2015 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-Combine II

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

Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State
One running back who has had a lot of positive buzz lately as been Ajayi. He used the 2014 season to demonstrate an excellent skill set that includes speed, power, size and balance. In the lead up to the 2015 NFL Draft, more people are getting familiar with Ajayi, which has his star rising. He is in the running to be the third running back selected after Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley. It wouldn’t be surprising if talk comes out of Ajayi getting Thursday night consideration.

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
WalterFootball.com has heard from teams that entering the Combine the top wide receiver prospects are White and Alabama’s Amari Cooper. These teams have both of them rated ahead of Louisville’s DeVante Parker. Sources say they really like White’s overall game with his combination of size and quickness. White’s 40 time at the Combine could be influential, and if he runs well, that should help him as he has more size than Cooper. White was one of the best receivers in college football in 2014. He recorded 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida
For months, many have projected Fowler to be the third edge defender drafted after Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Missouri’s Shane Ray. I moved Fowler in front of Ray a while age however because Fowler has the ability to also play defensive end in the NFL. That flexibility could have Fowler go ahead of both Gregory and Ray. Fowler is bigger and stronger than either of those players, and some feel that Fowler could end up being the first edge defender drafted. Fowler has a great season of tape with his junior-year SEC battles, so it isn’t out of the question for him to be a high first-rounder.

Paul Dawson, ILB/OLB, TCU
Dawson has gotten a lot of positive buzz from draft pundits, and some have stated that he has a lot of fans in the scouting community. WalterFootball.com has heard teams with grades all over the place on Dawson. One team put him in the second round, another said the third, a few said the fourth, and one team has him as a sixth- or seventh-round pick. Part of the discrepancy is certain teams weigh character more than others and Dawson is getting bad marks for character. Still, there are analysts who say Dawson is one of the top linebackers in the 2015 NFL Draft. Entering the Combine, he appears to be a player on the rise.

Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Another receiver who has gotten a lot of hype lately is Perriman. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said that Perriman could be a first-round pick, and that was novel as there hadn’t been a lot of first-round buzz about Perriman prior to that. The son of former NFL receiver Brett Perriman, Breshad Perriman produced quality seasons for Central Florida. The junior totaled 41 receptions for 906 yards and nine touchdowns during 2014. He notched 39 receptions for 811 yards and four touchdowns the year before with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Perriman (6-3, 214) has size, so running well at the Combine could help him a lot.

James Sample, S, Louisville
While all the attention went to teammate Gerod Holliman, who led the nation in interceptions in 2014, Sample also impressed talent evaluators. Sample showed a combination of size (6-2, 191) and athleticism. He recorded 88 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions in 2014.

Sample took a long road to break out at Louisville. He started out at the University of Washington in 2012 and 2011. Sample then played one season at American River College after his stay at Washington and before transferring to Louisville. Sample is a sleeper prospect, and don’t be surprised if a buzz starts building around him.

Max Garcia, C/G, Florida
Garcia is another player who had a quality week in Mobile, but went under the radar. He was a tough run-blocker who showed a nice combination of size, power and athleticism for the center position. Garcia played guard and tackle at Florida before settling in at center during his senior year. That kind of flexibility will make Garcia at the very least a valuable backup on game days to start his NFL career. In the longer term, he looks like a starter at center who could be a nice value as a mid-round pick.

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami of Ohio
The former basketball player Rollins put his ball skills on display as he notched seven interceptions in 2014. At the Senior Bowl, Rollins continued to show that he has natural athleticism and coverage skills. He came to football late, so he will need some developmental time, but a team could be intrigued enough to select him on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri
Golden put together a good season for the Tigers in 2014 and was a serious pass-rushing presence off the edge when he was healthy. Even though Golden lost a significant portion of the year to injury, he totaled 10 sacks. Golden could have gotten into the mid-teens had he been able to avoid getting hurt.

Golden (6-2, 255) made the transition to outside linebacker from defensive end for the Senior Bowl, which showed that he needs development. Golden wasn’t natural in space and will have to work on his ability to cover. He is a tweener linebacker and defensive end who would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Golden looks more like a second-day pick rather than a Thursday night selection.

Buck Allen, RB, USC
The 2015 NFL Draft features a crowded running back class that is going to result in some players sliding. One candidate for a slide is Allen. He had two quality seasons for the Trojans and was the workhorse of their offense.

However, sources say they haven’t been overly impressed with Allen. One team that is in the market for a running back told WalterFootball.com that they wouldn’t take Allen before the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He needs a strong Combine in order to be a top-100 pick.

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