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
Josh Garnett, G, Stanford
This isn’t a strong class for guard talent, and there is a lot of variety in the grades for players. However in surveying multiple teams over the past week, Garnett was the most common name as the top guard in the class. Garnett has size, strength and mobility, plus played in a pro-style offense. Teams say they have him as a late second- to early third-round pick. Being the top guard in the class could get a team to reach on Garnett higher than expected. That has happened in other drafts, like Laken Tomlinson with last year. Garnett is in good position to go in the top-70 picks.
Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Maryland
Ngakoue is a player who hasn’t gotten a lot of attention from the media, yet has impressed teams. Multiple teams have told WalterFootball.com that they would love to land Ngakoue in the third round, but they think he more than likely will go in the second round. Ngakoue is a dangerous edge rusher with speed, length, strength, and a nose for the quarterback. One scout compared him to Justin Houston coming out of Georgia. Ngakoue isn’t a discussed prospect, but a lot of teams really like him. I think he’s going to go higher than expected come draft day.
Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State
I had Johnson on here last week, and he made it two weeks in a row. The reason is from speaking with more teams over the weekend, there are a lot of teams targeting him on the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets late first-round consideration. Teams like his strength, speed, length and versatility. He could play five- or zero-technique in a 3-4 defense. Johnson has a good shot of being a top-50 pick later this month.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Boyd has gone under the radar with a lot of the receiver attention being focused on Laquon Treadwell and Corey Coleman. However, WalterFootball.com knows some receiver-needy teams that are discussing Boyd for their second-round pick. They think that Boyd could be a really nice value pick who ends up out-producing his draft slot. He has three seasons of good tape to help him with coaches in the final weeks before the 2016 NFL Draft. Boyd has a combination of quickness, toughness, route-running and good hands. Boyd should hear his name called in the second round.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Lawson has been rising up draft boards in the final weeks leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft. Some teams have told me they gave Lawson a second-day grade; in speaking with a variety of teams, they think that Lawson is safe to go as a top-25 pick. I think the organization that likes him enough to take him will probably do so in the top 20.
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Billings is an interesting prospect; some teams feel he is overrated and others think he’s underrated. In my opinion, Billings has power at the point of attack and a surprising burst to close. One knock on him by the teams that like him is height. Billings (6-0, 311) doesn’t have length, and that limits him to playing only nose tackle in the NFL. Some teams graded out Billings as a second-rounder, while others think he could go late in the first round. Either way, Billings shouldn’t fall out of the second round.
2016 NFL Draft Stock Down
Sebastian Tretola, G, Arkansas
When I talk to teams, Tretola is a bit of a love/hate prospect. Some teams have him graded as a second-day guard who they think will be an impact-making run blocker. Others have him deep on Day 3 and think he is too limited athletically with short arms that will come back to bite him in the NFL. Given the big disparity, I moved Tretola out of the first two days in the 2016 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be surprising if Tretola ends up going in the mid-rounds.
Vadal Alexander, G, LSU
Like Tretola, there is a big variety in draft grades for Alexander. Some teams have him on the second day, while other project him to the early rounds on Day 3. It wouldn’t be surprising if Alexander slides to Day 3 as teams view him as being a limited guard prospect.
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
As we reported in the rumor mill, teams have further injury concerns with Fuller and how his knee is healing. Sources say they have concerns that his knee is not completely repaired from the procedure he had last year. Teams across the league have told WalterFootball.con that based on Fuller’s tape, they had a first-round grade on him entering the draft process, but because the knee injury most teams are projecting him to the second day. Sources said that if the combine medical re-check goes well, Fuller should be safe on the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft – likely the second round. Teams are worried about his status and when he would be able to play during his rookie year. If the medical re-check doesn’t go well, Fuller could slip out of the first two rounds.
Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
Teams already had a lot of off-the-field concerns with Oakman, and then last week news broke that he is currently under investigation for sexual assault. This could be a killer for Oakman’s draft stock. Rather than being a mid-rounder, it is very possible that he slides to the late rounds. Even going undrafted is possible. Oakman had zero margin for error. WalterFootball.com knows some teams that have dropped him from their draft boards, so he could be in store for long waits come the 2016 NFL Draft.
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