20 prospects who have boosted their 2018 NFL Draft stock
It may be difficult to believe, but the 2017 college football season is nearing bowl season, and that means 2018 NFL Draft projections are heating up.
Entering the season, expectations were put into place for certain players, but as they usually do, they’ve essentially been blown out of the water based on what’s happened on the field. In some cases, that’s been good news for players. In other cases, the opposite is true.
Here’s a look at 20 prospects who have boosted their 2018 NFL Draft stock with impressive season-long performances to date (in no specific order):
20. Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami
Considered undraftable by many entering the 2017 season, Braxton Berrios has established himself as a big-game player who makes things happen in big moments. There are obvious issues with his size (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) and speed (4.50 projected 40), but it’s impossible to ignore his heart and play-making ability. Initially a hopeful undrafted free agent projection, Berrios now seems poised to go on Day 2 of the draft.
19. Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Watts may be considered a bit undersized, but there’s no downplaying the film he’s put together. And while his smaller frame will hurt him when it comes draft time, scouts will be excited by his ball-hawking ability. He still needs to shore up his tackling and put on a good show at the combine, but should he do that, Watts will see his stock continue to ascend. Watts has been getting it done all season for the Aggies and has four interceptions along with eight tackles for a loss.
18. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
When your team plays well, potential prospects all benefit. That’s been the case for many on the Notre Dame roster, including Equanimeous St. Brown, who hasn’t exactly put up electrifying numbers this season. Despite the lacking production in 2017 compared to his 961-yard, 9-touchdown effort in 2016, St. Brown has seen increased attention because of his route running ability. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, St. Brown also has the size scouts love in a wide receiver. The belief is that he can excel with better quarterback play at the next level, and his stock has increased as a result.
17. Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
Cedrick Wilson may very well be the nation’s most underrated wide receiver despite a big season in 2016 and an additionally strong season here in 2017. Wilson chose to return to Boise State this season, feeling he needed an extra year of preparation for the NFL, which speaks to his maturity. But even beyond that, Wilson’s 6-foot-3, 188-pound frame and production should be enough to warrant some legitimate attention. A potential third-round pick, Wilson could truly pick up steam with good numbers at the combine.
16. LJ Scott, RB, Michigan State
With a plethora of talented running backs across the nation and some personal legal issues of late, it’s easy to overlook LJ Scott, who will leave early to enter the NFL Draft. But both of those things aside, Scott had a solid season in 2016 despite Michigan State’s down year and rebounded from a slow start this season. He’s re-entered the fray and could continue to propel himself up draft boards with a strong finish to the season.
15. Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
How about a small school player who has shot up some draft boards? It’s easy to overlook some of the MAC’s top talent with so many other big names from big schools out there, but the 6-foot-6, 331-pound Okorafor has been steadily increasing his draft stock for a couple of years. With another solid season under his belt, Okorafor could position himself in the first round if he tests well at the combine.
14. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
Entering the season, Josh Adams was hardly a blip on the radar for most draft experts and was essentially a deep dive in early mock drafts. Fast forward to now and Adams is not only in legitimate contention for the Heisman Trophy, but has established himself as a valuable draft target. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Adams has good size to go along with good speed and could be a bell-cow back in the NFL. He may not be a first-round lock, but he’s getting pretty close.
13. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Left tackle Mike McGlinchey gets most of the draft attention on the Fighting Irish’s offensive line, but guard Quenton Nelson has most certainly opened some eyes. And while interior linemen are not often considered the cream of the crop in the NFL Draft, Nelson has warranted some legitimate discussion as a potential top-10 draft pick. He is considered by many to be the most elite player at his position entering the draft, and he may even be better than some already starting at the NFL level.
12. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Ronnie Harrison has been on the draft map for a few years, but scouts have been eagerly awaiting him taking his talent to the next level. So far in 2017, he’s done exactly that, displaying freakish athleticism and physical skill for the Crimson Tide. He’s proven himself both against the run and the pass, but still needs to shore up his tackling. He’s thrust himself into the second-round range with a chance to jump into the first round with a strong finish to the season and good numbers at the combine.
11. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Denzel Ward was buried in a star-studded Buckeyes secondary a season ago, but with three of those players jetting off to the NFL, he was left in a sink-or-swim situation. Ultimately, the stage did not prove too big for Ward, who has rapidly climbed the cornerback rankings and firmly established himself as a first-round talent who sports good size, athleticism and football IQ.
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