2011 NFL Draft Stock Watch: Who's Up, Who's Down in Week 9?
Before we get to watch TCU or Utah dash the others BCS-busting dreams or see Nick Saban's return visit to Baton Rouge in a game sure to set up the SEC West; Week Nine of the college football season already shed some light on a few contenders and pretenders.
Nebraska and its uber-effective rushing attack smacked previously unbeaten Mizzou in the mouth and one of the nation's top linebackers, Greg Jones, suffered his first loss of his senior campaign when the Hawkeyes sent Sparty scurrying back to East Lansing with it's sword and shield between it's legs.
Week Nine showed us that some of the nation's top prospects are for real while others that have been in question all season continue to slide.
Here is a look at some players who helped and hurt their Draft stock up through Week 9.
Stock Up 1: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The 6’5 and 300-plus pounder has moved up draft boards as steadily as any player in he nation.
The Bulldogs have not suffered a loss since the two game stretch against Auburn and LSU at the beginning of the season and the senior is part of an offensive line that averages 218 yards per game on the ground.
Coupled with Sherrod’s solid play is the exact opposite from the other top prospects at his position as players continue to play their way out of first round grades.
He has quick feet, does a solid job against the speed rush, and has proved himself a worthy blocker at the second level in the run game.
Should Sherrod keep this up and ride his momentum into April he could be a legitimate first round prospect.
The Bulldogs have a bye this week before they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide.
Stock Up 2: J.J. Watt, DT, Wisconsin
The junior defensive tackle has been at it all season and people are starting to take notice.
Watt plays with a super high motor and has displayed good quickness and power at the point of attack.
So far this season he has recorded 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, deflected six passes, and blocked two kicks.
Wisconsin is back in the top 10, closes the season against four unranked Big 10 opponents, and could very well wind up with the Big 10 title.
This weekend they travel to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers.
Stock Up 3: Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa
The Hawkeyes defensive end Adrian Clayborn deservedly grabs majority of the headlines when it comes to Iowa’s defensive line and Christian Ballard is highly thought of as well, so naturally junior Mike Daniels does not grab a ton of fanfare but things are changing now.
The Hawkeyes smacked previously unbeaten Michigan State while Daniels led the team in tackles for loss as he has done all season.
The 6’1, 275 pounder leads the team in sacks (3) as well as tackles for loss (10) and continues to out produce the stars next to him.
Daniels plays with good leverage and fires off the ball. If he keeps playing like this the Hawkeyes will continue having NFL scouts staring at their defensive line.
Iowa will travel to Indiana this week.
Stock Up 4: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Griffin played as poorly as one could ever have expected in the early season loss to TCU in Fort Worth.
Since that thrashing, Griffin has found the form that many expected to see coming into the season and it shows as Baylor is now 7-2 and at the top of the Big 12 South.
Griffin has thrown 15 touchdowns to four interceptions since that game and has completed 66% of his passes in that same six game stretch.
Statistically this is his best season throwing the rock and he has also found ways to incorporate his dual threat talents on the ground when necessary.
Baylor still has their work cut out for them in the battle for the Big 12 and will take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater this weekend.
Stock Down 1: Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M
The senior was poised for a big season after closing out 2009 in such a strong manner but has now played his way to the bench after three straight losses - albeit against three very tough teams (Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Missouri) – and he split time in the win versus Kansas but then did not play at all in the win over Texas Tech.
Johnson has a big arm, above average athleticism, but struggles with accuracy, decision-making, and has a rather awkward and elongated release.
He is no more than a developmental project at this point.
Stock Down 2: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The senior looked to rebound nicely after the Nebraska debacle earlier this season but again threw for less than 100 yards and only completed single digit passes in an absolute demolishing by Stanford.
Locker’s accuracy has never been his strong point but he has hardly improved enough in any area to warrant the hype and buzz of a legitimate top 10 pick let alone a first rounder.
Intangibles, leadership, and potential are all great things to have, but the Washington signal caller is certainly not one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft any longer.
His supporting cast is hardly at the level of the other top quarterbacks but with only two multi-touchdown performances this year and a 56% completion percentage, Locker will have to hope teams care more for his potential than anything else in April’s Draft.
Locker will not play in this weekend's game against the Ducks after battling several injuries over the past few weeks.
Stock Down 3: Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU
As LSU’s quarterback woes continue, senior Terrence Toliver has not done much to help the situation.
Toliver possesses great size with good speed but struggles with suddenness in his route running and has failed to haul in catchable balls so far this season.
Unfortunately he has also had an off-field incident and his production this season is down to go along with it.
The Tigers have only lost one game this season – against unbeaten Auburn – and Toliver’s inability to deliver in the clutch was a part of that loss.
The Tigers will take on Alabama this week in what is sure to be a huge test for the LSU offense.