2015 NFL Draft Stock – Week 16

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

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Some have predicted that Gurley’s ACL tear could cause him to fall late to in the first round or go as low as the second round. Sources around the league though said they don’t see Gurley falling past the middle of the first round. League contacts feel that Gurley is too good and talented to fall any further.

The injury was said to be a typical ACL tear and not a knee injury with damage to multiple ligaments. Gurley is said to be a great teammate and a hard worker who truly loves football. Thus, teams believe that Gurley is going to work hard at rehab and come back to his pre-injury form. He could end up being a huge steal for a team picking in the teens of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Johnson recorded 43 tackles with six passes broken up and one interception this year. While those numbers aren’t huge, teams avoided the senior and threw elsewhere. He has been very reliable over the last three seasons. In 2013, Johnson notched 58 tackles with three interceptions and 12 passes broken up. He had almost identical numbers as a sophomore except for three more passes broken up.

Sources indicated that Johnson is grading out as a possible late first-round or second-round pick. Some teams have him in Round 2 just because of concerns about his size. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Johnson is a good cover corner who needs to add weight for the NFL. He has length and athleticism to cover big receivers along the sideline. If Johnson can add weight in the lead up to the 2015 NFL Draft, it could help him to be a Thursday night pick.

D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic
Another cornerback who has impressed sources is Smith. His strong play has earned an invitation for the Senior Bowl. He totaled 53 tackles with eight passes broken up and one forced fumble for the year. Smith has the speed and athleticism to be a cover corner. Opponents didn’t throw his direction much this past season. In 2013, he had 13 passes broken up, seven interceptions and 35 tackles.

Smith (5-11, 190) is put together well with speed and athleticism. He looks like a possible second-day pick, but he could rise with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl.

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami of Ohio
Rollins is a two-sport star who also has started on the basketball team. He was the 2014 MAC Defensive Player of the Year with 72 tackles, seven interceptions, four tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and nine passes broken up. Rollins needs to fill out his frame for the next level, but playing basketball could have held him back in that regard. He is sticking with football for the NFL and accepted an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl.

Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
Mississippi State has featured a tough defense this year, and while Bernardrick McKinney was the big name, the Bulldogs had a other few defenders who had good seasons and helped their individual draft stocks. Smith may be the player who did the most to make a name for himself. He had little production as a junior with only 2.5 sacks and 4.5 in his sophomore season. But as a senior, Smith showed a huge improvement with nine sacks, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 44 tackles, two forced fumbles, three passes broken up and two interceptions.

The 6-foot-6, 267-pounder has the size to be a potential base end in a 4-3 defense. With a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Smith could rise to second-day consideration.

Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State
Eulls has been a quality defender in the middle of a good Bulldogs defense. He had 33 tackles with three tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2014. Eulls was impressive against Auburn and Kentucky, but was virtually shut down by Alabama. Like Smith, Eulls didn’t have much production in his previous seasons, so a strong Senior Bowl would help his draft grade. Eulls (6-3, 295) could fit as a 4-3 defensive tackle.

Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford
Tartt has created some draft buzz with an impressive skill set on display for Samford. He totaled 62 tackles with one pass broken up and one interception in 2014. The redshirt senior was solid against Auburn. Tartt has good size as well as the speed to cover a lot of ground. Early on in his NFL career, he could start out as a strong safety but eventually develop into a versatile defender who can play free safety as well. Tartt has accepted an invitation to play at the Senior Bowl, and his stock could easily rise in Mobile.

Jermaine Whitehead, S, Auburn
If Whitehead had stayed in the lineup, he could have had a huge season as he has made a lot of plays in a limited amount of time on defense. Whitehead has recorded 28 tackles with a tackle for a loss, one pass broken up and four interceptions. In the season opener against Arkansas, he returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown.

Whitehead was suspended following a verbal altercation with an assistant coach after the second game. Whitehead was reinstated on October 21st, but Auburn only played him on special teamsfor a time. Eventually, he was put back on the field on defense in the final month of the season, and Whitehead played extremely well as he showed some ballhawking skills.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Whitehead is quick and athletic. He could be a free safety prospect for the next level. If Whitehead interviews well, that would he huge for his draft stock and could help him to be a Day-2 pick.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Tyreek Hill, WR, Oklahoma State
Hill has put together a nice season for Oklahoma State after transferring to the Cowboys from the junior college ranks. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry in 2014 for 534 yards and a touchdown on only 102 carries. He also caught 31 passes for 281 yards with a score. On special teams, Hill made a big impact with an average of 9.5 yards per punt return with a score and two touchdowns on kickoff returns while averaging 25 yards per attempt.

Hill (5-9, 185) has some explosiveness to him. However, he his draft stock when he was kicked off the team after an arrest for punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend. The victim claims that Hill punched her in the stomach along with the face while being choked. Unless Hill is completely cleared of wrongdoing, this will very likely send him to the undrafted ranks. He could easily go unsigned.

Merrill Noel, CB, Wake Forest
Noel battles receivers well, but sources say that Noel is small and tight, and too slow to make up for it. The senior had decent production as a junior and sophomore after a huge freshman season. Noel notched 30 tackles with two interceptions and two passes broken up in 2014. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder looks too small to play in the NFL. Noel could get some late-round grades but is more likely to be an undrafted free agent.

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