Vanderbilt Football: Current Draft Stock for Key Commodores in 2013 NFL Draft
It was truly a season to remember for the Vanderbilt Commodores after going 9-4 and capping off the season with a win in front of a great turnout of fans.
Head coach James Franklin made it clear that the Commodores are here to stay, but there will be some obstacles replicating the success of their historical season.
Vanderbilt may lose a lot of key contributors to the NFL draft in April, and a good chunk of them could come on the offensive side of the ball.
Here's a breakdown of their stock just three months before the draft.
Zac Stacy, RB
Zac Stacy runs well in between the tackles and is great at getting yards after contact. That was on full display in the Music City Bowl against NC State, which ended with him receiving game MVP honors.
Stacy also showed that he's fully capable of being the workhorse that so many NFL teams desire. If you go back and look at all of Vandy's key games this year, Stacy played a huge role in moving this offense down the field.
His stock has steadily increased all season long, but there are a lot of running backs ahead of him at this point.
The only thing you can really hold against Stacy is that he doesn't possess world class speed. However, he makes up for that with his ability to burst through the hole at the line of scrimmage and keep a low center of gravity.
Stacy will most likely go late in the draft and find a spot on someone's depth chart.
Projected Round: 6-7
Jordan Matthews, WR
You don't have to look much further than Jordan Matthews to figure out why the Commodores won nine games this season for the first time since 1915.
Matthews was a factor in virtually every game this season, never finishing with less than 46 receiving yards in a game.
He also had a touchdown in each of the last five games of the season, including the Music City Bowl win over NC State.
Scouts love this guy and see him as a second-to-third round pick, but that's only if he decides to declare. Matthews is just a junior, and he's not ready to say what he plans on doing.
It would be a an educated guess to say that Matthews will return for his senior season. After all, he has helped build this program up since his freshman season when the Commodores won just two games.
Why would Matthews want to walk out now when his stock can rise even higher under a great offensive coach in James Franklin?
Look for Matthews to return and finish what he's started. If he does come out, then the third round would be a safe projection.
Projected Round: Won't declare for the draft
Trey Wilson, DB
Many wondered if Trey Wilson could still be productive with Casey Hayward leaving for the NFL, and Wilson lived up to the challenge in 2012.
Wilson finished with three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns to help the Vandy secondary finish fifth in the nation in defensive pass efficiency.
He also proved that he can play well against good pass offenses like Tennessee and NC State.
Wilson has a great shot at being drafted somewhere on the back end of the draft, with his ceiling probably going all the way up to the fifth round.
What makes Wilson so attractive is his ability to make plays after making the interception. He also has great intangibles that are very important to NFL scouts.
Projected Round: 5-7
Jordan Rodgers, QB
Jordan Rodgers will automatically get at least some attention thanks to his older sibling Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
However, when you break down his game you see a very raw quarterback that could really use one more year of preparation.
Since Rodgers is obviously graduating, it's hard to see him getting drafted this April. He has some great intangibles, but his lack of size and consistent accuracy will keep NFL teams away.
With that said, Rodgers could certainly earn a spot on an NFL roster as a free agent. He'll get an opportunity from someone to earn his way onto a depth chart, but there's no way he gets drafted after starting just one full season for Vanderbilt.
You also can't forget that Rodgers was actually benched early on in the season, and scouts won't forget that red flag.
Rodgers did some great things during his short time at Vanderbilt, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the NFL level that is so difficult to break through.
Projected Round: Not drafted, but maybe free agent
Archibald Barnes, OLB
Archibald Barnes has great range, which is what you look for in a good outside linebacker prospect.
Barnes is also solid in pass coverage, and even has experience in playing safety before coming to Vanderbilt.
Anyone remember that great interception Barnes took to the house on the goal line in that trilling game at Rocky Top that ended in a tough loss for Vandy?
This is another Vandy prospect that will get a lot of attention later in the draft when teams are looking to fill roster spots and build depth at certain positions.
Barnes' stat sheet was impressive to cap off his collegiate career, including a 12-tackle performance in a close loss to Florida in October.
It's certainly a good guess that Barnes is picked up by someone in the sixth or seventh round and play as a backup in his first few seasons.
Projected Round: 6-7
Richard Kent, P
Punters usually get very little attention, if any, when talking about draft prospects.
However, Richard Kent is a guy that deserves a ton of credit for Vanderbilt's historical 2012 season.
Kent did such a great job this season flipping the field for the Commodores and had a punt average of just under 45 yards for his senior season.
It's hard to project when punters might go in a draft, but Kent at the very least deserves some attention for what he did during his collegiate career at Vanderbilt.
It would be a shock if Kent got drafted in any of the seven rounds, but getting picked up as a free agent is not out of the realm of possibility.
Projected Round: Free agent