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NFL Draft - Ten Rising, Ten Falling
NFL Draft - Ten Rising, Ten Falling
We've all heard that predicting NFL success is an inexact science. There are several variables that must be considered when trying to determine a player's future productivity.
A nice showing at the NFL Combine by a "workout warrior" can improve a player's draft status dramatically. General managers, coaches and others supposedly in the know throw around the term "upside" quite a bit in late April.
Conversely, a slow 40-yard dash or failing to lift 225 pounds enough times can make a player's draft stock drop quickly. Throw in off-the-field troubles, character issues or an injury, and an athlete loaded with talent can find himself slipping by the round instead of by the pick.
We've enlisted the help of NFL scout and Draft expert Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com to tell us about 10 players whose stock is rising, 10 whose stock is falling and - most importantly - why.
Ten Rising Prospects
1. Jay Cutler - QB - Vanderbilt
Big, athletic college quarterback made fast progress over his senior season and postseason. He has climbed into the top 10 selections - possibly even the top five. He has the athletic package and intangibles to be an early NFL starter and may be the most successful passer in this class. He was a prospect Draft Insiders ranked the No. 2 passer in May 2005 behind only Matt Leinart before this impressive '05 season and postseason. At both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, he displayed fine skills with the ability to make all the plays. He has the aptitude and intangibles to become a fine NFL starter.
2. Winston Justice - OT - USC
Agile junior tackle continued a strong postseason with a nice effort at the NFL Combine. He followed that up with an impressive workout at Southern Cal. He is a fine athlete with very good footwork, balance and the wingspan to be a fine pass protector on either side after protecting the blindside of left-handed passer Matt Leinart at USC. He has bulked up to over 320 lbs. without losing any quickness. He has the athletic package that scouts seek in a left tackle prospect. He could hear his name at the top of the first round and will likely be the second tackle chosen. Clubs like the Bills and Cardinals are interested teams with top-10 picks. He won't get past the Browns or Ravens in the opening round.
3. Nick Mangold - C - Ohio State
Tough, mobile pivot man graded out exceptionally high over his final two seasons in the Big Ten. He completed a fine career with a strong postseason at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. His performances may push him into the end of the first round area, with the Jets interested at the 29th selection. He impressed clubs at his interview, and his level of development indicates he can start immediately on the inside. He has good speed, hands and agility with the power and tenacity to be very productive against top competition.
4. Maurcie Drew - RB - UCLAFast, compact and short tailback had an impressive junior season that led him to declare for the Draft. He had a huge performance at the NFL Combine that has moved him into the mid first day area. Despite his lack of height (5'7"), he has the ability to be a complete NFL feature back with fine hands and the talent to run both inside and outside. He has the power and speed to earn a starting feature back role early in his career. He could also be a dangerous return specialist. Clubs like the Steelers, Panthers and Colts are hoping to land him.
5. Andrew Whitworth - OT - LSUAgile senior left tackle continued a strong postseason with an effort at the NFL Combine that surprised many scouts. His workout elevated him into the second tier of tackles. He has earned a solid second round grade. He is a fine athlete with good durability, footwork, balance and the wingspan to be a fine pass protector on either side of the line. He has bulked up to 334 pounds without losing any quickness. He ran a 5.15 40-yard dash at the Combine. He has the athletic package that scouts seek in a left tackle prospect. He could hear his name at the middle of the first day.
6. Joe Toledo - OT - WashingtonAgile, powerful senior tackle continued a strong postseason with a nice effort at the NFL Combine after a solid week at the East-West Bowl in January. He has good footwork, balance and the wingspan to be a fine pass protector on the right side. He has bulked up to over 330 lbs. He has good quickness after playing at tight end early in his college career. He has the athletic package that scouts seek in a power right tackle prospect and he could hear his name at the end of the first day. He ranks in the top 100 prospects Draft.
7. Chris Chester - C - Oklahoma
Athletic senior pivot man has risen up the charts as fast as any prospect in this class. Chester has the talent and nice level of development to challenge for a starting job fairly early in his NFL career. He has quick feet and the speed to get to the second level and block linebackers after starting his career as a tight end. He has the size to handle big defensive tackles in single assignments and is moving up the charts quickly. He figures in the late first day at this point.
8. Brodrick Bunkley - DT – Florida State
This explosive, mobile and physical defensive tackle is moving up draft charts quickly after a great performance at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. He came on strong over his final season, displaying the explosiveness in the middle to disrupt blocking schemes. He is a tough, mobile wide body with fine initial quickness that combines excellent functional strength and sound technique. He has the package to become a fine NFL starter and a force in the middle. He is well-suited for either pro scheme. He has moved up quickly and could now go in the top 10. Clubs like the Rams, Browns and Ravens hope he slides to them in the middle of the first round.
9. Antonio Cromartie - CB - Florida State
Fast junior cover man has the rare athletic package to develop into a fine NFL cornerback. He has rare size, speed and quickness with the toughness and tackling ability to support the run. He has the ball instincts to become a top cover man, capable of matching up with the big, playmaking receivers that dominate the pro game currently. He has the makings of a fine shutdown pro cornerback with some development. He is one of the fastest rising prospects off a great effort at the NFL Combine and FSU workout that could move him into the middle of the first round.
10. Johnathan Joseph - CB - South Carolina
Fast junior cornerback had a huge NFL Combine and late workout. He has good size with fine speed, quickness and agility to match up with the fastest receivers. He should be one of the surprise first-day picks this April. He has the package to become a good cover man despite limited playing experience. He looks like a guaranteed top-50 selection with skills that should earn him playing time as a nickel corner as a rookie. He has the talent to become a full-time starter within a short time.
Ten Falling Prospects
1. Mathias Kiwanuka - DE - Boston College
Big, athletic defender has failed to hold his high draft position over his final season. He sustained a knee injury that hindered his senior production. He returned to the field despite being less than 100%. At the NFL Combine, he had a very average workout with poor strength numbers. He did not help himself at the Senior Bowl either, which pushed him further down in the first round. His private workout was an improvement, but he lost a huge opportunity to impress against top competition. He remains a first-round pick at this point but he must answer a lot of questions about durability, strength and level of development. He is considered a risky selection at this point.
2. LenDale White - RB - USC
Tough junior tailback failed to impress this offseason at the USC workout. He did not work out at the NFL Combine. He checked in at his workout at 244 pounds and was not impressive in any area after a fine but short career. His marginal speed will probably push him to the late first round. He has the package to become an NFL feature back but probably needs some additional time in the passing game. He could be one of the real bargains of the draft if he gets time to develop his ability as a receiver and blocker. His intangibles have been questioned but his toughness and determination when he has the ball - especially in the red zone - are among the best runners in recent memory.
3. Marcus McNeill - OT - Auburn Massive senior tackle is one of the most disputed prospects in this class. He had a fine career in the SEC manning the left tackle position. As with many tall offensive linemen, he needs to improve his leverage and knee bend. In addition, his needs strength improvement to maximize his size. He may have to move to right tackle as a pro. These liabilities have probably cost him a first-round grade. His lack of overall strength made him susceptible to power players - and the inside move in particular. He probably goes in the second round after an average postseason.
4. A.J. Nicholson- LB - Florida State
Talented senior linebacker had some late off-the-field problems that hurt his grade. He also missed any all-star game action as a result. He also failed to impress at the NFL Combine. His workout at FSU was slightly better than the Combine performance, but not to the point to validate a first day selection. He is a playmaker with fine athleticism and the ability to chase and tackle. He can also drop in coverage. In this deep linebacker class, he probably falls to the second day where he could end up being a steal. He carries a starting grade off his athleticism and production over his career, but must prove his problems are behind him.
5. Claude Wroten - DT - LSU Quick, powerful tackle had a productive two-year Division I career that ranked him among the top prospects at the position. He has come up big against top competition, where his powerful frame and quickness allowed him to make plays as both a pass rusher and run defender. He impressed athletically in his recent LSU workout after sitting out the NFL Combine workout. He had some major off the field problems that will probably take him off the board of some clubs. If he proves his troubles are behind him, he could be the steal of the draft. He ranks with the top tackles and carries an early NFL starting grade off a strong SEC career.
6. Elvis Dumervil - DE - Louisville Record-setting pass rusher has seen his stock fall significantly this postseason. He had a very productive college career, but failed to impress during the key postseason events. He struggled against top offensive tackles and ran average speed numbers that will push him to the second day of the draft. He is a tough athlete with good intangibles, but his size and athletic limitations may force him to be a role defender in the NFL. He will have to step up and prove he can separate from top blockers at the next level. He most likely falls to the second day of the draft.
7. Jonathan Scott - OT - Texas Big, mobile left tackle struggled over the postseason against top competition. His performance at the Senior Bowl drew more questions about his ability to play the left tackle spot. He has adequate footwork for the left side and relied on a huge physical advantage weekly to dominate as a collegian. He was a sure top-50 selection or possible first-round pick prior to the postseason, but could slide to the late first day off some positional concerns.
8. Tim Day - TE - OregonMobile senior tight end has been a fine performer for the Ducks offense over recent seasons, showing sure hands and the speed to stretch the field. He has been a major factor when used as a receiver near the goal line. His blocking has been only adequate and hurts his final grade. In this very deep tight end class, he will fall because of his one-dimensional receiving label. He may last until the second day of the draft. He needs to improve both his technique and strength to be a complete player. He may be limited to an H-back role early in his career.
9. Jesse Mahelona - DT - Tennessee
Quick, smallish tackle had a productive Division I college career that ranked him among the top prospects at the position. He came up short though against top competition - especially at the Senior Bowl where his marginal size was exploited. He failed to impress athletically in his recent Tennessee workout and did not participate at the NFL Combine workout. He will not warrant better than a late first day selection in April and could fall to the second day.
10. Jimmy Williams - CB - Virginia Tech Big, athletic senior cornerback was considered a possible top-10 selection entering his final season but failed to impress in many areas. He has not shown well-developed technique or instincts related to zone coverage. He can be slow to react and reckless at times, making him vulnerable to big plays. He had an average workout at Virginia Tech from a speed and agility standpoint. He is not a quick twitch player and his ability to make the transition in coverage is suspect against NFL-caliber receivers. He has the size and athleticism to move to free safety where he carries a starting grade, but he must go through a learning curve at a new position. He probably goes late in the first round, but is not in the top 15 prospects in a deep cornerback class.
Re: NFL Draft - Ten Rising, Ten Falling
Ohh No Jimmy Williams!!!
Re: NFL Draft - Ten Rising, Ten Falling
but he's still in the top ten
Re: NFL Draft - Ten Rising, Ten Falling
top ten falling prospects yes,top ten prospects overall no!