2016 NFL Draft Stock – Week 5

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

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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2016 NFL Draft Stock Up

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Against Indiana, Elliott exploded in the second half to put the Buckeyes on his back to avoid an upset to the Hoosiers. He had touchdown runs of 75, 65 and 55 yards. Elliott also had a touchdown catch called back on a penalty. He totaled 274 yards on 23 carries for three touchdowns.

Elliott’s fantastic performance showing his breakaway speed and ability to take over games. His balance was tremendous as he kept his feet while taking hits along with hurdling over defenders or running away from them. In 2015, Elliott has averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 729 yards with eight touchdowns. This was a tape that showed he’s a top-20 talent, and it could help send his stock up.

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Hargreaves helped himself against Ole Miss. In the fourth quarter, he read Chad Kelly’s eyes and tricked him into throwing a pass that Hargreaves jumped for an interception. He raced down the sideline for 36 yards to the 5-yard line. It was Hargreaves’ third pick of the season, and he looked as good as advertised in coverage going against some talented Rebels wide receivers. Hargreaves also added six tackles in run support. For the year, has 17 tackles with three interceptions and a pass broken up. He is solidifying his lofty draft projections.

Sebastian Tretola, G, Arkansas
The SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week put on an impressive display against Tennessee. The 6-foot-5, 334-pounder led the way for the Razorbacks to prevent any sacks from the Volunteers. Tretola also did a good job of opening holes in the ground game. Sources tipped me off that Tretola was a prospect they liked, and he definitely is making a name for himself in scouting circles. You can expect to hear more about Tretola in the months to come.

Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois
In speaking with sources, Ferguson was a player who was singled out as generating a buzz to possibly break into the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft. Teams like his speed and versatility to help in the ground game, passing attack and special teams. Ferguson has averaged 5.4 yards per carry this year while picking up his three touchdowns. He also has 12 receptions for 78 yards and a score. Ferguson had 50 receptions in 2013 and 2014. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder is a speedy back like other recent third-rounders from the Browns (Duke Johnson) and Cardinals (David Johnson).

Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Entering this season, Joseph has been a productive 3-year starter for West Virginia, but the senior has taken his game to another level in 2015. He was excellent against Oklahoma and had a fantastic tape. Early in the fourth quarter, Joseph made a huge impact play with a leaping interception. He had tight coverage and made an impressive catch in front of the bigger receiver. Shortly later, Joseph blitzed out of the slot and dodged a blocker to get a sack. He later broke up another deep completion with a bone-rattling hit on a receiver to separate the ball.

Joseph has 20 tackles this year and is tied for the lead in the nation with five interceptions. Against the Sooners, he showed everything the NFL could ask in terms of pass coverage, run defense, ball skills, instincts and being assignment sound. If Joseph was taller and taller than 6-foot, he would be a first-round pick, but being a short, thick safety, he’s more likely to go in Round 2. Don’t count him out as a late first-rounder like Matt Elam or Jimmie Ward though.

Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma
Striker had a big game for the Sooners, doing a lot of his damage coming unblocked off the edge. In the second quarter, Striker beat the left tackle despite a hold to sack the quarterback. In the fourth quarter, Striker came off the blind side unblocked to get a strip-sack. A teammate scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Against the Mountaineers, Striker totaled 13 tackles with those two sacks and forced fumble.

Striker has 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks this year. This was a good tape for him that showed the explosiveness and speed that make him a dangerous weapon. The problem for Striker is that his size makes him a tweener linebacker-safety for the next level. Finding a role for Striker will be a challenge in the NFL.

Honorable Mentions: Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker, Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, Oklahoma State Emmanuel Ogbah, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson and Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Just like Myles Jack last week, it wasn’t Fuller’s fault that he ended up on the stock down. Fuller’s season has ended because of a knee injury. He had been banged up since suffering an injury in the season opener. Fuller tried to play through his injuries, but underwent season-ending surgery. In his two-game 2015 season, he recorded seven tackles, one sack and a pass broken up. Virginia Tech says that Fuller played with a torn meniscus, but ultimately Fuller and the team opted for surgery. The knee injury won’t help Fuller’s bid to be a high first-rounder. It could send him later on Thursday and depending on the severity, slipping to Friday isn’t out of the question. Fuller also could decide to return to Virginia Tech for his senior year.

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Against the Gators, Treadwell finished with five receptions for 42 yards. He was disappointing as he struggled to get separation from any of Florida’s defensive backs, who are all future NFL defenders. There was one play of blown coverage in zone by Keanu Neal, and that was the only play that saw Treadwell really get open for Chad Kelly.

Treadwell is a big physical receiver, but this tape gave evidence that he probably will have a hard time separating from NFL defensive backs. In 2015, Treadwell has 27 receptions for 374 yards and a touchdown.

Cody Whitehair, OT, Kansas State
Whitehair hurt his draft stock against Oklahoma State and showed that he needs to get stronger for the NFL. Whitehair is able to get bull rushed and has to get better at sustaining his blocks. He repeatedly struggled to block Cowboys defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah. In the third quarter, Whitehair was bull rushed by a defensive tackle and allowed a sack. This performance doesn’t provide evidence that Whitehair could stay at left tackle, and the projections of a move to guard look accurate.

Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Decker had a rough performance against Indiana. Early in the game, he got manhandled into the backfield after standing up too high, and that blew up a run play for a loss. Shortly later, he was beaten on a speed rush around the corner to allow a strip-sack of Jones. Deckerlater didn’t sustain his block on a goal-line play to allow a tackle for no gain. Overall, though he did well in the ground game. His problems came in pass protection. This tape makes Decker look more like a right tackle for the NFL. Thus, it would hurt his draft stock more than help it.

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