2024 NFL Draft Stock Up
Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame
The 6-foot-2, 239-pound Liufauh has impressed team sources in 2023, recording 33 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble so far. In 2022, the first-year starter totaled 51 tackles, an interception, .5 sacks and a pass defended. He missed the 2021 season with an injury. Pro evaluators say they love Liufau extreme speed and athleticism. They state they feel while his instincts are good but not great, he is very violent player who can play stacked or rush the quarterback. They call Liufau a different kind of prospect with an exceptional skill set. For the NFL, Liufau has three-down-starter ability and upside.
Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State
Team sources say Eichenberg is a good player who has a similar style of play to Detroit Lions linebacker Jack Campbell. Eichenberg (6-2, 239) is not as big and strong as Campbell, but Eichenberg might be a little more athletic. So far this season, Eichenberg has recorded 54 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He could end up being a second-day pick in the 2024 NFL Draft who turns into a solid pro starter.
Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma
A number of team sources really like Stutsman. They note he is very athletic, fast and instinctive. Additionally, they say he has good size and length, and is similar to Pete Werner, although Stutsman is more instinctive. Some evaluators, however, said they feel Stutsman (6-4, 240) lacks strength, is a little finesse, and plays like a small guy. Stutsman has the potential to turn into a solid three-down starter in the NFL.
Chris Braswell, OLB, Alabama
Braswell has been known to be a freak athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. He is expected to generate amazing testing numbers. His skill set has been translating to plays on the field this season, and he has been a dangerous edge rusher for the Crimson Tide. Braswell came through with a couple of impactful plays to help Alabama pull off its comeback win against Tennessee. Against the Volunteers, he had a strip-sack that resulted in a fumble returned for a touchdown. He also put up four tackles and another sack. Braswell is a fast edge rusher with a ton of upside to develop. He could be a riser throughout the 2024 NFL Draft process.
Jamon Dumas-Johnson, LB, Georgia
Team sources state they feel Dumas-Johnson has good instincts and plays strong. In 2023, he has 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pass defended. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder has a lot of upside and could be a breakout player over the second half of the season. Dumas-Johnson could potentially return to Georgia for 2024 and be one of the top linebacker prospects for the 2025 NFL Draft.
2024 NFL Draft Stock Down
Graham Barton, OT, Duke
Barton had a good opportunity to bolster himself with the NFL last weekend against a talented Florida State defensive line led by Jared Verse. Barton, however, had a rough outing in pass protection. In the second quarter, Barton was flagged for a holding call after he took Verse to the ground with him. Verse bull-rushed right through Barton to knock him flat on his back. Rather than give up a sack, Barton pulled Verse down. The next play was similar, as Barton was knocked to the turf again. Later in the third quarter, Verse shed Barton to pick up a critical pressure that helped force an incompletion on fourth down.
Overall, Barton hurt his draft stock against the Seminoles. While he did well in the ground game, Barton had issues in pass protection, where Verse was able to bull-rush through him and shed his blocks. Barton’s lack of length could be seen in his troubles with sustaining and holding up against the bull rushes. Barton looked better in run blocking, demonstrating an ability to create movement. Barton’s problems against Florida State could fortify the notion that he should play guard, or perhaps right tackle, as a pro.
Kalen King, CB, Penn State
King did not play well against Ohio State and Marvin Harrison Jr., which likely brought the best competition Penn State will see all season. At the end of the first quarter, Harrison opened a good-sized cushion from King before trying to catch a slant, but the inaccurate pass went incomplete. In the second quarter, King was flagged for holding on Harrison when he was all over the star receiver. That holding penalty negated a strip-sack which Penn State had returned for a touchdown. It was a horrible and costly error on King’s part. A few plays later, King was all over Harrison again, drawing another flag, but Harrison fought through the contact to make the catch and set up first-and-goal. Harrison continued to generate separation from King in the second half.
Team sources have said King’s tape has not been impressive this season and labelled his play as noticeably down from what he did in 2022. King had to grab at Harrison and looked panicked when trying to run with the star Ohio State receiver. Against the Buckeyes, King gave up receptions, allowed separation, drew penalties, and looked overwhelmed. King’s performance against Ohio State will hurt his draft grade and maybe dash his hopes of being a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Fashanu facing Ohio State pass rushers J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer offered both sides an offer to invigorate their respective draft stocks. If one only looked on the stat sheet, one would think Fashanu got the better of the duo as neither member produced huge numbers against the Nittany Lions. The actual tape of the contest, however, would tell a different story; one in which Fashanu failed to impress. He didn’t get abused or dominated by Ohio State, but he was fortunate he didn’t give up multiple sacks.
Fashanu almost gave up a sack in the second quarter after losing his balance and falling to the turf when trying to push Sawyer to the inside. That opened a gap that let his rusher go free and almost get a sack. In the fourth quarter, Fashanu put together a nice pass-protection play, stopping a rush from Tuimoloau to the inside and then spinning off to keep defensive tackle Michael Hall from getting to the quarterback. On the next play though, Tuimoloau bulled Fashanu into quarterback Drew Allar, which deflected the fourth-down pass attempt incomplete. At the end of the fourth quarter, Tuimoloau bull rushed through Fashanu again to join a teammate for a sack.
Fashanu’s performance against Ohio State reinforces that he is a solid player, but not a top-10 talent. Many in the media have hyped Fashanu that high, but multiple NFL team sources have told me they do not have Fashanu graded so early. Instead, they see him as more of a mid- to late first-rounder. Sources compare Fashanu to Russell Okung as an adequate offensive tackle, but not an elite player. They do not see Fashanu as a prospect on the level of a Penei Sewell. Team sources knock Fashanu for having a degree of stiffness while also lacking violence. He also does not generate a real surge or push as a blocker. How Fashanu played against Ohio State only helps cement the view of pro evaluators and casts doubt on the top-10 media hype.