Stats in college football are a poor predictor of NFL talent. But last week's biggest NFL Draft risers were also some of college football's biggest stat sheet stuffers. Here is our handful of prospects on the upswing.
Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
Those who stayed up late Saturday got to meet a star in the making in Patton. The senior was already a favorite of MIssissippi State's Johnthan Banks, but he earned some new fans last weekend. Acutely running a variety of routes, Patton caught 21 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns. On a few catches, the 6-foot-2 Patton showed he has the speed to be a high-round draft choice. In the fourth quarter, Patton took a short crossing route for a 62-yard touchdown.
Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers
Just move Greene up to the top of rankings for natural outside linebackers. Greene has picked up a handful of weekly national awards for his performance against Syracuse Saturday. In the game, Greene had 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and an interception. The senior gets such high draft grades because of his ability to make plays all over the field. It's a little early for comparisons, but on the field Greene looks like the next Jerod Mayo. It's true that Mayo is a middle linebacker and Greene plays the outside. But don't forget that Mayo's first two seasons at Tennessee were on the outside. Greene is the type of player who could line up outside in a 4-3 but hold up on the weak inside of a 3-4.
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Despite much of the adulation being placed on teammate Barkevious Mingo, LSU end Sam Montgomery remains a steady force. After a quiet game against Florida, Montgomery turned it on against South Carolina. He finished the game with two sacks and two tackles for loss. It may be time to starting wondering if Montgomery is the better of the two highly regarded Tigers pass rushers. On the season, Montgomery has four sacks to Mingo's two. He has 8.5 tackles for loss compared to Mingo's three.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
If Montgomery is to be noted for his stats, Moore should be as well. A&M may have given up 57 points to Louisiana Tech, but Moore was the best player on the field. He had an eye-popping 17 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack and a half. Moore leads the nation in tackles for loss with 15 and sacks with 8.5. Moore is having the kind of year Whitney Mercilus did in 2011 and Ryan Kerrigan had in 2010. He may have a similar path in draft stock.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
It's funny how good Eifert could be if Notre Dame's offense knew how to get him the ball. He had just four catches for 57 yards against Stanford Saturday. But it looked like he was consistently getting open. When he was finally targeted, Eifert showed great body control and ball skills to make the catch. He's got a ways to go as a blocker, but he's the best receiving tight end in the class.
- CJ Mosley of Alabama is a much better pass rusher this season than he was last. He had two sacks against Missouri and was largely unblockable. If Mosley tests well, he could be a top 20 pick when he comes out.
- Throughout Wisconsin's run-offensse clinic against Purdue, I wondered about the status of Boilermakers defensive tackle Kawann Short. It's takes a team to stop the run, but Short should have looked better in the middle. Give some credit to Wisconsin's interior blockers, though, particularly center Travis Frederick.
- Now that he's out for the season with a pectoral muscle injury, it will be a shocker if Texas junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat goes pro. He does lead the Longhorns in tackles for loss with 11, but missing a half a season will be costly. It will be interesting to see how fellow end Alex Okafor does against added blockers.