2017 NFL Draft Week 4 Risers and Fallers


Week 4 Risers and Fallers


Week 4 provides more insight in the evaluation process as the players and teams have had 3 weeks to work out the kinks and most teams got to play in great weather conditions.


1.  MITCH TRUBISKY - QB - 6-3 220 - JR - NORTH CAROLINA - In a game that will go down in Carolina lore with the thrilling 37-36 come from behind last second win over Pitt, Trubisky's play was considered spectacular and has to lift him into the QB conversation for 2016.  His stat line of 35-46-76.1%-453yds.-12.9 yds.per completion-5TD-0I doesn't really tell the whole story.  Forced to rely on Trubisky's arm as the running game was non-existent in this game (18 yards on 22 rush attempts), he came through in spectacular fashion.  Trailing 36-23 midway through the 4th Quarter, Trubisky and his receivers closed the gap to 36-30 with little time left and then the final drive is where he truly proved his talent and grit by converting three consecutive 4th down plays where a failure on any of them would have ended the game. Those first downs lead to a two yard fade pass to Bug Howard in the end zone for the tie with two seconds remaining on the clock and with the extra point providing the margin of victory.  He tied a school record with another stat of 30 straight completions from last week's game against James Madison to his first incompletion in this game.  For the first four games of 2016, which are the only games that he has ever started, he has a completion percentage of 76.1 with 10 TDs and 0 Interceptions.  Next up is Florida State at Tallahassee.

2.  RYAN SWITZER - WR - 5-10 185 - SR - NORTH CAROLINA – He first broke onto the collegiate scene as a freshman in 2013 with 5 Punt Returns for TDs and has continued as a top PR-KR while developing as a pass receiver.  Against Pitt he tied an ACC record with 16 receptions for 208 yards, a 13.0 per reception average with 1 TD.  He also returned a punt for a TD but that was called back due to a penalty.  But what really stood out in this game was how he bailed out QB Trubisky on a number of throws by making difficult catches and gutting it out at the end as he was hobbled and exhausted. 

3.  T.J. WATT - OLB - 6-4 244 - JR - WISCONSIN – While not quite the athlete that his brother J.J. is, T.J. is still making a name for himself in his first year as a starter.  T.J. may not have the explosiveness that the top rated OLBs have, but his instincts, reactions, motor and awareness were on display in the Badgers 30 - 6 thumping of Michigan State as T.J. had 6 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks with and additional tackle-for-loss, 2 Quarterback Hurries and 1 Pass Deflection.  His play through the first four games is impressive when you consider that he missed his redshirt freshman year due to a knee injury and then in 2015 was switched from TE to OLB so he has had limited time and playing experience at the position.  Next game is away at Michigan, then a bye week and then Ohio State at home.

4.  J.J. DIELMAN - C - 6-5 300 - SR - UTAH – He is another in a long line of former tackles or guards shifting to center and that shows the importance that college coaches are attaching to the center position.  Dielman has been a good, if not a great, prospect from his RT position where he was considered a better run blocker than pass blocker.  But this last Saturday against USC I thought that he was outstanding from the center position.  He had good leverage and was able to get movement on some big bodies on USC's defense.  He also had good footwork and balance and his play will cause a realignment of the centers on all draft boards.  A similar case can be made for MASON COLE of Michigan, who made the switch from LT to center.

5.  RILEY FERGUSON - QB - 6-2 190 - JR - MEMPHIS - The replacement for the Denver Bronco's 1st Round draft choice Paxton Lynch has gotten the Tigers off to a fast 3 -0 start after a 77 - 3 blowout of Bowling Green.  Ferguson originally went to Tennessee, but left for JC and then a new beginning at Memphis.  His stat line against Bowling Green was 20-27-74.1%-359-18.0 per completion-6TD-0I and he ran for another TD all in the first half.  This guy has been flying under the radar, but more will be learned this coming Saturday as Mississippi is next up.  Last year Paxton Lynch engineered an upset of Ole Miss but that is a long shot this year.

6.  AMBA ETTA-TAWO - WR - 6-2 210 SR - SYRACUSE - Not happy with his playing time and the offense at Maryland, Etta-Tawo left as a graduate transfer to Syracuse and he, along with sophomore QB Eric Dungey, have given life to a stagnant program.  Last Saturday he caught 12 passes for a school record 270 yards and 2 TDs against UConn.  It was reported that he beat UConn's highly rated and best CB Jamar Summers in single coverage all afternoon.  Next up is Notre Dame at the Meadowlands, which could prove interesting as the Irish just fired their defensive coordinator because of the poor play of the defense.



1.  DESHAUN WATSON - QB - 6-2 218 - JR - CLEMSON - If one had not seen Clemson's 28 - 7 win over a mediocre Georgia Tech team and just seen Deshaun's stat line of 32-48-66.7% for 304 yards with 2 TD and 1 I and a QB Rating of 129.4, one might think that all is well in Tiger land as the team is now 4 - 0 for 2016 and Deshaun's stats seemed respectable even if not Heisman worthy.  But stats can be deceiving as he misfired on all types of throws including short, intermediate and deep passes.  His bad throws were mixed in with some good throws, but this showing is alarming for a player who was No. 1 on everyone's pre-season draft QB rankings and was also No. 1 overall on a number of pre-season draft boards and always in the top 5 or 10 players being considered for the 2017 NFL Draft.  He also rushed for 36 yards but was not sterling in this department either as he only had a 3.0 yards per rush average. Watson's performance after four games hasn't been of the Heisman Trophy finalist variety as he is not as sharp as he has been in the past with the possible exception that he stills throws well on the run.  So while the eyeballing of his play does not stand up to what he was in prior years, this is also borne out by his statistics.  For instance, after four games this year he has a completion percentage of 60% (with much of that padded against FCS South Carolina State where he had an 80% completion percentage), and a QB Rating of 130.2 (again inflated by that S.C. State game of 231.1); as opposed to 2015 (67.8% and 156.3), and to 2014 (67.9% and 188.6).  His TD-Interception ratio and yards per completion average are also off so far this year as compared to his prior two years.  The conclusion is that by visual and statistical analysis his performance so far this year has to be considered as underwhelming.

And at 6-2 and with a lean frame he is less than the prototype for NFL QBs; which can be offset by truly outstanding play which he exhibited in the past (Alabama in National Championship Game for instance), but has yet to display this season.  Next up is Louisville, which will be huge as far as Watson's Heisman aspirations and draft status as well as for Clemson's playoff chances.

2.  ADOREE JACKSON - CB - 5-10 185 JR - USC - This elite athlete, who split his time in 2015 between WR and CB while also being a KR and PR, decided to concentrate on CB this year with only limited time on offense.  And while he displayed his great athleticism by returning a Kickoff 100 yards for a TD and made a really good run for 11 yards on his lone carry along with a couple of pass deflections when at CB, he was beaten often at CB by an emerging star, TIM PATRICK - WR - 6-4 210 SR - UTAH - who had 6 catches for 100 yards and a 16.7 per catch average and 1TD and made crucial catches down the stretch. He was also able to get deep on Jackson.  Patrick does have some things to work on such on coming down with a 50-50 ball but he has been limited by injuries in the past.  As for Jackson, his speed and athleticism will eventually overcome any shortcomings in coverage from this game.

3.  MICHAEL RECTOR - WR - 6-0 185 - SR - STANFORD - A player whose tremendous potential has never been realized returned for a 5th season in order to become a more well-rounded receiver by improving his route running, having more consistent hands and becoming a better runner after the catch.  Always a deep threat with his sub 4.4 speed and now with game experience, he has yet to put it all together.  His stat line in 2015 of 34-559-16.4 per catch average and 7TDs was encouraging for a breakout 2016.  And while after the first two games of 2016 he had 5 catches for 76 yards and 1TD, he was limited to one catch for 3 yards against UCLA last Saturday with one reason for that being the coverage of UCLA CB Fabian Moreau.



CONNOR MAYES - GUARD - 6-5 330 - JR - MINNESOTA - Earlier this season I touted him as a Riser but after further review, as I saw more of him against Colorado State, his overall athleticism and movement were not good.  A loss of weight might help, but he is downgraded at this point and based upon this game could only be considered as an undrafted free agent.



1.  SETH RUSSELL - QB - 6-3 220 - SR - BAYLOR - had an up performance of 18-28-64.3%-387-4TD-1I in the 35 - 24 win over Oklahoma State.  He also showed his run ability.

2.  MASON RUDOLPH - QB - 6-3 235 - JR - OKLAHOMA STATE - had a spotty performance in the 35 - 24 loss to Baylor with 27-45-60.0%-279-0TD-1I- and 4 Sacks.

3.  DAVIS WEBB - QB - 6-3 224 - SR -  CALIFORNIA - first down performance from him in the loss to Arizona State with a stat line of 32-56-57.1%-478-5TD-2I- with 4 Sacks but he was under a lot of pressure from the Sun Devils.

4.  CHAD HANSEN - WR - 6-1 190 - JR - CALIFORNIA - had his lowest output of the season of  10-110-11.0-1TD-30 Long in the 51-41 loss to Arizona State.  Ten Receptions would be great for most WRs but is a season low for him.

5.  C.J. BEATHARD - QB -  6-2 209 - SR - IOWA - Beathard and the Iowa team have had rough sledding so far this year and his 12-23-52.2%-162-1td-0I stat line in the win against Rutgers was not impressive.  Lack of quality receivers has been one criticism of the team.