Another week of hardcore college football viewing means more big changes. The biggest ever in one week.
What's changed? There is a new player sitting at No. 2 overall. We have a defensive end who soared up from the middle of the second round all the way to No. 10 overall. A first-round wide receiver is moving close to the second round, and one SEC quarterback has assured he'll not be ranked for the 2013 NFL draft.
Just another week in the life of a draft evaluator.
Last Week: No. 112 | This Week: No. 24
One thing you'll see a lot this edition is big moves up the board, like this one. That's what happens when several weeks worth of game film arrives in one big FedEx shipment (not complaining).
As I watched the Texas A&M film, Damontre Moore continued to jump off the screen. His burst off the snap is very good, but there's more to his game than that. One thing we look for in 3-4 outside linebackers and 4-3 defensive end prospects is flexibility, especially in the lower body. Moore has that. He's agile enough to bend at the hips and take the edge from left tackles.
I'll always prefer Moore in a 3-4 defense as an OLB, but he's showing the production and athleticism to be a late first-round pick.
Last Week: No. 2 | This Week: No. 5
I'm starting to wonder if Jarvis Jones is injured. Since the Missouri game, Jones hasn't looked the same.
While he's still a dominant prospect, the last three years can't be undone by two or three timid weeks of action from Jones; still, it's enough to point out. Jones' ability as a pass-rusher has been muted since that showdown in Columbia.
Still a top-five prospect—again, three years of tape says Jones is elite—teams who want the next Von Miller will be all over Jones when the 2013 NFL draft comes around.
Last Week: No. 184 | This Week: No. 80
We can call this "SEC Week" on the Stock Watch. Many top SEC players are seeing their rankings adjusted, and few will see a bigger rise than Florida running back Mike Gillislee.
Before the season began, we knew about Mike Gillislee. He had the size, speed and vision to be a good prospect, but his production was lacking. He's fixed that problem in 2012. Now we're seeing a fast, productive back with little wear and tear after three years of light use in the Gators' scheme.
In an average senior class, Gillislee has a chance to be the first back off the board who spent a full four years in college.
Last Week: No. 59 | This Week: No. 92
Tyler Bray's stock is dropping more and more each week. At some point, it's time to wonder if the junior passer can live up to his potential. And if he can't live up to that potential at Tennessee, leaving for the NFL might be his best option.
Bray's dropping isn't due to a lack of talent around him. With several NFL-caliber receivers and a solid offensive line, Bray should be excelling But, instead he's making poor decisions and failing to deliver wins. His play in Knoxville against Alabama is clear evidence that Bray isn't ready for the NFL. Not to say he won't ever be, but this isn't a first-year starter at the pro level.
Last Week: No. 90 | This Week: No. 76
The Oklahoma State offense looks different without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon this season, but one constant remains: that's Joseph Randle in the backfield.
Randle won't post Heisman-caliber numbers, but he does show the qualities to project very well at the next level. The Cowboys' scheme has him experienced as a runner, but also as a receiver and blocker. While Randle might not be a punishing blocker, he's willing to step up and take on blitzers.
Running backs aren't always a high priority on draft weekend, but the team who finds Randle will be happy it did.
Last Week: No. 48 | This Week: No. 131
Preseason rankings are an odd thing, and they can help or hurt each player.
William Gholston is a good example of a player being ranked too high in the preseason—based on projected growth, production and impact—and failing to live up to expectations.
Gholston has amazing athletic ability, but he's not showing the production or effort to match. When looking at defensive ends, eventually that production has to show up. Otherwise you're drafting an athlete who hasn't shown he can play football at a high level.
Last Week: No. 5 | This Week: No. 2
Luke Joeckel was set to move up this week after our big box of SEC game film came in. And then the Texas A&M vs. LSU game happened.
Joeckel was tested, thoroughly, by top-end LSU pass-rushers Sam Montgomery (No. 6 overall) and Barkevious Mingo (No. 12 overall). The two DEs are among the best in the game at getting to the quarterback, and Joeckel shut them down.
Joeckel's been battle-tested against SEC pass-rushers this year, and he's held his own. Impressively so. He's now our No. 2-ranked player for the 2013 NFL draft, assuming he enters after his junior season at A&M.
Last Week: Not Ranked | This Week: Not Ranked
Thanks to a trip to Knoxville this past weekend, I was able to evaluate LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger on an in-depth basis. Having seen TV broadcasts of his, I was curious to really dig in and see how the junior quarterback looked.
Let me preface this by saying that one NFL scout told me in the preseason that Mettenberger carried a Round 1 grade on his board, based on potential. I haven't seen it yet. Mettenberger often seems overwhelmed, especially when asked to look off a safety and make a read on a combination route. The mental aspect of his game isn't there yet.
Physically, Mettenberger is everything we could want, but based on his play this season, he won't be ranked on our 2013 draft board unless he pulls off a surprise and enters the draft early. That wouldn't be advisable.
Last Week: No. 51 | This Week: No. 10
Have you ever seen a defensive end cover a slot receiver? Sure, it happens, but usually to the demise of the defense. The Oregon Ducks have a DE who not only covers slot receivers, but he does a pretty good job of it.
To be fair, Dion Jordan isn't your average defensive end. At all. He's a mix between an end, outside linebacker and safety. The Oregon defense lines him up anywhere it sees fit, which actually works against Jordan when it comes to statistics.
Those who "scout" based on box scores won't notice Jordan, but it only takes a few minutes of viewing Ducks tape before he flashes. An athlete at 6'7" and 245 lbs. who can run, tackle and cover like this will find himself drafted very high.
Last Week: No. 17 | This Week: No. 25
Justin Hunter hasn't looked the same since Week 1. You could go even further and say he hasn't looked the same since injuring his knee last September.
Hunter hasn't shown the same explosion off the line this year, and he's less dynamic in his route-running when he can't plant and explode as well. While this likely won't be an issue in 2013 once Hunter is a full year removed from surgery, it's concerning enough to move him down into the later stages of the first round.