2015 NFL Draft Stock – Week 9

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

By Charlie Campbell.
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2015 NFL Draft Stock Up

Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State
The sleeper quarterback prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft could be Grayson. WalterFootball.com knows at least one NFL general manager who loves Grayson and thinks he’s going to have a big rise in the lead up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Grayson gave evidence for that with the most efficient passing game of the season by any quarterback in college football. He completed 18-of-21 passes for 390 yards with five touchdowns against Wyoming.

In 2014, Grayson has completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,456 yards with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. He may not have a rise like Blake Bortles did last year, but he could be the 2015 NFL Draft’s version of Jimmy Garoppolo. Games like Grayson had against Wyoming will force people to take notice.

Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
Carter had a good performance against Oregon State. Throughout the day, he had great coverage. A great throw by Sean Mannion beat Carter for one completion, but he also forced another incompletion while breaking up a jump ball in the end zone. On the next play, Carter broke up the pass again and almost intercepted it. He showed real skill in those plays as he didn’t panic with the ball coming his direction and perfectly timed his contact to slap away the passes. It was a good tape from Carter that will serve to confirm an early round grade.

In 2014, Carter has 24 tackles with five passes broken up. He is a physical corner who does a nice job of maintaing coverage. Carter could be a nice value pick in the top 60 of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Some of the top left tackle prospects have had struggles this season, but Peat has been the exception. He made it look easy against Oregon State as he dominated the Beavers’ edge defenders. Peat was rock solid in pass protection and didn’t allow any pressure on his quarterback. At the end of the first quarter, Peat sustained a run block to spring Barry Sanders Jr, for a run of 28 yards. Peat opened up running lanes on the next two plays for Stanford to get in for a touchdown. He showed real power and technique in that series.

After another dominant performance, Peat is putting together a season that indicates he is the best draft-eligible left tackle prospect and is worthy of a high first-round pick.

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
Johnson has been producing a strong season for the Hurricane’s, but he exploded against Virginia Tech for a career night. Throughout the game, Johnson had a series of impressive runs where he was weaving around defenders, breaking tackles to pick up yards after contact and finishing his runs well.

Johnson’s huge night started as he made a great catch by reaching out to snatch a pass and hold on against his momentum for a clutch third-down reception. He exploded for a 24-yard touchdown run on that pass. With 10 seconds remaining in the first half, Johnson ran a great route out of the backfield on an inside seem route to get open. A nice pass hit him on the run. The play-maker then dodged a safety to spring into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown catch. If Johnson had been tackled at the five by the defender he juked, the clock would have run out on Miami, but Johnson’s skill to make the tackler miss allowed Miami to get another score and a 24-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, Johnson was running away from defenders. He hurdled a few players and stiff-armed tacklers away. Johnson broke off chunk runs on every drive and finished the night with 29 carries for 249 yards with a touchdown and two receptions for 37 yards with a score. In 2014, the junior has averaged 7.5 yards per carry for 1,036 yards with seven touchdowns. He has 19 receptions for 224 yards and a score. Sources told WalterFootball.com they view Johnson as a third- or fourth-rounder, and this tape will help his bid to go on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami
Perryman had an excellent game to lead the Miami defense that shut down Virginia Tech. He made a number of good tackles in the open field and showed a nice ability to make tackles in pass coverage. Perryman displayed his sideline-to-sideline speed by flying to the outside and tackling a receiver in the flat. A few plays later, Perryman put his helmet on the ball in a perfect form tackle of a running back to force a fumble that was recovered by Miami. In the fourth quarter, Perryman had a nice pass breakup as he blanketed a tight end on his route.

This was a great tape for Perryman as he showed it all for NFL evaluators. He illustrated the skills to cover and make plays in pass coverage. Perryman was sideline-to-sideline in pass defense while also being a tough run-defender in the box. His tackling was excellent. He totaled 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass broken up against Virginia Tech. In 2014, Perryman has 62 tackles, two forced fumbles, three passes broken up, one interception and a sack. This performance will help Perryman to grade out as a first-round pick.

Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State
Drummond has had an up-and-down senior season, but he gave NFL evaluators a good tape with his coverage against Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess. Against the Wolverines, Drummond quickly got involved as he had a nice tackle for a loss after blowing up a wide receiver screen. In the second quarter, Drummond had good coverage on Funchess on an out route to force an incompletion. After halftime, Funchess ran a slant to get open, but he didn’t hang onto the ball when Drummond hit him.

Later in the second half, Funchess was matched up on Drummond on a post route to the back corner of the end zone out of the slot. After getting some separation, Drummond closed the gap, and Funchess couldn’t hold onto the ball as Drummond pulled at his arms right after the ball hit Funchess’ hands. It was an impressive recovery by Drummond. He totaled six tackles and two passes batted away.

Drummond gave NFL scouts and coaches a tape to show that he can be considered as a safety who could help defend big receivers and pass-receiving tight ends at the next level. Those kind of safeties are in big demand, so Drummond helped himself. In 2014, he has totaled 39 tackles with three tackles for a loss, six passes broken up and two interceptions. This performance should help Drummond to get second-day consideration in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Honorable Mentions: Michigan State wide receiver Tony Lippett, Stanford defensive lineman Henry Anderson, Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, Penn State defensive end Deon Barnes, Washington outside linebacker Hau’Oli Kikaha, and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Funchess had the opportunity to make a statement going against two future NFL defensive backs in Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes and safety Kurtis Drummond. The Wolverines’ quarterbacks have struggled this year, but Funchess can’t blame them as they gave him a number of well-thrown balls to produce big plays. Overall, the Spartans’ defenders got the better of Funchess, but he had lot of passes slip through his hands.

After halftime, Funchess ran a slant to get open, but he didn’t hang onto the ball when Drummond hit him. It was a good play by Drummond, but Funchess should have held onto the pass. Midway through the third quarter, Waynes had Funchess blanketed downfield and Funchess couldn’t haul in a well-thrown ball. To close out the drive, Funchess was matched up on Drummond on a post route to the back corner of the end zone out of the slot. After getting some separation, Funchess didn’t hold onto the ball as Drummond pulled at his arms right after the ball hit Funchess’ hands. It was another reception that Funchess should have made.

Funchess finished with five catches for 64 yards. This tape will hurt his draft stock. In 2014, he has 41 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Funchess is a big receiver and not a speed target. He has to be able to make contested catches to truly be effective in the NFL, but he was unable to do that on a number of good opportunities. Throughout the game, Funchess struggled against the Spartans’ press coverage. He did not look like a first-round pick against Michigan State.

Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
Bennett was a non-factor against Penn State as he had two tackles. There were plenty of single-block opportunities that Bennett didn’t take advantage of. In overtime, Penn State ran at Bennett successfully for a touchdown on the goal line as he was pushed out of his gap. The Nitanny Lions’ offensive line has been dreadful this year and has given up a ton of sacks. Bennett was going against some weak interior linemen in guards and centers who have been outplayed consistently, yet Bennett was largely ineffective. He wasn’t getting off single-blocks or collapsing the pocket. In the ground game, Bennett had a modest impact. Meanwhile other Ohio State defensive linemen had big games, including Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington.

Seven games into the season, Bennett has only 12 tackles, one sack and two other tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-2, 288-pounder is a speed player and not a heavy run-stuffing nose tackle, so he should be producing more plays in the backfield. Bennett looks like a second-day pick, at best, and projections of him going in the first round seem far off base.

Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Brown started out the season on hot, but he was a ghost against Kansas State last Saturday. Center B.J. Finney and the Wildcats’ guards kept Brown from causing disruption or making any plays. He was blocked by the Kansas State guards and lost one-on-ones with an inability to shed blocks. This tape will hurt Brown’s draft grade, and he looked nothing like a second-day selection, much less a first-round pick.

In 2014, Brown has 46 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. The 6-foot-2, 320-pounder has to get more consistent. He’s only a junior, so returning for his senior year could be a wise move to improve his draft standing.

Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
Wallace had played well for the Rebels, but he had a meltdown performance against LSU. Throughout the night, Wallace was rattled. He played tentatively because of the pressure from the LSU defense and seemed overwhelmed. Wallace had a number of passes batted at the line of scrimmage. He illustrated his lack of composure as he responded to fans’ trash talk and had to be told by the coaches to stop responding to the Tigers’ fans.

Late in the fourth quarter, Wallace missed a wide-open receiver who was streaking down the field for a game-winning touchdown. It was a bad overthrow on a pass that he should have completed. On the final play of the game, Wallace made a horrible throw as he telegraphed his pass for an interception. Wallace completed 14-of-34 for 177 yards with the pick against LSU. Overall, this performance illustrates that Wallace doesn’t belong as a second-day pick.

Dishonorable Mention: Virginia safety Anthony Harris and North Carolina safety Tim Scott.

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