2014 NFL Draft Stock – Week 12

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

Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
Martin dominated Pittsburgh with 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, eight tackles and a pass batted. His first sack saw him rock the left tackle on his heels and use his speed to cut to the inside for the takedown. The second sack came when Martin used his speed to chase down a scrambling Tom Savage before smacking the ball out of his hands. Martin’s next strip sack came on a stunt from left defensive end. He showed great speed running straight down the pocket and ripped Savage to the ground. Martin had the presence of mind to recover the fumble he caused as well.

This season, Martin is finally starting to produce up to his immense skill set. He has 66 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Martin has speed around the edge and the power to bull rush. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder could serve as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end, although he would probably be a better fit in the latter. With his combination of size, speed and now production, Martin could easily end up being a first-round pick.

Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
While Stanford fell in a road upset, Murphy was phenomenal for the Cardinal. All night, he was tossing linemen aside and making plays in the Trojans’ backfield. In the second quarter, Murphy came on a rush from the left side and was able to trip up the quarterback for a sack. Midway through the third quarter, Murphy started a sack of Cody Kessler, who fumbled the ball away as Murphy dragged him to the ground. Murphy fought through the line late in the fourth quarter to make a tackle for a loss of one. Once again, Murphy shed another linemen to get another loss of three yards. He ended up with eight tackles, four tackles for a loss and two sacks against USC.

Murphy has 12 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, 45 tackles, one forced fumble, three passes batted and an interception this year. He is proving on a weekly basis that he is a first-round pick for the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Murphy has the power to shed blocks and the speed to beat tackles around the edge. He would fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end. Murphy is a tough player, has a good motor and is an underrated athlete. He has been one of the most consistent defensive prospects in the nation.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Even though Auburn pulled off an amazing win, Murray showed some serious fight to lead Georgia back from a 37-17 deficit. Murray made some clutch throws to lead the Bulldogs back. He made a great throw on a deep post for a gain of 41 yards as his receiver made a diving reception. Murphy had a few good runs to set up a short touchdown pass on a slant. He hit wide open tight end Arthur Lynch after Auburn busted coverage. It was an easy throw for Murray to get a 24-yard touchdown.

On fourth-and-goal late in the fourth quarter, Murray had nobody open. so he ran up the middle and powered through some defenders to get into the end zone from about five yards out. Earlier in the game, Murray took a quarterback draw for a 16-yard touchdown run. The senior isn’t a dual-threat signal-caller, but this season, he has taken defenses by surprise and made some plays with his feet.

Murray completed 33-of-49 passes for 414 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He ran for 42 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns. This performance will definitely help Murray when he is graded before the draft. The 6-foot-1, 208-pounder is an undersized quarterback, but games like this could lead to him being a second-day pick in a crowded class.

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert has had an excellent senior year that he kept going against Texas. Gilbert started the game with a nice breakup in press man coverage. Just before halftime, he made a huge play for the Cowboys. Gilbert was in off-man coverage on a receiver along the sideline. He had his receiver well covered, but was thrown at anyway. Gilbert undercut the receiver to snatch the pass and race 43 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.

In the third quarter, Gilbert was beaten for a 41-yard reception by Mike Davis, but he bounced back to help close out the win for the Cowboys. Like all good cornerbacks, Gilbert showed the ability to rebound from errors. Case McCoy tested him deep at the end of the third quarter, but Gilbert had tight coverage. He reached out and made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch. The senior corner also made nine tackles versus the Longhorns.

It wasn’t a perfect game, but Gilbert played really well overall and made huge plays to help his team pull off a road win in Texas. He has six interceptions, 35 tackles, five passes broken up and one kick returned for a touchdown this season. Gilbert (6-0, 200) is a gritty corner who has showed an improved game as a senior.

Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Shazier was an animal against Illini. While the Buckeyes allowed a lot more yards and points than they should have against a bad Illinois team, Shazier was one of the few defenders making plays. To get his day started, he chased down a pass in the flat and made a strong tackle for a five-yard loss.

Shazier lined up as a defensive end in the third quarter and burned the right tackle with a speed rush. He blasted the quarterback and forced a fumble in the end zone. Illinois recovered the ball for a safety. Shazier could have had a shot at recovering the fumble if he was more aware rather than looking to celebrate. Late in the fourth, Shazier got in on a sack with a teammate. He had another sack that was credited as a tackle for a loss. The junior had 16 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumbles versus the Illini.

This season, Shazier has 87 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one pass broken up and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder has sideline-to-sideline speed. He is an excellent pursuit linebacker in run and pass defense. Shazier projects well to being a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3 defense in the NFL. This performance should serve to confirm a second-round grade for Shazier in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Ford helped himself against Georgia. Early in the first quarter, he burned the right tackle with a speed rush and rip move to get a strip-sack on Aaron Murray. Georgia recovered the ball, but Ford came close to another sack on the next play. He had another great speed rush to come close to a sack just before the half.

Ford showcased a great get-off in this contest, but did mistime one jump to go offside. In the second half, he continued to burn around the edge and put heat on Aaron Murray. On the final play of the game, Ford pounded Murray as he threw, which prevented the ball from getting to the end zone.

Against Georgia, Ford showed some serious pass-rush ability. He has eight sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 22 tackles and two forced fumbles this year. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder is way too small to play defensive end in the NFL. He will have to move to outside linebacker, and that could make him more of a developmental prospect. His senior season has definitely improved his draft stock.

Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Hyde has been a powerful force for the Buckeyes’ high-scoring offense this year. He was completely dominant against Illinois. Early on, Hyde caught a swing pass and charged into the end zone for an 18-yard score. After two scoring runs inside the 10, he broke away from defenders for two more touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to put the game away. One came from 51 yards and the second was a 55-yarder. All day Hyde (6-0, 235) was running roughshod over the Illini defense. He was breaking tackles and running North-South for big yards. Hyde totaled 247 yards on 24 carries with four touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, he had two receptions for 26 yards and a score.

In 2013, Hyde has averaged 7.9 yards per carry for 947 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also has 10 receptions for 90 yards and two scores. With a suspension to start the season and other academic issues, Hyde will enter the draft with character concerns. The 6-foot, 235-pounder is power back for the NFL who could develop enough receiving ability to have a shot at being a three-down starter. Hyde has quickness when his weight is lower and it would be ideal if he played in the 225-230-pound range. If his off-the-field issues are cleared up, he could be a second-day pick.

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
With the performances of Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Boyd needed a big outing to keep pace with those signal-callers as potential mid-first-round picks. The Clemson senior answered the bell against Georgia Tech.

Boyd dropped in a beautiful deep ball down the middle of the field for a 47-yard gain to Martavius Bryant early in the second quarter. On the next play, Boyd threw a fade pass for a touchdown to Mike Williams. Boyd lofted a bomb to Bryant, who was streaking down the sideline, on the Tigers’ next drive. The ball was well thrown and hit Bryant on the run. He raced another 40 yards into the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown. That was Boyd’s 96th career touchdown pass to set a new ACC record that had been previously held by Philip Rivers. Boyd finished the night completing 20-of-26 passes for 340 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He ran for 63 yards with 12 carries and a score.

Against Georgia Tech, Boyd put on a deep ball clinic. He threw downfield with amazing accuracy and superb ball placement where his receivers could make catches in stride. In 2013, Boyd has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,960 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Sources have said Boyd could go as high as the middle of the first round or fall to early in the second round. His performance in this game bolsters the higher projection.

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
Attaochu was going against one of the best teams on his schedule with Clemson, so he picked a good time to flash his pass-rush ability. In the first quarter, Attaochu got things started by quickly busting a screen pass on a third down. Shortly later, Attaochu fired to the inside on a stunt from left defensive end and came down the middle to sack Boyd. Attaochu forced a field goal a short time later with a speed rush around the right tackle to sack Boyd. Attaochu added a couple of other run tackles near the line of scrimmage.

In the second half, Clemson did a better job of accounting for Attaochu, but he still impressed enough to help his draft grade with this performance. He had five tackles with two sacks against the Tigers.

Attaochu has 31 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted in 2013. The 6-foot-3, 242-pounder would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Georgia Tech plays him at defensive end, but he needs to add weight for the NFL. Attaochu has speed off the edge and is doing his part to be a second-day pick.

Honorable Mentions: Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr, UCLA inside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, USC safety Dion Bailey and Stanford inside linebacker Shayne Skov.

2014 NFL Draft Stock Down

Jonathan Brown, ILB, Illinois
Going against the best offense he would see all season, Brown didn’t look like a linebacker who could match up well with a power-rushing attack. Carlos Hyde ran all over Illinois. Brown had six tackles with one going for negative yardage, but the Buckeyes exploited him. On a number of plays, Brown did a poor job of reading his keys and ran away from the ball. In the second half, Brown got hit with a personal foul penalty on a late hard hit of Braxton Miller. Hyde ran for 247 yards and Ohio State put up 60 points via the ground game. Brown was a non-factor.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder has some speed, but he isn’t very strong and needs to get better about getting off blocks. This performance made Brown look more like a third-day pick rather than a Day 2 selection.

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