NEW Monday morning series to get your week started off right! Each Monday I’ll be taking a look at five prospects who elevated their stock with a fine performance during the past weekend’s games, and five who struggled through disappointing showings on Saturday.
1. Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech
Our Brad Kelly tried to get the conversation started about Wesley with his piece last week, but if you weren’t aware of the wide receiver going into this weekend, you should be now. Wesley made a couple fantastic adjustment grabs in tight coverage against WVU, finishing with eight grabs for 110 yards and a touchdown. Just a junior, Wesley’s production this season at 6-5, 200 pounds could cause him to start thinking about declaring early, even in a loaded wide receiver class.
2. Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
The best way to describe Allen’s effort is superhuman. 8 tackles, 4 tackles-for-loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups and a forced fumble was the final stat line for Allen, who bodied the Temple offensive line all game long. His build looks more like an interior player, but although he’s not a great athlete, Allen still shows the ability to rip under contact and run the arc as an edge rusher. He’s an extremely intriguing prospect who is already getting first round buzz.
3. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
It’s time to start talking about this kid as a possible high draft pick in April. First brought to my attention by one of the best follows on Twitter in Ben Fennell, Polite has burst, flexibility and the ability to turn a tight angle to the pocket with violent hands at the top of the arc. His two sacks helped lead the way to a huge Florida victory against Mississippi State.
4. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Yes, I think Williams’ job was aided by the fact that D.K. Metcalf only runs a handful of routes and Jordan Ta’amu was off on a few throws, but the LSU corner shouldn’t be blamed for any of that. Williams was absolutely lockdown in coverage, staying on top of everything vertical and coming up for sure stops on the short stuff. He’s got all the tools to be a coveted corner in the NFL.
5. Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame
Four sacks in one game? Sheesh. Tillery has been a player with lots of promise and little production until this season, where he’s been lights out against the likes of Michigan and Stanford. Six sacks in five games has put Tillery on the NFL Draft radar as a potential early round pick, as his combination of athleticism, length and flexibility are pretty rare for the position. He’s arguably one of the biggest risers of the season.
1. Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
At least two drops low-lighted Edwards’ day, as he just hasn’t made the tough catches and explosive post-catch plays that he did a year ago. Granted, Jake Bentley is tanking the draft stock of everyone on that offense, but a year ago Edwards made a ton of highlight plays and consistently bailed his quarterback out. That just hasn’t been the case this year.
2. Jake Bentley, QB, South Carolina
I’ve been harsh on Bentley, but what are the positives here? He’s inaccurate to all levels of the fields, his internal clock is far too slow in the pocket and he consistently makes poor decision with the football. Bentley has now thrown six interceptions to seven touchdowns this season, bringing his career totals to 22 picks and 34 TDs. Not exactly the type of numbers you’re looking for if you want to head to the draft early.
3. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins has now been on both sides of this list, for his stellar performances early in the season, and now because he was largely underwhelming against Penn State. His confidence throwing downfield looked shaken early, largely due to the consistent pressure he faced in the first half.
We wondered how he would look from a muddy pocket, and it was clear he wasn’t used to navigating bodies and stepping into throws despite not having the space he typically does. This was the biggest test to date for Haskins, and while he wasn’t horrible, this was not a performance that suggested the young passer should declare early.
4. Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
Just last week Sanders was on the other part of this list, but a dismal 16 carries for 43 yards highlighted the junior’s inability to create much when things are bottled up. He’s a good inside-of-structure runner who can break some tackles at the second level, but I’m not sure the athletic tools are there to get super excited.
Sanders also had a massive fumble near the end of the first half that led to an Ohio State touchdown, changing the entire complexion of the game.
5. Ole Miss Wide Receivers
Pick your poison, because D.K. Metcalf, DaMarkus Lodge and A.J. Brown all found a way to disappoint in their big matchup against LSU. It wasn’t that they couldn’t get open, as much as it was they didn’t finish. All of them dropped at least one pass, and some of Metcalf’s routes were sloppier than normal.
Brown made a couple plays late, but he was the guy Ole Miss really need to take off from the slot, and he struggled to create much after the catch, which is normally his forte. Not the best night for a trio destined for success in the NFL.