2018 NFL Draft - Stock Up, Stock Down - Week 3


Week 3 of the college football season has come and gone and provided some interesting developments in relation to the 2018 NFL Draft with stellar performances and some less than stellar performances, along with the injury situation such as the knee injury to highly regarded Tackle Connor Williams of Texas.



1.  WILL HERNANDEZ - GUARD - 6-3 330 - SRr - UTEP - while UTEP was on the losing end of a 63 to 16 score to Arizona and doesn't have much to offer in the way of pro prospects, one player not only stood out but by far was the best player on the field.  From a technical standpoint he is quick off the snap, has leverage and pop on contact, hand punch, has quick feet, agility, contact balance and plays with some nastiness.  He anchors well on Pass Pro and is fluid with good balance when he pulls.  And while I heretofore thought that there was no Guard that would surpass Quenton Nelson (6-5 330 - JRr) of Notre Dame as the top Guard on any draft board, Hernandez could be the one.  What he has over Nelson is better hip flexibility as Nelson has somewhat tight hips and Hernandez is also more nimble with his feet and a more consistent blocker since Nelson sometimes isn't able to maintain contact.  Both are sure fire 1st Round Draft Choices and since Hernandez doesn't have any more Power 5 teams on his schedule and since UTEP won't make a bowl game, it may take the Senior Bowl practices for a final determination but at this juncture Hernandez is looking really good.  If one wanted to nitpick Hernandez's play, it might be that he doesn't have top end speed when pulling but his speed is more than sufficient and Guards do not pull than much in the NFL anyway.

2.  GERON CHRISTIAN - LEFT TACKLE - 6-5 318 - JR. - Louisville - Both analysts and fans expected the Cardinals offensive line to have problems with Clemson's defensive line, which features 4 players who will be future 1st Round Draft Choices.  And while Clemson's D-Line did cause some havoc with Louisville's O-Line, Christian stood out with his play by frustrating Clemson's highly rated Defensive Ends with his Pass Blocking.  Since Louisville rotates its Tackles and Guards from side to side it was hard to follow at times, but no matter which side Christian was on, he was in control.  It was the ease with which he handled Clemson's future 1st Round Draft Choices that was impressive and provides a great opportunity for him if he decides to turn pro after this season.  The opportunity being that there is a shortage of Left Tackle prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft and a number of NFL teams are in need of a Left Tackle.  As this is written, I have the Giants - Lions game on and both teams are in desperate need of Left Tackles.

3.  ANTHONY MILLER - SLOT RECEIVER - 5-11 190 - SRr - Memphis - this former Walk-On with no rating from Rivals has become a star and now has had an outstanding performance against a big time opponent in the thrilling 48-45 upset win over UCLA.  He has, however, been outstanding against Ole Miss in the past but still his 9 receptions for 185 yards, a 20.6 per catch average and 2 TDs against UCLA proves his ability.  Miller comes through in clutch situations, has a knack for getting open deep and makes many difficult receptions, such as the one against the Bruins where the ball came in from over his head while he was laying out going away from the flight of the ball and with his arms fully extended.  Last season he had 95 receptions for 1434 yards, a 15.1 per catch average and 14 TDs and some thought that he might declare for the draft but he has returned to build on his legacy.  He also returns Punts.

4.  RASHAAD PENNY - RB - 5-10 220 - SR. - San Diego State - has led the Aztecs to a 3-0 start with wins over UC Davis, Arizona State and Stanford which will have him rising up draft boards as Arizona State and Stanford are Big 5 Conference teams and the only ones on the Aztecs schedule.  His stat line against Arizona State was 16-216-12.0-1TD with 4 receptions and against Stanford, 32-175-5.5-1TD with 5 receptions but what is impressive is that Penny is the feature of the Aztecs attack so that other teams are preparing for him as they do not have a high powered passing attack.  In the past he was known as a Kick Returner and backup to record setting RB Donnel Pumphrey even though Penny rushed for 1,018 yards and a 7.5 yards per run average with 11 TDs last year.  But he may be en route to over 2,000 yard season just as Pumphrey was last year.  Pumphrey was drafted in the 4th Round with pick 132 by the Eagles, but I think that Penny will be drafted higher as he is 220 lbs. to Pumphrey's 170 and Penny appears to be more explosive running through the hole and certainly has more power with his thick build.  Pumphrey was drafted with the idea of being a situational back while Penny could be more of a full time back and Penny's 5 Kick Returns for TDs heading into 2017 will only enhance his draft status.

5.  ORLANDO BROWN, JR. - 6-7 345 - JRr - Oklahoma - should have been written up after last week's victory over Ohio State as Brown successfully handled Ohio State's vaunted defensive line, which is considered in the top two in the country.  Ohio State not only rotates their defensive ends from side to side but also sometimes has their tackles lined up on the end such as Nick Bosa, who lines up all over. But they also have two sets of top defensive lineman so that Brown saw action against many of the Buckeyes and stood out.  And this week against Tulane, Brown for part of the time was up against Ade Aruna, a 6-6 270 DE who is a draft prospect and Brown manhandled and toyed with him.  Aruna had no chance of making a play when lined up against Brown.

6.  KELLY BRYANT - QB - 6-2 215 - JR. - Clemson - his play against Louisville was s continuation of last week's Stock Up - Stock Down report.

7.  RAY RAY MCCLOUD - WR or SLOT - 5-9 180 - JR. - Clemson - his play against Louisville was a continuation of last week's Stock Up - Stock Down report.

8.  Texas Tech OFFENSE - with QB Patrick Mahomes leaving for the NFL Draft and leading receiver Jonathan Giles transferring out, not much was expected from Texas Tech this season but the Red Raiders are off to a 2-0 start.  Wins over FCS power Eastern Washington (56-10) and Arizona State (52-45) has Red Raider nation buzzing about its prolific offense. NIC SHIMONEK - QB - 6-2 220 - SRr is an Iowa transfer who sat for two years behind Mahomes and had his first 2 starts this year and is currently passing at a 79% completion clip with 9 TDs and 0 Interceptions.  He is distributing the ball all over the field, showing accuracy and touch. And coming on for the departed Jonathan Giles is a Slot Receiver type in KEKE COUTEE - 5-10 180 - JR., who is quick in and out of his cuts and Tech's leading receiver to date along with DYLAN CANTRELL - WR - 6-2 220 - SRr - who once was known for his acrobatic back flips but may have given them up after sitting out the 2015 season with back spasms. Cantrell, however still has his athleticism and good hands, which were on display against Arizona State.  The Houston Cougars are next up for Texas Tech and if they win that game it will set up the Shootout at OK Corral with Oklahoma State's dynamic offense on September 30.



1.  HAROLD LANDRY - OLB - 6-2 250 - SR. - Boston College - Landry plays DE in college but may transition to OLB in the NFL and, while he led the nation in Sacks and Forced Fumbles in 2016, he has done bupkis so far in 2017.  In this weekend's game against Notre Dame he wasn't applying pressure, wasn't getting off blocks and wasn't a force in any way.  There were 2 plays where I thought that he could have attempted a tackle on a runner but didn't. But perhaps he was just too far away.  He is also on the sidelines for many defensive snaps as I believe he has an arrangement where he will take some series off so as to save himself for the 4th quarter, but this game was lost by the end of the 3rd quarter.  After 3 games he is ninth on the tackle chart and has 1 Sack and applied very little pressure against Notre Dame.

2.  LAMAR JACKSON - QB - 6-2 212 - JR. - Louisville - while Jackson passed for 317 yards with 3 TDs against Clemson's strong defense, he was only 21 of 42 for a 50% completion percentage, which is low by any standard.  And while much of the credit could go to Clemson's defense, he was off target on a number of throws which set back the Cardinals offense.  Whether it is from not setting his feet on these throws or some other reason, it was thought that he had improved in this area so this was a setback for him as it wasn't just a couple of errant passes but enough of them to make analysts take notice.



1)    SAM DARNOLD - QB - 6-3 220 - SOr - USC - in the overtime win against Texas he made some bad throws but he again made some unbelievable plays and his ability to improvise was the difference in the win. 

2)    JOSH ROSEN - QB - 6-5 230 - JR. - UCLA - he too had some poor throws, especially one where he threw off his back foot and was intercepted in the loss to Memphis, but he will still be a very high draft choice as he is a very talented player.

3)    JOSH ALLEN- QB - 6-5 222 - JRr - Wyoming - while he was off target with a couple of high throws and while his stats were horrible against Oregon, he didn't have a chance as he was pressured all over the place so I, for one, will not downgrade him for this performance.  What he did show was that he is athletic to evade the rush, has a quick release, strong arm and even ran one in for a TD. He's a regular feature in football betting tips, he is also able to absorb the punishment as he took some big hits in this game. And while he will be criticized for his accuracy and decision making against the Ducks, it is hard to perform when your team is completely outclassed.  While he does have Carson Wentz's size and arm, continued poor play will result in a downgrade especially if the poor play is from accuracy and decision making.

4)    MASON RUDOLPH - QB - 6-4 230 - SR. - Oklahoma State - continued his prolific play in the destruction of the hapless Pitt defense and has TCU up next with Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma later in the season and one wonders if any of those teams can stop him.

5)    KELLY BRYANT - QB - 6-2 215 - JR. - Clemson - first year starter has played in 3 games and been outstanding in each of them.  Talented as passer and runner.

6)    LAMAR JACKSON - QB - 6-2 212 - JR. - Louisville - in the loss to Clemson he might have taken a step back with his 50% completion percentage and a number of bad throws. 

7)    LUKE FALK - QB - 6-4 225 - SRr - Washington State - back on the beam against a weak Oregon State team.  Up next is Nevada and then USC and Oregon, which will reveal a lot more.

8)    BAKER MAYFIELD - QB - 6-0 218 - SRr - Oklahoma - having a Heisman Trophy type year but how much will his lack of height be ruled against him?

9)    JARRETT STIDHAM - QB - 6-2 214 - SOr - Auburn - playing Mercer doesn't count.

10)  RILEY FERGUSON - QB - 6-2 210 - SRr -  Memphis - back in stride after leading his team with his arm to the upset win over UCLA.

11)  RYAN FINLEY - QB - 6-3 205 - SRr - North Carolina State - has been playing well with high completion percentage and 0 Interceptions.  Has Florida State next weekend and Clemson on November 4.