2016 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-Combine II

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

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
The hype machine has revved up for Spence following his strong Senior Bowl practices. He gave offensive tackles a lot of problems in the one-on-ones as he is extremely fast off the edge with excellent agility to weave around blockers. Teams said that Spence didn’t interview well in Mobile, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people from projecting him as a high first-rounder. In speaking with multiple teams, some see Spence going in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Others have him on Day 2 and view him on a par with other talented prospects who had drug issues like Randy Gregory, Janoris Jenkins and Tyrann Mathieu.

Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
With all the attention given to the Spence and some of the other star defensive linemen from the Senior Bowl, Floyd had gone under the radar in the media. However in speaking with sources, teams really like him. I know a franchise picking in the top 10 that is giving serious consideration to Floyd. The fast edge rusher is a good fit for a 3-4 defense, and contacts at 4-3 teams see a fit for him in their scheme as well. They feel that Floyd could be a Sam (strongside) linebacker on run downs who rushes off the edge in passing situations. Teams feel that Floyd is a rare athlete with a ton of upside. Don’t be surprised if he gets a lot of top-10 hype after the combine.

Alex McCalister, DE/OLB, Florida
McCalister (6-6, 239) was an effective situational pass-rusher for Florida the past few seasons. He is fast off the edge with nice length and athleticism. Sources say they are grading McCalister in the mid-rounds and like his potential to be a role player quickly in a 3-4 defense as an edge rusher. In 2015, McCalister totaled 26 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and 6.5 sacks across nine games. He had 23 tackles with six sacks in 2014.

At Florida, McCalister had a suspension for what sources say was a minor issue. In speaking with former Gators coaches, they say that he is a really good kid.

McCalister is very thin though, and if he were bigger, he would be an early rounder because he is a natural pass-rusher. WalterFootball.com knows multiple teams that are targeting McCalister in the early portion of Day 3 as there are a number of teams that really like him.

Jon Bullard, DL, Florida
In Walt’s mock, he has Bullard going in the first round, and that is saying something considering how strong the 2016 NFL Draft is on the defensive line. Bullard had a superb senior year in which he was excellent against the run and consistently put pressure on the quarterback. Bullard had 66 tackles with 17.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and two passes batted on the season.

The weigh-in might be the important part of the NFL Scouting Combine for Bullard (6-3, 283) as he is a bit of an end/tackle tweener in a 4-3 defense. He also needs to have length to get consideration for a 3-4. Even if Bullard weighs in at less than expected, he should be a second-round pick.

Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
After Howard (6-2, 200) declared for the 2016 NFL Draft, sources say they studied him for their reports and were pleasantly surprised. They say he is a talented cover corner. In 2015, Howard totaled 42 tackles with 10 breakups and five interceptions during his final season for the Bears. As a sophomore the year before, he had 51 stops with 13 breakups and four interceptions.

Howard has ball skills and is put together well. He would fit a press-man scheme well. Some teams have graded Howard as a high second-rounder.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa has been a highly hyped star prospect the past few years. Even in the preseason teams felt that Bosa was overrated and was more of a prospect in the 5-7 range rather than a top of the draft talent. In his junior year Bosa totaled 51 tackles with 16 for a loss and five sacks for the year, a big drop from the 14.5 sacks as a sophomore. Adding to the decline in production, teams have some off the field concerns with Bosa. Thus, his Combine interviews are going to be very important.

Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
I’ve moved Billings into being a late-first-rounder after speaking with some team sources. I really like Billings strength, quickness and ability to chase down running backs or quarterbacks in the pass rush. The reason why I moved Billings down was because teams say that at his size, they have him more as a high second-rounder. He may not be as big as his listed numbers – 6-foot-2, 310 pounds. This year’s draft class doesn’t have 32 true first-rounders, so some players with second-round grades will go on Thursday night. Billings could still be a late-first-rounder, but may not be a top-20 talent as previously thought.

Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
This could be a bit of a surprise considering Butler is coming off a strong Senior Bowl performance. However in speaking with team sources, some are grading out Butler as a high second-rounder. They feel he has an excellent skill set, but believe he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet. Butler needs a lot of coaching up from a technique perspective. Similarly to Billings, Butler has a shot at being a first-rounder, but there are a number of teams that feel his value is in Round 2.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Another player who isn’t as acclaimed with teams as projected is Ogbah. Over the past few months, I’ve consistently had him going in the Nos. 9-20 range of my mock draft, but in speaking with teams, they view him more as a late-first-round talent. Ogbah has some athleticism but teams don’t think of him as a top 10-athlete. He has good production with double-digit sack seasons in 2014 and 2015, but he needs a strong Combine performance to help push his stock into the top half of the first round.

Su’a Cravens, OLB/S, USC
Another player who needs a strong Combine is Cravens. He’s been a play-maker for the Trojans the past two seasons, but his body type has generated questions about his position in the NFL. Cravens (6-1, 225) could be considered an outside linebacker or a safety depending on the team and the scheme. His weigh-in will be important. If Cravens shows the frame to get bigger, that could cause more teams to project him to linebacker. If he is already maxed out, that would put him as a safety. At one point, Cravens was projected to be a first-rounder, but now it is more common to see him going on the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft.

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