As college football comes to an end for another year, the NFL draft looms large. January 15th is the deadline for college prospects to declare for the draft. Then we are just a few weeks away from the All-Star game cycle. While there certainly is lots that can change with the current draft picture let's take a look at who is rising and falling up draft boards recently
Ennis Rakestraw Jr. CB, Missouri
The 6'00 185lbs corner has risen up draft boards recently, some experts in the field such as Matt Miller view him as a 1st round pick. Rakestraw is a sticky press man corner that has inside/outside versatility at the next level. His footwork is crisp and allows him to stay stride for stride against receivers in man coverage. His frame is smaller which can show at times against bigger pass catchers and in run support as well. However, his football IQ and ability in man coverage could have him on several teams boards in round 1.
Brian Thomas Jr. WR, LSU
With the deep talent at the receiver class this year it feels like Thomas went somewhat overlooked during most of the season. With names like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze it's easy to see why. Thomas however, has recently been identified as a top receiver for 2024. The two traits that stand out the most for Thomas are size and speed. At 6'4" 205lbs Thomas has deep game-breaking speed that makes him a threat to score on any part of the field. He was highly productive despite having an elite target playing alongside him. There's some growth needed as a route runner but that size and speed go a long way for NFL scouts.
Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama
Edge depth in the 2024 class is lacking in top talents which opens the door for the rise of Braswell. It's odd to say that about an Alabama pass rusher, but Braswell has been mostly overlooked this season. A former five-star recruit he's a different style of edge we've come accustomed to from the crimson and white. Braswell has nice short area quickness but wins mainly with power and motor. He lacks length and lateral agility to make him a top edge prospect. He's a high-floor rusher that would be a great compliment to any pass rush.
Leonard Taylor III, IDL, Miami
After a 3 sack and 10.5 tackle for a loss season in 2022, Taylor was expected to take the next step as a dominant interior presence. Another former five-star, Taylor at times can look like a top 10 pick. He has violent hands, a strong 305lbs frame and can penetrate gaps. However, there's way too much inconsistency in his game to consider him a 1st round pick like many thought. He's struggled against higher levels of competition and just hasn't generated the production you'd like to see from a prospect like him.
Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
It felt like every weekend we were getting a Keon Coleman highlight reel catch and now that seems to have faded. Obviously, the loss of his starting quarterback Jordan Travis played a part in his cumulative numbers but it was more than just counting numbers with Coleman. Yes, he has some great plays but he's been surprisingly disappointing in contested catch situations. There are also some real concerns with lack of separation with him that might limit his ceiling. The combine will certainly be a key step in the process for him. Coleman is very talented but he might not be the 1st round lock he seemed in October.
Kalen King, CB, Penn State
At one time, King was considered in contention for the top corner in the 2024 class. However, after tough matchup against Marvin Harrison Jr. (who can blame him), his stock has seemed to fall. That combined with the rise of other corners such as: Quinyon Mitchell, Nate Wiggins and Terrion Arnold, King has fallen a bit behind. With a slightly smaller frame and lack of dominant athletic traits King will likely be waiting to hear his name till day 2 of the NFL draft.