2014 NFL Draft Stock – Week 11

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2014 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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2014 NFL Draft Stock Up

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Alabama entered the contest versus LSU having not allowed a sack in over four games; A streak Kouandjio kept going against the Tigers. Early on, he set the tone as he was superb in the first half. Kouandjio was opening up running lanes and rock solid in pass protection. He opened up a hole for a key third-and-1 conversion inside the 10-yard line. In the third quarter, Kouandjio opened up a big hole for his running back to run inside the 15-yard line.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Kouandjio is very quick and strong. He has excellent quickness and agility to matchup against speed-rushers. Kouandjio has had some slow starts to the season for each of the past two years, but each season, he has steadily improved throughout the year. This tape really helps Kouandjio as he showed the ability to dominate. It gives evidence that he could be a first-round pick and a potential franchise left tackle.

C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
Mosley was around the ball all night against LSU, making tackles and having a huge presence. It started when he had a big run-stuff in the second quarter. Mosley had a tackle for a loss and three passes broken up, although one was an ugly dropped interception and he was only given credit for two breakups by the official scorer. He got in on a sack in the final minutes when Mettenberger scrambled forward. This performance should serve as confirmation for Mosley to be a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He finished with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss.

Taking on a good Tigers offense that has a strong running and passing game, Mosley proved to any doubters that he has three-down potential for the NFL. He is a tough and instinctive defender who is always around the ball. Mosley moves well in pass coverage and that is the key trait that will help him to be a first-round pick next May.

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Michael Sam has received a lot of the attention this season as he is tied for the national lead in sacks, but Ealy has been an impact pass-rusher on the other side of the field. Against Kentucky on Saturday, Ealy ripped off three sacks to help the Tigers get a road blow out. He overwhelmed the Wildcats with his combination of size and speed. In 2013, Ealy has 25 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and five passes batted.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder has the skill set of a first-round pick. He has flashed special ability at times in his career, but didn’t always play up to his athletic potential. It looks like the redshirt junior is starting to put it all together. For the NFL, Ealy would fit best as an end in a 4-3 defense. He is the cousin of Jets star rookie and former Missouri teammate Sheldon Richardson. Ealy could get first-round consideration in the 2014 or 2015 NFL Draft.

Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov led the Cardinal to an upset over Oregon last year and followed it up with another great performance against the Ducks this season. On the first drive of this year’s upset, Skov had a batted pass on a blitz around the edge. He later had a tackle for a loss exploding into the backfield on a perfect angle to get to the running back. Midway through the second quarter, Skov put a hard hit on De’Anthony Thomas at about the two-yard line. Skov slapped the ball out and recovered the fumble to take points away from Oregon. That turned out to be huge play in the game. He had a sack to go along with the forced fumble and a lot of good plays in run defense.

Skov totaled nine tackles with two tackles for a loss, one sack, one pass broken up and the forced fumble against the Ducks. For the year, he has 72 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. It gives further proof that Skov is recovered from his knee injury from two years ago. This performance could help him to get a second-round grade.

David Yankey, G, Stanford
The biggest star of Stanford’s upset win over Oregon was the offensive line of the Cardinal that dominated the time of possession against the Ducks. Yankey led the way for Stanford as he was phenomenal at blasting open running lanes all night. He gave a performance that was reminiscent of David DeCastro in 2012. Yankey was pulling from left guard to open creases on the right side throughout the game. He blasted open a hole for a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Just before halftime, Yankey executed a key block, again pulling, on a third-and-short to open up a hole.

Yankey was rock solid in pass protection, too – although the Cardinal didn’t pass the ball much. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder has performed extremely well at left guard this season after playing left tackle in 2012. Yankey is a better fit at guard for the NFL. He has the power for a power-man scheme with the quickness and agility to play for a zone-blocking team. It wouldn’t be a surprise if some teams think of moving Yankey to center. He is vert smart and versatile. Against Oregon, Yankey made the case to be a top-60 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor
Baylor senior guard Cyril Richardson was superb against Oklahoma. He was excellent at opening up lots of holes in the ground game and locking down pass-rushers. The Bears lost their top-two running backs to injury, but because of the blocking by Richardson and company, Baylor was able to dominate the line of scrimmage and run all over the Sooners. Richardson went down with an injury in the third quarter, but showed his toughness by finishing the game. He won his blocks, and this tape will assist him to receive an early-round grade.

The Bears have had a lot of success running up the middle this season and Richardson is a big reason why. The senior has been dominant. He blasts open running lanes and doesn’t allow pressure in the pocket. Richardson played left tackle as a sophomore, but has been a better fit at guard. In the NFL, he would probably be best as a right guard, although he could get consideration at right tackle. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Richardson is proving to be worthy of top-50 consideration.

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Some have the view that Carr belongs in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and he has done his job to validate that opinion. Against Wyoming, Carr continued his dominant senior season. He completed 33-of-46 passes for 360 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Carr has completed 70 percent of his passes in 2013 for 3,421 yards with 32 touchdowns and four interceptions. With only two games remaining, he will probably lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated season.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Carr is a developed passer. He has a strong arm and good mechanics. His field vision is excellent as he quickly scans the defense and throws the ball to the right receiver. Carr is patient and does a good job of protecting the football. With a strong offensive line, the senior often looks like he is playing 7-on-7 football. Carr needs to impress in pre-draft workouts and interview well, but he has done his part on the field to put together a senior season to make him worthy of first-round consideration.

Honorable Mentions: LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman, Virginia Tech defensive tackle Luther Maddy, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman and Alabama guard Anthony Steen.

2014 NFL Draft Stock Down

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Matthews is the career leader in receiving yards in SEC history, but one of the biggest concerns around him for the NFL is his speed. Entering the season, sources told me that Matthews (6-3, 205) wasn’t fast enough to be a first-round pick. In order to change that, the senior needs to demonstrate the ability to separate from elite college corners who will be playing on Sundays. Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson are potential early-round picks, so Matthews had one of those opportunities.

The Gators didn’t favor Matthews with their secondary as they let their nickelback and freshman Vernon Hargreaves match up on him. Matthews had a dropped pass on a third down on a slant that would have gone for a first down. In the third quarter, he was well covered running down the sideline and a perfectly thrown fade pass dropped in for an over-the-shoulder catch. Florida’ssecondary did a good job in coverage on Matthews as he caught only five passes for 45 yards.

Matthews has 71 receptions this season for 935 yards with five touchdowns. However, this tape was harmful to him. It illustrated that he lacks enough speed to separate from NFL defensive backs. That lack of speed could easily send Matthews to the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft even though he has the production of a first-round pick. Matthews could be this year’s version of Terrance Williams.

Jeff Matthews, QB, Cornell
Matthews had a rare opportunity to play in front of a national audience when NBC Sports broadcast Cornell’s game against Darmouth. Matthews didn’t show anything to justify the hype and some of the second-day draft projections. The Big Green shut down Matthews. In the first three quarters, Cornell had only 85 yards and five first downs.

Matthews completed half of his 32 attempts for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Dartmouth won 34-6. For Matthews to get drafted, he has to dominate the Ivy League. This performance along with some other games this season will hurt his cause.

De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
The 2013 season hasn’t gone as planned for Thomas. He hasn’t been the back to replace Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James as the featured runner in the Ducks’ offense. Thomas has dealt with an ankle injury that cost him four games and that led to Oregon pivoting to Byron Marshall as its lead back.

Thomas didn’t make a big impact against Stanford as he had six carries for 30 yards and four receptions for 42 yards. Thomas had a crushing fumble close to the end zone that proved to be a huge play in Oregon’s six-point loss.

This season, Thomas has only 408 yards rushing with 340 of those coming in the first three games against Nicholls State, Virginia and Tennessee. The undersized Thomas (5-9, 170) hasn’t shown the toughness and durability to overcome his stature. With the way 2013 has gone, the junior should strongly consider returning for his senior season.

Dishonorable Mentions: Oregon defensive end Taylor Hart and Oregon center Hroniss Grasu.

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