2014 NFL Draft Risers and Fallers - Week 11 Football

Stanford College Football

2014 NFL DRAFT - RISERS and FALLERS - Week 11 Football


Stealing a page from legendary coach Woody Hayes's playbook, Stanford used a ground and pound attack to beat Oregon in one of the biggest matchups so far in the 2013 college season.

Hayes was famous for shunning the pass and relying on the run and he did win five national championships and 13 Big Ten championships during his run at Ohio State which lasted from 1951 through 1978.  He relied on such backs as 1955 Heisman Trophy winner Howard "Hopalong" Cassady and two time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, but he was also very big on fullback types such as Bob Ferguson, Jim Otis, Pete Johnson and John Brockington for his ground and pound offense which became known as "3 yards and a cloud of dust" as his backs would typically run for 3.4 yards, 3.3 yards or 3.6 yards to grind out a first down and keep retention of the ball.  In a similar fashion,  Stanford used this type of offense against Oregon as they ran the ball 66 times with only 13 pass attempts and had workhorse RB Tyler Gaffney carry the ball 45 times for 187 yards and 1 TD with his longest gain being 16 yards.  But in this age of artificial turf, dust wouldn't apply, so can we say that Stanford employed a "3 yards and a cloud of pellets" strategy to humble the Ducks.



1.  Shayne Skov - ILB 6-3 244 Redshirt Senior - Stanford

While OLB/DE teammate Trent Murphy has garnered most of the attention this year, it was Skov who stood out in the defensive put down of Oregon by leading the Cardinal in tackles with nine, five solos, four assists, and he had two QB hurries, one pass breakup, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. One of those forced fumbles and the fumble recovery was when he stripped and ripped the ball from De'Anthony Thomas on the 3 yard line which prevented a possible score and was considered the key play of the game.


2.  Chris Borland - ILB 5-11 242 Redshirt Senior - Wisconsin

Having missed most of the Illinois game and last week's game because of an injury, Borland returned with a vengeance against BYU and was a leader in shutting down BYU's high powered offense led by QB Taysom Hill.  He led the Badgers with 13 tackles, eight solos, five assists and two sacks, which he obtained by using a spin move around the offensive linemen who were trying to block him.  He made plays at the boundaries and at the line of scrimmage in addition to his blitzing of the QB. His inspired play may have been because of his love of the game or from the fact that his backup, Marcus Trotter, led the team in total tackles during his two game absence.


3.  Brandon Oliver - RB 5-8 203 Senior - Buffalo

In a Tuesday night game with reportedly 80 NFL scouts on hand to see potential top twenty draft choice, OLB Khalil Mack, who had a so-so game but who did flash his explosive speed, it was Brandon Oliver who stole the show. Oliver carried the ball 34 times for 249 yards, 7.3 yards per carry and two TDs.  Oliver has some resemblance to Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Zac Stacy of the St. Louis Rams while his jump cut is reminiscent of Barry Sanders and that is not a stretch.  He has quickness and speed but it is his ability to make defenders miss in the hole and downfield that enabled him to have such a big game and presumably gain the attention of those 80 scouts.


4.  Kevin Danser - ROG 6-6 301 Redshirt Senior - Stanford

Stanford's offensive line, defensive line and linebackers were better than Oregon's and all deserve recognition for the win against Oregon but I mention Danser here because he may have risen the most by playing better than where he was rated.  Always a strong, physical run blocker, Danser showed good feet in this game with his pass blocking and on short trap plays while pulling to his left all the while continuing with his physical run blocking.  I would be remiss if I didn't also mention center Khalil Wilkes, 6-3 290 Sr. of Stanford, who also performed very well against Oregon and certainly raised his status.


5.  C.J. Mosley - LB 6-2 232 Senior - Alabama

Mosley can do it all and proved it once again in the LSU game.  He plays a lot of inside linebacker but I believe that he would be more valuable as an OLB as he can rush the QB and play in space.  He also stands out by the number of in-line tackles and short yardage plays that he gets in on.  Against LSU he had seven solo tackles, five assists and 1.5 tackles for loss and for the year he has 71 total tackles with the next closest Alabamian having 38.  Think about those numbers, 71 to 38. All of the other starting defenders and some backups for Alabama were highly rated recruits and are NFL prospects of varying degrees.



1.  Stephon Tuitt - DE 6-6 322 Junior - Notre Dame

After not doing much in the game against Pitt, Tuitt then got tossed from the game on a targeting penalty on the Pitt QB.


2.  The Michigan team.



1.  Chandler Jones - WR 5-10 175 Senior - San Jose State

With the Spartans leading receiver and All-Conference WR Noel Grigsby out for the year with an injury, Jones has stepped up his game and become the go to guy.  Earlier this year he had seven catches for 197 yards and three TDs against Minnesota and in his last game against San Diego State he had 11 catches for 155 yards and one TD.  On the year he has 58 receptions for 1,032 yards and a whopping 17.8 yards per catch with 11 TDs.  He has gone over the middle and jumped high to reel in passes, gotten deep for over the shoulder receptions and adjusted his body to catch poorly thrown balls.  He is small but has sub 4.5 speed, jumping ability and good hands and will have to put up big numbers to get noticed in an extremely deep WR class eligible for the 2014 NFL draft.


Notes and Observations on the 2013/2014 Quarterback Derby with an UP or DOWN or N/C (No Change) just based upon last week's games.  There are a number of QBs that I didn't have time to mention here so they all get UPs.

1.  Teddy Bridgewater - had a really good game against a hapless UConn team but it made me wonder if he has ever had a bad game.  UP.

2.  Marcus Mariota - got off to a rough start with some inaccurate passes and with his team being outplayed by Stanford but he did make some nice throws during the game which showed his talent.  I was wondering why he couldn't run away from some defenders as he usually does and it turns out that he was playing with a sprained MCL.  He certainly didn't elevate his status with this game but scouts and analysts will take a wait and see attitude on him.  DOWN.

 3.  Zach Mettenberger - of LSU had pretty decent stats in the loss to Alabama but did miss some reads and when the play breaks down he can make some bad decisions. He was sacked four times and injured at the end of the game.  There is nothing prettier than when the 6-5 Zach, or the 6-6 Logan Thomas for that matter, can stand in the pocket and zing passes to their targets that are open, but unfortunately the game isn't played that way.  DOWN.

4.  A.J. McCarron - of Alabama was his usual efficient self and made the throws that he had to make without making the glaring mistake that can change the game.  UP.

5.  Derek Carr - of Fresno State had another big numbers game against a weak Wyoming defense.  UP.

6.  Brett Smith - of Wyoming didn't have a good game against Derek Carr's Fresno State team but was under pressure the whole game as the OL was no match for Fresno.  That being said, it didn't appear that he had a strong arm when he did have a chance to throw, or maybe just in comparison to Carr, it didn't appear that his arm was that strong.  DOWN.

7.  Blake Bortles - of UCF had a so-so 17 for 24 and 210 yards with 0 TDs and one interception and one sack in the 19-14 win against Houston where UCF relied on the running of Storm Johnson and William Stanback to dispose of the Cougars.  N/C.

8.  Logan Thomas - of Virginia Tech had a big game against Miami but does that make up for his Bummer turnovers which cost the Hokies the B.C. and Duke games.  UP.

9.  Bryce Petty - of Baylor had a rough start against Oklahoma and finished with 13 out of 26 for a lowly 50 completion percentage and missed on some long passes.  But he did have three TD passes and two rushing TDs.  Despite the big win, DOWN.

10.  Blake Bell - of Oklahoma was 15 of 35 with one TD and two interceptions against Baylor so it would seem that another year in school would be beneficial.  DOWN.

11.  Garrett Gilbert - of SMU has forced the scouting community to take notice of him as he is putting up big numbers and has some ability to run.  Tall, with a strong, accurate arm, he also has a good understanding of the game by having June Jones as his coach and also a father who is a coach.  Despite the losing effort, he showed some ability.  UP.

12.  Sean Mannion - had the week off and he needed it.  N/C.

13. Johnny Manziel - Johnny Maestro worked his magic again against Mississippi State.  UP.

14.  Brett Hundley - of UCLA ran and passed (19-24-344-2TDs) against Colorado, a team which is winless in the Pac-12.  UP.

15.  Kevin Hogan - of Stanford only passed 13 times against Oregon but did drop one long pass down the sideline in the bucket and he also ran for good yardage.  UP.

16.  Braxton Miller - of Ohio State had four TD passes against Purdue but Purdue is such a weak team this year that it was nothing more than a practice. UP.

17.  David Fales - of San Jose State looked really good by throwing the ball all over the field against San Diego State but then looked equally as bad with some bad reads and throws.  DOWN.

18.  Tom Savage - of Pittsburgh showed off his terrific arm and was the key player in the Panthers upset win against Notre Dame.  Probably should be with the Risers above.  UP.

19.  Aaron Murray - Georgia beat Appalachian State.  N/C.

20.  Tajh Boyd - had an open date to heal his body.  N/C.

21.  Bryn Renner - of North Carolina was out in Week 11 with a season ending injury but had not been performing up to expectations.  DOWN.

22.  Brendon Kay - of Cincinnati is awarded my 2013 Rodney Dangerfield Award, as he can't get any respect.  Anyway, he played well in the win against SMU and has exacted his own measure of revenge by currently having the highest completion percentage of all QBs in the USA at 74.1 percent with the next in line being a fella named Johnny Manziel at 73 percent.  UP.