2024 NFL Draft Stock Up
Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
Arnold had a rough game against Texas early in the season, but he has bounced back since then and is turning in a quality year for the Crimson Tide. Arnold is a well-rounded player in possession of size, physicality, and good technique. The only real flaw with Arnold is his lack of speed, as that presents some limitations for the NFL. He will need to be protected from being in man on speed receivers. Still, Arnold looks like a good fit for a zone team. He could end up as a first- or second-round pick next April in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia
For the NFL, Lassiter looks like a starter and a player who could be a quality starter early in his career. While Lassiter is a good cover corner with quality size, speed and athleticism. That being said, he does not look as smooth and instinctive as say recent top-five corner prospects like Sauce Gardner and Derek Stingley. Depending on how Lassiter plays over the rest of this year and performs in the pre-draft workouts, he looks more like someone who could go as high as the middle of Round 1 to as low as the early portion of Round 2, similar to Joey Porter Jr. last year. Lassiter could be a quality pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Johnny Dixon, CB, Penn State
History is repeating itself in Happy Valley. A year ago, Joey Porter Jr. had an underwhelming season and slid from being a consensus first-rounder to ending up on Day 2 of the draft. Across from Porter, Kalen King had a tremendous 2022 season to establish himself as a top corner prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft. This year, however, King has really struggled, giving up a lot of plays, while teammate Dixon has impressed team evaluators.
Dixon is gritty, quick, instinctive, and can run the route to prevent separation. He is up to 19 tackles, three sacks, an interception and three passes broken up this season. In 2022, he recorded 23 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defended. Dixon is a sleeper who could be a riser for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Justin Walley, CB, Minnesota
Team sources said Walley has impressed them this season, and he has been a steady defender for Minnesota. This year, he has 31 tackles, eight passes broken up and an interception. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Walley might be a better fit as a slot corner at the next level, but he is a smooth nickel corner who can run the route and prevent separation. Walley could end up being a second-day prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
There is a buzz in the scouting community about Texas wide receiver Adonai Mitchell, and he showed why while against the Kansas State Wildcats. In the first quarter, Mitchell ran a go route down the middle of the field and the pass was lofted into Mitchell, who trapped it against his chest for a 37-yard touchdown. Shortly later, Mitchell used his speed to get vertical and made a superb diving hands-catch for a 47-yard gain. Mitchell continued to make catches to move the chains, using his speed to get open and his size to present a big target for his quarterback. Versus Kansas State, Mitchell caught eight passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
For the NFL, Mitchell has a big-time skill set and a ton of upside to develop. The 6-foot-4, 196-pounder has mismatch size and length as well as a large catch radius. Mitchell uniquely retains speed aside his excellent height. Mitchell is fast in the straight line and he can simply blow past cornerbacks. Mitchell was formerly a top recruit at Georgia, and one can see why now that he plays for Texas, which fields an offense that features the passing attack and gets the receivers more involved. Mitchell looks like a future first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
Team sources have previously labelled Trotter as a limited athlete for the NFL who isn’t a good fit for pass coverage. Trotter, however, helped dispel that opinion against Notre Dame last Saturday. Midway through the second quarter, Trotter intercepted Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman and returned the pick for a touchdown. Trotter read Hartman’s eyes and jumped the short out route before making his return of about 25 yards for a score. Aside from that play, Trotter did a solid job in run defense, taking on blocks and getting in on some tackles. In the fourth quarter, Trotter notched a critical third-down sack that got the his defense off the field and set up the offense just past midfield. NFL teams like Trotter as a run defender, but have concerns about him in pass coverage. Thus, Trotter’s outing against Notre Dame, with its huge play in pass coverage, is going to help him.
2024 NFL Draft Stock Down
Maason Smith, DT, LSU
Smith entered this season as a potential first-round pick thanks to flashing serious speed and athleticism as a backfield disruptor during his freshman season in 2021 along with the one game he played taking on Florida State in 2022. Smith suffered a torn ACL in that game against the Seminoles.
This year coming off the injury, Smith has not looked like the same player. He looks heavy, slower and stiff. Against Alabama last Saturday night, Smith was a complete non-factor while the Crimson Tide offense dominated. Smith should definitely return for his senior year to put together better tape before going pro.