2016 NFL Draft Stock – Week 1

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2016 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
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2016 NFL Draft Stock Up

Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
Every year, there are some breakout players in Week 1 of the college football season. Last season, West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White had a coming-out party against Alabama, and this year, Hall had a similar performance against Arizona State. Hall used his speed off the edge to dominate the Sun Devils’ offensive line. The speed rusher couldn’t be stopped as he racked up four sacks and two forced fumbles. It was a tremendous performance.

Teammate Myles Garrett gets more headlines, but Hall looks like a dynamic edge rusher in his own right. It was surprising that Hall (6-6, 260) was such an animal after recording only 29 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2014. He looks like he is poised for a monster season.

Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Entering this season, one of the questions about Joseph had been his coverage and ball skills. He made a statement about that with three interceptions in the season opener. Joseph snagged three interceptions against Georgia Southern to go with 15 tackles. His interceptions came when he had tight coverage on a receiver on one play and tracked down some passes on a couple of others. If Joseph continues to show big-play skills with solid pass coverage, his stock could really rise over the 2015 season.

Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
The Buckeye play-maker proved that he isn’t a typical quarterback turned receiver. Miller was phenomenal against Virginia Tech with six carries for 62 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run. As a receiver, he had two receptions for 78 yards with a 54-yard score. Miller (6-2, 215) showed that his speed and athleticism make him a legitimate prospect as a receiver and runner.

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Henry had a superb start to the season. Against Wisconsin, he totaled 147 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns on the ground and two receptions for 12 yards. Henry powered through tacklers and broke off some long runs with the speed to get downfield away from defenders. Not only was his running impressive, but he did an impressive job in blitz protection for his quarterback. That will really excite NFL scouts and coaches once they get to the evaluation phase. This tape will definitely help Henry’s draft grade and give NFL teams the evidence that he can be a three-down starter as a pro.

Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
Adams dominated the point of attack throughout the first half against Louisville. He had a great play where he pushed the right guard back, shed his block, bounced off the center and sacked the quarterback stepping up in the pocket. Adams showed excellent skills to fire his gap, disrupt running plays in the backfield, and put heat on the quarterback. He totaled seven tackles, 1.5 for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble – when he blew up a handoff in the backfield.

From a skill-set perspective, Adams put on display that illustrated an early-round talent. The 6-foot-4, 296-pounder is an interesting body type that could fit as a 4-3 three-technique or a 3-4 defensive end. This was an excellent start to his season, and Adams’ tape will help his draft grade.

Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Big No.75 was disruptive at the line of scrimmage all night. He blew up running plays and collapsed the pocket. Billings missed a tackle on a running back on a touchdown run, but overall was a beast. The interior of the SMU Mustangs’ line couldn’t handle him with his power and explosion off the snap. Billings has an impressive get-off. He finished with three tackles with two for a loss, but that doesn’t illustrate the real impact he had on the game. Billings’ game was reminiscent of New England first-round pick Malcom Brown at Texas last season. This was a good tape from Billings that will aid his draft grade.

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Against Western Michigan, Calhoun consistently beat the left and right tackles to put heat on the quarterback. He also showed an improved set of pass-rushing moves with a spin move and a rip move. Calhoun had one sack, but he came close on a number of other plays. This was a strong start to the season for Calhoun and looked improved over his play in 2014.

Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple
Unfortunately for Matakevich, he doesn’t get to play Penn State’s horrible offensive line every week. Still, he ripped off three sacks and seven tackles to lead Temple to a huge upset over their in-state rival who they hadn’t beaten in over 70 years. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder entered the season as a potential mid-rounder, but if he keeps performing at this level, his stock will rise.

Honorable Mentions: Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, BYU edge defender Bronson Kaufusi, Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd, Virginia Tech fullback Sam Rogers, Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert, Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Schutt, Ohio State guard Pat Elfin and South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
Before the season opener against SMU, it was announced that senior defensive end Shawn Oakman would be suspended for the contest. Sources said they had off-the-field concerns about Oakman for some time, including dating back to his tenure at Penn State, so this suspension will only reinforce those issues with teams. Oakman got his season off to a terrible start with another off-the-field issue for him to explain.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Hackenberg had a disappointing performance in a loss to Temple that saw him sacked 10 times. He completed only 11-of-25 passes for 103 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Obviously, Hackenberg isn’t responsible to block at the point of attack, but he isn’t elevating his play or bailing out his offensive linemen like other top quarterback prospects. Jameis Winston, Robert Griffin III and Blake Bortles all produced despite some leaky lines. Hackenberg needs to step up his performance, or his stock could decline sharply.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
Boykin put up a ton of points in 2014 as a thrower and runner, but this season-opener gave further evidence that he is a dual-threat college quarterback for a spread offense. Boykin didn’t display the traits of a pro pocket-passer and lacks the size of the vast majority of NFL quarterbacks. He is a college quarterback that is more of a third-day-caliber prospect. Boykin will probably be one of those signal-callers who is being discussed as switching positions to wide receiver, running back or cornerback.

Dishonorable Mentions: Louisville defensive end/outside linebacker Devonte Fields and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller.

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