Risers & Sliders -- Week 13

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Rivalry Weekend saw Michigan fall hard to Ohio State and drop out of playoff contention. And as college football’s regular season winds down, there were several dominant performances from players on the line of scrimmage. Here are the Risers & Sliders for Week 13.

Jaylon Ferguson/DE/Louisiana Tech: Ferguson looked solid during the Bulldogs' poor loss to Western Kentucky, the worst team in Conference USA. Graded as a potential first-round pick entering the season, he’s considered one of the best pass rushers from the senior class but has rounded out his game this season and developed into a terrific run defender. He posted eight tackles during the defeat to WKU to go along with two tackles for loss and a half-sack. For the season, Ferguson has totaled 59 tackles while amassing 23.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. Though I have my concerns about his instincts, there’s no denying Ferguson’s tape is impressive and will push him into the early part of the draft.

Gerald Willis/DT/Miami-Fl: Is Gerald Willis making an Isaiah Wynn-like dash up draft boards? It looks that way. Wynn was graded as a low-level street free agent by scouts in the summer of 2017 only to end up as a first-round pick the following April. Willis received a similar rating this past summer and now looks like he’ll fall somewhere in Round 2. After taking a leave of absence from the Miami program last year, he’s returned to be a dominant force in 2018. For the year, Willis has tallied 59 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has five quarterback hurries on the stats sheet while breaking up two passes. Willis is a nice combination of quickness, explosion and movement skills. He’ll be a good fit as a three-technique tackle at the next level and may even get consideration at defensive end in certain two-gap schemes.

Jabari Zuniga/DE/Florida: It’s tough to get much mention when you play next to Jachai Polite, who had another terrific game against Florida State when he finished with 6 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. But Zuniga, another legitimate next-level prospect on the Gators line, totaled four tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack against Florida State while getting a lot of pressure up the field. I’m told as of now it’s 50-50 whether he’ll enter the draft, but Zuniga grades as a legitimate second-day selection off the film.

Isaiah Prince/T/Ohio State: I was skeptical about Prince entering the season but cannot deny he looked dominant during the Buckeyes' blowout victory over Michigan. Michigan did not register a sack or quarterback hurry during the contest while the dynamic pass rushing duo of Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich each scored just one tackle for loss. Prince was absolutely dominant as a run blocker, blowing opponents off the line of scrimmage and opening up huge holes. In pass protection, the big senior displayed enough footwork off the edge to stop Michigan’s talented edge rushers. I still have my concerns about his agility, but Prince will be a solid second-day pick and an effective right tackle in the NFL.

Koda Martin/T/Syracuse: The Orange offer one of the nation’s most potent offenses, and much of the credit goes to the offensive line. Martin, the team’s right tackle, is having a solid season and improving his draft stock. The graduate transfer started every game at left tackle for Texas A&M last season, has elevated his entire game this year and is developing into a complete player. Graded as a potential late-round pick before the season, Martin’s play coupled with the dearth of talent at the offensive tackle position could push him into the middle rounds.

Sleeper Prospect - Justin Hollins/OLB/Oregon: With all the focus on Jalen Jelks it’s easy to dismiss Hollins, who has outperformed his teammate this season. In 12 games Hollins has totaled 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks, topping Jelks in each category. He also broke up seven passes, forced four fumbles and has five hurries. He’s similar in size to Jelks as both measure 6-foot-5.5 and tip the scale around 245 pounds, though Hollins is slightly faster. I gave him an early sixth-round grade over the summer and believe Hollins will be a steal in the middle of Day 3.

Small-School Prospect - Quinton Bell/Prairie View: After three nondescript seasons at wide receiver, Bell moved to the defensive side of the ball this year and has flashed next-level talent. Lining up at defensive end, he finished with 50 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks this year. He measures 6-foot-3.5 and tips the scales under 220 pounds, though Bell times the 40 in the low 4.5s. He’s athletic with long arms, and a move to outside linebacker is in the offing. Unlikely to get selected at any point in April’s draft, I envision Bell making a next-level roster as situational pass rusher and special teamer.


LJ Scott/RB/Michigan State: I was awed by Scott’s sophomore film and handed him a third-round grade despite an injury-plagued 2017, based off the previous skill and domination he showed. Assorted injuries continued to plague Scott this season, and he was limited to just 55 carries in four games. He’s totaled just three games of 100 or more rushing yards over the past two years after breaking the century mark five times in 2016. If Scott gets healthy and gets his game back on track, he could have a long career at the next level, but there’s no denying injuries the past two years have taken a toll on his draft stock.