2017 NFL Draft Week 5 Risers and Fallers


In addition to the marquee matchups between Clemson vs. Louisville and Michigan vs. Wisconsin there were also a number of players who hadn't done much in the past who had outstanding or even spectacular games.



1.  TAJ WILLIAMS - WR - 6-3 193 - JR - TCU – Williams had 5 catches for 210 yds. 42.0 yards per catch and 2TD which were of 64 and 74 yards in TCUs 52 - 46 loss to Oklahoma.  This 4* recruit out of JC had many offers from top programs as he was the highest rated WR in JC.  He has great speed along with good hands and is a deep threat as well as a red zone threat in TCUs fast paced offense. He has been described as a faster and more athletic Josh Doctson, who was the Washington Redskins first round pick (22nd overall) in last year's draft.  He is being helped by the outstanding play of QB KENNY HILL.  The football world might have taken notice after TCU's first game this year where Williams had 11 receptions, 6 of which went for 1st downs and 1TD and had another long catch called back because of a penalty, but the game was against FCS South Dakota State so that may explain why many did not notice.  Look for his draft stock to rise precipitously as the season progresses.

 2.  NIC SHIMONEK - Backup QB - 6-2 220 - JR - TEXAS TECH - Nic only got to play after an injury to starter Patrick Mahomes in the Red Raiders victory over Kansas.  Shimonek's stat line of 15-21-71.4%-271yds-18.1 yards per completion-4TD-0I was impressive but will be criticized as being against a weak Kansas team.  On the other hand he suffered from a drop and a sympathetic official (towards Kansas), who refused to call a penalty after Nic had thrown a perfect deep ball which he laid in the bucket to a receiver down the right sideline which was dropped because a DB grabbed one arm of the receiver so that he couldn't make the catch.  And yes it was Kansas, but the game was still fairly close when Nic took over.  And what he did show was a quick wrist release, accuracy with a good throwing platform and an ability to move the chains with his feet if necessary.  This performance would lead scouts to want to see more.

3.  PSALM WOOCHING - OLB - 6-3 230 - SR - WASHINGTON – Wooching was a RB when he first entered Washington. He was then stuck behind Cory Littleton (L.A. Rams) and Travis Feeney (Steelers practice squad) at OLB before getting his opportunity in 2016 to becoming National Defensive Player of the Week in the dismantling of Stanford and its Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey.  His 3 Sacks and 1 forced fumble gained everyone's attention in revealing his athleticism and aggressiveness.  In slowing down McCaffrey he also had help from the DL and from another little known player, Keishawn Bierria an ILB whom it seemed was spying on McCaffrey and came up with 5 solo tackles and 3 assists on his own.  Also worthy of mention is MLB AZEEM VICTOR who also had a terrific game. 

4.  IFEADI ODENIGBO - DE - 6-3 250 - SR - NORTHWESTERN - His 4 sacks and 1 forced fumble against Iowa was a major factor in the Wildcats win over the Hawkeyes.  His first step quickness, bend around the edge and closing speed on the QB have always been good, but were on full display in this game.  He hasn't always been on the field on running plays so improvement in that area will be necessary before he has an NFL Career.  And as for the Iowa game, was it a sign of improvement or a sign of just how bad the offensive line at Iowa has been this year?

5.  WASHINGTON HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LINE – They controlled the line of scrimmage against No. 6 Stanford and its 3 and 0 record.  None of the five gained any national pre-season recognition or even Pac-12 pre-season recognition other than 2 of them gaining 4th team Pac-12 mention in Phil Steele's 2016 College Football Preview.  LT Trey Adams is only a sophomore who will be drafted when he becomes eligible - LG Jake Eldrenkamp is a senior who might be a late round draft choice or, if not, an undrafted a free agent.  Center Coleman Shelton is a junior who showed quickness and balance and should be drafted when he becomes eligible.  RG Shane Brostek is a senior who was doing well but went down with an Injury and was replaced by a freshman who was then replaced by Jesse Sosebee, a redshirt sophomre who is strong and really gets after his opponent and presumably will be a starter next year when he will merit more NFL consideration.  It may be that this group has improved as they have to practice against their DL, which dominated Stanford's OL and exposed a major weakness in Stanford's run for a final four finish. 

6.  LUCAS CROWLEY - CENTER - 6-3 290 - SR - NORTH CAROLINA - While QB Mitch Trubisky and WR Ryan Switzer deservedly received national acclaim for their efforts in the upset win against Florida State, I was focused on Crowley in this game and his play on the interior stood out against a stout Florida State DL.  Trubisky and Switzer were on my risers list last week.

7.  CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY - RB - SR - STANFORD - Even though this game more than likely dashed his Heisman Trophy hopes as Washington's defensive game plan was designed to stopping him, which it did, he showed his tremendous athleticism, instant acceleration, vision, instincts and unparalleled determination which should serve him well going forward and on the next level.



1.  DEVONTE FIELDS - OLB - 6-3 250 - SR - LOUISVILLE - Many thought that 2016 would be the year for Fields to establish himself as a 1st Round draft choice.  In 2012 while playing DE at TCU he was the Big 12 DPOY. Then having off the field issues, he transferred to Louisville and a position switch to OLB where he regained his form in 2015 with 48 solo tackles, 10.5 sacks with an additional 11.5 tackles for loss and 10 QBH, which led many to believe that he would improve upon those numbers and become a high 1st round selection.  But in the much anticipated matchup with No. 3 ranked Louisville going up against No. 5 ranked Clemson, he was virtually non-existent with 1 Solo Tackle and 1 Assist.  Through the four games preceding the Clemson game he has had similar stats which is a reversal of 2015 and a big fall down draft charts.

2.  JEHU CHESSON - WR - 6-2 210 - SR - MICHIGAN - Considering that his breakout was in the second half of the 2015 season where he made many catches and made many tough catches in clutch situations, which led to an All Big Ten selection by the Coaches and Team MVP, he was projected to continue in that vein. He was a 2016 pre-season 2nd Team All American selection as well as 1st Team All Big Ten selection.  But he has gotten off to a slow start, which was exemplified in the Wisconsin game where he did had 5 receptions but for 52 yards and 0 TDs and he has no TDs after 5 games this season.  Maybe it is the change of QBs with Jake Rudock graduating and Wilson Speight taking over, who has gone more often to TE Jake Butt and WR Amara Darboh than he has to Chesson. 



1.  AMBA ETTA-TAWO - WR - 6-1 202 - SR - SYRACUSE - This H.S. track star had 3 un-illustrious years at Maryland (although he did have 31 receptions in 2013) and took a graduate transfer to Syracuse to have one more go at it.  After gaining no recognition at Maryland, he has become one of the leading receivers in the country for 2016 and had another outstanding game against Notre Dame with a 7-134-19.1-1TD-72L stat line and, although it was against a weakened Irish secondary, he has been doing this all year against all teams while he has been the focus of every opponent's defense and is one of the major surprises of the 2016 season.

2.  COLE HIKUTINI - TE - 6-4 248 - SR - LOUISVILLE – Hikutini spent 2012 and 2013 at Sacramento State and then saw only part time duty at Louisville until attaining a starting role in 2016.  And while his athleticism was never in doubt, he still suffered from drops earlier this year leaving some to doubt if he would ever put it all together.  But in the Clemson game he had 7 receptions for 84 yards, a 12.0 per catch average with 0 TDs, which was against a tough defense and was an increase in production for him.  In addition to the 7 receptions he also induced a holding call which led to a 1st down and made a key block on a running play. More importantly he looked good in the process and may be emerging as a legitimate threat from the TE position.

3.   T. J. LOGAN - RB - 5-10 190 - SR - NORTH CAROLINA - Stuck on the depth chart behind Elijah Hood for much of his career, he flashed his acceleration, speed and ability to break tackles in the Tar Heels upset win against Florida State.  While he only had 10 carries for 77 yards and 1 TD and 1 reception, he gained some tough yardage in crucial situations and while his size would limit him to a situational role in the NFL, his acceleration and running ability makes him worthy of a look.

4.  KHARI BLASINGAME - RB - 6-1 235 - SO - VANDERBILT - This backup RB to Ralph Webb gets limited carries but he might be the most physical and violent runner in the country.  He was a safety in H.S. and a LB at Vanderbilt until this season and he is fun to watch as he barrels through and over would be tacklers.  He firmly believes that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  He only had 5 carries for 41 yards and an 8.2 average with 0 TDs against Florida, but he showed a burst with high knee action, forward lean and does have a spin move along with a ferocious determination that makes you want to see more.  He did have 15 carries for 68 yards and a 4.5 average with 1TD in the opening game against South Carolina where he exhibited the same running style.

5.  JESTER WEAH - WR - 6-2 210 - JR - PITT - With zero production in 2014 and 2015, Weah had a breakout game in the 43-27 win over Marshall with a 7-176-25.1-1TD-54L stat line.  A H.S. basketball star who also ran a 10.59 100 meters and 22.08 200 meters, he may be on the verge of a breakout season.



JAMAAL WILLIAMS - RB - 6-0 218 - SR - BYU - Out for all of 2015 recovering from an injury, which also knocked him out for much of 2014, Williams seems back to his old form using his acceleration through holes to explode for long gains.  His 30-286-9.5average-5TDs with TD runs of 48 and 62 yards against Toledo indicates that he has recovered.