Over the course of the summer, hours of film was watched in hopes of setting a base for possible NFL Draft prospects’ final season and hoping to get an idea of how and where that player will project to the NFL. Naturally, players progressed and regressed from what people projected them to be which adjusts their stock. Here are the biggest risers and fallers over the course of the 2013 college season.
Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State): Over the course of the summer, I saw some pretty troubling issues with Carr’s pocket presence and thought that his inability to stand in and fire down would not make him an starting NFL prospect despite his physical gifts. After a full recovery from an abdominal injury, Carr’s pocket presence greatly improved. He has been moving around the pocket very well this year and taking advantage of his high level ability. His laser arm, build, athletic ability and field smarts is going to be sought after come draft day and he is arguably a top five pick.
Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State): After spending a year in the shadow of teammate Markus Wheaton, Cooks exploded to be one of the top receivers in the country. He shows off phenomenal speed, ball tracking and an ability to attack the ball like someone six inches taller and fifteen pounds heavier. After looking like a third rounder during pre season he has boosted himself to be one of the best receivers in a very deep receiver class.
Eric Ebron (TE, UNC): Despite his incredible size and speed combination, Ebron’s constant drops really made me question his ability as a true tight end. This season he has been playing lights out football. His hands have improved dramatically and he has made quite a few incredible catches in traffic. He still has a few drops, but the improvement is encouraging. Ebron is a freak and someone who is 6’4” and 245 pounds should not move the way he does. He will be a matchup nightmare in the NFL and a possible top fifteen pick.
Billy Turner (OL, NDSU): Turner was not a widely known name in preseason do to playing at an FCS program. Turner has showed up when put on the big stage and caused me to dig into his tape playing for the Bison. Turner is an incredible athlete who moves very well and has destructive strength. He absolutely dominates defenses and he can move down the field as a run blocker like a cruise missile. He has the athletic ability to be an NFL tackle, but his strength makes him a great guard prospect. Either way, I expect him to be a phenomenal NFL player.
Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo): During the preseason, I had Mack pegged for the frst round based off of his well rounded ability as a pass rusher, cover man and run defender from the outside linebacker position. Little did I know what he would do this year. He has exploded as one of the best defenders in the country and has pushed himself to top ten discussion for the draft. He is a great athlete who flies all over the filed and can literally do it all. Teams will drool over him.
Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State): Roby was widely considered a top ten talent in the pre-season. His athletic ability, physicality and range made him look like one of the best cornerback prospects in a while. However, his awareness has seemingly fallen of this year and more than a few times has he given up long receptions and big plays. The ability is still there, but teams may question where he is mentally on the field.
Colt Lyerla (TE, Oregon): Going off of pure talent, one could make a strong case for Lyerla being the best tight end in the draft. However, his extreme character concerns will push him far down, if not off team’s draft boards. He was dismissed from the Ducks early in the season and was later arrested for unlawful possession of cocaine. A team is going to be very sure of his growing up or willing to take a risk on such a talent if he gets drafted.
Marquise Lee (WR, USC): The talented receiver was thought by many as the best wide out in the draft heading into the season. However, a host of injuries combined with a case of the drops have pushed Lee down the rankings in favor of more reliable targets. Lee is still one of the best in the class after the catch, but he will need to work on securing the ball before he can be viewed as a high level receiver prospect.
Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson): There are a lot of things to like a bout Boyd; He’s a good athlete, he has a nice arm and he is a hard worker. Those are all great, but he has just failed to progress very much this year. He has questionable pocket presence and will often have mechanical breakdowns under pressure. Not only that, but the fact that his offense basically uses him as a short yardage back puts mileage on his tires that is very worrying. Boyd is talented, but he is not going to start off the bat and will need some time to sit and learn before he should be taking starting snaps.
Anthony Barr (OLB, UCLA): Strong, big, fast, and productive are all words that is going to make the media’s mouth water at a prospect. Barr has a great amount of speed and used that his first collegiate year as a defender to get to the quarterback, which he did quite well. Barr’s raw ability leads people to excuse his shortcomings but I feel like he has legitimate physical limitations. He has very little bend which limits his edge rushing ability. Also, he lacks field IQ and is often looking lost while playing. People are deeming him the best defensive prospect in the class and I don’t think he is even a 1st round prospect.
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