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
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Etienne could be the top running back prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft, and against Miami, he produced another good tape against one of the top opponents that he will see as senior. In the first quarter versus Miami, Etienne caught a slip screen and exploded downfield to convert a third-and-14. He finished the drive by taking a run up the middle, but finding no open hole, he bounced around the right side and scored from a couple of yards out, using his speed to dart away from tacklers. Late in the second quarter, Etienne had an impressive run of about 10 yards, spinning off a tackle and showing good contact balance and strength to keep his feet for more yards after contact.
Etienne put the game away when he took a run up the middle and then bounced to the outside to take off on a touchdown from 72 yards. Shortly later, he had a great run on which he hurdled a defender and then stiff-armed a tackler to the turf before going down for a gain of over 20 yars. It was a highlight-reel rush that displayed his speed, athleticism, cutting ability, and improved physicality.
Etienne totaled 149 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns against the Hurricans. He also caught eight passes for 73 yards. The Miami game will definitely help Etienne's draft grade. He has been known as a lighting-fast big-play running back, but Etienne showed more strength and ability to pick up yards after contact against the Hurricanes.
Jaelen Phillips, DE, Miami
The Hurricanes were dealt a serious blow when star defensive end Gregory Rousseau decided to skip the 2020 season. Miami gave Rousseau's number to Jaelen Phillips, who has done a nice job of continuing the disruptive presence coming from No. 15. While Phillips has not recorded a sack yet in 2020, he has been a good run defender and has notched an interception. He continued his strong play with an impressive game against Clemson last Saturday.
Early in the first quarter, Phillips got off a block to smother a running back for a loss of a yard. Phillips did a nice job after that of getting upfield, using speed to get some pressure on Trevor Lawrence. In the third quarter as Phillips was tackling Trevor Lawrence from behind, safety Bubba Bolden came in with a hard hit to force a fumble that Miami recovered. Phillips was active and around the ball all night.
Team sources have said that Phillips has impressed them and they see upside with the junior. The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder has a good skill set and is a prospect to watch. His performance against Clemson makes for a good tape that will help his draft grade.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Eichenberg has the ability to be an edge protector at the next level. He shows enough quickness to glide with speed rushers and the size and strength to anchor. In the ground game, he is fighter who manipulates defenders and turns them away from getting in on tackles. Eichenberg is not a true bull in the ground game who will blast defensive lineman off the ball. He does have strong hands to sustain his blocks well and blocks through the whistle. Overall, Eichenberg looks solid, but he may not be an elite prospect who is a high first-rounder.
Ar'Darius Washington, S, TCU
Safeties with coverage skills who can play some cornerback are always in demand in the NFL, and team sources say they have been really impressed with Washington. Washington (5-8, 178) is undersized, but he is a natural cover safety with excellent instincts. He can play slot cornerback and has the versatility to play free safety in the deep part of the field. Washington has eight tackles thus far this season. In 2019, he totaled 46 tackles, five interceptions and two passes broken up. Washington would be a first-rounder if he were bigger.
Trevon Moerig, S, TCU
Like Washington, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Moerig had an impressive 2019 season with excellent ball production alongside a solid tackle total. He totaled four interceptions, 11 passes broken up, two forced fumbles and 62 tackles on the year. It was his first season as a starter after being a good special teams contributor in 2018 as a freshman. Moehrig has good size to him, and team sources say they think Moerig has the potential to rise for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
Mond was in the Stock Down section last week following a disappointing game against Alabama and a rough season opener. But it would be true Mond fashion to go from down to up, as he led the Aggies to fourth-quarter comeback win over the fourth-ranked team in the nation. Mond finished against Florida completing 25-of-35 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns.
Mond has a strong arm, good size, and mobility. The outing against Florida will definitely help him, but he needs to play like this for the rest of the season in order to improve his draft grade.
2020 NFL Draft Stock Down
T.J. Vasher, WR, Texas Tech
There is no doubt that Vasher has the skill set of an early-round pick. However, team sources say that character concerns are weighing down Vasher's grades, and they think he could end up going on Day 2 or in the mid-rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Team sources say that Vasher has maturity and motivation issues, and they have concerns that Vasher is not driven to be great. His training and off-the-field habits are not what teams look for, so they see a lot of problems in his football character. The work ethic and football concerns also could help to explain Vasher's lack of production in college despite his excellent skill set and playing in a conference that struggles to play defense. As a freshman (29-545-6), sophomore (54-687-7) and junior (42-515-6), Vasher did not produce up to his physical talent.
There still is time for Vasher to improve his draft grade, but he has to immediately start showing a new work ethic, a desire, and a dedication to be great. Vasher needs to produce well as a senior and then interview well with teams while showing more maturity. He also needs to run well in pre-draft workouts. Slow 40 times could be catastrophic for Vasher's draft stock. He has a rare skill set, but he needs to make some immediate changes to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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