Here is a look at 25 players who have helped their 2015 NFL Draft stock the most during practice this week. This list isn’t entirely based on what a player’s overall stock is, but rather on how they helped themselves this week.
-Heading into this season Shaw looked like an easy top 75 pick and possibly could have jumped into the first round with a strong year. After a bizarre situation where he injured his ankle and lied about it, his draft stock was murky at best. Shaw needed a strong week to prove that NFL teams should take a chance on him and that is exactly what he delivered. Shaw has good size and speed, and was excellent in pressing guys off the line. His fluidity isn’t great, but as a bigger corner it doesn’t need to be. Shaw wasn’t so stiff that you would consider it a problem. Overall he had a really strong week and he really boosted his draft stock with this performance.
Gardner played a little receiver at Michigan, but most of his career was spent as a quarterback so his jump to the NFL as a receiver was going to be filled with question marks. After a rough first practice it looked as though it was going to be a rough road for Gardner, but he improved every day and at the end looked like he belonged with the receivers. Gardner has 6’4″ height and really good speed. His hands and route running were inconsistent, but by the end of the week they were solid. He did okay getting separation and made an all-around positive impression on scouts. Considering the questions he had to start the week, Gardner had one of the better performances in terms of boosting draft stock.
At 6’6″ 242 Waller looks more like a TE than a receiver (and that might be his long term position), but he didn’t look lost running routes versus corners. He showed a good ability to separate and despite playing at Georgia Tech his route running was better than one would think. He’s still an extremely raw prospect, but his size and leaping ability is so intriguing. He may end up putting on a few more lbs and converting to a joker tight end role, but he showed he is draftable for teams who only see him as a receiver as well.
-Miller is a physical, powerful guard with good athleticism. He had a good strong week of practice, and rarely got beat in drills. He shows a good anchor and is a tough run blocker who rides defenders out of the play. He did a nice job in full team drills getting to the second level as well.
-Hickey is playing tackle this week, but may be best as a guard at the next level. Wherever he ends up he brings a good skill set to the table. He’s got excellent feet and a real good first punch. He could probably get stronger, but he’s not undersized or weak by any means. Hickey overall had a good week and brings nice versatility.
-Mager was probably the best natural cover corner down here this week as he rarely got beat and when he did he quickly made up any lost ground. He contested (and defended) a number of catches and gave the East receivers a tough match-up all week. He’s smooth in coverage and has good size. I would like to see him be a bit better in press, but overall it was a strong week.
-McBride came in with the hype of the best receiver of the bunch and he did little to disappoint. There were a few drops that he would probably like to have back, but overall he had a real nice week. He does a good job setting up defenders and creating separation on his routes. He’s got good speed and came down with a number of 50/50 balls. With his route running ability he should do well on intermediate routes at the next level.
-Williams battled an injury filled year so this was a big week for him and he didn’t disappoint, showing well all week running routes and catching the football. Williams checked off all the boxes as a receiver with solid size, good speed, really nice route running ability, good catch radius, and good concentration to catch contested balls. He was consistently getting separation and was probably the toughest guy to cover on the West squad.
Taylor is 6’5″ and shows good ability to use that size to his advantage, presenting a nice jump ball threat for quarterbacks. He is a crisp route runner and doesn’t have any wasted steps getting in and out of his break. He’s a natural catcher and displayed very good hands, plucking the ball away from a defender time and again. He doesn’t have elite speed and despite his size he’s not physical releasing off the line. Still he had a strong week and opened some eyese down here.
Etienne has good size, speed and ball skills and typically found himself around the ball all week. He’s an exciting prospect to watch given his skill set and at worst should be a core special teamer at the next level.
-Marlowe is a smaller school guy, but he looks the part at 6’2″ 206. He shows good range and physicality that teams are looking for. While he played FS and probably has the range for it, Marlowe did struggle some matching up with receivers and would at times guess their next move. He’s got some nice potential but he needs to be refined.
-Swann is an aggressive corner from Georgia, who checks off a lot of boxes. He has good size, solid speed. His back pedal and ability to flip his hips were both good during practice. He’s willing to press and does a nice job, and is aggressive in going for the ball (but not too aggressive where he would be a penalty machine). He also displays good ball skills and will make a QB pay for a poor pass. The one thing with Swann that holds him back (outside of elite speed) is consistency. He would have 2-3 really good reps and then blow a coverage. Still there are a lot of tools to work with here and NFL coaches should be able to get the most out of his skill set.
-Walton displayed a great combination of power and quickness and looks the part of a good interior disruptor at the next level. He’s a bit of a raw player and he’ll probably need to be a situational guy early in his career, but there is some nice potential there.
-Chickillo profiles best as a base end in a 4-3, and measured in at a solid 6’3″, 271. He had a strong week winning a number of battles with both strength and speed. He also showed good instincts in finding the ball in team drills. All-in-all it was a good week for the MIami product and should push him up in the draft.
-Za’Darius Smith is arguably one of the best prospects of either team and overall he had a good week, but I knocked him down slightly on this list because he wasn’t consistent enough. Smith clearly looks the part at 6’5″, 265 and he displays a good burst and nice power, all of which will likely make him one of the first Shrine Gamers’ to be drafted. The one drawback though is he didn’t show his skill set off on a consistent basis.
-Glowinski played a little tackle, but his main position at WVU and at the next level figures to be guard. He has nice size and moves okay, but what separates himself from the rest of the pack is his ability to anchor. In 1-on-1 pass rush drills the defender typically has the advantage, but time and again Glowinski stonewalled whichever defender he went against. Not only did he stop any initial penetration, but he eliminated any counter-moves as well. Glowinski is strong at the point of attack and should intrigue NFL teams as a third day option.
-Darrian Miller shows nice length and athleticism at tackle and could probably stay there at the next level. He has been lining up at LT, but probably will move to the right side at the next level (he could be a swing tackle as well). He does a nice job staying with speed rushers to the edge and keeping the pocket clean. Power moves knock him back slightly, but he did a nice job recovering and maintaining the block. He does need to work on his consistency in run blocking, but overall he had a strong week.
-Kilgo has nice size and shows good strength in pushing the offensive back and getting in the back-field. He’s pretty quick off the ball and can get into an offensive lineman before he has a chance to anchor down. One area of concern with Kilgo is he doesn’t have a strong counter if the offensive lineman recovers and can anchor himself.
-Fabuluje checked in at 6’6″ 359 and looks the part of a big physical tackle who can absolutely maul defenders. Despite his size he showed decent athleticism for his size and has since gotten the Senior Bowl call-up (meaning he likely won’t play in tomorrow’s game). While from a physical stand point Fabuluje looks the part of a stud RT, he has some negatives as well. He’s slow off the snap which allows quick edge rushers to get by him before he’s out of his stance. His footwork is sloppy and his technique is pretty raw. He relies on his natural power, and hasn’t been refined yet. Still he should garner some late round consideration from a team who feels that they can wait a year or two for him to develop.
-Finney was probably the best center on either team and showed up well in both individual and team blocking drills. Center is never a deep position in the draft, and those who show any promise at the position will lock themselves into a draft spot. Finney did well for himself down here, handling a number of solid defensive tackles and showed good awareness in picking up stunts and blitzes.
-Crockett is a small school guy, but he showed that he could play with anyone as he had a really nice week of practice. He shows nice quickness and long speed and pretty good hands in receiving drills. It’s a deep running back class, but Crockett looks like a good solid day 3 pick-up for a team looking for a team looking for a solid running back prospect.
-If you are looking for a leader on defense or just your team in general, Carter is your guy. He was a vocal leader who would call out where players should be and what to watch for. He would give encouragement to his fellow defensive backs and would try to help them in between reps. This is the type of leadership that NFL teams are going to take notice of and want in the lockerroom/meeting room as well as on the field. Carter profiles as an in the box safety who shows good blitz ability and nice ball skills. He will have some coverage issues, but even if you are concerned somewhat with his ability to start down the line, he can be valuable back-up/special teamer.
-It was a weak linebacker group on both squads with only a couple guys showing up in a positive way. Jones looked the best of any of the linebackers and showed up well in both coverage and run defense. He could maybe be an inside backer in a 3-4 defense, but probably fits best as a strong side backer in a 4-3. Jones has the size and physicality to take on blocks and the athleticism to be at least solid in coverage. Instincts are what really separates Jones though and what could get him a staring job quickly at the next level.
-Raciti played defensive tackle in college, but he probably profiles best as 5 tech DE in a 3-4 or a base end in a 4-3. He showed good ability to get penetration and pressure in the backfield in both 1-on-1 drills and scrimmage drills. He also didn’t get pushed back much which means even when he loses he won’t be blown out of the play. He could work on being a little quicker to get off the snap, but overall he had a strong week showing a nice mixture of tools and technique.
-I had a tough time picking just 25 and I really couldn’t make a case why both of these players shouldn’t be on the list. Hill is an interesting case as he highly productive 2 years ago, but then suffered a major injury. He came back this past year, but was used in more of a TE role. He’s not the fastest receiver down here, but he has nice size and does a good job locating the football. He doesn’t create the most separation, but there is a lot to like here and he could be a very intriguing 3rd day pick.
If you want speed and deep ball ability Davis is your guy, he is so quick off the line that he was blowing past defenders in drills. He looks to have great long speed and it won’t be surprising to see him test in 4.4 range. Davis isn’t just a speed guy though as he showed really nice tracking ability and leaping ability to get jump balls. He has all the tools to be at the very least a deep threat receiver at the next level. He’s not the most physical receiver and at times he takes too many steps releasing off the line to try to confuse the defender, but those are areas he can improve upon.