2016 NFL Draft Stock – Pro-Days IV

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

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
A week ago, we wrote about how teams have further injury concerns with Fuller and how his knee is healing. I wrote, “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.”

The good news for Fuller was the medical re-check went well and there is optimism that he will be ready for the start of training camp. That is just huge for Fuller’s draft stock. It secures his second-day status, and perhaps it gets the teams that love him based off his 2014 tape to think about when they have to draft him in order to get the talented cover corner.

Keanu Neal, S, Florida
Neal is a player who is well-liked across the league. Teams see him as a versatile player who can handle free or strong safety in the NFL. They also like him off the field and his football character. Neal is on the bubble of the first and second round, but in speaking with sources hoping to land him early in Round 2, they aren’t that optimistic that it will happen. They have a strong fear that someone will snatch him on Thursday night. If you consider Jalen Ramsey a cornerback, Neal is the favorite to be the first safety off the board.

Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Lynch is one of the benefactors of the Rams-Titans trade. With the Rams moving up to the first pick, that ensures a quarterback will come off the board at No. 1. Shortly later, the other quarterback between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff should be selected. That will leave a number of other quarterback-needy teams as options for Lynch. With his skill set and upside, he could become a hot commodity on Thursday night. The Jets, Bills, Cowboys, Chiefs and Broncos could all be attempting to make moves to land Lynch. With Wentz and Goff locked into the top-10, that should lock Lynch into the first round.

Artie Burns, CB, Miami
Burns is a player who has quietly been hot around the league with improved draft stock. Teams like his versatile skill set and love his tape from his junior season. There were teams that had him graded as a late second-round or early third-round pick, but they aren’t confident that he will make it that far down the board. Burns could go in the top half of the second round.

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
At the start of the draft process, Thomas was in the discussion for being a potential late first-round pick, but after a slow 40 at the combine, the attention and speculation went to other receivers like Laquon Treadwell, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller and Josh Doctson. Still, Thomas has good tape, production, and a NFL skill set. There are a number of teams that are happy that they might be able to land him in the second round. Thomas has a lot of fans around the league and could end up going higher than expected.

T.J. Green, S, Clemson
Along with Keanu Neal, there are a number of teams that are enamored with Green. WalterFootball.com knows a few teams that are hoping to land Green on the second day. Teams feel that Green (6-2, 205) has the speed to be a good pass coverage free safety with a lot of upside to develop in the NFL. Green could end up going in the second round and he won’t get out of Round 3.

Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Hooper is a player who has generated more interest and has interviewed well during pre-draft visits. He is an intelligent player, and teams like his football character to go with a skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. After Hooper and Hunter Henry, this draft is weak at tight end. When Henry goes off the board, that could cause some movement for a team that wants a tight end upgrade to go up and get Hooper. Based off his strong 2015 season, Hooper will be in demand come draft day.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
There are mixed opinions around the league about the health status of Jack. Team sources say they say there are health concerns in addition to the knee procedure that Jack already underwent. Franchises are stuck with a tough decision of whether Jack should undergo more surgery to correct issues with his knee, or wait until he can’t play because of the injury. It sounds like the latter is the most likely avenue they will pursue. As a result, some teams picking in the top-10 have some reservations about using a pick on Jack, but he still is expected to be selected early on Thursday night.

Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
A few weeks ago, I was surprised to hear that a team had Nassib buried deep on Day 3 in their draft board, although they expected him to go on Day 2. I followed up with a few other teams, and they had third-round grades on Nassib. After leading college football in sacks last year, many thought Nassib would at least be a second-round pick. However, it now sounds like the third round is the highest that Nassib could hope to go.

Tyler Higbee, DE, Western Kentucky
Teams already had some concerns about Higbee, and he added to them with an arrest following a fight outside of a night club. Higbee landed a few charges, including second-degree assault, second-degree evading police and public intoxication. Higbee said he was defending himself and is pleading not guilty. Regardless of the outcome of the legal process, the timing couldn’t be worse and some teams are going to hold it against him in the 2016 NFL Draft.

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