON RUDOLPH - QB - 6-3 235 - JR. - OKLAHOMA STATE - I thought that he looked particularly sharp in the win over previously unbeaten West Virginia.

6.  SETH RUSSELL QB and the BAYLOR Coaching Staff - not quite sure what the poor play calling was all about at the end of the game against Texas when undefeated Baylor still had a chance to march down the field for a Field Goal attempt and a tie to go into Overtime but the play calling was head scratching to say the least.