2013 NFL Draft Stock Up, Stock Down Spotlight

Kevin C. Cox

It may be time to start considering a couple redshirt sophomores and a typically unheralded quarterback.

Seemingly for the first time all season, the best college football games were evenly distributed throughout the day Saturday. The draftniks game of the year, LSU at Texas A&M, started things off at noon. Utah at Oregon State closed things out late into the night. I was taking notes throughout the day. Here's a look at some players who helped and hurt their 2013 NFL Draft stock.

Stock up:

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
He basically runs only one route, a vertical route with slight variations, but Williams runs it well. He was lined up Saturday with talent Texas sophomore Quandre Diggs and made him look foolish. Williams showed he can track the ball well to make impressive catches over the shoulder. Williams knows how to subtly get open using his frame and has the speed to go vertical. He's not a top-end receiver prospect because of his questionable route running. But if a team needs a vertical threat, Williams could be a nice second- or third-round option.

Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
An injury is never a good thing. But when Florida State's Brandon Jenkins was injured for the season, it allowed Carradine to become a full-time starter. He hasn't disappointed. He was all over the place Saturday night against rival Miami and had seven tackles and a sack for the game. He's worked his way into top 100 status and his stock continues to rise.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
It's time to start thinking of McCarron as a legit NFL prospect. He had several impressive throws against Tennessee and was getting excellent placement on his throws. He had a career-high 306 yards through the air and showed a much better arm than most think he possesses.

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers
The Ray Rice comparisons are unjust, but Jamison looked a lot like Rice on Saturday. He had 114 yards rushing on 19 carries and showed elusiveness and power. His hands are what earned him the Rice comparison this week. Jamison had five catches for a career-high 81 yards. Along with North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, Jamison could be a redshirt sophomore with an eye on the draft.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Barner mostly gets the credit this week for a quarter of play. Most of his 143 yards against Arizona State last Thursday came in Oregon's electric first frame. It's time to look at Barner as a legit weapon as a prospect. He's never been asked to carry a big load, but he's incredibly fast and elusive. He's the type of player who could be better in the NFL than in college, if he's used correctly.

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
It's old hat that I'm high on Moore. In the next rankings update (sometime next week), look for Moore to land in the top 20. Even in a loss to LSU, Moore stood out. He again led A&M in tackles with 10 to go with two tackles for loss a sack and a pass breakup. That came despite a minor leg injury that came in the second quarter. Moore was playing how Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery were expected too.

Stock down:

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Although Hunter had four catches for 70 yards, the Alabama game was one to forget for the junior. He let a first quarter goal-line pass slip through his hands. At the end of the second quarter, a pass that would have put the Vols into the red zone sailed through his hands and bounced off his thigh. After the game, Hunter admitted the team was anxious. It showed. Hunter didn't have a catch until the third quarter when the game was largely out of reach.

William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
One of the more intriguing one-on-one matchups from the weekend was Gholston against Michigan's Taylor Lewan. For much of the game, Gholston was dominated. He only had two tackles and was neutralized by Lewan the entire game. For a power end, Gholston wasn't generating much of a push.

Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida
One of the better stories in college football this season has been the return of the Florida Gators. Somehow, they're doing it with one of the most inconsistent left tackles in the the game. Nixon had a down week trying to block South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney, particular in the first half the game. Florida won handily, but Nixon struggled. He's probably dropped out of the top 100 picks and looks like a project player at the next level.

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
It's clear that Mettenberger needs another year in school. He can fire a perfect-looking throw. His passes never flutter. But they rarely hit the mark. He had at least five overthrows on Saturday and completed just 37.9 percent of his throws. He only had 97 yards in the air. That's nothing new for Mettenberger. The only games he's topped 200 yards passing were against Idaho and Towson.

Random notes:

- Tyler Bray had another poor showing on Saturday with two pretty bad interceptions. It's true every interception is bad, but Bray threw one to Alabama's C.J. Mosley where there wasn't a Volunteer receiver anywhere to be found. He looks like a player who needs another season. Bray completed only 48.1 percent of his passes, though some were due to drops.

- Bray's struggles had nothing to do with the play of guard Dallas Thomas. He's behind Chance Warmack amongst guard prospects, but the gap is closing.

- Alabama tight end Michael Williams doesn't get much run because he's more of a blocker than a pass catcher. But there's still a place in the NFL for blocking tight ends. A team is going to get a good one with Williams, who even had a short touchdown catch on Saturday.

- Another week, another big play for Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene. This week it was a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Regardless of position, few are having a better season than Greene.

- Not to look too far ahead, but Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is going to be a hot prospect next year. He was nearly flawless Saturday, completing 21 of 25 passes for 256 yards. He didn't have an incompletion in 11 first half attempts.

- Notre Dame's Theo Riddick has been playing running back this season after looking intriguing in 2011 as a wide receiver. He finally had a good game on the ground with 143 yards on 15 carries. He could be a Chris Rainey style of player in the NFL.

- Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor continues to hold his spot near the top of senior running back rankings. He again showed he's a patient runner with a nice one-cut burst.

- Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley had another quality game. He again led Alabama in tackles and added an interception. He could be the best pure linebacker in next year's draft. He keeps blockers out of his frame and showed nice hands on an interception.

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