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. Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh
An outstanding freshman season for Ollison gave way to two massively disappointing campaigns over the past two years, but 2018 has been a different story so far. Ollison ran over Penn State earlier this season, and just put up 24 carries for 192 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse on Saturday. Running with what looks like a renewed purpose this season, Ollison packs a punch as a runner at 6-2, 225 pounds. He’ll find a role in the NFL in a power running scheme.
2. Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
This kid is flying up my board, and one look at his tape makes it easy to see why. Not only does Smith check the athletic boxes that you want him to, but he also makes contested catches at a pretty incredible rate, going up over several defenders for tough grabs against Utah.
Smith is putting up massive numbers this season, adding to his totals with eight catches for 120 yards on Saturday. He’s already caught 27 balls for 382 yards in 2018, emerging as a go-to option for quarterback K.J. Costello. If Smith declares, I’d expect him to be one of the top tight ends off the board.
3. Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
Boykin has jumped off the screen at me the past few weeks, showing excellent technique and attention to detail against press coverage. He had one particularly nasty stretch release that resulted in a touchdown after he created massive separation for a slant pattern in the second half against Virginia Tech. I don’t know that Boykin is gonna drop jaws with athletic testing, but he’s a polished sleeper in an already loaded class.
4. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Three sacks against Auburn brings Sweat’s season total to eight already, but that total doesn’t do his overall performance justice. The man won almost every rep, dismantling Auburn redshirt freshman Calvin Ashley off the snap with an excellent first step and long strides up the arc.
Sweat isn’t the most bendable rusher, but he uses his hands well to win the edge and gets his lower half turned to the pocket to create a favorable angle. He’s on pace to notch his second straight season of double-digit sacks this year.
5. Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas
LJH can ball! A massive slot receiver whose name does not reflect his actual measurables, Humphrey made a ton of impressive grabs in Texas’ big win over Oklahoma, finishing with nine catches for 133 yards and a score. Humphrey also threw two passes for ten yards, including a two-yard scoring toss to Collin Johnson to open the Longhorns’ scoring.
I don’t know that Humphrey declares for the draft in January given how good Texas could be next year and how deep the 2019 wide receiver class is, but he’s certainly got some intriguing traits when that time does come for him.
1. Tyree St. Louis, OT, Miami
St. Louis was supposed to solidify his draft stock in the early round range this season, but instead a move to left tackle doesn’t appear to have helped him. Florida State’s Brian Burns gave him a rough ride, whipping St. Louis for one strip-sack and consistently harassing the tackle around the edge. St. Louis has the measurables teams will want, but he may be better on the right side, and his footwork will still have to improve.
2. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
19-of-38 for 214 yards and zero scores, and the actual performance was as bad as the numbers. Stidham missed wide open receivers down the field, wilted under pressure and looked lost when his first read was covered. This is who he is, and we need to stop waiting for him to become a quarterback he won’t be, and start talking about whether he’s even a day two prospect.
3. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Lock wasn’t all bad, but his final numbers of 17-of-36 for 204 yards and two picks with zero passing touchdowns were pretty indicative of his performance. Remember, he was playing the second half in a monsoon, so cut him some slack for that. But still, the accuracy, decision-making and ability to handle pressure were sorely lacking, even in the first half when the conditions weren’t an issue.
I’m just not sure Lock can ever reach a place of consistency in his process that makes me a fan of him as a preferable NFL starting quarterback.
4. Will Grier, QB, WVU
Grier’s numbers look fine – until you get to his four turnovers, including a couple costly red zone interceptions. That’s the bottom line with Grier, can the terrific throws out-weight the poor decisions that often come in bunches? Carelessness won’t fly with NFL GMs, and Grier, for all the growth he’s shown, still doesn’t take care of the football like he should. He’s had a bunch of dropped picks in other games this season, and Saturday it caught up with him. It’s a problem.
5. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Brown wasn’t terrible, but this was a huge test for him against one of the best interior offensive lines he’ll face this season, and he was a non-factor. Elgton Jenkins neutralized him often in the run game, and Deion Calhoun handled him pretty cleanly in pass protection, keeping Brown from recording a pressure in the game. This interior defensive line class is loaded, and while Brown has improved, I’m still not sure he’s good enough to warrant some of the hype he’s been getting.