Week 7 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
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Hooker put the world on notice by beating Alabama, putting up 52 points in a big victory against the giant of college football. Outside of one bad interception (and a fumbled exchange) Hooker was spot on throughout the game. He has a quick release and flashed down field passing ability in this game to WR Jalin Hyatt. 70% completion for 385 yards and 5 passing touchdowns is nothing to sniff it. He also added 56 rushing yard showcasing his athleticism. Hooker will be a controversial QB prospect due to his age (he will be 25 in January) and the offense he plays in, but this was an NFL showcase game.
Javion Cohen, G, Alabama
It has been a weird year for Cohen. He entered the season as my top Guard prospect for the draft, but surprisingly did not win a starting G spot for Alabama. That changed soon into the season as Cohen is a great athlete and really strong at the point of attack. This was showcased against Tennessee with Cohen stonewalling defenders every play. He was even getting a consistent push in pass protection. Tennessee DL LaTrell Bumphus got the brunt of it early, but Cohen is back to showing NFL potential. Expect Day 2 draft capital if this keeps up.
Chase Brown, RB, Illinois
7 straight 100-yard games to start the season is not a small task, especially against some tough Big Ten defenses, but Brown and QB Tommy DeVito are taking Illinois to their best offense in years. With 4.3 speed at over 200 pounds, Brown is an ideal NFL RB. He can handle a big volume, as shown by his 41 carries against Minnesota this past week. He has good hands out of the backfield with 15 receptions so far this season, including a TD this week. People keep sleeping on him, but Brown is a legit Day 2 prospect who keeps rising and leads the nation in rushing.
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs defense played tough against Kentucky for most of the game, in part thanks to Forbes. He helped keep the team in the game with a Pick-6 off of Will Levis on a screen pass, Forbes second TD of the year. He has 5 interceptions total and is not only a ballhawk, but a solid press cover corner. Though his name is often left out of the top CB names in the draft, he is on the rise, and a Pick-6 against a future NFL QB doesn’t help.
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Bulldogs dominated Vanderbilt and I could have listed a ton of players from RB Kenny McIntosh to EDGE Nolan Smith. I settled on Jones who had a dominant performance as a run blocker sealing the edge and not allowing a pressure in the game to boot. There are likely to be two more OL drafted into the NFL this year along with Jones including C Sedric Van Pran-Granger and RT Warren McClendon, but Jones may be the best of the bunch. He glides in his kickslide and is VERY tough. Day 2 is within reach.
Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
Ward has gotten a lot of buzz as a great athlete who transferred up from Incarnate Word. I was hyped that he could be an NFL prospect, but it isn’t there yet. Ward struggled against Oregon State, holding the ball too long leading to sacks from a team that struggles to get after the passer. He certainly has not been the rushing QB many hoped with -32 yards rushing for the season so far, and challenging top CBs like Rezjohn Wright led to mediocre results in this game. He needs more development before making the NFL jump.
Demarco Hellams, S, Alabama
It was a ROUGH day for Hellams who got burned twice by Jalin Hyatt for touchdowns, costing them the game. Hellams is not built to be a a cover 1-deep safety, but that was the positon he was often put in this game. Stiffer hips and the lack of smooth movements makes him a more in the box playmaking safety (he did get the lone Alabama interception in the game) but it does not bode well for his chance to be drafted.
Names To Know
Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
This list would not be complete without Hyatt’s 6 catches for 207 yards and 5 TDs. The junior has flashed his talent before, but his speed was on full display against Alabama. Without teammate Cedric Tillman, Hyatt was the de facto #1 WR for Hendon Hooker. His smooth route running and double moves made him a cover one-on-one coverage player ultimately. Hyatt’s name was barely on the draft radar before this, but doing this against future NFL defenders certainly puts him on the map.
Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State
Every game I watch of Henley, I fall more in love. As his name popped up on lists, I dug in deep, and man, he is a great tackler who flies all over the field. Against Oregon State, Henley was cleaning up tackle after tackle, not allowing easy yardage. He had a few successful run blitzes as well during the game. Henley should be a solid OLB in the NFL with a versatile skillset, and his draft stock could even rise to Round 1 consideration.
Jake Andrews, C, Troy
Troy is not an NFL haven by any means, but they have produced a few NFL stars. Andrews may be the next one. In a hard fought game against Texas State, Andrews was creating run holes and allowing for a steady pace for the Troy offense. He is so quick off the snap and pops defenders backwards, catching them by surprise. Good strength and feet don’t hurt either. Andrews could be a late Day 2/early Day 3 pick.
Jeremy Banks, LB, Tennessee
The Vols defense was blitzing Bryce Young very hard throughout the game this week, and Banks was especially on Young’s tail throughout the game. Though the 6 tackle stat sheet may not tell the story, Banks 4 QB Hurries certainly do. He is explosive and gets up to top gear quickly, changing how the offense operates. He often flushed Young out of the pocket forcing bad passes off balance. That helps a defense win a game, and he should be drafted to do the same on Sundays.