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
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
There has been a lot of talk recently that Fluker's stock is climbing. Some, like NFL.com's Gil Brandt, are projecting him to be a top-20 pick. One of the reasons for Fluker's rise is his physical skill set. The 6-foot-4, 355-pounder is extremely powerful yet also has quickness and athleticism.
Another aspect of Fluker's physical prowess that has evaluators buzzing is his extraordinarily long arms. He had the longest arms of any player at the Senior Bowl with an arm length of 36 3/8. Typically, the longest arms are in the 35-inch range.
Fluker was a dominant run-blocker who really struggled as a pass-protector in 2012. The junior was beaten for a lot of sacks, some of which against opponents who shouldn't have that kind of success against him. It will be interesting to see if Fluker's stock stays on the raise as those tapes are poured over in the months to come.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Every year there seems to be a cornerback prospect who steadily climbs up draft boards in the final months before the 2013 NFL Draft. South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore was that player for the 2012 NFL Draft. He rose all the way to the 10th pick. It looks like the same thing is happening again this year with Trufant.
Trufant put in a sterling week at the Senior Bowl to push his stock securely into the first round. His stock is still contining to climb. If Alabama's DeMarcus Milliner is drafted in the No. 5-8 picks, Trufant has a shot of going 10th overall to the Tennessee Titans.
Trufant (5-11, 190) had back-to-back good seasons for the Huskies. He played very well in 2011. The junior had two interceptions, 14 passes broken up, two forced fumbles, and 64 tackles. Trufant was one of the few Washington defenders to hold his own against Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, wide receiver Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams in the Alamo Bowl.
Trufant was an excellent man-coverage corner playing on an island in 2012. The senior had 36 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, five passes broken up and a sack. Man corners are in serious demand, so him landing in the top 16 seems increasingly possible.
Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
I've been touting Warford since well before the 2012 season. He was a dominant lineman the past few years for a bad team, so not many people noticed how good he was. That seems to have changed as many are now projecting Warford to be a late first-round or early second-round pick. He had a superb week at the Senior Bowl and was clearly the best interior offensive lineman.
Warford had success going against three projected first-round defensive tackles as a senior. Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, Florida's Sharrif Floyd and Georgia's John Jenkins all had their hands full with Warford. Richardson is a strong interior pass-rusher, but Warford completely shut him down.
This is a strong class of interior linemen. There will be a lot of teams that want and miss out on Alabama guard Chance Warmack. However in many drafts, Warford would be the best guard. The 6-foot-3, 333-pounder is extremely strong and is a very good athlete. He is surprisingly fast and agile for such a large body. It wouldn't be surprising if Warford ends up going late in the first round this April.
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Jones' stock continues to rise off of a dominant week at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder is built like a body builder and showed that he loves the weight room and has put in a lot of time in developing a serious NFL body. Following the weigh-in, the powerful defensive end had a superb week of practice. Jones showed off a great skill set with which he can defeat offensive linemen either by strength or speed. Jones has the power to move offensive linemen to the side and the speed to close in a hurry. He won his one-on-one reps using both power and speed.
Jones had 62 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss in 2012. There is some debate about the senior's position in the NFL, but he looks like a good fit as a 3-4 defensive end. Jones could also be a power left defensive end in a 4-3 defense who can move inside on passing downs. Some think that he could be a late first-round pick.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
Wreh-Wilson is another cornerback who has received some first-round buzz. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, demonstrating off a nice skill set. Wreh-Wilson (6-0, 192) has nearly ideal size with the ability to play man and zone in the NFL.
Wreh-Wilson had 46 tackles, one interception and nine passes broken up in 2012. He had 37 tackles, seven passes batted and two interceptions as a junior. Wreh-Wilson's best production came as a sophomore when he totaled four interceptions with 57 tackles and five passes broken up. Wreh-Wilson needs to perform well at the combine to continue his climb.
Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs featured a very good cornerback tandem in 2012. Teammate Johnthan Banks has received the majority of the attention, but Slay had a strong senior season and is a solid prospect in his own right. More evaluators are starting to take notice, and Slay's stock looks to be on the rise.
Slay recorded five interceptions, 40 tackles and six passes broken up in 2012. Teams targeted him more than Banks, but Slay held up extremely well. In fact in the final month of the season, he played better than Banks, who was hobbled with a knee injury. Slay (6-1, 190) has good size, instincts and ball skills. He could push into the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
Many believe that Logan is going to be a combine star and is poised to rise up draft boards. This is a loaded class of defensive tackles, and Logan needs a big performance in Indianapolis to help his draft stock. He recorded 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and two sacks in 2012, but was more disruptive than the numbers indicate.
Logan combined with Michael Brockers to form a superb interior duo for the Tigers in 2011. Logan totaled 57 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and one forced fumble.
The 6-foot-3, 287-pounder is extremely fast and could be a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. It would also help his draft stock if he added some bulk during combine training and pushes 300 pounds at the weigh-in. Logan has a big opportunity in Indianapolis.
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
As Walt showed in his latest mock draft
, Cyrpien's stock continues to rise. The fast and physical safety had a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl. He showed the ability to cover receivers in the pass game and had no issues with the improved competition.
Cyprien led his team in 2012 with 93 tackles. The senior also contributed four interceptions, five passes broken up and one forced fumble. The 6-foot, 209-pounder has drawn a lot of comparisons to Lions safety Louis Delmas. Cyrpien could get consideration in the No. 20-40 range.
Nathan Stanley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
A weak quarterback class always provides the opportunity for some late-round quarterbacks to rise. Stanley is one signal-caller who has the potential to do benefit from that for the 2013 NFL Draft. He started out his career at Ole Miss before transferring to Southeastern Louisiana. The senior completed 53 percent of his passes in 2012 for 1,705 yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Stanley (6-5, 215) performed well at the East-West Shrine. He displayed all the physical tools NFL teams look for with a strong arm and good pocket presence. If Stanley interviews and works out well for teams, he could push his stock up on the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
2013 NFL Draft Stock Down
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Even though Montgomery had two straight seasons of solid production, he doesn't seem to have many fans. There is a lot of talk that Montgomery has a poor work ethic off the field. He also doesn't look like he has the speed to match up well against NFL offensive tackles.
Montgomery is very slow off the snap, and a lot of his sacks in college came after another defensive linemen started pressures that Montgomery was able to finish off. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder doesn't make up for it by being overly physical or strong.
Montgomery only 37 tackles to go along with eight sacks and 13 tackles for a loss in 2012. He did not improve his game over his sophomore season when he totaled 49 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. Montgomery had a lot of favorable blocking situations. It currently looks like he has slid from a potential first-rounder to the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
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