2019 NFL Draft Stock – Post-Senior Bowl

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

Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech
Montez Sweat was the talk of Senior Bowl, but Ferguson had a solid week as well. He showed good speed off the edge with natural pass-rushing skills. The 6-foot-4, 256-pounder needs to get stronger if he gets drafted into a 4-3 defenses. Some team sources are very intrigued with Ferguson and think he could be a nice value pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferguson probably won’t get out of the second round, and he might sneak into Round 1.

Alex Wesley, WR, Northern Colorado
Wesley had a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl, showing good quickness, route-running and hand. Some team sources told me that Wesley’s time in Mobile likely improved his draft standing from the late rounds to the mid-rounds. Wesley could be a nice fit as a slot receiver, but also might be able to line up some on the outside.

Wes Hills, RB, Slippery Rock
Team sources said that Hills impressed them in Mobile with his natural running skills. The 6-foot, 209-pounder has the frame to get bigger for the NFL and add more power to pick up more yards after contact. At the Senior Bowl, Hills showed nice speed to the hit the hole and accelerate to the second level. Hills has gone under the radar, but he could be a mid-round pick who ends up being a really good value.

Byron Cowart, DE, Maryland
Cowart had a disappointing college career after being the No. 1 recruit in the nation coming out Armwood High in Seffner, Florida. After having a rough go at Auburn, Cowart transferred to Maryland, where things finally started to come around for him and where he played well as a senior. Cowart earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and did well in Mobile. He showed some well-roundedness as a run defender with some pass-rush ability. Cowart could be a player who just developed a little slower but is rounding into form. He helped himself to go from the late rounds or undrafted ranks toward the mid-rounds of Day 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky
Johnson had a nice week at the Senior Bowl, showing the ability compete with receivers. He has the size to match up against big wideouts and is not mismatched on 50/50 passes. Johnson does not have elite speed, otherwise he would be a first-round pick, but he does have enough quickness to handle bigger NFL wide receivers. Johnson could be a good fit in a press-man scheme.

Sheldrick Redwine, CB, Miami
Redwine (6-0, 202) is another defensive back who helped himself in Mobile. He showed more speed and athleticism than one would anticipate and did a nice job of covering up receivers downfield. Teammates Michael Jackson and Jaquan Johnson have received more publicity, but Redwine helped himself with how he played in Mobile. He probably will be taken ahead of Jackson in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois
Every Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for some small-school players to show they are legit NFL prospects, and Saunders was the small-school star of the 2019 Senior Bowl. He was very quick at the point of attack, showing the speed to dart by guards and pressure the quarterback. Saunders also has strength with a short, quick, and thick build that makes him tough to block. He would be a good fit as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense. Saunders was very productive in 2018, totaling 72 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble and a pass batted. He notched 7.5 sacks as a junior. Saunders could go in the second or third round after his week in Mobile.

Greg Gaines, DT, Washington
Gaines was known as a big run-stuffing nose tackle with the Huskies, but he showed more pass rush ability than previously thought at the Senior Bowl. With the power to bull rush and the quickness to collapse the pocket, Gaines would charge down the pocket and won in the pass-rushing one-on-ones. He followed it up with a good performance in the Senior Bowl game. That week could help Gaines to be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

2019 NFL Draft Stock Down

Marquise Blair, S, Utah
Some team sources really liked how Blair played at Utah, showing physicality and playing like his hair was on fire. Blair has a decent skill set, but also has a lot of technical issues in coverage that hold him back. Off the field, teams are concerned about some of Blair’s habits and are worried that his issues could lead to lots of suspensions. Thus, Blair has the potential to slide in the draft lower than where his talent level indicates he should go.

Saivion Smith, CB/S, Alabama
Smith (6-1, 200) had only one year of serious playing time at Alabama, but he turned in some solid production in 2018 with 60 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended. The junior college transfer started out as a starter, lost his starting spot for part of the year, and then returned to the starting lineup in Week 7 for the remainder of the season after Trevon Diggs was injured. Smith has some size, but sources say his issues in coverage have him getting late-round grades.

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