Week 5 of the college football season had some great play 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
Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
Perhaps the most outstanding performance of any player this past week was Phillips. A highly touted player coming into the season, he showed his potential against Oregon State with THREE interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He was absolute lockdown all game on top of just the interceptions. Though Phillips is on the smaller side, he gets physical at the line and did not give an inch. Smooth movements and great reaction speed/ball skills have put him in the first round discussion.
Nick Broeker, G, Mississippi
It was a bit of an up and down game against Kentucky for Broeker, but it was my first time seeing his progression on the line. The Mississippi run game has been their backbone this year and the key runs are right behind Broeker on the left side of the line. He has grown stronger and improved his balance, rarely knocked backwards in the run game. Locking into the Kentucky DL allowed for nearly 200 yards on the ground. There were some bad plays where Broeker got knocked around or knocked down, but the skillset improvement has me putting him as a clear Day 2 player.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Bijan Robinson gets the big publicly as a runner, but Gibbs was a legit prospect before even transferring to Alabama. He finally had a breakout rushing performance with over 200 yards rushing, helped by two long TD runs in the second half. The homerun ability is off the charts with Gibbs as he explodes up to top speed quickly. He made the Razorbacks pay for allowing big holes in the line and could not be caught. It was also a solid receiving performance once again for a versatile RB who could sneak into the 1st round as a weapon.
Drew Sanders, EDGE, Arkansas
Transferring from Alabama to Arkansas, this was a revenge game from Sanders. The former 5* recruit never impressed me on the Crimson Tide, but as a Razorback, he has been incredible in every game this season. Consistent pressure (and notching another sack) is the name of the game for Sanders who also racked up a ton of tackles in the run game. He pressured Bryce Young and Jalen Milroe consistently. He is versatile too, and may be able to play inside in a 3-4 scheme, flashing coverage skills in this game against the Alabama TEs. Sanders stock is soaring, potentially to Round 1 levels.
Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, Southern Cal
Tuipulotu is a name that was popping on radars, so I had to check him out. He did not disappoint. Tuipulotu is a pressure interior lineman who is clean off the line ripping through the OL. He is great at knocking down OL hands and forcing them to try and adjust. This has led to 4 sacks this year and consistent pressure this week against Arizona State. His wingspan and tackling technique is very sound for a 3-tech, and he was slowing down runners in the backfield all night. Tuipulotu is getting bumped up into Day 2 for me moving forward.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Putting injured players in stock down seems like a cop out, but there is some concern for Young. He injured his shoulder against Arkansas and thankfully it was not a major injury. Diagnosed as a sprained AC Joint to his throwing shoulder, Nick Saban labeled Young day-to-day. But, these injuries will typically take a few weeks to heal. On top of just getting healthy, it adds a medical flag to Young’s scouting report and teams will be thorough looking at the shoulder before putting the franchise in Young’s hands. With one of the few knocks being Young’s small frame, it is a tad bit concerning. It would not be surprising to see teams prioritize the size of Kentucky’s Will Levis over Young in the draft.
Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State
There are certain players I identify as freshmen who just show NFL talent on the field. In most cases, those players find their way into the NFL and continue that talent. Unfortunately, Robertson is one who seems to regress each year and his fifth year has not been much different. What used to be a sure tackler and blitzer has turned into sloppy technique and an inability to change direction well. Robertson did not look like an NFL player against Southern Cal, missing tackles at times or getting moved out of gaps. Maybe the talent or athleticism is hidden in there, but he has moved to an undraftable category for me.
Names To Know
Jordan Wright, LB, Kentucky
Wright made waves against Florida earlier this season, but his game against Mississippi was very good in the fundamentals department. Wright’s ability to wrap up as a tackler is excellent and he made a ton of plays in the run game to try and stop the potent Mississippi rushing attack. He had a few QB pressures as well, showing nice bend and explosiveness. Add in a few solid pass coverage reps, and he looks like a do it all LB that is worth keeping an eye on.
Dwight McGlothern, S, Arkansas
The LSU transfer has been one of the best cover DBs for Arkansas, especially in the wake of losing their safeties to injuries. He is the only Razorback to log an interception this season, but has 3 on the year. This week, it was Bryce Young who was picked off by McGlothern. He was a top recruit and has been CB mostly while having some safety tendencies. He is only a third year player, but there is intriguing upside for the future.
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