5 Players Who Can Raise Their NFL Draft Stock With Strong Finish

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

By Brentley Weissman

We are making our way to the home stretch of the 2020 college football season, and with the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, we are going to be lucky to make it through the National Championship game. Nonetheless, now is the time to be thankful, and I for one am extremely thankful for the college football games we have gotten so far and the ones we will get in this last month of the season. 

While the college football season may be winding down, draft season is just about to start. We at The Draft Network have been working hard all year watching and evaluating these 2021 prospects and we are excited to continue on to the next phase of the evaluation process. My colleague Drae Harris unveiled his Mock Draft 3.0 this past week, and he did an outstanding job showcasing a three-round mock full of exciting young players. With just a few games left before we move on to the All-Star season and NFL Scouting Combine part of the evaluation, I wanted to take some time to spotlight a few players who didn’t crack Harris' Mock Draft, but could do so with a strong close to their season.  

Haskell Garrett, IDL, Ohio State

The senior defensive lineman has been a force for this Buckeye defense. Haskell Garrett came into the year with little hype after just being a rotational player in 2019. He actually experienced a scary moment this past summer when he was shot in the face, but has thankfully made a full recovery. Garrett has good size for a 3-tech, and plays with great first step quickness. He has been disruptive all year for the Buckeyes and has seen his stock soar this year. If Garrett continues his play throughout this season and into the playoffs, he can raise his stock to hear his name called within the top 100.

Tony Fields, OLB, West Virginia

One of the best linebackers in the country that no one talks about, West Virginia’s Tony Fields has been a stud all season long. Fields came over this offseason after transferring from the University of Arizona due to uncertainty around COVID-19. Fields is a rangy, instinctive outside linebacker who offers tremendous athletic ability to play in space. He currently leads the team in tackles with 79, 25 more than any other Mountaineer. Fields is listed at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds—a bit undersized for an NFL WILL linebacker—but he has shown this year that he can thrive despite his size because he is such a good athlete and his instincts take him to the football. Fields recently accepted an invite to the 2021 Senior Bowl where he will get the chance to prove his skill set amongst the country’s best.

Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

This safety class is one of the most intriguing positions in the draft. There are about six players at the position that could make a strong case to be the first one off the board. In Harris' mock draft he has six safeties going in the top three rounds, but USC’s Talanoa Hufanga wasn’t one of them. One of the most tough and physical players in all of college football, Hufanaga is a tone-setter who looks to bring punishment. Hufanga is playing at an extremely high level this season, already recording two interceptions in the three games the Trojans have played so far. Hufanga is a player who I can see raising his stock with continued success this season.

Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA

UCLA’s Demetric Felton is one of the most electrifying players in all of college football, and is somehow one of the most underrated. A receiver by trade, Felton has successfully made the transition to being a full-time running back for the Bruins. Felton has outstanding breakaway speed, rudeness and lateral agility to stress defenses whenever he has the football. The issue with Felton as it pertains to him being a running back in the NFL is undoubtedly his size. Listed at just 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, the question is if Felton will be able to hold up taking handoffs in the NFL. The good thing for Felton is the league now prioritizes putting players in space and allowing them to take advantage of their skill set. Felton is going to be a dynamic player in the NFL and all it will take is a smart head coach to figure out the best way to get the ball in his hands. I would be stunned to see Felton fall out of the top three rounds.

Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama

The interior offensive line class this year is an extremely deep group. One player who I love that I am surprised isn’t getting more attention nationally is Alabama center Landon Dickerson. Dickerson has been outstanding for the Crimson Tide this season, and always looks to set the tone with his physical play. A former offensive tackle at Florida State, Dickerson has the athletic ability and length to play guard as well. This mix of ability and versatility should have Dickerson in the running to hear his name being called within the first three rounds. Additionally, Dickerson is another player who has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, and with a strong week in Mobile, I could see his stock jump.