This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2021 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2021 NFL Draft Stock Up
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Multiple team sources have compared Waddle to Kansas City Chiefs star receiver Tyreek Hill. Waddle's explosive speed and game-changing ability have some evaluators believing he could go in the No. 10-15 range of the first round, and those scouts think Waddle is a better prospect than Ruggs. A few teams had Waddle lower saying they felt that he needed to become more of a polished receiver and less of a gadget player, but one director of college scouting said Hill was not a polished route runner when he entered the NFL and the explosive gadget players are being utilized better by coaches than some similar prospects in the past. Sources from seven different teams said they thought Waddle would go in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, with few believing that Waddle would be a the top-16 pick next April.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Evaluators love Smith's polished and well-rounded play. His refined route-running, reliable hands, yards-after-the-catch skills, and overall receiving ability have many calling Smith is a natural football player. Smith, however, is very thin-framed, and that has some grading him as more of a late first-round or early second-round pick. Smith is listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, and that weight is very undersized for the NFL. Even though some have Smith on the bubble between the first and second nights of the 2021 NFL Draft, the expectations of all seven sources are that Smith is more likely to be picked in the first round.
Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
Collins has been impressive in the early going of 2020, and that continued against Central Florida last Saturday night. After putting his pass-rushing skills on display in the season opener, the big and long edge defender showed a nice ability to drop into coverage and move in space. That could be seen in the first half in Tulsa's upset win over Central Florida when Collins was downfield and in position to make interception with close coverage near a receiver.
Later in the first half, Collins fired through the line to get safety for his defense. He lined up all over the field and added a tackle for a loss in the ground game, batted a pass, and put pressure on the quarterback. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder is put together, combining a strong build with impressive first-step quickness. Collins' Central Florida tape was very impressive after his three-sack 2020 opener against Oklahoma. Collins is playing his way into early-round consideration for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Trey Hill, C, Georgia
Hill was powerful at the point of attack against Auburn, dominating the Tigers' defensive linemen. He did an excellent job at hitting combo blocks to open up interior rushing lanes, and Georgia went behind Hill for a few short-yardage touchdown runs in the first half. Hill also was rock solid in pass protection, showing impressive quickness and agility for a big blocker. His size, strength and thick build allow him to anchor well in pass protection as well. Hill was very good for Georgia and showed an early-round skill set. Whether it is the 2021 NFL Draft or the 2022 NFL Draft, Hill will be in the running for the top center of his draft class.
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
Georgia put together an impressive win over Auburn, limiting wide receiver Seth Williams to 34 yards on three receptions thanks to Campbell's ability to match up on Williams. Williams could not get away from Campbell all night, with Campbell running stride-for-stride on verticals downfield or shorter routes with cuts. The Auburn game showed that the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Campbell can run with pro-caliber receivers and prevent separation. He has the height, length, and quickness to prevent a good wideout from getting open. Campbell looked like a potential first- or second-round pick against Auburn.
2020 NFL Draft Stock Down
Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
Ehlinger has gotten off to a solid start to open 2020, but he does not look significantly improved from his junior year. His field vision has to improve, and there are some pro passes he struggles to complete because his ball placement can be off. With how he has looked thus far in 2020 and over his collegiate career, Ehlinger looks more like a mid-round or third-day pick who is a backup in the NFL.
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
Against Alabama, Mond completed 25-of-44 passes for 318 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. His performance demonstrated the streakiness and inconsistency that make him more of a mid-round backup for the next level. Mond has a strong arm, good size, and mobility, but he has issues with accuracy, ball placement, and consistency. Mond does not appear significantly improved over how he looked in 2019. If Mond becomes a more consistent passer, he could be a mid-round steal because he has a lot of physical talent to work with. However, time is running out for Mond to show the NFL he can be a consistent player.
Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
Williams got his junior year off to a good start against Kentucky, but Georgia was able to shut him down with its talented secondary. While the Bulldogs' offense built a lead, Tyson Campbell and their secondary smothered Williams in the first half with blanket coverage. Williams could not separate throughout the game, catching three passes for 34 yards. Thus far in 2020, Williams has showed that while he has size, he is not a fast or twitchy receiver. The Georgia game made Williams look more like a second-day receiver.
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