NFL Draft Stock Report: Pumphery the Forgotten Man in Heisman Race
Week 10 of the college football season has arrived, and here are a few players who have seen their 2017 NFL Draft stock on the rise and a pair who have seen it drop.
Stock Up: Donnel Pumphery, RB, San Diego State
Donnel Pumphery could be the best small-school prospect in this year’s draft. He leads college football with nearly 1600 rushing yards and is second among running backs with 13 touchdowns.
Just as people did with Carson Wentz in last years NFL Draft, Pumphrey will be discounted because the competition level he played against. Wentz has proven that competition level does not matter in college football and translating to the NFL; if you have the talent and mindset, you can succeed in the NFL.
Last week Pumphrey rushed for over 200 yards for the fourth time the season, and followed that up with 112 against Hawai’i. However, he failed to record a touchdown in both games. Pumphrey has shown talent, and the ability to make special plays. Teams will be looking at Pumphrey between the third and fifth round, knowing he has the chance to be an impact starter in the NFL from day one.
NFL teams such as the Giants, Vikings, Colts, and Eagles will be looking for a running back. If they wish to address other positions earlier Pumphrey is the perfect late day option. His is stock is on the rise and will only get better when he faces other top prospects during the draft process.
Stock Down: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
For the second straight season Leonard Fournette was stifled by Alabama’s defense. Coming off a game where he had over 300 yards of offense against Ole Miss, Fournette was held to a season-low 35 yards. Last season, he managed only 31 yards against the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s defense will be the closest thing Fournette will see to an NFL defense while he is at LSU. Seeing his lack of production once again in a shutout loss at home will worry NFL teams.
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In all fairness to Fournette, Alabama has done this to many prospective running back prospects. Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd picked up only 28 yards and averaged 2.2 yards per carry earlier this season. Clemson’s Wayne Gallman was held to 45 yards in the National Championship game last year.
The only exception has been Nick Chubb, who ran for 146 yards on 20 carries last year for Georgia.
We have never seen a team in college football like Alabama. However, it should still concern us that the “best” running back in the country has just 66 yards in two games against them. Unfortunately, we most likely won’t see Dalvin Cook, Saquon Barkley, or Christian McCaffery face off against Nick Saban.
What we have seen is Fournette being stuffed for a second straight year, whether it’s Jonathan Allen, Reggie Ragland, A’Shawn Robinson, or Tim Williams. Fournette’s lack of production should scare a team willing to spend a first round pick on a running back.
Stock Up: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Takkarist McKinley has been a dominant pass rusher for the Bruins over the last four games. In his last three games. McKinley has recorded six sacks, three forced fumbles, and three pass deflections.
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In the eight games he’s played this year, McKinley has at-least one sack in six games. Simply put, the senior lineman is doing it all for UCLA.
Rated as a four-star recruit out of high school by the majority of the major high school scouts. He started his collegiate career at Contra Costa Junior College, where he was one of their best players on defense. McKinley joined UCLA in 2014, appearing in 10 games and making just one start.
Last season he got his shot as a full-time starter and did not disappoint. He had 35 tackles in 10 games with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles playing alongside Kenny Clark.
As the leader of the Bruins defensive line this season, McKinley has made a name for himself and is rising towards the first round in many mock drafts and big boards.
While he still has a long ways to go to be an effective NFL pass rusher, the raw skills are there to be molded.
Stock Down: Desmond King, CB, Iowa
Last seasons Jim Thorpe award winner Desmond King struggled to contain #12 Penn State’s offense on Saturday. On Penn State’s opening drive, King was caught looking across the field rather than the receiver he was lined up against. Saeed Blacknall burned King for a 19-yard touchdown in the back of the endzone as a result of King’s mistake.
King’s height (5’10) challenged him all night against the Nittany Lions, who scored 41 points in prime time. Receivers such as Chris Godwin, who is about five inches taller, were able to take advantage of King’s shortcomings on 50/50 balls down the field.
With only one interception this year, teams are weary of King’s future as an NFL cornerback. Had he left for the NFL last season after recording eight picks, he would have been a first round pick.
Now teams are seeing less production thanks to his frame, lack of closing speed, and average ability to play in man coverage. He will be much better suited in a defense that relies more on zone coverage than straight man to man.
Keep an eye on King in the early second round in this upcoming NFL Draft. It will take a certain kind of team, perhaps one not desperate for a corner and taking the best player available. If he can be slowly worked in and mentored, the Hawkeye has a chance to succeed at the next level.