With the back half of the season already upon us, players are starting to write in stone their draft stock. Over the course of the year, we’ve seen players (Joe Burrow, Chase Young) shoot up the draft boards, and others (CJ Henderson, D’Andre Swift) fall down. But week-to-week, things get a little more minute.
In a relatively quiet and unsurprising week, which players helped their draft stock and who hurt it?
Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
3 touchdowns never hurts your draft stock, especially when they come on just 4 receptions. Higgins is already projected to be a first-round pick, but still falls behind Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb for the first WR taken. Higgins is doing everything he can do boost his draft stock, even if it comes against the 102nd-ranked passing defense in the country (Wake Forest).
Projected: Wide Receiver 4 (17th)
Previous: Wide Receiver 5 (19th)
Tyler Johnson (WR, Minnesota)
19 yards per reception against Iowa’s tough secondary (ranked 28th in the nation) is no small feat. Tyler Johnson (6’2, 205) continues to be the quietest superstar in the nation, and someone who has the potential to be a top-NFL WR. Despite the loss, Johnson showed he can do it against top defensive talent yet again.
Projected: Wide Receiver 6 (42nd)
Previous: Wide Receiver 7 (55th)
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
Hurts very well could have been on the other side of this article in the first half against Baylor (1 touchdown, 2 turnovers). However, the Sooners’ star signal caller turned it on the second half, mounted a 25-point comeback, and scored 3 more touchdowns against an undefeated Baylor team on the road. The nation was impressed with his gutsy performance and might have saved his first-round draft stock.
Projected: Quarterback 4 (12th)
Previous: Quarterback 4 (21st)
Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia)
Just 110 yards passing and a QBR of 21 for Fromm against one of the nation’s toughest defenses. We could excuse the paltry 3.9 yards per attempt and 46% completion because it came against a stifling pass rush, right? Well, if Fromm can’t perform against Auburn, what makes scouts think he’ll be able to overcome an NFL defense?
Projected: Quarterback 6 (35th)
Previous: Quarterback 6 (3rd Round+)
Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
Kinlaw is a lone bright spot in a draft class stretched thin of defensive line talent. However, Kinlaw was a non-factor in the Gamecocks’ 30-6 loss to Texas A&M (4 tackles, 1 QB hurry). The Aggies ran all over South Carolina’s stout defensive front, amassing over 300 yards and 2 players pushing 130 yards rushing, and there was nothing Kinlaw could do about it.
Projected: Defensive tackle 2 (21st)
Previous: Defensive tackle 2 (16th)
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
Though the draft isn’t the first thing on Tua’s mind this week, the projected top-5 pick should be considering heading back to Alabama for another season. Injuries were the main concern with his draft stock, and his season-ending injury doesn’t give scouts any solace. We wish for a speedy recovery for Tua, and would love to see him back in Crimson next fall.
Projected: Quarterback 4 (2nd Round)*
Previous: Quarterback 2 (3rd)
*Injury could force Tua to return to Alabama to increase his draft stock, and therefore could be removed from the draft list.
Follow scout Brett Gibbons on Twitter @theBrettGibbons.