Derek Wolfe , DT, Cincinnati
Wolfe had a tremendous game for Cincinatti against Connecticut. He was constantly disrupting plays and made a bunch of splash plays in the backfield. Wolfe got the game started with a big tackle for a loss on a running back. He followed that with a sack, and put together a three-down, one-man goal line stand for the Bearcats. In it, Wolfe tackled the running back for no gain on the first two plays, and got a sack on third down to force a field goal. He was dominating the interior of the Huskies' offensive line. In run defense, Wolfe was phenomenal at the point of attack shedding his block and making tackles. He totaled 10 tackles with five tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks against Connecticut.
Wolfe plays with ideal pad level. He has a good get off and surprising speed. Wolfe has a good repertoire of moves with some speed rushes and power rushes. He uses a powerful rip move and closes on the quarterback well. In the NFL, Wolfe could stay inside at tackle in a 4-3 defense. He also could fit a 3-4 defense as a five-technique defensive end. That might be his best fit at the next level. With his dominant display against the Huskies, Wolfe deserves consideration in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Lance Dunbar, RB, North Texas
Dunbar became the school's all-time leading rusher and set a single-game rushing record with 313 yards and four touchdowns against Middle Tennessee. The 5-foot-9, 203-pounder has a nice combination of power and speed. In his collegiate career, Dunbar had some big days against good competition. Last year, he ran for 117 yards on Clemson and 270 yards on Kansas State.
Dunbar finished the 2011 season with 1,115 yards rushing (4.14 average) and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 350 yards and two scores. For his collegiate career, Dunbar amassed 4,224 yards rushing (5.4) with 41 touchdowns. He also snagged 97 passes for 1,033 yards and eight scores. Dunbar is only the sixth player in NCAA history with 4,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. He looks like a third-day pick, and his strong finish to the season should help solidify his status as a fourth or fifth-round pick.
Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State
One of the most impressive defensive linemen on the final weekend of the regular season was McClellin. He made his presence felt against New Mexico with a sack, another tackle for a loss and four tackles. Boise State blew out the Lobos, so the Broncos were able to empty their bench. McClellin's sack total is down this season from 9.5 in 2010. He hasn't been helped by Boise State moving him all over the front seven. They play him as a base 4-3 end, stand up outside rush linebacker and inside linebacker. With the Broncos blowing out a lot of opponents, McClellin doesn't play as many snaps. All of that has combined to greatly reduce his pass rushing opportunities in 2011.
Thus far, McClellin has 46 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and a forced fumble with a bowl game remaining. The drop in production doesn't help his draft status, but he has been a more active player than the numbers indicate. McClellin's had a lot more pass pressure than can be seen in his sack total. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder looks like a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He could be a good value pick in the second round.
Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State
Adcock had a dominant performance against Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander. All game Adcock moved Alexander out of his gap to open up running lanes for his back. In pass protection Adcock was rock solid. He mirrored Alexander on speed rushes and kept him out of the pocket. Alexander didn't so much as sniff quarterback Brandon Weeden all night.
It has been an inconsistent season for Adcock. He has been moved back and forth from left and right tackle. At times, Adcock has struggled with speed rushers and looks like he has some heavy feet. Adcock put forth his best game of the year in crunch time against Oklahoma. This outing helps stabilize his draft stock as a second-day pick. Adcock probably should play at right tackle or guard in the NFL, but he had an excellent game shutting out Alexander.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
When you look at Jerel Worthy's stat line from the Big 10 Championship battle between Wisconsin and Michigan State, one would think that he was held in check. Worthy officially recorded two tackles with a quarterback hurry, but that stat line is very misleading as he was one of the most impressive players on either team. Worthy battled a tough Badgers offensive line and was causing a fair amount of disruption. On numerous plays, he shot his gap to bust up plays in the backfield. Worthy had multiple pressures on quarterback Russell Wilson and also deflected a pass to cause an incompletion on a two-point conversion attempt.
Entering the bowl game, Worthy has totaled 25 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass broken up and two blocked kicks. He has had some inconsistent performances this season. Against some future NFL offensive linemen like guard Kevin Zeitler, Worthy gave a strong tape for NFL scouts to evaluate. This display could help him could get consideration early on Friday night, if he declares for the 2012 draft.
2012 NFL Draft Stock Down
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
A week after making this list as stock up, Wilson gave his stock a hit with a rough outing against Clemson. In the ACC Championship, he ran for only 32 yards on 11 carries. Another aspect that puts Wilson's stock going down was his minor criticism of Virginia Tech's play calling after the game. That won't sit well with NFL coaches and scouts.
Despite the outing versus the Tigers, Wilson had an excellent season with 1,627 yards rushing with nine touchdowns. He averaged six yards per carry and was the ACC Player of the Year. Wilson has the skill set to be a starting running back in the NFL. He has balance, speed, vision and patience. If Wilson (5-10, 205) could add another 10 pounds of muscle to help hold up for the pounding that would be ideal. Hurting his stock this season has been his ball security since he has fumbled seven times. Wilson might be better off returning for his senior season and improving his stock before going pro. Right now, he looks like a second-day pick.
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati
Pead started out well against Connecticut with some good runs, but he set up the Huskies with a prime scoring opportunity after fumbling a routine handoff inside his own 10-yard line. The second half saw him put the ball on the ground again, but this time a teammate recovered the ball. He ended rushing for 64 yards on 22 carries. This season, Pead averaged five yards per carry and ran for 1,110 yards and 11 touchdowns. The senior runs like a big back without the size to be a big back in the NFL, and he does not have game-breaking speed. Now in the 2012 NFL Draft, Pead looks like a middle-round pick on Saturday.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
This season, Jones showed he didn't have the 'it' factor to lead his team to hard-fought wins and elevate the play of his teammates. The rivalry game against Oklahoma State was the perfect opportunity for him to push his team to a win, but instead he was flat, and the Cowboys destroyed the Sooners 44-10. Jones completed 27-of-50 passes for 250 yards and two interceptions. He also was sacked three times. On one sack, Jones made a bad decision not to throw the ball away. He fumbled the ball and it was returned 59 yards to Oklahoma's one-yard line. That play was the turning point in Oklahoma State's decisive win.
Later in the third quarter, Jones dropped the football while rearing back to throw and that fumble was returned for a touchdown. The Sooners' lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter after they had already fallen behind by 41 points. Against the Cowboys, Jones was incapable of putting points on the board. He has had a poor end to the season and that has lowered his stock. Right now, the need for quarterbacks really helps Jones' draft stock, otherwise he could be a pick in the second half of the first round. The junior could return for his senior season in the hopes of getting into the top 10. However, that might not be a risk worth taking. If Jones has a disappointing senior season or gets injured, he could fall further in 2013.
Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
Alexander was quiet throughout the early going against Oklahoma State. In the first half, he went down briefly with a shoulder injury but returned to the game. In this critical contest, Alexander was shut out by the Cowboys. He recorded zero tackles and did not get any pressure on quarterback Brandon Weeden. Alexander also contributed to the Sooners' weak run defense. Their gap integrity was bad, and he got pushed out of his lane on numerous plays. The need for pass rushes helps Alexander's rating, but this was a bad tape that will damage his standing and could push him lower on the second day of the draft.