This section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2013 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2013 NFL Draft Stock Up
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Even though Baylor's defense is the equivalent to a wet paper bag, Smith was a model of quarterback perfection in a record-setting game. He had one of the most prolific games in college football history, completing 45-of-51 for 656 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Smith threw touchdown passes of 7, 47, 20, 2, 45, 52, 87 and 39 yards. The senior has completed 83 percent of his passes this season for 1,728 yards, 20 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Smith hasn't played a quality defense yet, but next week he'll take on Texas, and the Longhorns have some NFL talent in their secondary and on the defensive line.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith has an excellent skill set. He is showing his intelligence and field vision by working through his progressions and looking off safeties. Smith has some natural accuracy with good arm strength to make all the throws. He can fire some fastballs into tight windows with phenomenal ball placement to hit receivers in stride.
Smith's plus mobility allows him to pick up first downs with his feet and bail out his offensive line. He will need to improve his footwork for the NFL. Smith needs to become more uniform with good feet to get in rhythm. He currently looks like a first-round pick in the top half of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Smith wasn't the only record-setter in the West Virginia versus Baylor defensive debacle. Bears senior wide receiver Terrance Williams was unstoppable and the Mountaineers had no answer for him. He moved the chains with short and intermediate catches all day.
Williams (6-2, 205) used his speed to get separation and his size to shield the ball from defensive backs. He displayed excellent route running against West Virginia. Moments after the Big 12 single game receiving records for catches and yards were set by Mountaineers receiver Stedman Bailey, Williams set the new record. He totaled 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns.
Even though Williams has played one game less than most players in college football, he leads the nation in receiving yards with 667 yards in only four contests. The senior has 34 catches and six touchdowns. Williams has become the driving force behind Baylor's offense without Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright. Williams' size, speed, hands and production are helping him to prove that he is worthy of a first-round pick.
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
In some ways it is hard to include Bailey as a stock up just because he ran through busted coverage repeatedly for long touchdowns. However, Bailey was Smith's top target against Baylor and set school records for West Virginia. Bailey had long touchdowns that showed off his elite speed. He totaled 13 receptions for 303 yards and five touchdowns of 87, 47, 20, 39 and 2 yards. His long touchdowns showed off his elite speed.
Bailey has 41 receptions for 635 yards and 10 touchdowns so far in 2012. He should produce some massive totals this season with West Virginia taking on the horrible Big XII defenses on a weekly basis. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder will have to be a slot receiver in the NFL. In that role, Bailey could sneak into the third round. He definitely is worth an early-round selection on the third day.
Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
Randle showed a complete skill set for a running back against Texas, and his performance was indicative of why he is often compared to Thurman Thomas in Stillwater. Randle ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run in the first minute of action. He had a big hole to the left and as safety Kenny Vaccaro ran up to stop him, the ball-carrier juked him out of his jock to bust free downfield.
Randle was ripping off yards in chunks all night long. He had huge production with 195 yards on 25 carries and two scores against the Longhorns. Oklahoma State could have used him more and that may have turned the result in the Cowboys' favor.
A back needs three-down ability for the NFL to be a first-round pick. Randle caught two passes for 19 yards and did well as a pass-protector. He showed his blocking ability with a jarring hit on Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom. The hit knocked Byndom out of the game briefly.
Randle has averaged 7.1 yards per carry this year, collecting 534 yards and six touchdowns in four contests. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder showed versus the Longhorns that he can beat defenses with power, physicality and speed. There are many plays where Randle runs angry with the quickness to hit the hole before it closes. This was an impressive performance that helps his draft stock. He looks like a first- or second-round pick for either the 2013 or 2014 NFL Draft.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Huskies had a low-scoring upset win over Stanford and Trufant was a big reason why. They sold out to stop the Cardinal and its power running game. By doing that Washington left its cornerbacks on an island and Trufant came up with a clutch game. He broke up a couple of deep passes with tight coverage. On one, Trufant ripped the receiver's arm away to force an incompletion and a punt. It was a clutch play and impressive strength from the senior.
Trufant was in man coverage on tight end Levine Toilolo, a 6-foot-8 tight end on Stanford's final fourth down attempt. The Cardinal signal-caller threw the ball up for grabs and a it was little overthrown towards the defender. Trufant made a leaping interception to save the upset win for the Huskies.
It is rare for Trufant (6-0, 186) to be tested as most teams stay away from him, but he held up perfectly and showed some real ball skills against Stanford. Without a lot of opportunities his ball skills are undefined, but he certainly showed them with two pass breakups and an interception against the Cardinal. Trufant looks like a solid second-round pick.
Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State
The hard-nosed run defender came up with three big plays in the passing game to help Penn State cruise to a road win over Illinois. Mauti undercut a route On a fourth-and-goal just before halftime and picked off a pass at the goal line. He ran for the corner, turned upfield and then trucked down the field. The senior was tackled a half yard short of the end zone for a 99-yard interception return.
Mauti started a sack with a nice blitz off the edge in the third quarter. He later grabbed his second interception after reading the quarterback to beat the receiver to a floated pass. Mauti also made a great tackle on punt defense right after the ball was caught.
Mauti has totaled 48 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes broken up so far in 2012. The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder will probably will have to move to outside linebacker at ths next level. Mauti isn't the fastest defender, but he's instinctive, intelligent and physical. Mauti definitely will be a good special teams contributor in the NFL. This outing should help his cause and looks like a solid mid-rounder.
Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia
Georgia had the challenge of defending Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray with speedster wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. The superb play of corners Commings and Damian Swann covered up for the Volunteers, neutralizing Bulldogs speed-rusher Jarvis Jones.
Commings recorded his first interception of the season with nice coverage on Patterson along the sideline. The pass was off the mark and flew into Commings. He had his second interception on a tipped pass late in the contest.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Commings had tight coverage all day going against Hunter and Patterson. It was an excellent outing from Commings where he doubled his 2011 interception total. He looks much improved over his junior season. Commings has 13 tackles, two interceptions and a pass broken up through three games. This performance will definitely help his draft stock.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
While a number of Wisconsin prospects are having disappointing seasons, the junior wide receiver is playing good football. He led the Badgers' offense against Nebraska and hauled in seven receptions for 142 yards with a touchdown.
Abbrederis outfought a defensive back at one point for a 54-yard reception. He had separation, but the pass was underthrown to let the corner recover. Abbrederis leapt and boxed out the defensive back to haul the pass in. He made the leaping catch in the end zone for the score after blazing down the sideline on a go route.
The Badgers really missed Abbrederis when he missed a game and a half with a concussion. The 6-foot-2, 188-pounder has surprising explosion and deep speed. Abbrederis was a big-play receiver last year for Russell Wilson, but the redshirt junior is being held back by shaky quarterback play this season. Abbrederis has totaled 20 receptions for 399 yards and four touchdowns in only three and half games worth of playing time in 2012.
Stanford tight end Zach Ertz and Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine.
2012 NFL Draft Stock Down
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
This season is turning into feast or famine for Amerson. He was burned for two long touchdowns against Tennessee in Week 1, but recorded interceptions in the next three games.
Amerson had another ugly outing last Saturday versus Miami. He was beaten for a touchdown after he lost track of his receiver trailing towards the back corner of the end zone. A couple yards of separation was enough for the ball to get past the corner's outstretched hand.
The second touchdown Amerson gave up came when the receiver ran a go route down the sideline and the corner was unable to keep pace. That highlights a negative about Amerson's game; his ability, or lack thereof, to flip his hips and run with a speed receiver.
The Hurricanes won the game with a long touchdown late in the fourth quarter. It wasn't Amerson's man, but he was late in pursuit of the open receiver and then seemed to slow up just as the ball sailed over his head to the wide out.
Amerson has totaled 18 tackles, three interceptions and three passes broken up so far in 2012. His coverage this year suggests he isn't a man-cover corner for the NFL. Amerson looks like a pick in the second half of the first round for a zone-based coverage system at the moment. He would probably thrive as a zone corner where he can use his instincts and ball skills with safety help over the top.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
The nightmare continued for Arkansas last Saturday, and Davis has struggled in his return to the field after missing the 2011 season with a broken ankle. He fumbled the ball three times against Texas A&M. The Aggies rolled the Razorbacks, and the junior only had 65 yards on 18 carries.
Davis doesn't look like he has the burst or confidence that he had before the injury. Davis just isn't running with authority. He is averaging 3.3 yards per carry this year, having run for 273 yards and two touchdowns through five games. Davis should return for his senior season to work back to his pre-injury form before going pro.
Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
The recurring theme of the 2012 season is Adams getting beaten for long touchdowns. First, he was beaten for a long reception downfield after mistiming his jump in the Spartans' season opener against Boise State. He was then beaten for another long touchdown against Notre Dame, missed a tackle on a touchdown run and was called for a pass interference on another deep pass.
It happened again versus the Buckeyes. Adams was toasted for a 63-yard touchdown right after his team fought back and took the lead. Wide out Devan Smith had one-on-one coverage and ran right by Adams on a go route along the sideline. It proved to be the game-winning touchdown for Ohio State.
Adams has totaled 15 tackles, four passes broken up and an interception this year. He entered the season as a second-round pick, but now looks Day 3 caliber. It isn't out of the question for him to fall to the late rounds.
William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
I'm sorry to keep piling on the Spartans prospects, and I know there fans will flood my inbox, but Gholston (6-7, 278) is one of the most disappointing draft prospects this year. He has shown no improvement from his sophomore season and actually seems to have regressed.
He was a ghost on any play that the Buckeyes blocked him. The only plays he flashed were when he was left completely unblocked. Gholston's pass rush is weak. He has no repertoire of moves and is wasting a nice physical skill set. With his strength, there is no reason for him not to have developed a club move or a rip move. All Gholston does is bull rush and his pad level is horrible. He stands up too high and tackles can easily stop it.
In response to my post on Twitter @draftcampbell
that Gholston has no pass-rushing moves and looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane, forum member Blue tweeted to me "Looks like Tarzan, plays like Vernon." There are a lot of similarities between the cousins, but at least Vernon had big sack production in college.
William, on the other hand, has only one sack this season and it came against Central Michigan. He's totaled 18 tackles and four tackles for a loss, but half of his TFLs came against Central Michigan. Gholston should return for his senior season. He looks like his only fit in the NFL right now would be as a 3-4 defensive end who can occupy blockers. Gholston doesn't make enough plays to be a 4-3 defensive end.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, Ohio State defensive end John Simon and Illinois outside linebacker Jonathan Brown.
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