2012 NFL Draft Rising and Falling – Week 5

Posted by Brad On October – 3 – 2011
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Kendall Wright is rising with his phenomenal 2011 season

Week five of the college football seasons saw a ton of aerial displays and some solid performances from the top prospects.

I won’t list Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck, or RGIII because it’s becoming a given that they are going to be spectacular in 2011 and honestly there’s no room to rise for Luck and Richardson is reaching that point.  RGIII is the most dynamic player in the country and quickly becoming a name that is seen in the top five of mock drafts.  So for this week, here’s our list of rising and falling.

RISING

Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

Devin Taylor was expected to be the highlight of the South Carolina defensive line but he has been overshadowed all season by Ingram.  Week in and week out, Ingram comes up with big plays that change the course of the game.  The week five matchup with Auburn held serves as Ingram tallied 11 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an INT.  Ingram was once again unblockable in a tough loss to Auburn.  His spectacular play is moving him up draft boards and possibly into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

It’s easy playing WR when RGIII is your QB.  Wright is the main beneficiary of RGIII’s out-of-this-world 2011 performance.  The 5’10″ 190 pound receiver has been nothing short of spectacular himself.  In yesterday’s loss to Kansas St. he posted 9 catches for 201 yards and 3 TD’s.  The senior receiver was considered a mid to late round pick coming into this season but with performances like Saturday’s he could find his way into the 2-3 round range come next April.

Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas

Wright was the beneficiary of Tyler Wilson’s career day.  The Texas A&M defense had no answers for Wright as he posted 13 catches for 281 yards and 2 TD’s.  Texas A&M seemed lost in trying to effectively cover the slot receiver.  Wright’s crisp routes and excellent hands created a matchup nightmare for the Aggies.  He consistently beat the zone and was to quick to jam at the line causing him to run free in whatever coverage the Aggies had called.  With Greg Childs still recovering from injury, Wright has shined and could be the first of three Arkansas WR’s taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Peter Konz is quickly becoming my number one center in the 2012 NFL Draft.  The junior was dominant at the point of attack against a good Nebraska defensive line.  He consistently mauled his man and made it to the second level to wreck havoc on Nebraska.  With Michael Brewster’s inconsistency in 2011, Konz could be the first center off the board if he declares.

Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

Upshaw looked healthy for the first time all season.  He finished the game with 3.5 TFL, a sack, and an INT that he returned for a score.  The Florida offensive line had no answers for Upshaw’s relentless pass rush which led to John Brantley leaving the game due to injury.  Upshaw was sliding but if he can continue to perform as he did against UF he could make his way into the late first, early second round.

Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

If Wilson were 6’2″ or 6’3″ we would be talking about him being a first round pick.  The reality is that he’s 5’11″ (generous) with an excellent skill set. He has mastered the Wisconsin offense in no time and may lead them to a shot at the National Championship.  Wilson was 14-20 for 255 yards and 2 TD’s against the vaunted Nebraska defense.  He also added a running TD in his signature performance thus far in 2011.  Wilson has to be one of the front runners for the Heisman and NFL teams will have to take a second look with the way he’s playing.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

The junior TE is solidifying his status as the number one tight end in the 2012 class.  Virginia Tech shut down Sammy Watkins but couldn’t find the answer for the big TE.  He finished the game with 4 catches for 75 yards and a TD.  That gives him 18 catches for 291 yards and 4 TD’s in five games. Allen could be the only first round TE in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame

The junior RB has been impressive in 2011 and may be making a case for early entrance into the 2012 NFL Draft.  He shredded the Purdue defense on his way to 191 yards and a TD on 20 carries.  That’s his third 100 yard rushing performance in five games.  Wood is showing the burst and vision that will make scouts take a look in the 2-3 round range come next April.

A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

Jenkins was considered a late round prospect coming into the 2011 season.  He is quickly becoming a name to look out for in April.  The 6’1″ senior WR dominated Northwestern on his way to 268 yards and 3 TD’s on 12 catches.  Jenkins has a solid body and enough speed to keep defenses honest which should intrigue NFL scouts.

Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Branch has really looked good the last several weeks.  I have been impressed with his agility and explosion which has led to disruption in the opponents backfield.  Branch overshadowed rising star Brandon Thompson in the win versus Virginia Tech with 11 tackles, 5 TFL, and 3 sacks. Branch doesn’t possess the prototypical size for a 4-3 DE but I think he can add some bulk and play the position in the NFL.  Branch’s solid play in 2011 may lead to spot in the 2nd round.

Ray Graham, RB, Pitt

Pitt is developing a nice pipeline to the NFL with RB talent.  LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis were the latest but Graham has potential to be the best of the three.  The junior RB destroyed South Florida on his way to 226 yards and 2 TD’s.  Graham has 734 yards rushing and 8 rushing TD’s through five games.  He has surpassed the 200-yard mark twice already and has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  Graham’s combination of speed, vision, power, and pass catching are sure to intrigue scouts come next April, if he declares.

FALLING

Kirk Cousins slipping (far) with his poor 2011 season

Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St.

As ugly as Ohio State’s offense was, Cousins was equally ugly.  He has been prone to costly turnovers and shown poor anticipation and timing with his receivers.  That would be expected from a first time starter but Cousins has worked with these guys for two and a half seasons.  Cousins looks tends to force the ball into tight windows that his arm does not allow for.  He had two INT’s yesterday which included one at the end of the game that needed to be 10 rows into the Horseshoe.  Cousins stock is falling quickly with an inconsistent 2011 season.  He will be out of the top 100 for the first time all season and I don’t see him being able to make his way back in.  He’s a 4-5 round prospect at this point.

Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Crick was coming off a missed game due to injury but he did not impress…at all.  He was dominated at the point of attack and pushed into the lap of the second level.  Crick didn’t appear to have the strength to matchup with a very good Wisconsin offensive line.  He is most likely a five-technique at the next level but I can’t see a team risking a first round pick on Crick.

Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M

More concerning than his lack of separation was his lack of effort at times in a pivotal, close ball game.  Fuller’s statline did not reflect his poor play. He finished with 9 catches for 82 yards but failed to impress at all.  His lack of effort led to an intercepted ball and he was unable to shake the Arkansas secondary all day.  Fuller was a guy I liked coming into the 2011 season but he has done nothing that would make me think he’s better than a day two prospect.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

I know, I’m picking on Dre but he just isn’t great in coverage.  He was beat several times by UF receivers including a deep TD and one that should have been a TD. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and a very good tackler but I can’t see him matching up with NFL speed.  He struggled with Andre Debose for much of the night.  I like the leadership he shows in the secondary but I’m left wondering whether he’s not an NFL FS?

 

 

 

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