This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2016 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2016 NFL Draft Stock Up
Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
It took some digging, but I surveyed five different teams to find out where Kelly was being graded. One playoff team had him as a late second-, early third-round pick. Two other teams said they had him as a second-round pick, while two others said they had him as a late first-, early second-round pick. Every team said that Kelly is just a really solid football player. He isn't the same level of athlete as the Pouncey brothers or Cam Erving in 2015 though. Still, Kelly is smart, tough, reliable and athletic enough to be successful. He could go on Thursday night, but he shouldn't last long on Friday night.
Sean Davis, DB, Maryland
In the pre-draft workouts, Davis has been a star. He turned in an excellent combine and has continued that by showing off his combination of size and speed. Sources say that the workouts have been good enough to push Davis into second-day consideration, and now, they project him to go in the Rounds 3-5 range. What is hurting Davis is that he has some bad tape from last season, but as one scout told us, "this is the time of year where people get wrapped up in the workouts and sometimes forget about the tape." Davis apparently is benefiting from that.
Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State
One player who I've had too low in my mock draft is Johnson. I thought he had an excellent junior season, but he didn't stand out at the Senior Bowl and combine. However in speaking with sources, they have Johnson as a second-round pick. They like his strength, speed and versatility. He could play five- or-zero technique in a 3-4 defense. Johnson has a good shot of being a top-60 pick later this month.
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
In speaking with a team picking in the back half of the 2016 NFL Draft and in the market for a quarterback, they have a second-round grade on Hackenberg and have him in play for their second-round pick. They feel that Hackenberg has good tools to develop and is salvageable after two rough years at Penn State. Many assumed that Hackenberg's shot of being a second-round pick sunk when the Texans signed Brock Osweiler, but there are other teams that like Hackenberg, so he still could find himself being a top-60 pick.
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, West Virginia
A player who has gone under the radar in terms of media coverage but jas admirers with teams is Kwiatkoski. They like his instincts and ability to contribute to pass coverage. As a senior, Kwiatkoski recorded 86 tackles with 10 for a loss, three sacks, seven passes batted, three interceptions and a forced fumble. Some teams that are looking at adding some inside linebacker competition are thinking of taking Kwiatkoski in the mid-rounds. He could go higher than expected.
Tavon Young, CB, Temple
Young has worked out well for teams this offseason, and they feel that he is a really good slot corner to prevent separation. The big problem for Young (5-9, 180) is his lack of height and weight, but he had two good seasons to conclude his collegiate career. Sources say he could go late in the fifth round, and he has helped himself in the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft.
2016 NFL Draft Stock Down
Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
In speaking with teams, Booker is the consensus third-rated back from a talent perspective for the 2016 NFL Draft. Teams feel that Booker has the physical talent to do it all as a runner, receiver and blocker. They like his strength, quickness, and ability to get yards after contact. However, football I.Q. is a concern as teams are worried about Booker's ability to master their playbook. Those issues could cause him to have a reduced role early on, especially in terms of quarterback protection. Teams feel that Booker is an early second-round talent, but he might go lower than that because of these concerns.
A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Teams like Robinson's skill set and feel he has a ton of athletic upside. However, teams aren't really getting excited about him. One of the reasons for that is he hasn't interviewed all that well, which has caused some teams to questions his love of football. They feel the lack of dedication could also explain why Robinson was inconsistent in college. He has the talent of a top-10 pick, but he could easily slide into the back half of the first round because of these question marks.
Rees Odhiambo, OL, Boise State
Sources say that Odhiambo had poor results from his combine medical. As a result, he is more likely to be selected on the third day of the 2016 NFL Draft. The reasons for the medical concerns are lower leg issues that have teams concerned. With heavy offensive linemen, lower leg issues can be especially problematic for projecting a lengthy NFL career. Odhiambo could use some good news to come out of medical re-checks.
Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
In speaking with sources from a playoff team over a weekend, they said they had a sixth-round grade on Nassib. However, they expect him to go on the second day of the draft. They like him but don't feel he has the speed and athleticism to translate in the NFL. They feel that Nassib is a 1-year wonder with a lot of production off second efforts. Some teams feel that effort plays are harder to project for the NFL because pro quarterbacks are quicker at getting passes out compared to college signal-callers. Nassib could end up going lower than expected.
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