This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose, afantasy football blog.
The 2014 NFL Draft is just over a week away, leaving NFL scouts and GM’s scurrying to figure out their final rankings and draft boards. However, it might be a lot more difficult than it seems outwardly, as all kinds of draft buzz has player stock shifting all over the place.
Whether it’s actual player news leaking out to affect their stock, draft day trade rumors or rumored team interest, no mock draft seems to be safe at the moment.
To at least get an idea of who has the most fluctuating stock in this year’s draft, let’s break down the top five risers and fallers:
Top 5 Risers
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Savage didn’t face great competition in college and has major questions when it comes to pocket presence and accuracy, but his stock might be as hot as anyone’s. Savage has soared up to the second round at a minimum at this point, while some think he could even force a team to trade into the back end of round one. Savage has good athleticism to go with terrific size and a cannon for an arm. Someone will fall in love with him and make him a high second round pick.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Lewan was considered an elite offensive tackle when he should have declared a year ago, but he stayed in school and now is seeing his stock heat up even more. Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews had long been considered 1A and 1B at left tackle in this draft, but Lewan’s stock has heated up so much that he appears to have leap-frogged Matthews. He could be a legit threat to be taken in the top-10.
Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Ward’s stock is heating up, as there were initially just two safeties scouts liked in the first round (Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix). Now Ward is even being mocked ahead of either of those two players. Ward’s compact frame, elite athleticism and physicality have sky-rocketed him into first round discussion. Size concerns could still limit his stock come May 8th, but he’s a name to watch for anyone looking for safety help. If he slides back into his more appropriate round two, he’ll be a reasonable steal.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Fuller is another defensive back on the rise due to his size and physical presence. A good tackler and hard hitter, Fuller is in a sense a linebacker playing cornerback. He’s an interesting prospect that appears to be catching fire, so don’t be shocked to see him be taken over more well known options like Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby.
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Long considered a top-20 lock, Donald is starting to heat up as a prospect with the potential to crack the top-15. The New York Giants are one team picking in the top-15 that need help on the inside of their defensive line, while Donald’s burst and ability in pursuit are very enticing. He is undersized and has shorter than ideal arms, though, so it’s still possible he doesn’t see a major spike on draft day.
Top 5 Fallers
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Bridgewater has gone from a locked in #1 pick to a guy some people don’t even like. A lot of it has to do with a slight frame, while many point to a shaky Pro Day during the offseason. In addition, Bridgewater didn’t face a ton of elite competition in college and some feel he doesn’t jump off the tape like a franchise quarterback should. He still is a very safe passing prospect and appears to have all the tools to be a long-term answer at quarterback for someone. However, there might be too many question marks to keep him from free falling out of round one.
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Roby had the size and speed to kill at corner at the next level. Unfortunately, he has had off field issues and had an up and down 2013 season at Ohio State. He appeared to be ascending back into the bottom of round one before another off field issue popped up recently. Teams love his package of athleticism and skill-set, but he has some red flags. He could slip into round two, where he’d bring tremendous value.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
Mosley’s potential free fall is going to be more than the flow of the draft and the need for an elite inside linebacker than anything else. There are definitely some teams early on that could pull the trigger on an inside ‘backer, with the Vikings, Titans and Giants all in need of linebacker help. However, inside linebackers just aren’t valued all that high when it comes to the first round of the draft. Mosley has the athleticism, experience, leadership and instincts to be a stud in either a 3-4 or 4-3 system, but necessity and the value of other players could cause him to dip. He could fall as far as the 20’s, where teams like the Packers and Eagles likely wouldn’t let him fall much further.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Once considered a lock for the first round, Benjamin could find himself sliding on May 8th, possibly even as far as the early second round. The big bodied receiver initially had solid and even rising draft stock due to amazing size and speed, but he has since dipped due to concerns with conditioning and drops. Add in the fact that he was regarded as a raw project to begin with, and some teams might be souring on Benjamin. Still, receiver is a big need in this draft, so it’s certainly no lock that he falls all the way out of round one. Teams like the Eagles, Chiefs, Jets and Panthers all should remain highly interested.
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Nix III was originally a lock for the first round due to his excellent size, strength and ability in pursuit. However, his stock has dipped considerably due to concerns about his focus, weight and versatility. Some scouts complain that he can’t keep his weight at the right level, while he also may be a pure nose tackle in a 3-4 system. If that’s the case, Nix could slide past anyone not running a 3-4 defense. And if there are 3-4 defense teams that don’t need help up front, it hurts his value even more. He has the ability to be a major force at the next level, but it shouldn’t be all that shocking if we find him in the second round.