Stock up, stock down

September 19th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

Last week we published a ‘mock draft’. Although it wasn’t really a mock, not this early in the process. It was more an attempt to identify potential first round picks we can monitor during the college season. I won’t be starting the usual Wednesday mocks until later in the season, but that doesn’t stop us looking at who helped or hurt their stock in week three.

Stock up

Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)

He was the best player on the field in the Alabama vs Arkansas game. Warmack’s run blocking sparked Eddie Lacy for three rushing touchdowns, including a key goal-line push where he pulled to the right and took out two defenders. We already knew he was a great run blocker, but it was the athleticism, footwork and pass protection skills that really boosted his stock this week. He can do it all, and that boosts the range where he could go in the draft. Warmack looked like the complete package and if he keeps up this form, he’s going to be a high pick next April. He could be a top-fifteen pick, which is rare for an offensive guard. I’ve not see a left guard that’s looked as good as Warmack in college.

Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)

After recording another 1.5 sacks against Wake Forest, Werner has taken his total to 6.5 in three games. He’s lost weight this year and it’s improved his speed rush – he looks dynamic off the edge and took a wide angle on the solo sack to round the tackle and close on the quarterback. In all honesty he didn’t need to lose the weight, but it seems to be having an impact on his production. He’s already well on his way to 10-15 sacks and he’ll take a lot of good tape into the draft. When he enters the league he’ll probably add the weight again and act as a more orthodox defensive end. You can see all of his snaps vs Wake Forest in the video above.

Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)

This has nothing to do with the computer-game numbers Smith has posted so far (he has the same number of touchdown passes – nine – as he has incompletions). He has much tougher games on the horizon that’ll be a greater test of his progress. ┬áThe reason Smith’s stock is rising, is purely down to the performances of other quarterbacks. Matt Barkley had his worst game in a long time against Stanford, Tyler Wilson didn’t feature against Alabama because of a concussion and Logan Thomas had three interceptions in a bad defeat to Pittsburgh. If Smith keeps putting up big numbers, and if other quarterbacks continue to struggle, needy teams are going to look at this guy very closely.

Manti Te’o (LB, Notre Dame)

An all-round, brilliant middle linebacker. Intangibles off the chart, he’s going to go very early next April if he tests well at the combine. Luke Kuechly really boosted his stock by pairing athleticism with intangibles, and that’s going to be a key test for Te’o too. If he can show above average athletic qualities at the combine, he’s going to go in the top-15. He’s not a tackling machine like Kuechly, but he makes impact plays – not just multiple tackles 5-10 yards downfield. He played against Michigan State just days after the death of his grandmother and girlfriend – and somehow held himself together. He’s a guy you want on your team and 32 clubs will probably feel that way next year.

Stock down

Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech)

He’s received a lot of criticism, some of it unfair. Just because he hasn’t lived up to some people’s expectations, it seems a lot of people are getting on the negativity bandwagon. I don’t think that’s particularly fair, not for a guy who’s only actually played 1.3 seasons as a starting quarterback. Thomas will probably return to Virginia Tech for his senior year unless things change for the better. I see that as the most likely scenario right now so while his stock is down in a big way at the moment, he’s a good enough talent to hit back. He might not be able to do that before the 2013 draft, but he has time on his side. There aren’t many QB’s with his physical potential.

Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)

It’s kind of a weird situation for Hunter. He’s still working hard to get back to 100% after suffering a very serious knee injury last year. He’s been through a lot of pain, a lot of time in the gym and a lot of moments where he probably questioned whether he could get back to his best. It’s a credit to Justin Hunter that he’s on the field to start the 2012 season and making plays. However, the emergence of Cordarrelle Patterson is drawing attention away from the guy most people expected to be Tennessee’s top draft prospect this year. And with Patterson playing so well, it’s hard not to compare the two. Especially with Hunter having two bad drops against Florida.

Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)

It was bad enough that Wilson missed the game he’s been waiting all year for, but watching Arkansas get blown away by Alabama must’ve hurt. Even so, you don’t throw your teammates under the bus after the game – accusing them of quitting in a press conference. If he gets healthy and leads the team back from a dark place, people may look back and say there were some positives to a ‘home truths’ interview. But until that happens, he just looks like an over-emotional quarterback who needs to let his coaches coach the team. Health worries are also obvious given he missed a key game with a concussion and has suffered some injury issues in the past.

Matt Barkley (QB, USC)

Harsh to put him on this list? I think it’s maybe a little harsh. Barkley suffered against Stanford because his offensive line couldn’t cope. He had barely any time to set and throw, the pressure was relentless. The thing is, until Khaled Holmes can get back and other members of the offensive line step up, there might be more games like this. And although it won’t be Barkley’s fault alone, some teams may over analyse his senior year – something we’ve seen many times with quarterbacks who chose not to return to the college ranks. It’s worth pointing out that as bad as USC’s line was last weekend, Barkley wasn’t faultless. He’s still on track to be the #1 pick next year, but he has to hope the Stanford experience isn’t repeated too many times this season.

10 Responses to “Stock up, stock down”

  1. Mtjhoyas says:

    Rob, what are your thoughts on William Gholston?

    He’s really intriguing to me due to his size and athleticism. I love Red Bryant and don’t want to replace him per se, but I can’t help but think what a more athletic big body in that 5 Tech spot would do to our pass rush on earlier downs, without sacrificing too much in the run game. Are there any other guys who may fit that idea?

    Good stuff dude…kinda sad to see this with Barkley. I feel like the criticism is over the top lately with him. People seem awfully quick to throw his last season out the window.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I like Gholston and he has a role, but I think it’ll be as a more orthodox DE. The Seahawks are plugged into Red now – he signed a pretty big extension. And he is probably the most important part of the defense – schematically and also for the attitude/leadership. I can’t see the team reviewing that position unless it’s a relief role – I think they’re more likely to go interior and upgrade alongside Mebane. There are some good interior DT’s – Kawann Short is one to watch for that position. Sylvester Williams is another.

  2. Those Jay Cutler comps we heard for Tyler Wilson earlier this year are beginning to sound prophetic.

    • dave crockett says:

      I’d heard that the Wilson comments were blown a bit out of proportion. He said something about effort relative to the score that didn’t strike me as out of sorts. I have no great love for Wilson, but that struck me as a classic example of some reporter makes something out of nothing to meet deadline, and then it gets hung around the player’s neck.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I saw the interview and don’t agree with that assessment – he did say some of the team ‘quit’ and he had tears in his eye’s. It was over emotional.

  3. Kevin Sylliaasen says:

    Werner looks crazy fast off the edge with the weight he lost. Looked like he almost had about 5 sacks that game. Definitely a first-rounder.

  4. JC says:

    Rob, have you caught any BYU games? I hear LB Kyle Van Noy’s name being called all the time and wondered if you had any opinions.

  5. JC says:

    Rob, have you caught any BYU games? I hear LB Kyle Van Noy’s name being called all the time and wondered if you had any opinions.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I have their game against Boise on the schedule this week so I’ll take a look.

      • JC says:

        Please tell me if there’s a future in the NFL for Mike Atkinson. A six foot tall, 300 lbs nose tackle with the name de guerre Canadian Bacon (he’s from Ontario) MUST play on Sundays.