Week 3 of the college football season did not leave us disappointed as the draft eligible players showcased themselves for the NFL Draft. In this edition of Stock Up, Stock Down & Names to Watch, I will dig into the games I watched and prospects who made an impact or lagged behind. These are only taken from the games I watched for Draft Countdown, but we will discuss even more prospects on our Podcast. If you want to see where I think players are in terms of their overall stock, head over to my Rankings, and if you want more specifics, sent me a tweet @ShanePHallam
YaYa Diaby, EDGE, Louisville
Louisville’s defense gave up their share of big plays against Florida State, but Diaby was a constant in the backfield racking up 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL in the game. He flashed nice bend around the edge and violent hands up against OT Robert Scott often. Diaby hasn’t been a big name in NFL Draft circles, but that may be changing as the 270 pounder flew around the field in this game.
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Smith had a first round chance had he declared for the draft last year, but he returned to lead the Georgia defense. The box score has not shown Smith’s impact so far this season, including the South Carolina game. He set the edge against the run, forcing rushers inside. He surprisingly was dropped back in coverage at times as well and handled the Gamecock TEs well. Ultimately, Smith is still a top prospect despite the lack of statistics.
Zach Evans, RB, Mississippi
The TCU transfer continues dominating on the ground and did so against Georgia Tech with 18 rushes for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. Though he hasn’t shown his receiving chops much this season, Evans is a gamechanger athletically at the RB position. Day 2 should be within his wheelhouse.
Drew Sanders, EDGE, Arkansas
Though Arkansas struggled with Missouri State this week, Sanders was not a reason why. The Alabama transfer has been a monster pass rusher. He already has 5.5 sacks in 3 games, including 2.5 this past week. When Arkansas needed to halt the Bears offense, Sanders was let loose to wreck the backfield, and he did. Sanders could rise to become a Top 100 pick.
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (FL)
Van Dyke was a personal favorite coming into the season, but he struggled mightily against Texas A&M in the first true test of the season. Losing his top WR, the offense was going to be on Van Dyke’s back. There were plenty of bad drops and miscommunications, but it was concerning that he missed easy, wide open passes numerous times throughout the game. Van Dyke throws at one speed, hard and fast, with little touch to give his WRs the chance to catch passes. The talent is there to regain his first round consideration, but this game shows the warts that may cause TVD to go back for another year.
Robert Scott, OT, Florida State
Scott had a real up and down game against Louisville. There were some great reps in there, but as a whole, Scott didn’t look like he was a blindside blocker. Players like Diaby and Yasir Abdullah. Slower feet might be mean Scott is more Guard than Tackler at the next level. He has good strength and can get his hands inside, but being an OT in most systems may be problematic.
Zacch Pickens, DL, South Carolina
Pickens was a top recruit who has flashed pass rush ability in the past. Watching his toughest test of the season, Pickens struggled with the Georgia interior line. Pass rush was almost non-existent, and though he was able to fill gaps and make some good tackles against the run, it wasn’t a great game for him. He could still bounce back and be a Day 2 pick, but it may pay for Pickens to stay in school and keep growing.
Names To Know
Hunter Luepke, TE, North Dakota State
The FB for NDSU had a killer game against Pac-12 Arizona leading the Bison in both rushing and receiving. 18 carries for 115 yards and 2 TDs along with 3 receptions for 65 yards and a TD is one of the best performances against a P5 team I’ve seen from an FCS player. Luepke will likely be an H-Back type in the NFL, but he is building momentum to be a Top 150 pick.
Yasir Abdullah, LB, Louisville
Abdullah was all over the field against Florida State with 0.5 sack, 2 TFL and a key interception with a big return. He has good lateral mobility for his size and was top notch at reading what the Seminoles offense was doing. The read and react ability is there for Abdullah to be drafted and make an NFL team.
Jalen Rivers, OT, Miami (FL)
Rivers is far from a perfect prospect, but his pulling ability is exceptional. This was on display often against Texas A&M where Miami’s rushing game was working. Numerous times, Rivers was creating holes with smooth footwork on a pull and a sharp pop to the defense. Certain systems may love that skillset and try to develop him.
Montrae Braswell, CB, Missouri State
Braswell is the best prospect on Missouri State and he showed it against Arkansas. He was challenged early by KJ Jefferson, but was able to use his positioning for an incompletion or get a quick clean tackle on a catch. With solid size and strength, Braswell was able to cover Jadon Haselwood well for a portion of the game and flash some NFL physicality and toughness. He is a name to watch.