Riser & Sliders - Week 3

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The third week on the college football schedule saw a major upset in the ACC as well as top-10 Wisconsin going down in defeat. Scouts also saw some outstanding performances by lesser-known prospects, including a pair of talents from the Mountain West. Here are the Risers & Sliders for Week 3.

Risers

Tyler Roemer/T/San Diego State: If there’s a super sleeper at the tackle position, it’s Roemer, the redshirt sophomore who’s held down the Aztecs starting job the past two seasons. Roemer is technically sound, athletic and effective at the line of scrimmage and in motion. He’s terrific in pass protection and does a great job as a run blocker, especially on the second level. The Aztecs rushed for 311 yards during the victory over Arizona State, much of it off left tackle behind Roemer. Though he needs to improve his finishing strength, I presently grade Roemer as a third-round prospect and feel confident in saying he’ll be the best offensive tackle prospect to come out of SDSU since Kyle Turley.

Chris Slayton/DT/Syracuse: It was a historic win for the Orange, who beat Florida State for the first time in more than half a century, and the defense led the way. While Slayton’s stats were not impressive -- one tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries -- he was a constant nuisance for the Seminoles offense. Slayton’s ability to explode off the snap disrupted FSU's gameplan all day. An athletic lineman with excellent size and movement skills, Slayton was graded as a sixth-round prospect on our board entering the season, but the middle rounds are within reach if he continues to play at this pace.

Kris Boyd/CB/Texas: The Longhorns hammered USC on Saturday, shutting out the Trojans during the final three quarters of the game and beating them by 23 points. Boyd was terrific in all facets of his position, posting five tackles, breaking up one pass and intercepting another, leading to a Longhorns' field goal. Boyd is a nice-sized corner who plays physical football and offers solid ball skills. He will be a nice addition for some team in the middle rounds next April.

KeeSean Johnson/WR/Fresno State: Johnson is a player we’ve mentioned previously in this column, as he was a Week 5 Riser in 2017. It didn’t take that long this season thanks to his hot start. During the Week 3 matchup against UCLA, which Fresno State won by a score of 38-14, Johnson posted eight receptions for 85 yards. This comes off his performance the prior week when he totaled six catches, 89 yards and one touchdown against Minnesota. Johnson is a game-controlling wideout with nice size and dependable hands but questionable speed. The 40 factor will push Johnson deep into the draft, but he has the skill and talent to make a roster as a fourth or fifth wideout.

Diontae Johnson/WR/Toledo: It’s tough to make the case a player is rising up draft boards after his team lost by 25 points, but an exception must be made considering Johnson’s performance. The wideout posted a game-best six receptions for 119 yards (19.8 yard average) and two scores against Miami this weekend. He also returned a kick 40 yards. Considering this came against a Hurricanes defense which possesses a half-dozen top-100 selections, including five who reside in the back seven, it makes Johnson’s receiving totals even more impressive. The junior grades as a potential mid-round pick and will be very effective as a slot receiver and return specialist at the next level.

Ryquell Armstead/RB/Temple: After an injury-plagued season a year ago and a sluggish start to the 2018 campaign, Armstead is kicking it into gear and showing skills that have impressed scouts. Coming off a 107-yard performance against Buffalo, Armstead posted 118 yards on the ground against Maryland and led Temple to its first victory of the season. The senior is a tough ball carrier who breaks a lot of tackles to pick up yardage off initial contact. Armstead is deceptively fast and shows an excellent burst through running lanes. He’s a perfect fit as the fourth back on a depth chart and can play on early downs and line up in short-yardage situations.

Sleeper Prospect - Connor Strachan/LB/Boston College: We graded Strachan as a free agent entering the season despite the fact he was limited to just two games a year ago due to injury. During his junior season of 2016, Strachan was an active linebacker who played smart, productive football. The early 2018 returns are positive, as Strachan led all defenders with 15 tackles in the contest against ACC foe Wake Forest on Thursday night. He won’t impress scouts during predraft workouts, but Strachan will be a productive situational linebacker with the ability to play special teams at the next level.

Small School - Alex Wesley/WR/Northern Colorado: Just two players have been drafted out of Northern Colorado since 2005, including second-round receiver Vincent Jackson. Unlike Jackson, a bigger possession wideout, Wesley is a game-breaker with home run-hitting speed. During the team’s three point loss to Sacramento State, Wesley caught four passes for 96 yards, an average of 24 yards per reception. In three games this season, Wesley is averaging more than 22 yards on 17 receptions. He also offers potential as a kick returner, and there’s a real chance Wesley could sneak into the late rounds and become the first player from Northern Colorado to be drafted in more than a dozen years.

Sliders

Cole Herdman/TE/Purdue: Herdman is an athletic tight end prospect who showed a lot of potential as a sophomore but has since watched his game level off. Measuring around 6-foot-3.5 and 240 pounds with 4.75 speed, Herdman should be a pass-catching specialist. After 35 receptions as a sophomore, he slumped to just 20 a year ago and has totaled six catches in three games this year. The senior was graded as a priority free agent entering the season but will have to start making his mark for any chance of being something other than roster fodder.