Latest Stock Up, Stock Down Update for Notable NFL Draft Prospects
The goal for every prospect heading into the NFL draft is to establish some positive momentum.
In many cases, guys are willing to dish out some serious coin for combine and pro-day training they hope will give them an edge over the competition.
We see it happen year after year where a guy makes a late push and climbs up NFL draft boards thanks to an impressive workout. Conversely, we see the same thing happen in the opposite direction as well.
This slideshow details some of the latest risers and fallers of the 2015 NFL draft.
Stock Up: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Considering Brandon Scherff is projected to play guard in the NFL, it’s hard to imagine his stock could be pointed upward any more than it already was.
Most analysts have projected Scherff as the first offensive lineman taken in this draft. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has him going ninth overall to the New York Giants in his latest mock draft.
So, what could be responsible for Scherff’s elevating draft stock?
At Iowa’s pro day Monday, the versatile blocker electrified onlookers with a 7.07-second three-cone time, per Hawkeye Football, which would have been the second-best at the combine since 2006, according to Rotoworld.
He also posted an impressive 4.41-second short shuttle, making him the most physically gifted offensive lineman in this draft, according to my system for combining athletic measurables.
If Scherff would have been available outside the top 10 before March 24, he certainly won’t be now.
Stock Down: Shane Ray, Edge-Rusher, Missouri
All 32 NFL teams had representatives at Missouri's pro day, hoping to get a better look at pass-rusher Shane Ray, who was medically exempted from participating in drills at the combine.
Ray was clocked at 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, which was a decent but not stellar time. But his day became significantly worse when he ran 7.71 seconds in the three-cone drill and a 4.53-second short shuttle, according to NFL.com.
If that three-cone time is accurate, that would be one of the worst times for an edge-rusher in this draft class.
When you consider the depth at edge-rusher in this class and that Ray’s entire game centers around his speed, you have to be concerned for his draft stock.
Ray recorded 14.5 sacks for Missouri last season to lead the SEC, but he did it almost exclusively with quick feet and an impressive motor. If speed is his biggest asset on tape, you have to wonder why it didn’t show up at his pro day at all.
At one point, ESPN.com’s prospect player rankings had Ray as a top-five prospect. He is currently ranked 15th on that board. After a so-so pro-day workout, it seems possible that Ray will slide down even further come April.
Stock Up: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein believes Trae Waynes solidified his position as the top-ranked cornerback in this draft with an impressive outing at Michigan State’s pro day last week after an off-kilter performance at the combine.
"Waynes cramped at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month during his 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle runs, completing the 20-yard run in a much slower than anticipated time and never really getting off on the 60-yard one," Rothstein wrote.
According to his draft profile, Waynes posted a time of 4.39 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle at the combine. But Michigan State tweeted out official times of 4.19 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 11.24 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle for Waynes after his pro day last week.
Despite the praise for Waynes improving his numbers at his pro day, this whole thing still requires some perspective to bring us back down to reality. Anyone who believes Waynes has elite physical tools needs to look closer than his impressive 40-yard dash time or even his improved change-of-direction times from his pro day.
Realistically, Waynes is on the lighter side for a cornerback (186 lbs), he has slightly below-average arm length at 31 inches and his 8¼-inch hands are incredibly small for any position.
In addition to all of that, Waynes’ combined average time in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and short shuttle ranks 15th out of 23 cornerbacks analyzed so far, which you can learn more about in an upcoming article of mine.
This doesn’t mean Waynes can’t succeed in the NFL. It simply illustrates that, even though his pro day was a huge boost, it still didn’t elevate him to an elite status in terms of physical tools only.
Stock Down: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
At the beginning of the draft season, Sammie Coates was considered a late first-round pick by several draft analysts. Such chatter has subsided lately, as he now looks to be a solid second-day selection.
According to WalterFootball.com, some league contacts “haven't been very excited about Coates.”
Apparently, some team officials feel as though Coates “has a nice skill set but needs a lot of development and is a work in progress. Teams are looking at him as a candidate for second-day selection, and he isn't in the first-round discussion among receiver-needy teams.”
This makes a lot of sense considering the receiver class is strong this year and Coates has been known to be a one-dimensional deep threat with questionable hands.
If Coates truly has a limited route tree, he better be able to demonstrate uncanny deep-threat ability to warrant a top-50 selection.
Stock Up: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
As a 6’4”, 232-pound tight end/wide receiver hybrid with limited blocking ability, Devin Funchess was set to enter the NFL as a guy without a definitive position. Many draft experts couldn’t decide what would be his ideal position at the next level.
However, after a concerning 4.70-second 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis, Funchess’ chances of being drafted as a wideout appeared all but doomed.
This put intense pressure on him to show up big at his pro day.
The former Wolverine told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that he trained for a couple of weeks with a consultant for Michigan named Jim Kielbaso, of Total Performance.
Kielbaso addressed some technical flaws in his sprints from two fronts. Physically, Funchess was short-stepping the start and over-striding later. Emotionally, the former first-rounder was lacking in enthusiasm for the speed test.
Funchess disagrees with the values placed on the 40-yard dash and would rather be judged on his ability as a football player. Kielbaso helped him have a more positive outlook on the process, which he believes translated into increased effort in the drill.
Funchess surprised everyone when he ran a 4.48-second 40 at his pro day—a remarkable improvement from his combine time.
As a result, Funchess has catapulted himself back into Day 1 consideration after potentially sliding out of both the first round and the wide receiver position altogether following the combine.
NFL Media analyst Charles Davis echoed similar sentiments on NFL Network’s Path to the Draft when he said Funchess "got to make his case (that he's) a wide receiver. He ran 4.7 (in the 40) at the combine, and that immediately screamed 'tight end.' Came back and ran much better, moved better at his pro day and is making his case again to be a wide receiver."
Stock Down: Jarvis Harrison, OG, Texas A&M
According to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Jarvis Harrison got off on the wrong foot at his Texas A&M pro day by showing up late. The only thing NFL personnel hate more than being late is getting arrested. According to Brandt, Harrison claims his wristwatch alarm didn’t go off on time.
I hope he understands a faulty alarm clock is in no way a reasonable excuse by NFL standards. The offensive guard has been projected to be a mid-round prospect with a ton of ability.
His player profile on NFL.com quotes one AFC scouting director saying: "I believe he has Pro Bowl-caliber talent, but his work ethic is a major concern for me. I know he loves basketball, but not sure if he feels the same about football. The talent? That's a given. He's really, really talented."
WalterFootball.com says the following: “...teams are unimpressed with how Harrison has interviewed, plus there are questions about him fitting in at the NFL level. Thus, Harrison could be a second-day talent who ends up sliding to Day 3.”
Harrison is a big load (330 lbs) who had the second-best speed/weight ratio of any guard at the combine this year, behind Ali Marpet. Unfortunately, he could be the latest example in a long line of wasted talent in the NFL.
Stock Up: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reported that representatives from 26 NFL teams attended Baylor's pro day. Petty completed an impressive 69 of 77 passes, with five of the incomplete passes coming by way of dropped balls.
Baylor’s pro day gave the school’s former quarterback a chance to show off his ability to operate from under center and demonstrate the progress he’s made in technique and comfort since the Senior Bowl.
Apparently his day was good enough to convince NFL Network’s draft analyst Mike Mayock that he is “the most natural thrower in this draft” in terms of arm talent alone.
On the NFL Network’s Path to the Draft, Mayock said he projects Petty as the third-best QB prospect available and believes he can emerge as a starter with two years of seasoning.
Petty impressed numerous observers in attendance with his work under center, including Brandt.
Clearly Petty can make all the NFL throws, but he should still have a difficult time transitioning from a spread offense, which is why Mayock likes him sitting and learning for a couple of years.
Ryan Riddle is a former NFL player who writes for Bleacher Report.