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
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
WalterFootball.com knows that the Oakland Raiders are considering Evans with the fifth-overall pick. After Sammy Watkins goes off the board, Evans isn’t expected to last long. Some teams aren’t big fans of him and don’t believe he should go early, but there are enough teams that like him that Evans could easily go as a top-eight selection. He could easily be a Raider come Thursday night.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
One of the darkhorse prospects who could crack the top 10 is Beckham. There are a lot of teams that love the LSU speed receiver. If the Lions are unable to move up for Evans or Sammy Watkins, Detroit could surprise many and take Beckham. There are also rampant rumors of the San Francisco 49ers moving up close to 20 spots to take Beckham in the early teens. Beckham looks like a serious contender to go in the first 16 picks.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Matthews entered the draft process as the top-rated offensive tackle, and many believed he would be a top-five pick. After getting passed up by Greg Robinson, Matthews was kind of lost in the shuffle. However, late in the process there has been renewed talk that Matthews could go second overall to St. Louis. Even if he doesn’t go to St. Louis, Matthews looks like a lock for the top 10.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
WalterFootball.com knows a number of teams that love Shazier. His stock has been higher with teams during the lead up to the draft than most believe. Shazier is a near lock for the top 25 and could easily go in the first 20 selections. The lightning-fast linebacker is well suited to the pass-happy NFL. With his ability to cover sideline-to-sideline and the potential to defend elite tight ends, Shazier could end up being an extremely valuable part of his pro defense.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
The Seminoles running back could easily crack the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft. One of Freeman’s best assets is his ability to pass block. He’s considered to be one of the top blocking backs in the draft. Add in his running ability, and someone could land a valuable contributor in Freeman. There are a number of teams looking for rotational back in the mid-rounds, and Freeman could be a nice selection who could perform his role quickly.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock predicted that Jean-Baptiste would be a first-round pick because teams are looking to copy the Seattle Seahawks and their style of cornerbacks. Jean-Baptiste hasn’t been projected to go that high, but maybe Mayock is basing that off of conversations with NFL teams, especially those picking late in the first round. If Jean-Baptiste isn’t a first-round pick, he could go early on the second day.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Fiedorowicz is a sleeper to watch. The four top-rated tight ends – Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Troy Niklas – should all be gone by early in the third round at the very latest. With Fiedorowicz being the consensus fifth-ranked tight end, he could easily be selected on Friday night. There is a real drop off at the position behind Fiedorowicz, but also a number of teams looking to improve their tight ends. Don’t be surprised if Fiedorowicz goes much earlier than expected on draft day.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
Moncrief was one receiver who generated a lot of pre-draft visits. There were a lot of teams that brought him into their facilities in April. The big receiver has some quickness and had solid production in the SEC over the past two seasons. Even with a fast 40 at the Combine, Moncrief has gone under the radar with the media. However given the interest shown in him by teams, it wouldn’t be surprising if Moncrief is selected earlier than projected.
2014 NFL Draft Stock Down
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
There are a few issues that are hurting Seastrunk with teams. While he has good speed and quickness, the 5-foot-9, 200-pounder is viewed as undersized and having durability issues. Seastrunk was off to a great start in 2013 before getting banged up and not producing much in the second part of the year. There are also off-the-field concerns regarding his character. It wouldn’t be surprising if he falls on draft day.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
A team that is strongly considering drafting a receiver in the first round told WalterFootball.com that they have Benjamin graded late, as in a mid-rounder. They feel that Benjamin won’t be able to separate from NFL defensive backs and can’t run. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder was compared to former USC and Detroit Lions receiver Mike Williams, who got too heavy to be effective in the NFL. Benjamin also has off-the-field problems with teams questioning his maturity. It is very possible that he will slip out of the first round.
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