2017 NFL Draft: Week 10 Prospect Stock Report
The first College Football Playoff poll was released prior to week 10 and it didn’t take long for the first upset to take place. Fourth-ranked Texas A&M fell to Mississippi State with a backup quarterback and a very limited Myles Garrett, the potential first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
While Garrett wasn’t on the field that often, there were plenty of prospects who were. Week 10 of the college football season saw several players make a move up or down the draft board. In a week that began last Tuesday, there was plenty of time for scouts and NFL front office personnel to attend multiple games throughout the week.
Whether the game was on Tuesday night or Saturday night, there were performances that had to excite next-level decision makers. Here’s a look at those, as well as the prospects who saw their 2017 NFL Draft stock slide in week 10.
Stock Up: Offense
John Ross (WR – Washington): Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning threw six touchdown passes in a 66-27 win over California. Three of those scores came on passes to wide receiver John Ross, including this 67-yard reception in which he shows off elite elusiveness.
The junior wideout, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has been soaring up draft boards this season. Ross now has 14 receiving touchdowns this season, one behind Carlos Henderson of Louisiana Tech for most in the FBS.
Against the Golden Bears, Ross had no trouble creating separation. He’s not a polished route runner, but he utilized his speed to blow by the Cal defensive backs for a total of 208 receiving yards.
In his career, Ross has just three career games of at least 100 yards receiving. Two of those games have come against California. He’ll look to build off the momentum from this game when Washington takes on USC next weekend. Ross facing off against Adoree’ Jackson will be one of the week’s must-see matchups.
Elijah Hood (RB – North Carolina): North Carolina running back Elijah Hood is finally running at full strength. After missing a game in early October and being limited at times, Hood is back to his 2015 form. Against Georgia Tech, that meant rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries.
North Carolina has had a tremendous amount of success through the air this season, but Mitch Trubisky and the passing game are starting to get help on the ground. Hood has run for over 100 yards each of the past two games and is only looking better as the season progresses.
Hood possesses a solid blend of power and elusiveness, similar to Alex Collins of Arkansas who was a fifth-round pick in 2016. Hood does have to protect the football better (six fumbles since the beginning of last season), but he can expect to come off the board around the same time as Collins in the 2017 NFL Draft.
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Brad Kaaya (QB – Miami): Brad Kaaya has seen his stock slip this season with the emergence of Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina, but he made sure to remind the NFL he’s one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. His performance against Pittsburgh is sure to catch the attention of scouts and keep him in the first-round conversation.
Against the Panthers, Kaaya threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns as Miami rolled to a 51-28 win. The win snaps a four-game losing streak and puts the Hurricanes just one win away from bowl eligibility.
The offensive line has been brutal this season as Kaaya’s been sacked more times in nine games this year than he was in any prior season. Despite the pressure he’s faced and the hits he’s taken, Kaaya is completing a higher percentage of passes than ever before.
He’s only a junior, but Kaaya is expected to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Unless he has a disastrous Scouting Combine or pro day, he’ll be a first-round pick.
Corey Davis (WR – Western Michigan): If you haven’t seen Corey Davis play, you’re missing out. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound wide receiver is the top prospect for the undefeated Western Michigan Broncos. In his latest performance, Davis caught 12 passes for a Mid-American Conference record 272 yards and three touchdowns.
Davis was a highly-rated prospect entering his senior season, but has taken his game to a new level in 2016. He’s the top senior WR prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft and may be the first wideout from any class selected by the time the draft rolls around.
Last Tuesday night against Ball State was just another typical Davis highlight reel. He showcased very good speed and route running to go with elite competitive toughness. In the play below, Davis holds his line on the deep route and hauls in the contested pass for a touchdown.
Luke Falk (QB – Washington State): Like most quarterbacks from Air Raid or spread offenses, Luke Falk amasses huge numbers while NFL scouts try to determine whether or not that success can translate to the NFL. Regardless of system, Falk had a career day against Arizona and helped his 2017 NFL Draft stock as much as anyone else in the nation.
Falk finished the game throwing more touchdown passes (four) than incompletions (three). He’s in the middle of one of the hottest stretches of his career, throwing for 1,124 yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. Washington State is undefeated in conference play and tied atop the Pac-12 North with Washington. If Falk continues to play at a high level, a spot in the Pac-12 title game will all come down to the Apple Cup.
A showdown with California is up next as the Golden Bears try to recover from giving up seven touchdown passes to Washington. After that, the Cougars close the season against Colorado and Washington, two of the better secondaries in the Pac-12 and the country. If he finishes the season strong, Falk will be in the discussion on day two of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Stock Up: Defense
Jamal Adams (SS – LSU): In what was once again a low-scoring game between two of the top defenses in college football, Alabama came away with the 10-0 victory. Despite the Crimson Tide win, it was an LSU defender who improved his 2017 NFL Draft stock the most.
Jamal Adams may not always be around the ball like Kendall Beckwith or an elite athlete like Arden Key, but he was the best player on the field when the Tigers were on defense in week 10. The strong safety made several key plays against both the run and the pass against Alabama. Whether it was shutting down Bo Scarbrough in the backfield or reading the quarterback in zone coverage to intercept a pass, Adams was all over the field.
The biggest reason why his stock is on the rise had to do with his man coverage ability. Matched up for much of the game against tight end O.J. Howard, Adams played lockdown defense and held Howard, who is expected to be the first TE selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, to just one catch for a loss of three yards.
Safeties aren’t typically valued early in the draft, but that could change this year with both Adams and Jabrill Peppers of Michigan playing like top-10 picks. Peppers should be off the board within the first few picks, leaving teams in the top 15 to fight for Adams. Adams is a better safety prospect than Karl Joseph, who was selected 14th overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2016 NFL Draft.
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Dawuane Smoot (DE – Illinois): Against Michigan State, there wasn’t a player on either side with a better motor than Dawuane Smoot. The senior defensive end finished the game with four tackles and a sack, but it was his consistent pressure in the backfield that helped lead Illinois to the win.
Smoot was credited with 11 pressures against the Spartans. His previous high this season was six. He did get off to a slow start this year, but Smoot is starting to work his way up the 2017 NFL Draft board. His 43 tackles this season are already a career high.
It won’t get any easier for Smoot as his next two games will come against Wisconsin and Iowa, two schools known for stellar offensive line play. If he can continue to raise his level of play over that stretch, Smoot will be in the conversation for a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Sidney Jones (CB – Washington): Wide receiver John Ross helped his stock on the offensive side of the ball for the Huskies, and it was Sidney Jones improving his position on the big board on defense. The Washington cornerback picked off two Davis Webb passes and helped slow down one of the most prolific passing attacks in the country.
Jones was burned once in the game by Cal WR Chad Hansen, but more than made up for it with his play throughout the contest. His two interceptions give him nine for his career, but it’s his ability to force opposing quarterbacks to throw into tight windows that will appeal to next-level decision makers. When Webb looked to throw the ball towards Jones, the window was too small or non-existent.
This year’s cornerback class is extremely deep, so Jones could wait until the 2018 draft to declare, but he’ll still have an opportunity to be an early-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In what may be the deepest position in the draft, Jones should hear his name called by the end of round two.
Charles Harris (DE – Missouri): Last season, Charles Harris played like he was going to be the next great pass-rusher to come out of Missouri. This season, he’s struggled to duplicate his 2015 performance. In week 10 against South Carolina, he finally returned to his 2015 form.
Harris picked up two sacks in the game, one on a critical third down and the other coming on the last play of the first half. What made this an above average performance for Harris was his endurance and effort against the run.
In the fourth quarter alone, Harris was in on five tackles, including a big third-and-one in which he stuffed the run and forced the Gamecocks to kick a field goal. His stock has taken a significant hit this season, so Harris needs to carry the momentum over from this game into the final few weeks of the season.
Stock Down: Offense
Davis Webb (QB – California): Davis Webb’s performance against an elite Washington defense was going to go a long way in determining where he would wind up being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for Webb, he struggled mightily and is in store for a long wait before hearing his name called in April.
While Washington quarterback Jake Browning was busy throwing six touchdown passes, Webb was tossing interceptions. It was the second time this season the Cal QB has thrown three interceptions in a game. However this time, he didn’t add five touchdown passes like he did in his other three pick game against San Diego State. This was also the first time all year he completed less than 50 percent of his passes.
That isn’t even the worst of it. Against a secondary led by Sidney Jones and Budda Baker, Webb completed one of 11 passes on third down. That one completion ended up short of a first down. Webb is regarded as a late-round prospect who must turn things around quickly to avoid falling even further in the draft.
Deyshawn Bond (C – Cincinnati): Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel was sacked just once in three previous games before taking on BYU. Against the Cougars, he was sacked twice and hit on numerous occasions. Kiel had no chance to escape as the pressure was coming almost immediately right up the middle.
The interior of the offensive line, particularly center Deyshawn Bond played their worst game of the season. Bond was no match for the interior of the BYU defense whether it was Corbin Kaufusi or Logan Taele. Even backup Handsome Tanielu (number 92) got the best of Bond (59) as seen in the play below.
Cincinnati has three games remaining and Bond will need to regroup quickly. If he continues to struggle down the stretch, he may fall out of the 2017 NFL Draft all together.
Chad Kelly (QB – Ole Miss): Chad Kelly lands on this list, not for his play against Georgia Southern, but for the injury that will end his college career. Ole Miss confirmed Kelly tore his ACL and lateral meniscus in his right knee. There were plenty of non-football related question marks with Kelly, this just adds to an already long list.
The worst part of the injury isn’t that he’ll miss the remainder of the Ole Miss schedule, but that he won’t be healthy enough to compete at the Senior Bowl or Scouting Combine. Instead, NFL teams will have to rely on his college tape and interview skills, which aren’t Kelly’s best traits.
Kelly was going to be a day three prospect before the injury, but now it’s likely some team will take a flyer on him in the sixth or seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft at best.
Stock Down: Defense
Jarrad Davis (OLB – Florida): Jarrad Davis has played through a minor ankle injury the past couple of weeks. While he looked like his normal, productive self in week nine against Georgia, he struggled against Arkansas in week 10.
Arkansas has one of the biggest offensive lines in college football and they were able to dominate the line of scrimmage. The front seven for the Gators was overmatched, most noticeably Davis.
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It was an all around poor game for Davis as he struggled in multiple areas. He failed to wrap in the run game, he lost a receiver in his zone, he was flagged for a personal foul and he was helped off the field after suffering an injury. Overall, this is a game Davis will want to forget quickly. With LSU and Florida State still on the schedule, his 2017 NFL Draft stock will have time to recover.
Harold Landry (DE – Boston College): Harold Landry ranks third in the FBS in sacks with nine on the season. He’s a very athletic edge rusher who has been extremely consistent and productive during his time with the Eagles. That was not the case in week 10.
Landry had recorded 7.5 sacks over his previous five games, but Louisville’s Lamar Jackson was too elusive. Landry did all he could to force Jackson out of the pocket and bring him down, but he didn’t come close. The junior finished the game with just two tackles, neither of which came against Jackson.
As a junior Landry could wait until 2018 to declare, but he may receive a high enough grade to warrant entering the 2017 NFL Draft. His athletic ability will impress scouts and he could sneak into day two of the draft.