5 prospects that hurt their NFL draft stock during bowl season

Mike Renner shares five players that may have slipped down big boards following their bowl performances.

| 10 months ago
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

5 prospects that hurt their NFL draft stock during bowl season

Yesterday we looked at those who helped their draft stock the most during bowl season. Now, we’re flipping over the coin to look at those whose bowl performance could have scouts dropping them down their big boards:

Paxton Lynch, Memphis QB

Obviously one game isn’t going to bury a prospect. Tools and body of work still remain king. That being said Lynch doesn’t have a large body of work against quality competition. So for him to put up his worst grade of the season (-2.4) in the season finale against one of the three power five teams Memphis faced this year is concerning. He’s always had an unusual delivery that gets little power transfer from his lower half and that was on full display against Auburn. His throws outside the numbers and downfield didn’t have the zip to fit into the tight windows the Auburn corners were giving him.

Connor Cook, Mich State QB

You don’t have to watch and analyze every single play from Alabama’s beat down of Michigan State to realize Connor Cook stunk it up (though we still did). Even the most cursory viewing made that pretty obvious. It’s not necessarily a surprise that Cook put up his worst graded game of the season (-3.2) against the highest graded secondary in the country, but Cook had a golden opportunity to really make a mark as a sure fire first rounder and he did the opposite. Any halfway decent performance would have likely seen him move up draft boards, but all he did was confirm the question marks about his accuracy. Cook was on target for only 23 of his 37 attempts and his interception to end the first half was as bad a decision as we saw from a quarterback this bowl season.

Carl Nassib, Penn St. DE

Pretty much all the concerns that have been expressed for Nassib’s game translating to the NFL came to fruition against Georgia. The biggest of which is his functional strength. Nassib was tossed around pretty good by left tackle John Theus. He managed one lone hurry, zero stops, and a missed tackle for a -2.9 overall grade. There’s still a lot to like about Nassib, but he’ll be a bit of a project at the next level.

Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida CB

Scouting cornerbacks in college is much like offensive tackles in that the cream of the crop should rarely if ever be beaten cleanly. That had been the case for Hargreaves for much of this season and 2014, but a couple missteps against Michigan tarnished that record. The first was his most egregious of the season. Hargreaves bit on a stutter-go midway through the second quarter to cede an easy 31-yard touchdown to Jehu Chesson. The first touchdown he had allowed all year. Chesson would then again beat the Florida corner for a 45 yard gain on a post route midway through the third quarter. Those 76 yards allowed were the most Hargreaves yielded in a game this season.

Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech LT

Unlike some of the others on this list, Clark hasn’t been getting much early round hype. As a mid-round prospect though, Clark may have actually cost himself more draft position than anyone on this list. Through his first 12 games, the left tackle had only allowed 19 pressures and had only one game graded below -1.0. Against LSU though and in particular true freshman Arden Key, Clark gave up eight total pressures and was generally toasted for much of the game. His -5.9 overall grade was the fifth lowest of any tackle in the bowl games.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Mike

    Jaylon Smith?

    • Tim Edell

      He didnt hurt his draft stock due to performance. In fact, he hasn’t even declared for the draft yet.

      • Mike

        No one hurt their draft stock more than Jaylon Smith. He’s declaring.

        • Joseph Daniel von Hoffman

          I can’t tell if you’re a troll or just don’t understand the phrase “following their bowl performances.”

          • Mike

            I can’t imagine a top 5 pick having a worse bowl performance than Jaylon Smith.

          • Samuel Myers

            Maybe it’s the word “performance” that’s confusing you here. This is about the quality of their play — PFF’s singular focus, by the way — not their physical health. Did the injury hurt his potential draft stock? Yes. Did his performance hurt his draft stock? No.

    • DaStrongSKRAWN

      Gotta be kidding. His natural instincts won’t be lost because of his ligament tears (which he’ll be making a full recovery).

  • Nick_CT

    tossed around pretty WELL by left tackle John Theus