This week’s 2020 NFL Draft stock watch highlights Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown who was unblockable in the Iron Bowl win vs. Alabama.
It was a great rivalry week in college football this past weekend. Rivalry week often brings out the best performances in players when bragging rights are on the line. Combine that with the last week of the regular season meaning some 2020 NFL Draft prospects have a last chance to put a good performance on film, and you get some pretty special moments.
Moments like Auburn defeating Alabama, effectively ending their playoff hopes and Wisconsin beating Minnesota in the snow, are ones to remember. Players put together some special moments as well.
There were plenty of spectacular performances from last weekend’s rivalry games, and some performances that were less than spectacular. This week on stock watch, we take a look at a defensive lineman who’s almost on Chase Young‘s level, a quarterback who didn’t meet expectations this week, and more! Let’s take a look at who’s moving up and who’s moving down in stock watch.
Stock Up: Derrick Brown, defensive lineman, Auburn
What a game for Derrick Brown against Alabama. While Brown is already considered a first-rounder and rose to the number three spot on this writer’s last big board, he’s shown that he can be in the same elite class that Chase Young is in for the 2020 NFL Draft.
He split double teams on several occasions on the afternoon to create pressure with his great functional strength. Brown is also an excellent mover for his size and put a wicked spin move on Alabama early in the game.
Brown put up three and a half tackles for loss on the stat sheet, but it was the impact and timing of those plays that stood out the most. He made a couple of key plays on 3rd and short, tackling Robinson and Harris one each in the backfield. The latter, where he took down Harris, was as impressive a play as I’ve seen from Brown. He dragged Harris down with one hand as he was getting blocked into the ground.
On Alabama’s last drive, Brown made a big play against the passing game. Mac Jones dropped back to pass on third down, and Brown read his eyes and deflected the pass, setting up fourth down which led to the missed field goal.
It was an unbelievable game for him, and he should really go top-five come April.
Stock Up: Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Clemson
The Clemson Tigers have been criticized in the media this season for their weak schedule, which unfortunately means they get viewed less during the season. This led to Tee Higgins, who is a potential top receiver prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, being forgotten about.
Higgins had a good day against South Carolina, especially with the limited targets he saw during the game. He caught just three passes on the afternoon, but made the most of them, gaining 101 yards and scoring two touchdowns on the day. He showed his long speed down the field and that he can eat up cushion pretty quickly. Higgins tracked the ball very well on his second touchdown of the day and made a great move before and after the catch on his third catch of the day.
The traits are there for Higgins, and he’s definitely a top 50 prospect right now.
Stock Down: Anthony Gordon, quarterback, Washington State
Anthony Gordon has been getting a ton of attention and hype in the past few weeks after people took notice of his production, quick release, and touch down the field at Washington State. With all the articles on him last week, many analysts were ready to see how he’d perform against the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup.
Alas, it didn’t go well for Gordon. He did complete 77 percent of his passes (48-of-62) in the game, but he threw two interceptions, bringing his total on the year up to 16. The bad interceptions were something that analysts noted on tape, and it will likely be what teams remember about this game. One game doesn’t make a prospect, but it was a disappointing performance after the hype leading up to the game.
Stock Up: Jedrick Wills, offensive tackle, Alabama
Teams and analysts like to look at how prospects perform against top competition, and it was a great week to watch how the Alabama tackles, Jedrick Wills and Alex Leatherwood, would do against Auburn’s defensive line.
Wills definitely stood up to the task this past week. We know about how great Wills’ footwork is (it might be best in the class), and he has the ability to recover and change direction with ease. Something he needs to do more consistently is land an initial punch on defenders and be more physical at the point of attack.
Check the box for this game. Wills had a great rep on a Najee Harris touchdown, where he used his upper body strength and torque to get Auburn edge defender Marlon Davidson on the ground. It’s unfortunate Alabama doesn’t play another meaningful game this year so we could see more of Wills.
Stock Up: Zack Baun, edge defender, Wisconsin
It’s been fun to watch Wisconsin edge Zack Baun this season. He’s seen a huge jump in production, racking up 11.5 sacks through 12 games, along with one interception, two passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
It was more of the same for Baun on Saturday against the Golden Gophers. Like Derrick Brown, Baun made huge plays down the stretch for the Badgers. On Minnesota’s last drive, Baun made two plays that sealed the deal for Wisconsin. He sacked Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan on 2nd down, then made the tackle for loss on 4th down to finish things off.
At just 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, NFL teams may want to see Baun play linebacker at the next level. With the athleticism and quickness he has, he could surely do that.