By now you know the drill. Another week, another mock here at the Draft Network. This week, my colleague Trevor Sikkema was on mock draft duty, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. His mock draft was actually the first mock of this cycle that utilizes the live draft order rather than the Super Bowl odds, and some of his team/player fits are really great.
The evaluation process is one that is ongoing, and things will remain fluid from now until actual draft day in April. With another weekend of college football set to kick off, prospects will have every opportunity to show their talents and improve their draft stock. Below are five players that have the opportunity to help themselves this weekend and move up from where Sikkema had them going in his latest mock draft.
Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
Mocked at #33 to New York Jets
Sikkema has the physically-gifted Nittany Lion being selected as the first pick in the second round. While that is pretty high for such a raw and inexperienced player, I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if Jayson Oweh hears his name called much earlier come April. Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, Oweh has the size and length teams covet at the defensive end position. Additionally, Oweh is blessed with a freakish blend of quickness and flexibility that makes him such a natural pass-rusher. The thing with Oweh is that he is still raw with his technique and was just a part-time rotational player last year. In his first game of the season, Oweh made his presence felt as a rusher and was routinely in the backfield. Oweh has a monster test this weekend versus the Ohio State Buckeyes, and if he plays well in this contest, he will move up the big board in a big way.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Mocked at #56 to Buffalo Bills
Perhaps no prospect has done more to help himself this season than Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Slated to go in the middle of Round 2 of Sikkema’s mock draft, Owusu-Koramoah projects as a prototypical WILL linebacker in today’s game, where playing in space is so important. Having lined up at safety in the past for the Golden Domers, Owusu-Koramoah offers the versatility, coverage and movement skills teams covet at the linebacker position. I’d like to see him be a little more firm when taking on blocks, and bigger backs have been able to break his tackles. Adding play strength will be key as he continues the transition to playing full time at linebacker.
Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Mocked at #66 to New York Giants
One of my favorite players in this year’s class, Nick Bolton slides down to the third round in the latest mock draft. I love Bolton’s game. He is a physical, downhill linebacker who plays with tremendous energy and has very good instincts and short area quickness. Bolton is a tackling machine for the Tigers and is the lightning rod for their defense. Bolton can stand to show that he has the fluidity to play in space and is more than just a downhill thumper. If Bolton can continue to play well this season in both the run but more importantly the passing game, then I think he will be able to move up into Round 2, and perhaps even higher.
Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
Mocked at #76 to Carolina Panthers
LSU, in my opinion, has a very strong case to be called “DBU” and Kary Vincent Jr. will be the next LSU DB to hear his name called in the NFL draft. Vincent is an athletic corner with really quick feet and fluid hips to mirror in man coverage. He has good ball skills and plays with the swagger you like to see from a defensive back.
For Vincent to move up from his current third-round position, he needs to show he can match up on the outside with bigger and more physical receivers. He has quite the opportunity this weekend. Vincent will be tasked with guarding Auburn’s stud receiver Seth Williams, and Williams is the exact type of receiver evaluators will want to see Vincent handle. I’m excited to see how Vincent handles this matchup.
Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State
Mocked at #100 to Los Angeles Rams
The Big Ten made their triumphant return last week and there were many players who had strong games in their season debuts. One such player is Ohio State’s Pete Werner, who was everywhere for the Buckeyes, finishing with a team-high seven tackles. Werner showed good strength and instincts in the run game and was always around the ball.
For Werner to move up the big board, he needs to be able to show he is a good enough athlete to be able to run and cover NFL-type athletes. He has an excellent opportunity to show that this weekend versus Penn State and their All-American tight end Pat Freiermuth. Werner is a player I fully expect to move up as the year progresses and I believe that starts this weekend.