This section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2018 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2018 NFL Draft Stock Up
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
Rankin has gotten some mixed reviews as a player, with some team sources saying they think a lack of strength is a real problem and that they project him well into third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Other teams are really high on Rankin and think he has starting left tackle potential quickly in his NFL career. They feel that Rankin is a good athlete and love his makeup. Rankin has drawn rave reviews for his character and work ethic. They feel that his diligent nature will lead to him fixing the strength issue and turning himself into a good pro. Rankin could rise in the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft due to likely impressing evaluators and coaches in the team interviews. Some teams in the market for offensive tackle help think Rankin stands a good chance of going in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein spoke with an NFC scout who believes Jones could be safer than the top consensus offensive tackle in the 2018 NFL Draft, Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey. In speaking to team sources, Jones is very much a love/hate prospect. Some teams saw him as being a solid second-day player who is a balanced blocker. Others hate Jones and grade him late into Day 3. Jones benefits from a weak class of offensive tackles, so he could easily end up going on Friday night during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Terrell Edmunds goes under the radar because his brother Tremaine is a top prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, but in speaking to scouts, they've been raving about Terrell for months. In this last week before the combine, in speaking with sources at multiple teams, they all liked Terrell Edmunds a lot as a player and told me that I was correct in keeping him in the second round of my mock 2018 NFL Draft. None of the team sources brought up a medical red-flag on Terrell Edmunds despite a shoulder injury ending his season early. Edmunds is a favorite in the scouting community and looks safe as a second-day pick.
Jesse Bates, S, Wake Forest
Bates is another safety who has generated some positive feedback, but not to the same extent as Terrell Edmunds. Multiple team sources say that they see Bates as a potential late second- or early third-day selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Sources think that Bates is intelligent and like his ability to captain a secondary. For the NFL, sources say Bates could use more strength and weight on his frame to help him tackle. He could rise with strong performances in the pre-draft workouts.
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Penny is a second-day prospect who has fans in the scouting community. Sources say that Penny is a super-talented running back. He is a smooth runner who has speed to go with his thick 5-foot-10, 224-pound build. Teams also like what Penny offers a team in the passing game and as a returner on special teams. Penny ran well as a senior, using his size to roll over a lot of weak opponents. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry for 2,248 yards with 23 touchdowns, plus made 19 receptions for 135 yards and two scores on the year. As a junior, Penny averaged 7.4 yards per carry for 1,005 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Penny has some limitations in the mental aspect of the game, and that was a big contributor in him not having a great week at the Senior Bowl. Still, with his skill set and production, he could end up being a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colorado
Lindsay is a sleeper prospect for Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft who has helped himself since the end of the season, including a good week of practice at the East-West Shrine. He showed nice quickness and cutting ability in St. Petersburg.
In 2017, Lindsay averaged 4.9 yards per carry for 1,474 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also had 23 receptions for 257 yards and a score. As a junior, Lindsay averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 1,252 yards with 16 touchdowns. He caught 53 passes that season for 493 yards and a score. Lindsay could continue to rise with a strong combine performance.
Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii
Henderson is another off-the-radar prospect who had a quality week at the Senior Bowl. The senior totaled one interception, three passes broken up and 55 tackles in 2017. He put together an impressive junior year with 90 tackles, two sacks, seven passes broken up, 10.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions. If Henderson (6-0, 204) works out well at the combine, he could continue to rise.
Tray Matthews, S, Auburn
Similar to Henderson, Matthews helped himself in Mobile with a good week of practices. Matthews was a solid defender for Auburn and has a skill set to work with for the NFL. The 6-foot, 209-pounder was very physical showing speed and strength to be a forceful hitter. He covers a lot of ground and packs a real punch in the tackle box. Matthews fits well as a strong safety for the NFL.
2018 NFL Draft Stock Down
Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
During the fall, WalterFootball.com was the first draft site to discuss Harrison as a legit NFL prospect. Area scouts from multiple teams had told us that Harrison was very impressive with his skill set and had the physical potential to become a starter in the NFL. However, Harrison comes with off-the-field issues, and those were the catalyst for leading him to go to West Georgia from Texas. In speaking with team sources recently, they say the off-the-field issues are very worrisome and are causing their teams to downgrade Harrison. They said he is a candidate to get removed from their board completely because of character concerns. Harrison is in dire need of good interviews leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
As we reported in the Hot Press
, there have been some mock drafts that had Goedert going in the first round and rated him the top tight end in the draft class. However after speaking to sources at a handful of teams, none of them had Goedert graded in Round 1. The highest grade among those five teams was a second-rounder. Two teams had him graded in the third round, and two teams had a high fourth-round grade on him. A few of the team sources also mentioned that there were injury concerns with Goedert and his combine medical exam was going to be important. If his medical profile isn't too alarming, Goedert appears likely to be a second-day pick in a weak year at the tight end position with plenty of teams across the league hoping to add young talent at the position. However, Goedert isn't held in as high of esteem as some in the media have projected.
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