Stock Up, Stock Down for 2013 NFL Draft Prospects, Week 2 Edition
Week 2 of the college football season is in the books, and with it, the draft stock of juniors and seniors across the country. Which players are up and down after two weeks of play?
In a loaded SEC draft class, LSU and Georgia feature some of the best players in the nation, but their individual draft stock may be faltering due to poor play and/or injuries. For example, offensive tackle Chris Faulk (LSU) is out of the year with a knee injury, putting a once first-round draft grade in question.
Who is up and who is down? We're breaking it down in this week's stock watch.
Stock Up: Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones, Georgia
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Georgia's Jarvis Jones dominated the Saturday night showdown with the Missouri Tigers, showing off his unbelievable athletics and ability to "bend" the edge and get to the quarterback.
Jones is from a similar mold as Von Miller in that he's a classic pass-rusher with the hips and feet to transition to a more traditional 4-3 outside linebacker role if needed. But make no mistake, Jones is at his best when he's attacking the quarterback.
The top outside linebacker on our big board, Jones is now a solid top-five prospect heading into the 2013 NFL draft.
Stock Down: Tackle D.J. Fluker, Alabama
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The Alabama right tackle entered the preseason as my top tackle prospect. That quickly changed once the games started.
Fluker was touted as an athletic prototype, similar to Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. Fluker, playing on the right side of the Crimson Tide offensive line, struggled in their meeting with Michigan. Fluker's supposed athleticism never showed up as he failed to explode off the line of scrimmage and fuel the run game on the strong side of the line.
Fluker's talented, but that talent is currently very raw for a player being drafted in the first round.
Stock Up: Running Back Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
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If you love big, powerful running backs who can also run away from defenses, Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell is your man.
Bell has jumped out to a hot start this year, putting up the type of production that causes scouts and evaluators to take notice. More than just numbers, Bell's running style is turning heads.
Bell, at 244 lbs, has the size to roll over defenders, but his agility to wiggle in and out of the hole, as well as his speed once he escapes, make him a contender for the first round of the NFL draft.
Stock Down: Tackle Chris Faulk, LSU
Chris Faulk entered the year with first-round potential, but then, his knee failed him.
Faulk, a redshirt junior, will miss the 2012 season and maybe more after what was called a "major knee injury" to his left knee. Faulk will focus on rehab in hopes of playing again in 2013, but his NFL potential is on hold for now.
Faulk was previously the No. 4-ranked offensive tackle on our big board and is currently off the board with a red flag for medicals.
Stock Up: Defensive Tackle John Hankins, Ohio State
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Big Johnathan Hankins may have started the year out as a top defensive tackle prospect, but he was always second fiddle to Utah's Star Lotulelei. Hankins is now running parallel with the more hyped Ute.
Hankins is a finished prospect. When you watch his game film, you see a player who already understands the technique to be a force in the NFL. Not unlike Marcell Dareus at Alabama, Hankins' play is far ahead of where most college defenders are at this point in their careers.
What Hankins lacks in raw athletic ability, be makes up for in technique, strength and leverage. Lotulelei will get the attention due to his crazy metrics, but Hankins is the better defensive tackle right now.
Stock Down: Quarterback Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
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Two concussions in 15 career starts has Tyler Wilson's stock dropping this week.
Wilson was on the receiving end of many brutal hits during the 2011 season, and that continued against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. Wilson was knocked out of the game with an injury that was later classified as a concussion.
Head injuries are becoming more of an issue, and for a quarterback who is listed at a slight 6'2" and 218 lbs, Wilson has to prove he can handle the punishment quarterbacks take in and out of the pocket. There is no questioning Wilson's arm strength or accuracy, but his medical history is already pushing his draft stock down.
Stock Up: Tackle Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Considered by many to be the top left tackle in college football, Luke Joeckel needed to prove himself with Texas A&M moving to the SEC this year. He has.
Joeckel was impressive in the Aggies' debut against Florida, showing the strength and agility of a top left-tackle prospect. Joeckel isn't on a level of Jake Long or Joe Thomas, but he's on the same level as Bryan Bulaga or Gabe Carimi in terms of technique and leverage at this point.
Joeckel's biggest strength may be that he's played in a very mobile scheme. Under Kevin Sumlin the Aggies like to run the ball with backs and quarterbacks. Joeckel is a versatile blocker due to the dynamics of the A&M scheme.
Stock Down: Running Back Eddie Lacy, Alabama
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Eddie Lacy was never a first-round draft prospect, but his status as a second- or third-round running back is being threatened by the arrival of freshman T.J. Yelton.
Lacy was supposed to play the Mark Ingram role to Yelton's Trent Richardson, circa 2010. Lacey would be the star, the Heisman contender and the leader while Yelton cleaned up and helped spell the senior. But something happened along the way, Yelton proved to be the bigger, brighter star.
Lacy will get drafted, that's not in doubt, but without major carries to showcase his ability this year, Lacy's draft stock will take a massive hit.
Stock Up: Defensive Tackle John Jenkins, Georgia
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At 6'3", 358 lbs, big defensive tackle John Jenkins started the season as a late second-round draft prospect. After watching him rumble and burst through the Missouri offensive line, Jenkins' stock is on the upswing.
Jenkins has the ability to stop the run with his massive frame, but he's showing surprising lateral agility and quickness for a man his size. Much like Dontari Poe during the 2011 season, but with better production, Jenkins has a chance to parlay his incredible size and strength into a big jump in draft status during the 2012 season.
If he can continue playing like he did against Missouri, Jenkins could slide into the first round.
Stock Down: Running Back Montee Ball, Wisconsin
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First things first. Ball had a rough offseason after being jumped by five men on the street, and we all wish him the best now and in the future.
This summer, before the season began—even during the 2012 pre-draft process—the word on Montee Ball was that he's a highly productive college running back who benefited from a great quarterback (Russell Wilson) and all-star offensive line.
With Wilson and that stud offensive line gone, Ball is struggling as predicted.
The Oregon State defense bottled up Ball, exploiting his lack of vision and average speed en route to an upset win. However, those expecting Ball to win a Heisman Trophy and find himself drafted in the first round are seeing that Ball is more a product of the system around him than an individual stud.