NFL Draft Stock Report: Temple pass rush pair creating serious buzz

Who helped themselves?

Haason Reddick , OLB, Temple Owls , rSR. (6-1, 230, 4.54, #7)
Temple lost several key members of last year's defense that led the program to double-digit wins, including three draft picks. But Reddick was one of the key returning starters this season and he has created buzz among NFL scouts with his development, currently leading college football with 15.5 tackles for loss.

A wide receiver and safety in high school, Reddick moved to linebacker for the Owls and shined on special teams earlier in his career. He has the athletic traits and secondary quickness off blocks to be an impact pass rusher, lining up at defensive end and edge rusher. Reddick also showed his versatility against South Florida Bulls as a middle linebacker when Temple went to uneven fronts, spying the quarterback and floating in space.

haason-reddick.jpg
Haason Reddick has racked up more tackles than any other player in the nation in 2016. USATSI

Although he lacks the length and power to consistently stack-and-shed NFL blockers in the trenches, Reddick has pursuit speed and awareness to play off the line of scrimmage, while also serving as a nickel rusher with his burst and flexibility off the edge. He has played like one of the best outside linebacker prospects in this year's senior class.

Romond Deloatch , TE/DE, Temple, rSR. (6-3, 220, 4.68, #11)
Reddick leading Temple with 7.5 sacks this season isn't a shock, but Deloatch second on the team with four sacks has been a pleasant surprise. A wide receiver out of high school, Deloatch has spent most of his playing time the past few seasons as a hybrid tight end, but also took on the role of a situational pass rusher in 2016 and has caught the eye of evaluators.

He has only six tackles, but five have been for loss, adding four sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Deloatch, who also has 14 catches for 209 yards on offense this season, has a tall, long frame with the get-off quickness and bend to run the arc and disrupt the pocket. Against South Florida last Friday, he used that edge speed late in the game to get by the outside shoulder of the tackle and sack the quarterback in the end zone for the safety. Deloatch is obviously unrefined with his hand usage and pass rush sequence, but the raw tools are intriguing for a NFL team to develop.

Takkarist McKinley , DE, UCLA Bruins , SR. (6-2, 258, 4.62, #98)
UCLA has lost four of the last five games, but McKinley has been one of the bright spots for the Bruins, performing well despite a nagging groin injury. On Saturday against Utah Utes , he was at his best with five tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups and a recovered fumble.

McKinley, who currently leads the FBS in tackles for loss per game (2.0), has explosive athletic traits and the quickness to challenge edge blockers with speed alone. He tends to be inefficient with his hand tactics, which hinders his ability to convert speed to power, but when McKinley stays controlled with his pass rush moves, he can swat, bait and work off contact. He also holds up well at the point of attack, setting the edge and filtering runs inside to hold contain. Although not quite the sum of his parts yet, McKinley has the hip flexibility to work in tight spaces and get offenses off-schedule due to his relentless rush.

Jonathan Allen , DE, Alabama Crimson Tide , SR. (6-3, 291, 4.85, #93)
Arguably the top senior NFL prospect in the country, Allen isn't exactly a "riser" because he is already considered a top-10 pick by NFL scouts, but on Saturday, he reminded everyone why evaluators are so high on the Alabama product. Against Texas Longhorns A&M on Saturday, Allen was frequently in the backfield and posted six tackles and one sack. However, the stat sheet doesn't do his performance justice.

Allen's sack came on a play that will be shown on repeat between now and the 2017 NFL Draft as he shook the guard to enter the backfield and barreled towards the running back in pass protection. But instead of taking on the contact of the blocker, Allen made the split-second decision to leap over the low block and land in the lap of quarterback Trevor Knight , making the superman sack.

Jonathan Allen makes the big sack against Texas A&M. USATSI

With the Aggies only down by six late in the third quarter, Allen put the game out of reach when he scooped a fumble and returned it 30 yards for the nail-in-the-coffin touchdown. The score extended Alabama's streak to 10 consecutive games with at least one non-offensive score.

Who hurt themselves?

Raekwon McMillan , MLB, Ohio State Buckeyes , JR. (6-2, 240, 4.78, #5)
As a five-star recruit out of Georgia Bulldogs , McMillan arrived in Columbus with plenty of hype and he made an immediate impact as a true freshman on Ohio State's 2014 national title team. He then earned the starting middle linebacker role last season and led the Buckeyes with 119 tackles, setting up what many thought would be his final season for the Buckeyes in 2016.

However, McMillan has struggled as a junior in both pass coverage and run support, not living up to the first round hype entering the year. He looks like a NFL linebacker with the size dimensions needed at the next level and Ohio State and opposing coaches have praised him for his mental make-up. But McMillan's average athleticism has frequently stood out this season, including in the loss to Penn State Nittany Lions where he missed several tackles and struggled to keep himself clean from blocks. He needs to better control his balance to break down in the open field or it will be tough for teams to justify using an early round pick on him.

Other NFL Draft notes

  • What a reintroduction. After missing the previous three games due to an ankle injury, LSU Tigers junior RB Leonard Fournette (6-1, 230, 4.45, #7) ran through the Ole Miss defense like tissue paper, rushing for 284 yards on only 16 carries (17.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He looked like his old self Saturday night against a below average Rebels' run defense, showing off both his speed and power. He hit run lanes with conviction and the downhill acceleration to attack the second and third levels like a crazed freight train off the tracks. With LSU on a bye this weekend, Fournette will have some time to rest up before the Detroit Tigers welcome Alabama to Baton Rouge the following Saturday. With only 31 yards on 19 carries last year against the Tide defense, scouts will be eager to see how Fournette performs against Nick Saban's squad this season.
  • Obviously the FBS and major conferences are where the NFL will do most of their shopping next spring, but the "small school" prospects will be well represented in the 2017 NFL Draft as well. Shepherd redshirt senior WR Billy Brown (6-4, 236, 4.58, #81) has dominated Division-II competition this season with 50 receptions for 841 yards and 11 touchdowns through seven games, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. He has near-tight end size with the build and power to simply overwhelm defenders at the catch point. Brown doesn't have elite speed for the next level, but he plays with the savvy, ball skills and physicality to possibly carve out a role on a NFL offense. Penn Senior QB Alek Torgersen (6-2, 230, 4.93, #10) is not lock to be drafted, but he has the skill-set to at least get a chance to make a roster during training camp. He is a good-sized athlete with the arm talent and efficient delivery worth developing. Torgersen is a name to keep an eye on.
  • Southern Methodist Mustangs surprised the college football world on Saturday, upsetting Houston Cougars in a game the Mustangs controlled from the first quarter. The match-ups showcased a few of SMU's notable NFL prospects, primarily redshirt sophomore WR Courtland Sutton (6-3, 215, 4.59, #16), who posted seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. With his size and length, he has fantastic leaping skills with the athleticism to make natural adjustments on the ball downfield, routinely beating single coverage. Sutton, who also played for the Mustangs' basketball team last season, has the raw talent to be a top-five receiver prospect whenever he goes pro. The other SMU prospect who stood out was redshirt senior DE Jarvis Pruitt (6-3, 255, 4.76, #34), who finished Saturday's game with three sacks and a fumble recovery. He received "reject" grades from scouts over the summer, but a few more performances like that and Pruitt will earn more respect from evaluators.
  • After entering the season as part of the Utes running back committee, senior RB Joe Williams (5-11, 205, 4.53, #28) decided to quit the team (or "retire") after just two games in September due to injury concerns. After a four-week absence, he returned against Oregon State Beavers two weeks ago and put his name in the record books this past weekend against UCLA. Williams destroyed the single game school rushing record with 332 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns as the Utes defeated the Bruins, 52-45 in the Rose Bowl. With light feet and agile moves, Williams is able to laterally jump his way out of trouble, easily transitioning his momentum in his cuts. He has the athleticism that makes scouts take notice, but lacks the traditional build and offers very little power in his run style. Williams also has a history of fumbles and his hiatus due to injury concerns is obviously a red flag that NFL teams won't overlook.
  • Wisconsin Badgers redshirt junior ILB Jack Cichy (6-1, 233, 4.79, #48) looked like a first round pick two weeks ago against Ohio State and has been one of the leaders for a stout Badgers defense this season. However, he will be sidelined for the second half of the year due to a torn pec, requiring surgery. Assuming he returns for his senior year and is fully healthy, Cichy will enter next season as one of the top middle linebacker prospects for the 2018 class.
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