Week 4 Risers & Sliders

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Week 4 on the college schedule saw a few incredible finishes, such as the last-second victory Penn State pulled off over Iowa on the game’s final play. We also witnessed a number of dominant performances from defenders and skill players alike. Here are the Risers & Sliders for Week 4.


Josey Jewell/LB/Iowa: I’ve been a fan of Jewell’s since his sophomore season and even went as far as listing him in Round 1 of our 2018 mock draft this past May. During the Hawkeyes' heartbreaking last-second loss to Penn State, the linebacker once again proved what most of us already knew -- he’s a tremendous football player. Jewell plays with incredible instincts, football smarts and intensity. His statline from the game was incredible -- a game-leading 16 tackles -- three for loss -- a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup. Jewell’s not the greatest athlete, he lacks top computer numbers and, despite our May prediction, he’s unlikely to land in Round 1. Yet I don’t doubt he’ll be starting as a rookie in the NFL and will go on to have a long and productive career.

B.J. Hill/DT/North Carolina State: The stats and the highlight reel show Bradley Chubb as the star during the Wolfpack's victory over the Seminoles, but Hill was equally effective and dominated Florida State’s interior offensive line. Hill posted two tackles -- one for loss -- and a sack. He also did a great job occupying blockers, which allowed his linebackers to make plays on ball carriers. Hill showed terrific quickness and explosion and a touch of athleticism to get the job done. Over the past two years I’ve rated him as a second-day pick, and recent word is area scouts have moved him into the top 100 after stamping a sixth-round grade on Hill entering the season.

Christian Kirk/WR/Texas A&M: During the Aggies' victory over Arkansas, almost 1,000 yards of offense were produced by the teams as well as 93 points. It was a game where A&M receiver Christian Kirk again established himself as one of the most lethal big-play threats in the country. Kirk led all receivers with five receptions, 110 receiving yards and two scores, one coming on an 81-yard touchdown catch. This was accomplished against an Arkansas defense that features four NFL prospects in the secondary. Kirk also provided fireworks on special teams, returning a kickoff 100 yards late in the game to give the Aggies the lead. Kirk is a threat to score from any point on the field every time the ball is in his hands. His ability to alter games is impressive and guarantees Kirk will be drafted somewhere during the initial 60 picks.

Keke Coutee/WR/Texas Tech: Though not on the same level as Kirk, Coutee is also displaying himself as a game changer. During the Red Raiders shoot out victory over Houston, the junior led all receivers with 11 receptions for 161 yards. Included in that tally was a touchdown reception of 77 yards. Coutee is a smallish skill player with elite speed and return skills. I grade the junior as a middle-round pick and believe he will perform well in the slot at the next level.

Bryce Love/RB/Stanford: Love is yet another junior skill player watching his draft stock take off. He was a one-man show against UCLA, amassing an incredible 263 yards rushing on 30 carries with one touchdown. His rushing yardage was almost double the number Stanford totaled through the air, as the offense finished with 148 yards passing. Love is a slippery, elusive ball carrier with a burst and the ability to create yardage. He’s also a much better pass catcher out of the backfield than he’s given credit for. During our Stanford prospect preview we stamped him with a fifth-round grade, but that has since improved almost two full rounds.

Mitch Hyatt/T/Clemson: Hyatt represented himself well against the very tough and explosive Boston College defensive line. He manhandled the highly rated Harold Landry on more than one occasion, annihilating the potential first-round pick on running downs. I’m still not sold Hyatt projects to left tackle at the next level, but it was a very good showing for the big man.

Sleeper Prospect - Kurt Benkert/QB/Virginia: Entering the year, Benkert was virtually ignored by scouts and given the grade of a prospect being offered a tryout during May mini-camp. That opinion is quickly changing. The once downtrodden Cavaliers football program is presently 3-1, and Benkert is leading the way on offense. During the team’s road win over Boise State, the senior finished with 273 yards passing, three TDs and no interceptions. In four games this season, Benkert has thrown 10 touchdown strikes to just one interception, a major improvement over his 21-to-11 ratio from 2016. Benkert has next-level size, solid arm strength and enough accuracy to potentially slide into the late rounds and make a roster as the third quarterback on a depth chart.

Small School Prospect - Brandon Parker/T/North Carolina A&T: Last year while doing Aggies film work on Tarik Cohen, who’s now making his mark as a rookie in the league, I couldn’t help but notice the mammoth offensive lineman plowing open running lanes on the left side. The more I watched the more I was intrigued and immediately stamped him with a draftable grade. In the early going of the 2017 season, Parker has not disappointed. Measuring 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds with arms that reportedly reach 35 inches, Parker is a dominant force with above average footwork and lateral agility. He’s efficient as a run blocker and pass protector and comes with tremendous upside. I would expect Parker to receive an invitation to a postseason All Star game and just hope it’s a good one such as the Shrine Game.


Jamar Summers/CB/UConn:  After his sophomore season of 2015, Summers looked like the next bigtime defensive back prospect from the UConn program and was projected as a top-100 choice. He slumped last season and entered his senior year with a sixth-round grade. He’s been even worse this year and presently looks undraftable. After getting beat badly by Virginia, Summers took his lumps against East Carolina on Sunday, blowing coverages which allowed Pirates quarterback Thomas Sirk to finish the game with 426 yards and three scores on 30 of 39 passing. Next week, Summers will face Courtland Sutton of SMU. Speaking of which….

Courtland Sutton/WR/SMU: Is it time we put out an APB for Courtland Sutton? Sutton bypassed last April’s draft, where he would’ve been a first-round pick, and entered the 2017 season with expectations that he’d be an early selection next year. It hasn’t worked out during the season’s first month. The large receiver caught just two passes against an Arkansas State defense that allowed 266 yards passing and 16 receptions. The week prior, Sutton registered just a single reception against TCU. In four games this season he’s posted just 13 catches, not a good number for a prospect considered a game-controlling, possession receiver.