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.