NFL Draft Stock Report Week 5
WR Steve Ishmael, Syracuse
Despite a 2-3 record Syracuse has been competitive in their three loses which include losses to N.C. State and LSU both by less than ten points. A big reason for their competitiveness has been their explosive offense, something we have come to expect from a Dino Baber’s coached team. Senior wide receiver Steve Ishmael has reaped the benefits of Baber’s wide open spread offense having topped the 1oo yard mark in all five games this season. Ishmael has already amassed 51 catches for 632 yards receiving and two touchdowns. At 6’2’’ Ishmael possesses excellent size and despite lacking great speed has played himself into a draft worthy prospect for teams looking for a big framed possession receiver.
WR Jaleel Scott, New Mexico State
Another senior wideout who has turned heads thus far is Jaleel Scott out of New Mexico State. Possessing a massive 6’6’’ 220 pound frame Scott has flourished against top end competition lighting up the stat sheet against both Arizona State and Arkansas. Against the Sun Devils Scott caught eight passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns and posted a whopping nine catches for 174 yards and a touchdown against the Razorbacks. With over 500 yards receiving and five touchdowns on the season Scott has been one of the few bright spots on the Aggie’s this year. With his performances against power five competition coupled with his exceptional size make him an intriguing prospect to watch the rest of the year.
DT Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
The Cougars had a landmark win this last weekend upsetting #5 USC and while stud QB Luke Falk might get the most attention it has been the play of Mata’afa that has really stood out this season. Mata’afa was constantly in the USC backfield and played a big part in keeping Trojan QB Sam Darnold uncomfortable. This has been a common theme for Wazzu defensive lineman this season as Mata’afa has racked up ten tackles for loss and five and half sacks in just four games played this season. Only a junior Mata’afa has made himself a legit NFL prospect who is positioning himself to become an early pick thanks to his explosive first step and pass rushing ability.
OLB Uchenna Nwosu, USC
Coming into this season USC had two big name linebackers in Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith and while Smith has played very well Gustin has been outshined thus far by the other Trojan outside linebacker Nwosu. Nwosu has a strong showing in USC’s loss to Washington State racking up 6 tackles a sack and an interception. On the season Nwosu has shown the ability to both rush the passer and to drop in coverage as seen in his eight pass defenses. On a defense loaded with future NFL players Nwosu has become a name to watch throughout the rest of this season.
QB Sam Darnold, USC
Darnold looked very pedestrian in USC’s loss to Washington State this last weekend a trend that has become all too familiar this season. Darnold has thrown at least one interception in each of the five games USC has played this season including one against the Cougars bringing his season total to eight against only nine touchdowns. Darnold threw only nine picks all of last season. He has seen his completion percentage and yards per attempt drop this season as well and has not shown the improvements in footwork and technique that many had hoped to see. Rumors are now swirling that Darnold will return for what would be his junior season next year, a rumor that looks more and more like a good idea with each passing week.