Week two of the college football season saw it’s fair share of great matchups. The Miami/Florida game was a statement game for a program in need of making a statement. The Hurricanes win not only helped on the field but likely helped in the homes of recruits. Miami/Florida wasn’t the only entrée on the menu with plenty of intriguing matchups that will shape the 2014 NFL Draft.
It’s important to remember that this is a stock report. Guys like Aaron Murray – who played arguably his best game in his UGA career – were on the losing side of week one, so we won’t include them in this our week two stock report. This is a culmination of two week’s performances and who’s trending north or south based on both weeks.
Za’Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky
No clue who Za’Darius Smith is? No worries, you’ll know soon. Right now he’s the nation’s sack leader and that could be the case of the remainder of the season. Smith can get after the quarterback at a high level.
The junior end was a JUCO standout and prized addition to the 2013 class. Smith’s Kentucky career has started off with a bang. He has been unblockable – albeit against lesser competition. Smith has racked up 11 tackles and 4 sacks over the two game time period.
At 6-foot-6, 256 pounds Smith possesses an ideal frame and strength to add bulk and make for the prototype 4-3 end at the next level. Smith lacks the elite explosion to be considered a top pick but his ability to affect the game, split double teams, and wrap up quarterbacks at a high rate will have NFL teams clamoring over the possibilities with this kid.
The scariest part of Smith’s debut is that he is fresh off a high ankle sprain that cost him two weeks of fall practice time. Smith will get his shot to display his skills on a national stage over the course of the next four weeks (Louisville, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama). Watch out for Smith to start a steady rise and become an underclassman to watch.
Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan
Jeremy Gallon came in with little fanfare but leaves as a household name. The undersized go-to target for Devin Gardner showed his dynamic ability after the catch, his sure hands, and is a very good blocker for his size.
Gallon has quietly put up some very solid seasons in Ann Arbor including a breakout performance against South Carolina in the bowl game. Gallon is a likely slot receiver at the next level and made himself some money on Saturday night.
La’el Collins, OT/OG, LSU
La’el Collins switch to left tackle has been a success for Les Miles over the first two games. The 6’4”, 319 pound mountain of a man made the transition to Zach Mettenberger’s blindside protector before the season and hasn’t looked back.
Collins graded out as LSU’s top lineman in a week one victory over TCU and should remain as the top OL after the Tigers racked up over 400 yards of total offense against UAB. We knew coming into the season that Collins was capable of dominating in the run game but it’s been his feet that have impressed this season. Collins has shown the ability to slide and protect the edge against speed. If Collins continues to hold up against the best of the SEC speed rushers he could be an early day one prospect – should he declare.
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
With Teddy Bridgewater pulling the trigger, it’s no coincidence that one of his receivers is on our rising watchlist. Parker has caught a TD pass in each of his last eight games. He’s started out this season where he left off in ’12.
Parker was solid in week one against Ohio as Teddy Heisman spread the ball out to his many receiving options. In week two, Parker showed his knack for the big play – in the vertical passing game. Parker caught 5 passes for 134 yards and 2 TD’s in a contest that he overmatched the Eastern Kentucky defenders. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds Parker showed his ability to outrun, out jump, and out position defenders in the first two contests. Attributes that could have him rising up draft boards as the season progresses.
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Kyle Van Noy doing Kyle Van Noy things. Van Noy quietly tallied 2.5 tackles for loss and broke up a pass in week one against Virginia but it was his week two performance that reminded us why we fell in love with him last year.
Van Noy was all over the field in the upset victory of Texas – mostly in the Texas backfield. He notched 8 tackles and a sack against Texas but that just scratches the surface of his performance in this contest. Van Noy is just so disruptive in all aspects of the game that it will be tough to keep him out of round one come May.
Johnny Football was very good against SHSU – but he should be. Tim Flanders was the star of this contest for me. Flanders has been a standout for the Bearkats since stepping foot on campus and he showed off an NFL skill set against a banged-up A&M defense.
Not much was expected of the Bearkats against TAMU but Flanders kept his squad respectable in this one. Flanders rushed for 170 yards on 19 carries and two TD’s on the ground. He also showed his game breaking ability in the pass game – as he slipped down the seam for a 33-yard TD catch. Flanders stocky build combined with big play ability will intrigue NFL personnel earlier than many expect as he could push to be one of the top senior backs in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Denzel Perryman, OLB, Miami
Someone on that Miami defense had to make our riser list and our pick is Perryman. Perryman was all over the field for the Miami defense, making big plays at the integral times. The junior linebacker has been a force in both games for the U. For the record any of about six Miami defenders could be on this list after strong performances against UF.
He racked up six tackles and two pass breakups in a week one win over FAU. He was a monster in week two – racking up 13 tackles and a forced fumble in a huge win over the in-state rival Gators. Perryman added quality weight to his smallish frame and appears to have lost no athleticism. Perryman’s ability to recover tight ends and receivers in the pass game are icing on the cake as he brings great awareness to the position.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
The three-headed monster at RB for Wisconsin is as good as they come in the NCAA. James White is very good and Corey Clement is a freshman to keep an eye on well into the future but it’s redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon that steals the show as an NFL Draft prospect.
Gordon is averaging almost 13 yards per carry with his combination of vision, patience, and long speed. Gordon is a flier with impressive patience as a runner. At 6-foot-0, 203 pounds Gordon has the look of a future NFL star runner. He’s yet to be incorporated in the pass game some big play ability in that area in 2012. Gordon could test the NFL Draft waters after this season as he looks to not get lost in the 2015 shuffle of great backs.
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
I don’t care who they played, Richardson’s numbers over the last two weeks has been ridiculous. Richardson is coming off an ACL injury but you wouldn’t know it after watching his first two performances in the ’13 season.
Richardson was on the uptick after nice freshman and sophomore seasons on abysmal CU squads. Then his entire 2012 season would be taken with a torn ACL in the final week of spring practices.
Needless to say, it’s been a pretty good rebound for Richardson in his junior season. Richardson caught 10 passes for 208 yards and 2 TD’s in week one against in-state rival Colorado State. He wouldn’t be outdone in week two – this time posting 11 catches for 209 yards and 2 TD’s in week two against Central Arkansas. The remainder of the schedule doesn’t do the Buffaloes any favors as teams will look to roll coverage to Richardson. If Richardson continues to post these types of numbers he would be wise to test the NFL Draft waters after this season.
Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
Ed Reynolds has San Jose State and David Fales number. Reynolds had his coming out party against SJSU last season and it continued Saturday night against Fales and company.
Reynolds was all over the field tallying 12 tackles (9 solo) and picked off Fales in a convincing win for the Cardinal. Reynolds has picked off 7 passes in 15 career games. It’s his nose for the ball that should have him challenging to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for the top safety spot in the 2014 class.
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State
Back-to-back impressive performances for Keeton should have him picking up steam. Keeton was very solid in week one against Utah – passing for 314 yards and 2 TD’s while throwing at a near 78% clip. Keeton showed off his ability to threaten the defense with his legs as well – rushing for 85 yards and a TD on 15 carries.
There was no letdown in week two against Air Force. Keeton was 32 of 40 for 360 yards and 5 TD’s. Keeton added 77 yards on the ground on 8 carries. The junior signal caller will be knocked for his slight frame but he’s an accurate passer with the feet that the NFL is coveting these days. Watch out for Chuckie as the season progresses…#Chuckie4Heisman.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be one of the fastest risers of the 2014 draft season. Garoppolo quietly decimated the San Diego secondary in week one to the tune of 361 yards and 3 TD’s and was equally effective this week against Southern Illinois.
Garoppolo led his team to a double OT victory over the Salukis – in a 440 yard, 4 TD performance. Jeff Matthews and Cornell has yet to take the field in 2013 but you are going to have a hard time changing my opinion that Garoppolo is the best non-FBS quarterback in the 2014 class.
Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss
Cody Prewitt caught my eye in 2012 against Georgia and has shown why in the first two games of the ’13 season. Prewitt was very good against Vanderbilt in week one as he notched 8 tackles and a pick. Prewitt continued his great start against a lesser opponent on Saturday – when he notched 9 tackles and added another interception to his ’13 resume.
At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds Prewitt brings an intriguing set of skills to the free safety position. With an ability to cover in the backend and equally adept at playing close to the line of scrimmage, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t start ascending draft boards.
Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo
Neutz was spectacular in week one against Ohio State. He was even better in week two against Baylor. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they were blown out in both contests.
At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds Neutz possesses a nice frame but lacks the top end speed that teams covet. He has 295 yards and 2 TD’s on 15 receptions to start the season. Neutz may lack the spectacular to his game but there may not be a more reliable target in the nation. His hands over the course of his career have been as good as they come and should get looks on day three of the draft.
It may not be fair to list the first two fallers – as its no fault of their own. Marqise Lee is stuck in a hapless world of playcalling and quarterbacking. While it remains a complete mystery of why Colt Lyerla isn’t being utilized to his freakish levels of athleticism. That said, when the tape comes on the difference in tight positional races may come down to production.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
It’s going to be a long year for USC, Lane Kiffin, and fans of the Trojans. The quarterback situation is lousy for Troy – which is really bad news for Marqise Lee. Lee was very obviously pressing in week one against Hawaii – knowing he had to make a big play with each opportunity.
Week two wasn’t kind to Lee as SC quarterbacks struggled through the air in a 10-7 loss to Washington State. Lee caught 7 passes for just 27 yards as Lane Kiffin is dead set on throwing 15 or more bubble screens per contest.
At this point, it’s almost criminal what and how SC is stifling this amazing talent. I’m not sure that this season ends up affecting his draft stock but it certainly isn’t helping his case to be the draft’s top receiver.
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
The most underutilized weapon over the course of the last two seasons has been Colt Lyerla. I came into the 2013 season hopeful that Lyerla would be the focal point of the Oregon offense under Mark Helfrich. It appears after two games that Lyerla will remain in the witness protection program.
Lyerla has 2 catches for 26 yards in games against Nicholls St. and Virginia. He added three rushes for 17 yards and a TD against Nicholls St. Much of the offseason was spent talking up Lyerla and his expanded role in the offense but thus far that hasn’t been the case.
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
It’s been two weeks of mediocrity for David Fales – week one probably less than mediocre. I’ve been Fales’ biggest supporter believing he could overcome the arm strength knock to become a first round QB. In all honesty, I’m questioning that assessment at this point.
It’s early but Fales’ grasp of the new system is rocky at best. He looked uncomfortable against Sacramento State – a game in which he should have dominated. I thought he was slightly better against a very good Stanford defense this week. That said, at this point Fales has played like a day two/day three QB – not a first rounder.
Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
Andrew Jackson has been a bit of a disappointment thus far in 2013. Everyone knew Jackson was going to struggle as an athlete but we thought he was going to excel as a run defender. The Tennessee run game had its way with WKU and Jackson really struggled to find the football.
Jackson’s calling card would have been as a two-down run defender but after two weeks that has come into question. If Jackson doesn’t show better instincts to find the ball he will be lucky to hear his name called on day three of the draft.