2016 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-Xmas Bowls Week

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

Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Wright hadn’t played since September 26th against UCLA because of a foot sprain suffered three weeks after a knee injury that caused him some minor surgery. Against New Mexico, Wright flashed a typical game from his great 2014 season, totaling 15 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. He didn’t look as explosive off the edge or as quick flying around the field, but his instincts to make big plays were clear despite being less than 100 percent.

Wright announced after the game that he will enter the 2016 NFL Draft. In 2015, Wright totaled 23 tackles with 3.5 for a loss and two sacks but played in less than three whole games. Entering the season, he was a potential first-round pick, and while he still should be an early-rounder, this tape of his final collegiate contest will help his draft stock as it shows some health and production.

Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida
Sources say that the toughness that Morrison displayed this year is truly extraordinary. They say that he has had an Adrian Peterson-like comeback, and Morrison’ recovery could be even more impressive than Peterson because Morrison suffered a torn ACL at the end of spring practice but came back to play immediately in 2015 – while also playing extremely well. The senior has been a physical tackler and more disciplined player this year. During the regular seaspm, he totaled 97 tackles with 12 for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a pass breakup. Teams say that Morrison turned himself from a Day-3 prospect to a potential second-day pick.

Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
The East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl have showcased some good small-school defensive back prospects in recent years, notably Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana. Miller is set to keep that tradition alive at the 2016 Senior Bowl. He had an excellent senior year with four interceptions, 10 passes broken up and 49 tackles. Miller had three interceptions as a junior and four as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has good height to him and needs to show he can cover a higher quality of receiver in Mobile.

Blake Martinez, LB, Stanford
Martinez has had an excellent senior year and made a lot of critical tackles for Stanford. He was the Cardinal’s most steady defender. During the regular season, Martinez totaled 132 tackles with six for a loss, one sack, five passes broken up, and one interception. He had 101 tackles as a junior. Martinez (6-2, 245) is a good tackler with quality instincts. He has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Nick Kwiatkowski, LB, West Virginia
In 2015, Kwiatkowski has 80 tackles with 10 for a loss, three sacks, seven passes batted and three interceptions. This has been an intriguing season from the Mountaineer standout that has earned him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. As a junior, he had 103 tackles with 11.5 for a loss and four passes broken up. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder has versatile size to be an inside or outside linebacker in the NFL. Kwiatkowski would help himself by showing pass-coverage skills in Mobile.

Josh Forrest, LB, Kentucky
The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder Forrest is a thickly built thumper who is a good run defender in the tackle box. At the Senior Bowl, he needs to show pass-coverage skills. Forrest totaled 93 tackles with six for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and five passes batted in 2015. As a junior, he had 110 tackles with two sacks and two interceptions.

Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple
Ioannidis has been a steady defender for Temple the past three seasons with three sacks as a sophomore and then 3.5 sacks each year as a junior and senior. He also had 39 tackles in 2015 with 10.5 for a loss. In 2014, Ioannidis totaled 47 stops with 11 for a loss. His best fit could come as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense. The 6-foot-4, 292-pound Ioannidis earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Vernon Butler, DT, Lousiana Tech
The 6-foot-3, 316-pound Butler is a bit of sleeper prospect, but he looks likely to be drafted on the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft. In 2015, he totaled 48 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He totaled 55 tackles with 13 for a loss and one sack as junior. Butler was invited to the Senior Bowl.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Tyler Johnstone, OT, Oregon
Prior 2014 knee injury, Johnstone was the blind-side protector for Marcus Mariota with Jake Fisher over on the right side. Following Johnstone’s knee injury, Fisher became a second-round prospect as the left tackle for the Ducks. Johnstone returned to the field in 2015 and had a decent year, but wasn’t overly impressive. He didn’t receive a Senior Bowl invitation but will play at the East-West Shrine. At one point, Johnstone looked like a second-day prospect, but now he looks more like a third-day pick.

Demarucs Robinson, WR, Florida
As we wrote in the rumormill, Robinson is grading out as a sixth- or seventh-round pick. Teams feel that he has a first- or second-round skill set, but all the character concerns have killed his draft stock. Sources say that Robinson has failed some drug tests at Florida and has received treatment a few times, but issues still remain. Multiple teams say that Robinson has just too much baggage to be taken before a late-round pick. They also see the potential for him to go undrafted.

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