2015 NFL Draft Stock – Week 2

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2015 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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2015 NFL Draft Stock Up

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Some NFL teams love Mariota and feel the hype is justified. They feels he’s a good kid who has toughness and a great skill set. The redshirt junior put that on display when he put Oregon on his back and led his team to a huge win over Michigan State, which features perhaps the best defense he’ll face all season.

Mariota made some huge, clutch passes and runs to lead the Ducks back from a deficit. Against the Spartans, he completed 17-of-28 passes for 318 yards with three touchdowns. Mariota still needs development as a pocket passer. For the NFL, he needs to work on: his footwork, playing under center, his field vision to work through progressions and moving safeties with his eyes. Still, Mariota showed that he has some pocket potential with good coaching, and his performance against Michigan State validated his high draft rating.

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
Cook is another potential first-round pick in the 2015 or 2016 NFL Draft. At times versus Oregon, he looked better than Mariota. Early in the game, Cook had a beautiful sideline throw, dropping it in over a corner with great coverage. That great throw beat the good coverage and was an NFL-level ,toss. Cook finished 29-of-47 for 343 yards with two scores and two picks. One interception wasn’t his fault, but the other was a bad throw; he came close to others. It wasn’t a perfect game, but Cook showed a lot of what the pros are looking for. He provided NFL evaluators evidence of a big arm, pocket presence, some precise throws and mobility to avoid rushers and roll out.

Cook has played in a pro-style system and has shown steady improvement with his ability to function out of the pocket while working through his progressions. It wouldn’t be surprising if NFL teams gradually fall in love with Cook and he ends up being a potential high first-round pick.

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
One of the most dominant players in the first two weeks of the season has been Cooper. On Saturday, he tied the Alabama receiving record for receptions in a game as he hauled in 13 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. Cooper has shown the elite speed and burst that was present in his freshman season. Last year, the sophomore was slowed by a toe injury, but the juniot is dominating the competition this season. He has been tremendous after the catch with the ball in his hands.

Cooper has been unstoppable, and Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is going to throw the ball to Cooper non-stop like he did with Robert Woods in 2011 and Marqise Lee in 2012. Thus far, Cooper has 25 receptions for 319 yards and a touchdown. It wouldn’t be surprising if Cooper ends up being one of the nation’s leaders this season and pushes his draft stock securely into the top 10.

Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
In speaking with an NFL general manager on Monday, he named Montgomery as one of the players who impressed him the most from Week 2 of college football. Montgomery was a problem for USC’s defense as he had nine receptions for 83 yards. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder showed some toughness serving as a short-yardage back out of a wild-cat package. In the third quarter, Montgomery had an excellent punt return of 44 yards. He ran by tacklers and set up blockers for extra yards. Montgomery followed it up with a 31-yard kick return.

Thus far in 2014, the senior has 14 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. He’s returned three punts for 118 yards with a touchdown, too. Montgomery has the speed to beat defensive backs and get separation. He also is a dangerous weapon on special teams, with the size and strength to break tackles as well as run by defenders. Montgomery has the potential to be a first-round pick and crack the top 20 of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Of the trio of Michigan State defensive prospects who could be first-round picks, Waynes was the most impressive against Oregon. The Kenosha, Wisconsin product had excellent coverage all night. On the first drive of the game, Mariota went his direction, but Waynes nailed the receiver to knock the pass away. Waynes had tight coverage throughout the night on receivers running deep downfield. In the second half, Mariota tested Waynes deep, but he was in the hip pocket of the receiver. Waynes got away with some contact, but it was a better non-call. br>
Waynes was reliable in coverage and showed the ability to be a press-man corner. He is fast and physical. Waynes looks like a future first-round pick and potentially a top-half-of-the-first-round prospect.

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Shelton was on here a week ago for a huge game against Hawaii with two sacks and a ton of tackles. Well, he took his game to another level against Eastern Washington with four sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and eight solo tackles. Across two games this season, Shelton has been a man on fire. He’s totaled 12 tackles with six sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss. Shelton is overwhelming blockers with his size and quickness. The 6-foot-2, 339-pound looks like a great fit as a nose tackle for a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.

Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
For the second-straight season, Texas was dominated by BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. However, one Longhorns defender showed up and competed to try to change that. Brown had an excellent game with three sacks (two solo, two half sacks), 11 tackles and a forced fumble. It was a breakout game for the senior Brown, and perhaps Charlie Strong’s new staff is capable of getting Brown to peak in his final season. The 6-foot-2, 320-pounder has the size for the NFL. If he continues to play like he did against BYU, his draft stock could skyrocket.

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri
Missouri lost Kony Ealy and Michael Sam to the NFL, but they haven’t been missed yet this season because Golden has been excellent. Against Toledo, Golden was all over the field making a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He had a sack for a 17 yard loss, caused the quarterback into a forced fumble and forced an interception with another great pass rush. Golden was flying off the snap, and there were plays where he took three steps before the tackle was out of his stance. Golden recorded six tackles to go along with his sack, but he had a bigger presence than the stats illustrate.

After two games, Golden has 2.5 sacks, one pass batted, five tackles for a loss and 16 tackles. For the NFL, he needs to get tougher against the downhill runs coming straight at him as he can get pushed out of his gap. Golden is undersized for defensive end in the pros, so he would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, Florida outside linebacker Neiron Ball, USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat, Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher, USC wide receiver Nelson Agholar and Arizona State running back D.J. Foster.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Overall, Calhoun didn’t make the impact that the Spartans needed him to against Oregon. He came close to one sack, but his pass rush didn’t get home enough, and he didn’t put the heat on Mariota that the Spartans needed him to. Calhoun needs to improve his ability to get off blocks, especially in the ground game. Too often, he was getting pushed back and not getting off blocks. It would help if Calhoun (6-5, 256) added strength. He also needs to add to his repertoire of pass-rushing moves. Calhoun’s game against Oregon was disappointing.

Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
Entering the season, there were some draft pundits who were pumping up Fackrell as a potential first-round pick. The chances of that happening in the 2015 NFL Draft were killed as Fackrell is out for the season with a torn ACL. The junior should get a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and have two more seasons of college football if he wants them. Fackrell should at least play one more year at Utah State to rehab his draft stock before turning pro.

Dishonorable Mention: Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond.

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