Rallies were everywhere in football over the weekend especially for some big names on the 2014 NFL draft watch. Which players took it up a notch and which ones continue to sink downward?
Marqise Lee – WR – USC – Stock: Neutral
The #1 rated receiver at the start of the 2013 season struggled to find his groove in the USC offense. For a moment it as feared he was merely a product of quarterback Matt Barkley and fellow receiver Robert Woods. Thankfully he rescued his draft stock from plunging any further thanks to a huge 80-yard bomb for a touchdown against Boston College that kick started a USC route. He only caught one more pass for ten yards but by then his job was finished. The Trojans got back on track and seem more settled on offense. Hopefully Lee can continue to find his niche in the offense to bring his stock back up.
Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M – Stock: Up
The reason for that is he’s going to have company at the top very soon. After spending the first couple weeks in relative anonymity, Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans exploded onto the national scene with an absurd seven catches for 279 yards against a supposedly strong Alabama defense. The reason his stock is not only up but skyrocketing is because Evans is catching passes from Manziel, sure, but he’s also 6’5″ with the speed to break a 95-yard touchdown like he did against the Tide. NFL teams drool over such measurable talent. A&M will only go as far as their defense can, but it’s clear barring injury that Evans has a very bright future.
Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio State – Stock: Down
The Ohio State corner with loads of expectations from scouts who see his potential hasn’t lived up to them so far. Through two games he has no interceptions and struggled through a game in which leading Cal receiver Chris Harper caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. The Golden Bears scored 34 points on the Buckeyes defense. The game was still a rout thanks to 52 points by the offense but it doesn’t offer much help to Roby who has to start shutting opponents down if he wants top NFL draft consideration next May.
Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA – Stock: Up
One would think another week without a sack would drop the draft stock for UCLA standout linebacker Anthony Barr but it was thanks to his play in week two that the Bruins pulled off an emotional comeback victory. In addition to making 11 tackles on the day, Barr forced an impressive three fumbles that helped fuel a 41-point outburst by the offense. Scouts are still waiting for his impact in the pass rush but this kind of all around effort is something defensive coordinators look for in the pros.
Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M – Stock: Neutral
His stock would’ve gone up for posting 42 points against Alabama but two factors have kept Johnny Manziel where he is in the stock report. First and foremost is he lost the football game. Most of it wasn’t his fault considering how poorly the Texas A&M defense played. However, he did throw two critical interceptions, one of them in the end zone that completely swung the momentum to the Crimson Tide, who rolled off 35-straight points. Manziel got too cute on the play and speaks to the feeling that at time he is too arrogant for his own good. The talent is obviously there, but there’s still a question of whether he can play under control.
A.J. McCarron – QB – Alabam – Stock: Up
Widely considered a polar opposite of Manziel, A.J. McCarron walked into the showdown with A&M having many question not his ability to win but his ability in general. Many consider him a glorified game manager and after a lukewarm opener against Virginia Tech, a bad showing against the Aggies might’ve killed the momentum his draft stock had built after the national championship. McCarron responded with 334 yards passing with four touchdown in a mistake-free performance that ultimately was the reason Alabama prevailed in the shootout. The team figures to lean on him moving forward. Given the strength of his offensive line and growing confidence, it’s hard not seeing him jump into the top 15 of the NFL draft at least.
Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina – Stock: Down
He has two sacks over his the last two games, so it’s clear Jadeveon Clowney is coming around after a slow start against North Carolina. The reason his stock took a significant hit is because word has spread he will have to get surgery on bone spurs in his foot. It’s an ailment that has dogged him in high school and has become particularly painful this year. Teams are always wary of draft prospects who require surgery during the off-season. Considering how imperative the feet are to a defensive end, this is a big deal for Clowney and could have a lasting impact on his drive for the top overall pick.