2019 NFL Draft Stock – Week 10

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

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Weeks ago in the Hot Press, WalterFootball.com was the first outlet to report that NFL teams were projecting Williams as a high first-round pick. If there was any doubt about that, it was erased in Baton Rogue when he dominated LSU. Williams recorded 2.5 sacks against the Tigers, beating double teams on a few of those plays. He also notched 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss. Williams destroyed the Tigers left guard, right guard, and center in overwhelming fashion.

Williams against LSU was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen by a defensive lineman in years. It was probably the best since Myles Garrett (2015) or Jadeveon Clowney (2012) during their amazing sophomore seasons. There is no doubt that Williams is a freak athlete. He is extremely fast off the snap with the ability to fire his gap and close on the quarterback in a hurry. He has functional strength to bull rush through blockers, or grab them and toss them aside. On top of his great skill set, Williams shows impressive technique with his hand placement and variety in pass-rushing moves. With his sawed-off body, Williams has natural pad level and leverage.

In speaking with NFL sources, some are grading Williams higher than Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Alabama teammate Raekwon Davis, Mississippi State’s Jeff Simmons, and either of the Clemson duo of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. None of those players have a tape from this season as impressive as how Williams dominated LSU on Saturday night. This performance should help him to be one of the first players drafted next April, and it could make him a strong contender to go No. 1 overall depending on how the team needs and the quarterback prospects shake out.

Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M
McCoy had an excellent performance against Auburn. Early in the game, McCoy helped get a good push on a third-and-1 to convert the carry for a first down. In the second quarter, he had a great block, starting with a double team with his right guard and then turning back to seal off the left side with a block on a defender. That opened up a huge hole for Trayveon Williams, who sprinted straight down the field for a 38-yard touchdown. Late in the second quarter, McCoy made a great play. Off the snap, he hit a defender and tossed him to the ground. Then, McCoy fired out into the flat to set up a screen. He rumbled downfield and hit a block in space to spring Williams for a 14-yard touchdown. It was a superb play showing McCoy’s athleticism, quickness, and awareness. In pass protection in this game, McCoy was excellent at not allowing pressure.

McCoy has strong hands and is able to control defenders when he latches on them. He has decent feel and awareness, plus he is athletic for a center. In the ground game, McCoy is not a powerful pile mover and does not generate a lot of movement in the run game, but he can sustain blocks and manipulate defenders. Scouts tell me that McCoy is getting second-round grades, and they see him as having plug-and-play starting potential in the NFL.

Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown took over in the fourth quarter against Texas A&M to help lead his team to the comeback win. With about two and a half minutes remaining and Auburn down by three, Brown made a tremendous bull rush through the backup center to get a strip-sack of Kelly Mond. The Aggies recovered the fumble, but that play helped get the ball back for Auburn. Shortly later, Brown showed tremendous awareness. He rocked the right guard back, but rather than going for the sack, he realized a screen was being set up, so he darted toward the flat and then batted down the pass. A few plays later, Brown had the right tackle beat with speed to the inside, and the tackle had to grab Brown from getting a sack. The officials saw it and correctly threw the flag. The way Brown closed the game out illustrated why he will likely a top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and one of the top prospects at any position.

Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris is our top-rated running back for the 2019 NFL Draft, and he gave proof of why by running over LSU. Harris has had a low total of carries this season, but the Crimson Tide have blown out every opponent and have pulled many starters, including Harris, early. The LSU game was the first that made Alabama play its first-teamers deep into the second half. As a result of the increased playing time and carries, Harris put together his best game of the season.

Harris showed impressive speed to hit the hole and accelerate downfield. He ran with power to get yards after contact and showed fresh legs that gained steam as the game progressed. He totaled 107 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown. The tape against the LSU Tigers will help Harris to be a first-round pick next April.

2019 NFL Draft Stock Down

Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Tillery had a quiet game against Northwestern. While he saw some extra attention, he also did nothing in some single-block opportunities against players who aren’t even close to being NFL prospects. At the start of the year, Tillery played like his hair was on fire. He dominated at the point of attack with speed and physicality. Following that great start, Tillery has cooled down. His motor has slowed, and he does not seem to have the same sense of urgency. It gives the appearance that he could be protecting himself and trying not to get hurt to protect his NFL status. Tillery has the reputation of not being a great guy or a good teammate, so if he adds another negative attribute as a player who turns it on and off, that could really hurt his chances of being a first-round pick in a loaded class of defensive line talent.

L.J. Scott, RB, Michigan State
Scott is one of the most physically gifted running backs in college football, but he is having a harmful senior year as he has now missed five games with injury. The senior has only been able to log 55 carries in 2018. By not staying on the field, Scott is putting a medical red flag in his draft report. Scott has also had issues with fumbles in his career, and by being out injured, he is unable to put those concerns to rest by showing improved ball security. Entering this year, Scott had second-round potential, but with his injury-plagued season, he could slip to being a mid-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
Earlier this season while speaking with a general manager, they told me that Cajuste was a player who intrigued him but that they needed to watch him more. In following up with that GM, they said they came off Cajuste and was not impressed with his play. In the Big XII with weak defenses to play against each week, Cajuste is a competent blind-side protector for Will Grier. NFL teams, however, are down on Cajuste having that ability for the next level. With his body type, Cajuste could be better off going inside to guard, but he will need to get stronger to block NFL defensive tackles.

Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson
Some team sources like Lamar and think that he has a first-round skill set. While he has good size and speed, he has not been all that productive this season. As a result, some NFL teams are grading Lamar for the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. It doesn’t help Lamar that his defense is so talented that it is hard to put up a big stat total. If Lamar doesn’t get hot and close out the season with some highlight performances, he probably should return for his senior year to improve on his grade and get a better shot at the first round in the 2020 NFL Draft.

David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
Last week in the Hot Press, we wrote about how Edwards was disappointing evaluators this season. Multiple team sources said they had graded Edwards after the first round because his play this fall did not live up to the media preseason hype. One general manager told me that they gave Edwards a second-round grade. Another national scout said he was going to have Edwards lower as his comment was, “He’s playing like s–t this year. Looked much better last year.” This season, Edwards has had rough or underwhelming performances in games against BYU, Michigan and Northwestern. Some players who won’t play in the NFL have gotten the better of Edwards in the pass rush. Edwards is a big tackle who is reliable as a run blocker, but he clearly needs development for the passing-driven NFL. With Edwards having a year of eligibility remaining, it would be wise of him to return to school to improve rather than enter the 2019 NFL Draft, based on the comments from team sources.

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