In our first installment of stock watch this draft season, the National Football Post takes a look at three prospects who have either helped or hurt themselves with their performances in recent weeks.
Moving on up…
Will Barker: OT/OG Virginia, 6-7, 317
It’s not surprising that Barker has gone under the radar until this point. He’s a right tackle-only prospect who played on one of the poorer offenses this past season. However, coming from a university that has turned out its share of NFL-caliber starting tackles, Barker could be the next in line. As I said, he’s limited to the right side only at the next level, but he did showcase the ability at this year’s Texas vs. the Nation game to hold his own inside at guard. He’s a tough, nasty run blocker who can win at the point of attack while also showing the balance and length to hold his own in the pass game. Barker isn’t a guy who will get much love on draft day and isn’t an early round type of prospect, but I think he has a lot more value than prospects like Sam Young, Selvish Capers and Chris Marinelli. He’s someone who can not only make an NFL roster but eventually could be asked to start somewhere along a team’s offensive line.
Jonathan Crompton: QB, Tennessee, 6-3, 222
In a draft starved for quarterbacks with NFL-caliber skill sets, Crompton looks like one of the few in this year’s class who has the ability to make all the throws at the next level. He was by far one of the most impressive quarterbacks at this year’s postseason all-star games, spinning a clean football and showcasing impressive arm strength down the field. Coming into the 2009 season, there weren’t many people who thought Crompton could turn himself into an NFL-caliber quarterback, but after watching him improve his game dramatically after only one year under Lane Kiffin, one has to think there’s a ton of untapped potential in his game. He is still far from a finished product in the mental aspects of the game, but he has the physical abilities needed to play in the NFL. And in an uninspiring quarterback class, he could end up being a real gem down the road.
Junior Galette: OLB/DE, Stillman, 6-2, 244
Galette is a former Temple standout who registered 7½ sacks as a junior in 2008. However, after being suspended indefinitely in November of that year, he decided to transfer to Division II Stillman College, posting 9½ sacks and earning All-American honors in 2009. Yet it was his performance at this year’s Texas vs. the Nation game that could end up helping him improve his draft stock. During the game, he showcased the ability to not only win with speed off the edge, but his body control and lateral quickness on an up-and-under move exhibited the type of counter needed to be successful at the next level. He’s still undersized and struggles to disengage from blocks once an opposing lineman gets his hands on him, but, he’s an explosive athlete with a good first step and has some upside as a nickel rusher or 3-4 OLB.
Willie Young: DE, NC State, 6-5, 251
The notion that Young was ever considered one of the nation’s top defensive end prospects baffles me. He’s a tall, long-armed kid who has the ability to eventually shed himself from blocks and work his way past opposing lineman, but he lacks ideal bend and burst out of his stance, plays soft vs. the run and simply doesn’t stand out in any area. At this year’s East-West Shrine Game, he looked like just another guy in practice and the game and doesn’t look like a prospect with impact pass-rush potential at the next level.
Donald Jones: WR, Youngstown State, 6-0, 212
Jones came into the year as one of the nation’s top small-schools wide receiver prospects, and I admit that I was excited to see him get thrown into the mix at the Senior Bowl. But talk about a guy who didn’t belong. Jones possesses good size and length for the position and has the body control to go up and fight for the football, but he struggled to maintain balance when changing directions, didn’t generate any kind of acceleration out of his breaks and was a sloppy route runner. If you have a receiver who struggles to generate a burst and isn’t a clean route runner, you really don’t have much of an NFL-caliber wide receiver prospect. Jones could improve with some NFL coaching, but he doesn’t look like anything more than a practice squad prospect at this stage.
Lamarr Houston: DT, Texas, 6-3, 302
Watching Houston this past season, I was intrigued by his game and thought he had the kind of athletic ability needed to create some havoc behind the line of scrimmage at the next level. However, after seeing him struggle vs. Texas A&M center Kevin Matthews toward the end of the year and then be a non-factor all week at the Senior Bowl, I’m starting to change my mind. Houston isn’t real big, lacks the type of burst needed to consistently win with his first step and doesn’t stand out in any area of the game when matched up with NFL-caliber talent. He did make a bunch of plays this year in the Big 12, but I’m starting to think he simply benefited from playing against poorer competition and doesn’t look like anything more than a reserve/rotational guy.
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