2016 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-New Year’s Bowls Week

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

Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah
Utah jumped out to a huge lead in its Holy War win over BYU, and Fanaika had some huge plays to produce points for the Utes. Early in the game, Fanaika made his presence felt when he tipped a pass that was intercepted. A few plays later, Fanaika hit the quarterback from behind, and that sent the ball flying up in the air for an interception. Fanaika didn’t quit on the play and got a great block to spring his teammate for a touchdown on the pick-six. Fanaika totaled three tackles with the sack, but had a lot of pressure and his tipped passes played a massive role in the Utes winning this game. Fanaika will play at the Senior Bowl, and doing well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones there is critical for his draft stock.

Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
Fanaika wasn’t the only Utah defensive end who stood out in the Holy War. Kaufusi totaled nine tackles with three for a loss and batted a pass. He was making plays behind the line of scrimmage and causing a lot of disruption. The 6-foot-8, 280-pounder has a nice skill set, but he struggles to shed blocks when blockers get engaged with him. For the next level, shedding blocks will be Kaufusi’s biggest point of improvement, but he has a nice skill set to work with. In 2015, Kaufusi totaled 2015 with 64 tackles, 20 for a loss and 11 sacks. He could be a second-day pick as an end in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.

Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Clark is a fringe first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he helped his bid to be a Thursday night pick with an impressive performance against Nebraska. Clark totaled 11 tackles with two for a loss and a sack in 2015. Showing the ability to contribute to the pass rush is key for Clark, so teams don’t view him as a two-down run stuffer. In the second half of the year, he notched four sacks and finished 2015 with 75 tackles, six sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and five passes batted. Clark put his draft stock on the map this season.

Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
A fellow Bruin who also helped himself this year was Perkins. A lot of attention was paid to UCLA’s freshman quarterback, but Perkins was a steady producer for the Bruins’ offense. Perkins (5-11, 210) is put together with a nice combination of strength and speed. In 2015, he averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,343 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also had 30 catches for 242 yards and a score. If Perkins enters the 2016 NFL Draft, he could go on the second day.

Kevin Peterson, CB, Oklahoma State
The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has shown improvement over his time in Stillwater. As a senior, Peterson put together his best season of consistent pass coverage and could get a second-day consideration in the 2016 NFL Draft. In 2015, he totaled 37 tackles with six passes broken up and an interception. As a junior, Peterson had 59 stops, 11 breakups and two picks. He will have the challenge of a big, physical receiver in Laquon Treadwell in their bowl game. If Peterson can show well at battling a wideout who presents a size mismatch, that could really help his draft stock heading into the Senior Bowl.

Joe Dahl, OT, Washington State
Dahl had missed time with a broken foot in 2015, but he returned in the Sun Bowl and impressed against Miami. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder was a little rusty to start the game before settling in and looking good against the Hurricanes. Dahl managed some movement in the ground game while showing quickness and athleticism. He has good knee bend with quick feet. Dahl needs to get stronger for the NFL, but he could be a quality day pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina
Adams was a backup behind Rory Anderson prior to his senior year in 2015. Despite poor quarterback play and a change in head coach during the season, Adams recorded 28 receptions for 421 yards with three touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 231-pounder showed enough receiving ability to earn invitation to the Senior Bowl. In a weak tight end class, Adams has the potential to rise.

Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
Carroo is a talented wide receiver who would be higher in draft ratings if it weren’t for some off-the-field issues that include violence toward women. The senior totaled 809 yards and 10 touchdowns on only 39 receptions in 2015, but also only played in eight games. His average of 21 yards per catch was very impressive from the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder. As a junior, he had 55 catches for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns. At the Senior Bowl, Carroo’s team interviews will be just as critical as his performance in practice. He has the talent and production to rise in the postseason if he can impress teams while meeting with them.

Sean Davis, CB, Maryland
The Terrapins defensive leader started 40 games in his collegiate career and finished his career with a strong senior year. Davis showed good run support and tackling with 88 total tackles in 2015. He also had three interceptions and three passes broken up. Davis recorded 115 and 112 tackles as a junior and sophomore respectively. His steady and consistent play landed him an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
There have been a number of running backs who have really helped their draft stock at the Senior Bowl in the past, and Ervin could be a candidate for that in 2016. The diminutive back Ervin (5-10, 177) also is a return weapon on special teams who has played some cornerback as well. As a senior, Ervin averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,601 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also had 45 catches for 334 yards with two scores. In his career, Ervin has three kickoffs returned for a score and two punt return touchdowns. He is a player to watch in Mobile.

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