Post Season Risers/Sliders Final - Offense

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

With the regular season finally over, it’s time to look at players who made the biggest rises up draft boards and those that slid the most based on their play. Looking back at our preseason grades as well as how scouts graded prospect before 2017 kicked off, here are the biggest risers and sliders by position from the offensive side of the ball.


Riser - Baker Mayfield/Oklahoma: Mayfield was stamped as a consensus mid-round pick by scouts entering the season, and we agreed with that grade. After his Heisman Trophy campaign, Mayfield moves towards the 2018 NFL Draft as a top-45 prospect. He played terrific football from the get-go and improved in almost every passing category from a year ago Mayfield never completed less and 63 percent of his passes in any single game this year and tossed just five interceptions in 369 passing attempts, a tremendous mark.

Slider - Josh Allen/Wyoming: We were on the Allen hype train more than a year ago, but the junior performed poorly this season and looked pedestrian at times. There were several reasons for this: the exodus of just about all his skill players into the NFL, a terrible offensive line and poor play by the quarterback himself. I projected Allen as the first pick of the 2018 draft in May with a choice held by the New York Jets. Ironically I still believe the Jets will select Allen, though it will be as the first dozen picks close out next April.

Running Back

Riser - Kerryon Johnson/Auburn: Scouts who graded juniors before the season stamped Johnson as a free-agent prospect while his teammate Kamryn Pettway was given a mid-round grade. We also underrated the talented ball carrier, stamping him with a fifth-round grade. Johnson proved to be a dominant one-man show and carried the Tigers offense. Auburn lost three games this year, and during two of those losses Johnson didn’t play or was severely hampered by a shoulder injury. He possesses the tools to be a feature runner at the next level and will be drafted accordingly -- which means late-first or early-second round.

Slider - Kalen Ballage/Arizona State: Ballage was graded as a second-day pick by scouts but failed to live up to expectations. He’s a physical specimen with a pedestrian game who was outclassed by teammate Demario Richard this season. He best turn it around quickly or it will be a “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” situation.

Wide Receiver

Riser - Anthony Miller/Memphis: Miller continues to impress scouts with incredible production and the ability to take over games. Once again he totaled more than 1,400 receiving yards and double-digit touchdown receptions despite losing a game on the schedule due to weather. Miller is reliable in the short and intermediate field while displaying himself as a dangerous downfield receiver. Forty times in the lead up to the draft are critical, but Miller is better than the late fifth-round grade several scouts assigned him before the season began.

Slider - Taj Williams/TCU: Williams was graded as early as the fourth round by some scouts despite posting just 39 receptions in 2016, his first season with TCU after transferring from Iowa Western. I was not sold on Williams and stamped him as a sixth-rounder. We all overrated Williams as he dressed for nine games this season, in part due to injury, and finished the year with just two receptions. He’ll need big springs to jump into the last round.

Tight End

Riser - Ian Thomas/Indiana: Thomas was ignored by everyone entering the season, including yours truly. He literally came out of nowhere after catching just three passes in 2016, totaling 25 receptions and five TDs this year, and Thomas is now on his way to the Senior Bowl. He’s a terrific athlete and in many ways represents what teams are looking for -- a receiver in a tight end's body. There’s still a great deal of fundamental work to be done on Thomas, such as finding out his true size and speed numbers, but this formerly non-existent player now grades as a mid-round prospect.

Slider - DeAndre Goolsby/Florida: I never bought into the late-round grade Goolsby was handed by scouts entering the season, and I’m glad. Goolsby has poor size and speed numbers and pedestrian production two of the past three years and struggled with injuries last season. I’ll be surprised if he’s selected at any point during the 2018 draft.

Offensive Line

Riser - Martinas Rankin/Mississippi State: Last year, when we first reported Rankin was thinking of entering the draft we mentioned him as a possible second-day choice. We came off that a little this summer, but the fourth-round grade we assigned him was much higher than the free-agent grade he was given by scouts. Rankin has played himself back into the second day, with some teams believing he could be selected in the early part of Round . I’m not sure Rankin will stay at the left tackle position he’s held down at Mississippi State the past two years, and a move to the right side or even center is possible. I am sure he has a great amount of upside and can break into a starting lineup if he hits on all cylinders.

Slider - Skyler Phillips/Idaho State: The small-school prospect entered the season with grades that ranged anywhere from the late-third to early-fourth round. One look at the film tells you the projection was three rounds too early, as Phillips is a small-area blocker who looks unathletic on the field. Injury issues and other red flags will likely push this formerly projected third-round prospect out of all seven rounds.

On Wednesday we'll look at the final risers and sliders from the defensive side of the ball.