Half of the NFL season is gone and with it, we heave seen some big swings in momentum and some tide changing events. Arguably some of the biggest swings won’t take effect until april, because they were Draft swings. Here is how the draft is shaking up right now.
Preseason best: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Current best: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: Star came into the season as the uncontested top lineman and nothing has changed since. He has been completely disruptive in every game. he consistently beats one on one match-ups and at times even exploits double teams. He is easily the most disruptive lineman in this class. He isn’s a player that puts up huge numbers, but he is a cornerstone defensive player.
Biggest Riser: Jesse Williams, DE/DT, Alabama: Williams entered the season as a second round prospect. a guy that looked like he could be a big riser given more and more playing time. at this point I would be surprised if he fell out of the top 25. he has proven to be extremely flexible and disruptive and has stepped into the starting role at bama with ease.
Player Most Relevant to the Ravens: Sheldon Richardson, DT/DE, Missouri: Richardson has been a slight riser so far this year. He had an excellent game against Alabama, who I believe has the best offensive line in the country, and he has performed well all season. Richardson would play DE for the Ravens opposite Ngata. He would be a solid second round value.
Top Preseason Player:Manti Teo
Top Half Season Player:Manti Teo, ILB, Notre Dame: Teo has had a heisman like season for Notre Dame. He has made plays all over the field, whether he is making Sacks, getting crunch time tackles or picking off game sealing passes, he has been unstoppable. Teo is the driving force behind the elite Notre Dame defense and he is the biggest single reason that the Fighting Irish are undefeated.
Biggest Riser: Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama: This is set to be a very weak crop of inside backers. almost every player in the class, aside from Teo, seems to be in a state of decline. Nico has been solid this season and has seen a rise almost exclusively thanks to his play time. now that scouts have more tape on him he is more draft able than he was entering the season. Nico could be a second round pick, but I think we will see him in the third or fourth round barring major improvement or a monster combine.
Player most relevant to the Ravens: Manti Teo, ILB, Notre Dame: I am a big proponent of the Ravens making a move to go after Teo. The offense is loaded with talent, so is the secondary. but the Ravens linebackers are a complete disaster. The Ravens also need to face the fact that this is what they have to look forward to if Ray Lewis retires. Teo would immediately be the best ILB the Ravens have and he is the type of player you plug in and never think about again. Teo looks like a 10+ year starter in the league.
Top Preseason Player: Jarvis Jones
Top Half Season Player: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: Jones came into the season as a hot player and he still finds himself as the best in the class despite slightly underperforming. His stats haven’t been tremendous, but the attention other teams give him has been. It is tough to put up big numbers when opponents double you at the line and then chip you with a back or tight end all on the same play.
Biggest Riser: Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn: Lemonier came into the season as a fringe second rounder, now he is firmly entrenched in the first round. Lemonier has played tremendously for the Tigers and despite the lack of team success, his draft stock is soaring. He needs to add bulk, he only weighs 245 right now, but he has the frame to handle it without losing explosion. if he could add 10-15 lbs and run well at the combine, teams in the top 15 will be fighting each other to get him.
Player Most Relevant to the Ravens:Jackson Jeffcoat, DE/OLB, Texas: Jeffcoat is out for the season due to injury and reason says that his stock is set to drop and drop, especially considering the durth of talent at OLB this year. The Ravens might be in position to snag a player that would have been a first round lock as late as the 3rd round, much like Jared Crick last year. Eventually you have to look past injures and go ahead and buy low expecting huge returns.