Monday morning series to get your week started off right! Each week 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. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Jachai Polite, Josh Allen and others have received a lot of the attention this season, but Burns has quietly been building a monster resume for his draft profile. Two sacks against Wake Forest were pivotal in spurring Florida State on to a massive victory, as Burns continued to show speed, bend and counters on his way to the quarterback. The ridiculous tear he is currently on should have him skyrocketing up boards.
#Noles EDGE Brian Burns last 12 games: 44 tackles, 21 TFL, 13 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) October 21, 2018
2. Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan
First, Winovich had three hurries and one tackle-for-loss, while constantly forcing Brian Lewerke to accelerate his decision-making in the pocket. He was a monster against the run as well, consistently turning runs back inside and doing his job at a high level with excellent technique.
Second, Winovich talked trash in the nicest tone of voice of all time after the game, then went on Twitter and dragged holier-than-thou Michigan State media that had the audacity to tell him to grow up in tweets. I love this man.
3. Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State
Minshew has put up predictably great numbers in Mike Leach’s offense, and Saturday was no different as he threw for 323 yards and four scores in the Cougars big upset of the Oregon Ducks. Minshew made some mistakes (two interceptions) and forced the ball into coverage at times as well, but I was impressed with his touch and accuracy on vertical balls.
I have never seen a snap of Minshew before this weekend, so I have no idea if he’s draftable or not (I know Ben thinks he could be). But in a quarterback class that looks worse every week, a performance like this can’t hurt.
4. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Joe Marino wrote about Hall last week, then watched the Virginia corner go out and put the defense on his back, breaking up three passes and intercepting another. Hall has now broken up 14 passes this season and picked off a pair of passes, showing exceptional ball skills to go with his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame.
This cornerback class isn’t great, and Hall looks like he could be one of the hidden gems of the group. If he can check the athletic boxes at the Combine, the big corner could see his stock rise quickly.
5. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Albert O broke out of his unproductive slump to start the season by grabbing six passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns against a hapless Memphis defense. Yes, all three of Ok’s long touchdowns came due to blown coverages, but he did a terrific job tracking the ball in the air and showed off some wheels in the open field.
This is a loaded tight end class, so Ok will need all the production he can muster to stand out, especially if he doesn’t test like some of the more athletic prospects in the class will at the Combine. Ball skills and technique will need to be his calling cards.
1. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
I wrote about Little on Saturday, as he was consistently beaten on his edge in pass protection and really struggled with syncing up his hands and feet. His punch just doesn’t have anything on it, which allows opponents to dictate their will on him with good hand usage and technique.
Little is probably going to declare for the draft in January, and his raw traits suggest he’ll be a high pick. There are Germain Ifedi-like tendencies in his game however, so hopefully he is more teachable than the Seahawks offensive lineman.
2. Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
Going 5-25 for 66 yards and zero touchdowns in your biggest test of the season isn’t exactly a way to endear yourself to NFL scouts. I think we can put to bed the idea that Lewerke will declare for the NFL Draft this season, as he not only hasn’t taken any of the necessary steps to become pro-ready, but he’s actually gotten worse. You can remove Lewerke from your board if he was on there, and hope he becomes all that he could be in 2019.
3. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins’ mechanics, poise under pressure and ball placement to the short-to-intermediate parts of the field left a lot to be desired on Saturday, although Ohio State’s disappointing loss can hardly be traced to his performance. Nevertheless. Haskins has had accuracy and mental processing issues in both of the Buckeyes’ big games this season, which is concerning.
I think Haskins can eventually be a very good quarterback prospect, but I think performances like this will keep him in school another year, which is a wise decision. His tool set is great, but he understandably needs a ton of polish.
4. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Virginia’s defense has been tough this year, but Jones is going to face a lot stiffer tests in the NFL. If he’s going to live up to the billing of a quarterback that deserves first round consideration, he’ll have to do better than he fared on Saturday, throwing two picks and completing just over 50 percent of his passes in a 14-point Blue Devils loss.
Jones hasn’t looked great since returning from a broken collarbone, and it’s fair to wonder if he’s fully healthy, or if playing right now is actually helping his stock.
5. Ben Banogu, EDGE, TCU
Big 12 pass rushers don’t get many legit tests to prove themselves on tape due to the weak level of competition on the offensive line in the conference, as well as a lot of the offensive schemes they work against, so facing Oklahoma was an important performance for Banogu’s draft stock.
Oklahoma has two legit NFL prospects at offensive tackle, and Banogu couldn’t beat either of them. He’s looked stiff and sluggish most of the year, struggling to win the edge with speed or flexibility. TCU has been forced to run games up front to get him free, as Banogu just doesn’t win 1v1 enough to project as a high-end prospect on my board.