This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2014 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2014 NFL Draft Stock Up
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Despite a rough junior season, Roby has been trending up, and many believe he will be a first-round pick. Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that their teams love the toolbox that Roby (5-11, 194) brings with his size, speed and athleticism. He is very fast, and teams believe that the issues he had in 2013 are fixable after he gets some pro coaching. Specifically, teams feel Roby can improve his eye discipline and vulnerability to double moves. Sources feel that if they fix Roby's issues, he could end up being a draft-day steal as he has a top-20 skill set.
David Yankey, G, Stanford
In the weeks since the Combine, UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo has taken over as the consensus top guard in the 2014 NFL Draft. Some felt that Yankey was the top guard before the Combine, and while Su'a-Filo could go ahead of him, Yankey could still end up cracking the top 32. WalterFootball.com has heard that some teams picking late in the first round really like Yankey a lot and feel he is worthy of their pick. They also are thinking they might be able to trade down and still land him. Many teams view Yankey as a plug-and-play player at right or left guard.
In the past two drafts, there have been interior linemen who went much higher than expected (Kevin Zeitler in 2012 and Travis Frederick in 2013). Yankey could be that player this year and end up being a Thursday night pick.
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
It looks very likely that four offensive tackles will be selected in the top-20 picks. Those top-four tackles are Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin. After those four are selected, there is an open debate about who will be the fifth tackle. Moses is one of the favorites. There are a number of playoff teams that could consider drafting an edge blocker, so Moses has a shot at being a late first-round pick to a team like Cincinnati, Carolina or Seattle. If Moses falls to the secon day, he shouldn't last long.
Philip Gaines, CB, Rice
The 6-foot, 193-pound Gaines was one of the stars of the Combine with an electric 40 time of 4.38 seconds. That caught many by surprise and caused some to reevaluate him. Gaines has a big appeal to a wide variety of teams and defensive schemes as he has the speed to run with fast wide receivers and enough size to defend big wide outs. Gaines has held up well under the additional scrutiny and has a shot to be a second- or third-round pick.
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
One of the stars of the pro days has been Latimer. He was unable to work out at the Combine, but the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder ran well at his pro day and teams came away impressed. Latimer has a nice combination of size and speed. He had good production as well the past two seasons. In 2013, Latimer had 72 receptions for 1,096 yards with nine touchdowns. Playing at Indiana hurt his exposure, but with his skill set, he could end up being a second-day selection.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
There are a few teams that are showing interest in Shaw. He needs to develop his passing ability, but he makes plays on the ground with his feet. Shaw is a similar style player to Jeff Garcia, and as a developmental backup, Shaw could be worth a late-round pick. While he looks like a late-rounder, that is a stock-up entry for him, because for a long time he was viewed as a likely undrafted free agent.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Similar to Bradley Roby, when there is an elite athlete, many NFL coaches and scouts feel that their problems can be fixed. That same mindset is working in Thomas' favor. While the Hokies quarterback has a lot of bad tape, you can make a strong argument that he has the best skill set in the draft with a cannon for an arm, big size and running ability. Thomas (6-6, 250) showed some improvement with his accuracy and a decision-making during his senior season, so perhaps he can continue that. WalterFootball.com knows a few teams that are targeting Thomas in the mid-rounds, and some feel he could even sneak into the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dontae Johnson, CB, North Carolina State
Sources told WalterFootball.com that Johnson is a player who is going to go sooner than most expect. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound corner has great size, and at the Combine, he showed fantastic speed with a 4.45-second time in the 40-yard dash. Johnson benefits from teams looking to copy the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks and their preference for big corners who can run. He hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but looks solid for the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft. WalterFootball.com knows teams picking early on Day 3 that don't think there is any way that Johnson will get to their fourth-round pick.
2014 NFL Draft Stock Down
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
There are a lot of divided opinions on Evans. Some feel he deserves a top-10 pick and made Johnny Manziel a better quarterback than he actually was, while others think that Evans will not translate well to the NFL and shouldn't go high in the first round. Some teams have told WalterFootball.com that they didn't have Evans timing as fast his official time at the Combine. They also feel that his speed won't allow him to separate in the NFL. Additionally, they don't think he'll be able to live off just outleaping NFL defensive backs for jump balls. These teams don't even believe that Evans doesn't belong in the top 20. Obviously, there are very split opinions regarding Evans, and as a result, it could be possible that Evans will slide on draft day.
Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
Some have pushed Joyner as a second-round pick because of his gritty style and play-making ability. However, sources have told WalterFootball.com that Joyner isn't grading out higher than a third-round pick. He is obviously undersized at 5-foot-8, 184-pounds, but he has also run slower than expected. Sources feel that a lack of size and speed will make Joyner just a situational player in the NFL and limited in his ability to be an every-down starter. Every year some surprising names slip to the third day of the draft, and Joyner could be a candidate for that this year.
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