2015 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-New Year’s Bowls Week

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

Ereck Flowers, WR, Miami
Thus far in the bowl games, Flowers has been the most impressive player I’ve seen. He was absolutely dominant from start to finish against South Carolina. Flowers overwhelmed the Gamecocks’ defensive linemen in the ground game and didn’t allow them to get close to his quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Flowers was dominant in pass blocking, too. He showed great feet, quickness, and athleticism. It is extremely rare for a blocker as big and long as Flowers to be so athletic. He showed superb strength to sustain blocks and threw some defenders into the turf with brutal force. Flowers pushed defenders around at the point of attack and moved them out of their gap in run blocking. This was a great performance for Flowers.

Sources from multiple teams say Flowers (6-6, 324) has received first-round grades and has top-20 potential. This tape will help him to be an early first-rounder. Flowers is currently 10th overall in our 2015 NFL Mock Draft.

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
Johnson finished his Miami career in style with an impressive game against South Carolina. He got his day started with a few receptions, including a nice one on a third down in traffic to get Miami a first down. On the same drive, Johnson ripped off a 27-yard run as broke a couple of tackles to get into the secondary. He also went behind Flowers on a fourth-and-1 to pick up 23 yards as Flowers and Co. crashed down the line to open up the edge. Johnson showed his speed and elusiveness with a 26-yard gain on a screen pass. For four quarters, Johnson ran tough even though South Carolina was constantly stacking the box to try and limit him. He ran for 132 yards on 24 carries with five receptions for 51 yards.

Johnson averaged 6.8 yards per carry this year for 1,652 yards with 10 touchdowns. He recorded 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores as well. This tape will help Johnson as he showed strength and toughness, two question marks about his game. Johnson looks like a late first-round or early second-round pick.

Buck Allen, RB, USC
USC running back Buck Allen put together an excellent 2014 season and has been the real workhorse for the Trojans. Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor have gotten more attention, but Allen has deserved a lot more acclaim than he has received for the year he’s had. That was the case again as the junior finished the year well against Nebraska. He ran for 152 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.

Allen averaged 5.4 yards per carry this season for 1,489 yards with 11 touchdowns. He caught 41 passes for 458 yards and a score as well. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder has strength to go with quickness to hit the hole. He also is a versatile weapon who could be a three-down contributor. Allen could enter the 2015 NFL Draft, and if he does, he looks like a second- or third-round pick.

Leonard Williams, DL, USC
Williams was superb for USC against Nebraska. He destroying the right tackle and right guard from the Cornhuskers all night. In the first quarter, Williams had a good pressure with a swim move to beat the right tackle. He caused a hurried throw that almost led to an interception. Williams powered his way by the right tackle late in the first quarter to hit Tommy Armstrong right after the pass was released, but Williams whipped him to the ground and drew a roughing the passer penalty.

Williams fired into the backfield on the next snap to take down Armstrong for a sack. He got slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting the Nebraska bench after the play, so while Williams was impressive, he had some unforced mental mistakes to spoil his great play. Williams made more impact plays in the second half. He totaled nine tackles with one sack for the evening.

In 2014, Williams recorded seven sacks, 80 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, one interception and three passes batted. This was a thoroughly impressive performance that illustrated his combination of explosive speed and strength. This tape will help Williams to be a top-10 pick and serve to confirm that high draft grade.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke
Crowder is a tiny slot receiver candidate, and he has been a good player for the Blue Devils with a lot of production. That landed Crowder an invite to the Senior Bowl. Against Arizona State, Crowder came through with a game-changing play. He fielded a punt and weaved his way through tacklers to break into the open field and run away from the coverage unit. Crowder took the punt back 68 yards for a touchdown. He showed a great move to slip away from four tackles in the first 20 yards before bursting free.

Crowder took a halfback sweep in the fourth quarter and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down. It was a huge play, but the Sundevils quickly took the lead back. After that, Crowder answered with a catch for 43 yards on a deep post. He totaled 102 yards on seven receptions against Arizona State.

Crowder caught 85 passes for 1,044 yards with six touchdowns in 2014 and averaged 13 yards per punt. He looks like a mid-round pick who could contribute as a slot receiver and returner. This tape will help Crowder’s draft stock as he showed that he is a tough weapon who contributes in a variety of ways.

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Numerous sources from around the league said they expect Collins to rise in the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is a long corner who has some athleticism and is extremely fast. While he doesn’t always play up to his skill set, Collins showed his surprising speed when he chased down Melvin Gordon on a long run in the season opener. Collins has 33 tackles, nine passes broken up and an interception for year. Big cornerbacks who can run like Collins are tough to find, so he could rise quickly.

Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida
The Florida Gators featured a tough defense in 2014, and one of the players that led their stop unit was Morrison. He showed steady improvement and was a tough defender in the tackle box. Morrison totaled 98 tackles, six tackles for a loss, one pass broken up and one interception on the year. For the NFL, he will need to improve his pass coverage skills in order to become a three-down starter.

Morrison was more of a late-round prospect at the start of the season, but he has risen into mid-round consideration. If Morrison went back to Florida for his senior year, he could improve his chances of getting drafted higher, but most believe that Morrison is going to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
It has been reported that Davis is going to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, but he didn’t have a great 2014 season. The junior averaged 4.9 yards per carry for 982 yards with 32 receptions for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Davis was banged up, but he really didn’t have impressive performances when he went against good defenses. Sources with NFL teams say they view Davis more as a No. 2 back rather than a starter. He needs a strong Combine and pro day to help his draft stock.

Shaq Roland, WR, South Carolina
Roland decided to enter the 2015 Draft after an underwhelming junior year, and while that isn’t a good call he increased his chances of going undrafted when he quit the team before their bowl game against Miami. Roland caught 26 passes for 356 yards with four touchdowns for the year. It would be surprising if the 6-foot-1, 176-pounder gets selected.

Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke
Tomlinson is a potential Day-3 pick. The senior has finished up his career as a Blue Devil, but he hasn’t really improved in being he still is notablr better in the ground game than in pass protection. Tomlinson struggled with some of the speedy defenders on the Arizona State defensive line, but he also managed some push at the point of attack. He needs a strong performance at the Senior Bowl and an impressive showing in its the pass-blocking one-on-ones to rise.

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