Stock Up, Stock Down for NFL Draft Prospects, Week 13 Edition
The NFL season is a long, arduous process that takes up much of everyone's time from August until early February. In the minutes after the Super Bowl, fans really start to take notice of the upcoming offseason.
But why wait?
Before you know it, the NFL draft will be here. Don't be caught off guard; take a look at these five players moving up and and five players moving down our big board before the season ends.
A new week brings new names to the table—Georgia underclassman Alec Ogletree makes his debut on the big board—and sees big changes from players who entered the season as projected Top 10 picks. Injuries to Keenan Allen and Tank Carradine have their stock tumbling, but just how far will they fall?
Stock Up: QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Last Week: No. 91 | This Week: No. 65
The 2013 quarterback class isn't a good one. That's the first thing you need to know about this upcoming offseason.
When a class lacks talent at the top, there is considerable room for a second-tier player to move up into a top-tier draft pick. Especially at quarterback. That's not to say Ryan Nassib isn't talented, because he is.
Nassib is an interesting prospect in this year's weaker class. What makes the Syracuse quarterback so interesting and intriguing is his arm talent. Nassib throws one of the prettiest balls in this year's crop of passers, and he has the strength to push and drive the ball downfield. Those are the things that could separate Nassib from Matt Barkley, Aaron Murray and other quarterbacks with lesser arm talent.
Stock Down: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
Last Week: No. 18 | This Week: No. 23
Sam Montgomery entered the year as one of my top defensive ends. He's still in the first round, but Montgomery has consistently moved down the board this year. Now he's down to No. 23 overall.
What makes Montgomery so appealing is his all-around game. He's strong and quick and has good athletic ability. What you don't like on film is that Montgomery hasn't progressed from 2011 to 2012. He still struggles to disengage blockers, and he hasn't shown the quickness off the edge that translates well to the outside in the NFL.
I still like Montgomery, but in a 2013 draft class that is loaded with better athletes at his position group, he could see himself falling down the board much like Nick Perry did in 2012.
Stock Up: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Last Week: No. 202 | This Week: No. 70
We're still in the exploratory phase of evaluating the 2013 NFL draft class, and that means players still have the ability to surprise and come out of nowhere.
I first took notice of Lane Johnson at the Texas-Oklahoma game in early October. He flashed on my radar after slowing down Alex Okafor and really powering the Sooners run game off the left side. Since then, Johnson has been under the microscope.
NFL teams will fall in love with an athletic left tackle who has a very good pass set. He's not a dominant run-blocker, but the potential is there for him to learn to sink and drive through defenders coming off the ball. Johnson isn't a polished prospect yet, but there is a lot of raw potential worth developing.
Stock Down: WR Keenan Allen, Cal
Last Week: No. 19 | This Week: No. 24
Injuries late in the college football season have a way of drastically affecting a player's draft stock. This year, one of the casualties is California wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Allen is still the top wide receiver prospect in this year's class, but there are legitimate concerns regarding his health after suffering a knee injury. How healthy Allen will be heading into the offseason could not only alter where he's drafted, but it could determine whether he's able to participate at the NFL scouting combine this offseason.
Allen needs a big showing this offseason to further solidify his stock as a top wide receiver prospect. The tools are all there, but health is a major concern.
Stock Up: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Last Week: No. 68 | This Week: No. 40
It is always tricky scouting an offensive guard or tackle who plays in a combo with another high-profile prospect. North Carolina linemen Jonathan Cooper and Brennan Williams fall into that category this year.
Williams is currently rated as a third-round prospect and No. 6 overall among tackles. How much is the strong play of the UNC left tackle helping his left guard? Not as much as you might think.
This has been the case before—think Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe at Virginia—but I see Cooper as the dominant player over Williams. His strength and ability to move in space make him a premier prospect as a left or right guard in the NFL.
Stock Down: WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Last Week: No. 40 | This Week: No. 47
Justin Hunter has had a good season coming off a knee injury that shortened his 2011 campaign, but he's not shown the same level of burst or speed that we saw prior to the injury. That's a major concern for any wide receiver.
Hunter has the physical tools, but the lingering question is if and when his speed will fully return. Hunter's production this season was good enough to get him strong looks in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft if he declares, but it will be key that he run well at the NFL scouting combine in late February.
If Hunter can run and test well in Indianapolis, he'll be back on the move up.
Stock Up: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Last Week: No. 15 | This Week: No. 12
Cornerbacks are at a premium in the NFL these days, and teams will be looking to invest heavily in a top-flight prospect who can change their defense. That's Dee Milliner.
Overshadowed in previous seasons by Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie, Milliner has risen to the challenge of being the top cover man for the Alabama Crimson Tide defense this fall. He's been aggressive, tough against the run and a lockdown coverage cornerback when needed.
Alabama does a great job pressuring the quarterback, so Milliner hasn't been exposed as much as others, but there is no questioning his raw ability—or the fact that he's the top cornerback in the draft.
Stock Down: DE Tank Carradine
Last Week: No. 58 | This Week: No. 71
A torn ACL has ended what was a bright season for Tank Carradine, and in the process, his draft future is in question.
The Florida State senior has few options other than to rehab his knee with team doctors and prepare for the NFL draft as best he can. Similar to Josh Chapman (NT, Alabama) last year, Carradine will still likely make the rounds at the Senior Bowl and combine, even if he's limited to not performing.
Chapman had offseason knee surgery and was still able to lift and interview at the combine. Depending on how quickly Carradine heals, he could be in a similar situation by late February. While we can't know his turnaround time, we can speculate that NFL teams will move Carradine down their boards due to the injury.
Stock Up: ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Last Week: Not Ranked | This Week: No. 31
Georgia junior Alec Ogletree hadn't been ranked by us yet this season, but due to fan requests and the growing possibility that he declares for the 2013 NFL draft, here's Ogletree entering the first-round prospect list.
Ogletree is a fast, aggressive, skilled inside linebacker prospect. He has some off-field issues to clean up—he was suspended to start the year—but his overall athletic skill set is very high. While not the tackler or cover man that Notre Dame's Manti Te'o is, Ogletree could find himself moving up the board once teams decide on his best position.
One of the biggest assets to Ogletree's game is that he's athletic enough to play inside or outside linebacker, especially in a 4-3 scheme. That versatility will make him very exciting to scouts once his plans are known.
Stock Down: OC Khaled Holmes, USC
Last Week: No. 90 | This Week: No. 113
The 2013 draft is weak at the center position, and that's highlighted by the fact that USC's Khaled Holmes still holds the top spot.
Holmes has struggled this year as the USC line tried to recover from the loss of Matt Kalil to the NFL. Holmes and friends haven't been the same, and it's affected everyone from the offensive line to quarterback Matt Barkley. It's also exposed weaknesses in Holmes' game.
Pass protection isn't something Holmes has done well this year, and while he's still the top center prospect for now, that could change without a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, Holmes needs to prove he has the strength to go toe-to-toe with NFL-caliber nose tackles. If he can do that, he'll have a chance to move back up.