2016 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-Combine III

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

Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
There have been projections of Dodd going in the first round, and in speaking with teams, they do see that as a possibility. Some franchises view him as a second-rounder and a 1-year wonder with a significant amount of his production coming in the postseason, but they can see that the team that likes him enough to draft him would do so in the first round. Dodd could have a big combine performance to help his draft stock.

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Months ago, I wrote about how teams loved Fuller’s tape from his sophomore season in 2014. Because he missed almost all of the 2015 season, Fuller has gone virtually unnoticed by the media, but sources from multiple teams are really excited about him. I reached out and asked a few other teams, and they also have him graded as a mid- to late first-rounder. The medical evaluation at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine will be huge for Fuller’s draft grade, but teams really like his potential to be a man-cover corner in the NFL.

Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Maryland
In getting feedback from team sources on my big board and other player rankings, some teams really like Ngakoue. The Maryland edge rusher has gone under the radar compared to other defensive prospects like Noah Spence or Sheldon Rankins, but Ngakoue has fans with teams. Some feel that Ngakoue is a top-50 talent, and he could be a sleeper edge rusher that ends up being an excellent value pick.

Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Like Ngakoue, sources have said that Ifedi is in their top-50 prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft. This class of offensive tackles isn’t strong overall. After Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley, there may not be a true left tackle taken in the first round as some teams feel that Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker are better fits at right tackle. Teams like Ifedi’s athletic potential and feel that he has more nastiness to him than other recent Aggie offensive line prospects like Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews. Ifedi could be a combine standout who rises.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
I’ve had Josh Doctson in the early portion of the third round in my mock draft for months because I know some teams that graded him that area. Some teams view Doctson similarly to Jaelen Strong, who went in the third round last year. Both are big receivers who beat defensive backs with their size and physicality. However, the 2016 NFL Draft isn’t as strong at wide receiver as the 2015 class was. Therefore, Doctson could end up going in the second round. If he runs well in the 40-yard dash at the combine, Doctson could really help his draft stock.

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
There are a lot of teams in the NFL that are in the market for tight end help, and Henry is the consensus top tight end prospect. He is a balanced run blocker and receiver who looks like he is ready to start quickly as a pro. Adding in the retirement of Steelers tight end Heath Miller, opens another possibility for Henry to be a first-round pick. If Henry has a strong combine, he could cement his status as a first-rounder.

Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
The 2016 draft class isn’t strong at the tight end position, so that helps Hooper as well. Hooper’s receiving skills set him apart from the other tight end prospects, and he has experience playing in a pro-style system. Hooper could end up being a second-round pick and a player who rises throughout the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
There have been a lot of questions and criticisms about Cook as a teammate who lacks leadership skills. In recent interviews, Cook hasn’t helped himself. He said that his late-season shoulder injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl, but in Mobile, the Senior Bowl director Phil Savage announced to teams that Cook’s decision to pass on playing in the Senior Bowl was not because of injury. While Cook has fallen with teams, other quarterback prospects like Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott have risen. Cook needs to ace his combine interviews to reverse some of the negative perceptions that teams have of him.

Deion Jones, LB, LSU
Jones had a quality senior year and followed it up with a solid showing at the Senior Bowl, but teams aren’t as high on him as some in the media are. In speaking with teams, they are concerned about Jones’ size as he weighed only 219 pounds in Mobile. They view him as limited to being a sub-package linebacker and not an every-down candidate until he is able to bulk up. Thus, the projections of Jones in the second round don’t mesh with how teams have talked about him.

Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Some draft pundits have projected Apple to go as high as the top-10 picks of the 2016 NFL Draft. In speaking with teams, I haven’t heard anyone grading Apple that high. Teams like his physical skill set, but feel that he needs development in his technique. Apple grabs too much with receivers, and some teams think that he will get flagged a lot until he corrects that issues. Thus, a few teams have shared that they graded Apple as a late-first-round or early second-round pick.

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