2019 NFL Draft Stock – Week 11

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

Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Clemson and Boston College had four future first-round defensive linemen playing in their game over the weekend, and the most impressive of those players was Allen. Late in the first quarter, Allen had two good rushes, although one was negated by him jumping offsides, but a few plays later, he burned the right tackle with speed to cause an incompletion and also drawing a holding penalty. In the third quarter, Allen made a great play to leap and bat down a pass. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence caught the deflection, but Allen was able to rip him down for a loss of nine yards on the play. Early in the fourth quarter, Allen used his speed to fire by the right tackle to the inside. Allen bounced off the right guard, and then got his hand up in the air to smack down a third-down pass. Allen came close to a few sacks with pressures, and none of the Clemson offensive linemen were able to sustain blocks on him.

The Clemson game was a phenomenal tape from Allen. He showed so much for NFL teams to fall in love with. Allen is quick at the point of attack with a burst out of his stance. He can use speed around the edge or cut to the inside to fly by blockers, yet has the functional strength to shed blocks. Allen possesses a thick build and is very sound in run defense to hold his ground while being able to make tackles outside of his gap. On top of his excellent skill set, Allen has a tremendous motor and gives relentless effort. This tape made him look like a worthy top-10 pick next April.

Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
Jones has been enjoying an excellent season for the Buckeyes, and I had to move him up in my mock draft with the way he has been getting after the quarterback this season. That continued versus the Michigan State, as Jones came up with a huge play to help lead his team to a road win. In the fourth quarter, Jones came through the line to recover a fumble in the end zone to get Ohio State a critical touchdown. Jones made other tackles, chasing down ball-carriers, and also put pressure on the quarterback with his speed collapse the pocket.

For the NFL, Jones would fit best as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. He is a fast and athletic defender who can fire his gap and cause havoc in the backfield. It would help him to get stronger for the NFL, because he can have issues when runs come downhill straight at him. Jones gets covered up somewhat and has problems shedding blocks on those plays.

This season, Jones has become a consistent pass-rusher, and it is hard for NFL teams to find interior tackles who are capable of rushing the passer with consistency. Jones fits that need, so he should be in high demand next April. With his impressive season, Jones could end up being a top-20 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Last week in the Hot Press, we wrote about how a survey of team sources felt that Lock would be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Across seven different sources – area scouts, a few national scouts, a director of college scouting, and two general managers -, there was a five-vote consensus that Lock would be a first-round pick. Both general managers thought Lock would end up being a first-rounder. One said that they thought Lock was a late first-rounder, but could see a quarterback-needy team reaching and taking him earlier than that. One director of college scouting was down on Lock and thought he was not a first-rounder, and one national scout thought Lock would need to work out well prior to the 2019 NFL Draft to go on the opening night. Still, five of the seven sources thought he was a first-rounder, with some saying he definitely would go on the first night and others saying they had no doubt that he would be a first-round pick. One evaluator said they graded Lock higher than Mitch Trubisky, although they were not high on Trubisky coming out of North Carolina and had him graded behind Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017.

Quarterbacks rise throughout the draft process, and that was given proof in recent years with the ascension of players like Baker Mayfield and Mahomes. In speaking with team sources, they believe that Lock could be a quarterback who follows that trend for the 2019 NFL Draft, and the consensus opinion is that Lock would be a first-round pick.

Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State
Willekes is a player who has gone under the radar but has had a breakout season in college football. In the first half versus Ohio State, Willekes was a terror off the edge, notching multiple sacks and providing some critical pressures on third downs to get his defense off the field. He used a swim move and cut to the inside on Ohio State right tackle Isaiah Prince to force a third-down throwaway. Willekes also used speed to chase down Dwayne Haskins for two sacks before halftime, and that pushed Willekes to 8.5 sacks on the year. In the second half, Willekes was not as active, but Ohio State was sending some extra attention his direction in the form of chips from running backs. Willekes has 64 tackles with 17 for a loss, 8.5 sacks, one pass batted and one forced fumble in 2018.

Willekes looks like more of a 3-4 outside linebacker candidate for the NFL. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, but looks smaller than that. Coming off the edge, Willekes has some quickness, active hands and the ability to use his hands and feet at the same time. It would help Willekes if he returns for his senior year to get stronger for the NFL. In his draft class, Willekes might have second-day potential.

Damarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss
Lodge put together an impressive performance against Texas A&M and made some big plays to keep the Rebels in the game. On the first play of the second quarter, Lodge caught a pass in the flat and spun toward the sideline to break down the field for a 44-yard touchdown. He made a superb play later in the same quarter when he used his size and strong hands to make a tough 50-50 catch over the defender with the corner’s hands grabbing at the ball. The pass went for 51 yards and put Lodge over 100 yards in the first half. For the game, he totaled 122 yards and the score on six receptions. Lodge could be a nice second- or third-round pick with the potential to be a solid No. 2 receiver in the NFL.

Garrett Bradberry, C, N.C. State
Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, was raving about Bradberry and what he can do at the point of attack. Nagy is known to have an astute eye for talent, having been a NFL scout for 18 years with four Super Bowl championships during his career with six total Super Bowl appearances. Nagy illustrated how Bradberry is a quick center who is athletic at the point of attack. Bradberry has steadily added weight since playing tight end in high school and could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt sophomore. In 2017, Bradberry had a good season protecting Ryan Finley and opening holes for Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels. Bradberry will probably be playing at the Senior Bowl in January given how Nagy was raving about him.

Jamal Custis, WR, Syracuse
Custis was a backup prior to his senior year, but he has made the most of the opportunity of playing time in his final year, producing some big games, including 168 yards against Western Michigan and 162 versus North Carolina. He has 44 receptions for 762 yard and five touchdowns for the season. The 6-foot-5, 213-pound Custis has good size for the NFL, and if he runs well in the leadup to the 2019 NFL Draft, he could become a hot prospect.

Kyle Shurmur, QB, Vanderbilt
In speaking with team sources, some feel that Shurmur is draft-able as a late-round pick. Shurmur goes under the radar playing for Vanderbilt, but he has shown improvement in his accuracy over the past three seasons as the starter for the Commodores. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Shurmur is a smart quarterback and could be playing at the Senior Bowl in January. Shurmur is the son of New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.

2019 NFL Draft Stock Down

Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
Prince struggled with Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes, and Prince’s game against the Spartans illustrated why he is a mid-rounder at best. He does not have the feet and awareness to be a left tackle candidate for the NFL. Prince is better as a run blocker than pass protector, but moving inside to guard might be a good idea for him as a pro. The Michigan State tape made him look more like a third-day pick rather than having a second-day potential.

Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State
Sheffield is known as being one of the fastest players in college football, but his game versus Michigan State gave evidence that he does not play up to his timed speed. Some pedestrian Spartan receivers were separating from Sheffield, and if the Spartans had possessed more consistency at quarterback, they really could have produced by picking on Sheffield.

Sheffield gave up chunk completions on comeback routes, slants to the intermediate part of the field, and a leaping reception on a 50-50 ball downfield. He does not look like an outside corner for the NFL, and size gives him problems. Sheffield would be a better fit as a slot corner, but he is going to have to improve on running the route to prevent separation, as NFL slot receivers will give Sheffield problems with their route-running. The Michigan State tape made Sheffield look more like a mid-rounder rather than an early-round pick.

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