2012 NFL Draft: 8 Prospects Whose Stock Is on the Rise
With Week 4 of the college football season in the books, we've been able to see prospects for the 2012 NFL draft whose stock is rising with every game.
The following players each had a huge game against their opponent to make a move up draft boards. Here are eight of those players.
Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
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Whenever you are the leader of a defense that holds the 14th-ranked team in the nation to only 17 rushing yards, it is a safe bet that your stock will be rising.
Hightower is a versatile linebacker who has the ability to play both inside and outside linebacker. He has great instincts and is a good pass rusher off the edge.
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
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Courtney Upshaw's stock is rising for the same reasons that Dont'a Hightower's is. He was a vital part of Alabama's defense that completely shutdown the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Both Upshaw and Hightower have very similar skill sets and their versatility is a major plus. Right now, Upshaw looks a little more the part of an NFL linebacker, as he has the ability to play defensive end as well as linebacker.
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
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Through three games, Robert Griffin III has thrown for 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. What is even more impressive is that Griffin is also completing over 85 percent of his passes.
At 6'2", Griffin is a little short for an NFL quarterback, but there is no doubting the way he plays the position. While many pegged him simply as an athletic quarterback and nothing more, Griffin has done way more damage through the air than on the ground this year.
If Griffin continues his dominant play for the rest of the season, there is no reason why he won't be the second or third quarterback drafted in the 2012 NFL draft.
Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
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With ideal size, speed and playmaking ability, Stephon Gilmore is making a case as the top cornerback prospect in college football.
There can be no doubt that Gilmore is a true shutdown cornerback after South Carolina held Vanderbilt to just 77 yards through the air.
Not only can Gilmore completely shutdown opposing receivers, but few cornerbacks in the country are as dangerous with the ball in their hands as Gilmore is.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
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It's true that running backs from the University of Wisconsin has been extremely disappointing in the NFL. From Ron Dayne to Michael Bennett, no former Badger has been able to have a productive NFL career.
Montee Ball looks like the running back who could be the exception to the rule. He has trimmed down his weight this year and looks quicker than ever with the ball in his hands. One statistic that continues to impress is Ball's touchdown numbers from last year (18) and from this young season (nine).
Even though Ball won't lead the nation in rushing yards—mainly because he splits carries with another talented running back in James White—Ball may lead the nation in rushing touchdowns. That type of production can't be overlooked.
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
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Brock Osweiler is definitely a sleeper prospect, but after Arizona State won easily over USC, that might not be the case for the Sun Devils' starting quarterback much longer.
At 6'8" and 242 pounds, there is no doubt Osweiler has the size to be an NFL quarterback. In fact, Joe Flacco is currently the tallest starting quarterback and he only stands at 6'6".
However, Osweiler is starting to gain attention for more than just his size. He showed great accuracy against USC and limited his mistakes against a tough defense.
The key for Osweiler's stock to continue to rise will be his ability to play consistently well. If he can string together more than one or two quality games, he could very well continue to see his stock rise.
Morris Claiborne, LSU
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Whenever a defense loses its top defensive player, there is supposed to be a drop in performance the following season. Well, thanks to Morris Claiborne, the LSU Tigers haven't seen that drop.
In fact, Claiborne is actually a very similar player to Patrick Peterson. While he has mainly been regarded as a shutdown cornerback, he showed his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands when he returned a punt for a touchdown against West Virginia.
Claiborne probably won't be drafted as high as Peterson, but if his stock keeps rising, he certainly won't be drafted much lower.
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
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Most people want to knock Ryan Broyles for his size, which is valid as he is 5'10", but no one can argue with his production.
He's had back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit touchdown receptions and he is well on his way to making it three straight seasons. His three touchdowns were crucial to Oklahoma coming back from an early deficit against Missouri.
We've seen smaller wide receivers have success in the NFL, such as Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson, and while Broyles might not have their hands or speed, he is still a very reliable receiver who produces.