2019 NFL Draft Stock – Week 8

This section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2019 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
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2019 NFL Draft Stock Up

Jeff Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons was one of the few Bulldogs who was impressive against LSU. Throughout the night, Simmons got the better of the Tigers’ offensive line, beating both the guard and center, along with some double teams. In the second quarter, Simmons ran over the LSU center, knocking him flat on his back before getting in on a sack of Joe Burrow. Shortly later, Simmons bounced off the center and right guard to get a tackle for a loss. It was a superb play by Simmons to use his power to shed both blockers. Shortly later, Simmons burst into the backfield again to start another tackle for a loss. He continued to dominate at the point of attack in the second half, shutting down some interior runs at the line of scrimmage.

The LSU game was an excellent performance that displayed his strength, speed, athleticism, and strong lateral anchor. Simmons is a special player who is worthy of going as top-16 pick. In your average draft class, he would be the best defensive tackle, and maybe the top defensive lineman, but in the loaded 2019 class, there could be a few who go ahead of him.

Jordan Brailford, DE, Oklahoma State
Brailford has impressed some evaluators this season and is putting himself into the draftable category. The junior is enjoying a breakout season and is one of the nation’s leaders in sacks, with eight entering Week 8. He also has 12.5 tackles for a loss, 26 tackles and one forced fumble this year. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Brailford would fit best in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The redshirt junior could return to Oklahoma State for next year, but after dealing with injuries in his college career, he may choose ti strike while the iron is hot and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
It was a shocking and curious decision when Jalen Hurd dropped out of Tennessee. With the Volunteers, he was a power back who ran over tacklers and showed some real promise for the NFL. During the fall of the Butch Jones’ tenure, however, Hurd left the program because he wanted to switch to wide receiver. Hurd has the height at 6-foot-4, and he transformed his body for his new position to compete at Baylor. While Hurd is not an elite receiver, NFL sources say that he is draftable as a wideout and could be a mid-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. They say he is a big receiver who can’t separate but has mismatch size. Hurd has made it known that he does not want to play both running back and wide receiver, but in the moment, he will take carries if the team needed it. However, Hurd has lost a ton of weight and is lean in his upper body, so NFL evaluators feel it doesn’t make sense to give him carries because the power he had at Tennessee is gone. Still, Hurd has done better than many expected at wide receiver, and he could go in the middle portion of the 2019 NFL Draft.

David Reese, LB, Florida
Reese (6-1, 227) is having a quality year for the Gators. He is a tough run defender who is instinctive and generally a reliable tackler. Reese has 31 tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss in 2018, but he also missed the first three games of the year with an ankle injury. Reese is key to the Gators’ run defense, and they really missed him in Week 2 when Bennie Snell ran all over them, leading Kentucky to an upset over Florida. Reese was very steady for Florida in 2017. As a sophomore, he had 102 tackles with 10 for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception. Reese could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft if he doesn’t return for his senior year.

Michael Jordan, C, Ohio State
Team sources tell me that they are projecting Jordan to the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. They feel he has good size and athleticism, plus offers versatility to play center or guard. Jordan is the most liked offensive lineman at Ohio State and is a projected starter in the NFL. However, team sources say they don’t expect Jordan to enter the 2019 NFL Draft and think he will chose to return to Ohio State for next year. Still, if Jordan were to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, he could be one of the top center prospects based off his play as a junior.

2019 NFL Draft Stock Down

Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State
Finley struggled to move the ball against the Clemson Tigers and was overwhelmed by their NFL-level talent. He had some passes off the mark, and in the third quarter things got worse, as Finley had a poor pass intercepted in front of the Clemson end zone. His throw was short and floated to the safety rather than being better located over the top to give his receiver a shot at making the reception. Finley finished completing 21-of-34 passes for 156 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions – one came on a tipped pass.

The Clemson outing game illustrated that Finley has some physical limitations and does not have an elite skill set that can go toe-to-toe with an ultra-talented opponent. Finley is more of a second-day pick and game-manager quarterback. As a comparison, Finley could be a less athletic version of Alex Smith. This tape will hurt Finley’s chances and hopes of being a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
I have been high on Oruwariye, and I know scouts who really like him as well. The big question for the big corner, however, has been speed, which would project how well he could run with pro receivers. In speaking to sources who have been through Penn State recently, they say that the timed-speed problem with Oruwariye is legit. They think it could send him to the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft, similar to Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson last year. Oruwariye has excellent size with ball skills and toughness, but if teams are concerned that he will give up separation to pro wideouts, that could cause him to slide in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Little is considered to be the consensus top left tackle and offensive line prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. This analyst thinks that Little is overrated, and that was given further proof against Auburn. In the first quarter, Auburn defensive end Nick Coe bull rushed through Little shoved him away to chase Jordan Ta’amu out of the pocket while forcing a third-down incompletion. Later in the second quarter, Coe beat Little for a sack. Coe dipped his hip and left shoulder to get into the body of Little while turning the corner and chasing down Ta’amu. Little lacks a good anchor, and that was also illustrated against the Crimson Tide when they had a lot of success bull rushing him.

As a player, Little has a good skill set with size, quickness and athleticism. He is a natural knee bender with quick feet and length to shut down the edge from speed rushers. There is no doubt that Little has a great skill set and looks like he could be a good left tackle in the NFL. That being said, Little struggles with power and can get pushed around by tough defensive ends. In order for Little to max out and be the best player he could possibly be, he should return to Ole Miss to get stronger before going pro. Given the weak tackle class for the 2019 NFL Draft, it could be a good time for Little to come out, as he should go in the first couple of rounds due to the number of NFL teams desperate for tackle help. That desperation could cause Little to go as a top-20 selection, but he definitely has bust potential due to his inconsistency and lack of strength for the next level.

Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
The Wolverines destroyed Michigan State, and the Spartans only score came on a trick play. Lewerke was completely inept at completing passes, connecting on only 5-of-25 attempts. This season, Lewerke has had problems with accuracy and playing down to competition. This tape should provide all the evidence needed for the junior to return for his senior year rather than enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
Last week in the Hot Press, we wrote about how Prince was getting graded in the late third- or fourth-round and how some team evaluators think Prince is a right tackle only for the NFL. Those evaluators do not see Prince as having first- or second-round talent or the ability to play on the blind side at the next level. Hence, Prince is more of a third-round/mid-round pick.

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