NFL Draft Risers and Fallers

Dane Brugler
By Dane Brugler
NFLDraftScout.com Analyst

It's time to turn the page and look toward a new crop of NFL prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft class. And no, you didn't miss any college games or substantial developments when it comes to next year's class, but that doesn't mean we can't have a few offseason risers and fallers as we prepare for the 2013 college football season.

Spring injuries, off-field issues and the departure of teammates for the NFL can all affect the stock of draft prospects enough to be felt next April.

Risers and Fallers - Dane Brugler -- (Updated 5/7/2013)
1.Stock Rising
Anthony Barr
OLBUCLAAt this time last year, Barr was in the process of transitioning from running back to the defensive side of the ball. Now? He has a full season under him at linebacker and is entering his senior season as one of the Pac-12's top defenders, leading the team in sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (21.5) in 2012. During the recruiting process, the Bruins' promise to keep him as a ballcarrier on offense swayed him to UCLA, but with the new coaching staff and a crowded backfield, Barr agreed to move to linebacker last spring. He flourished at the new position as a junior and should only improve as a senior. Many scouts feel the sky is the limit for his NFL potential with another productive year rushing the passer.
2.Stock Rising
Devin Gardner
QBMichiganWhile Michigan fans probably aren't thrilled the Denard Robinson era is over in Ann Arbor, Gardner isn't upset to see "Shoelaces" off to the NFL as the junior passer is now the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Wolverines. A year ago, he was still taking reps at quarterback, but also practicing with the wide receivers, starting the 2012 season opener at wideout against Alabama. Gardner earned his first career start at quarterback in November after Robinson was injured and started the final five games there, finishing the season with 59.5 completion percentage, 1,219 passing yards and a TD-INT ratio of 11-5. Gardner, who worked extensively with well-known quarterback guru George Whitfield during the of-season, is now "the man" under center for the Wolverines - and the NFL is watching with interest.
3.Stock Rising
Paul Richardson
WRColoradoOne of the Pac-12's most talented receivers, Richardson missed the 2012 season due to a torn knee ligament that required surgery. Although after a 1-11 season, maybe it wasn't the worst thing that he didn't have to be a part of Colorado's abysmal season. But Richardson is fully healthy and poised for a breakout season, if he can stay healthy - something he hasn't been able to do yet over his three seasons in Boulder. He performed well during spring practices and has the new coaching staff excited about his potential. Richardson has said his reconstructed knee is better than ever, calling it "almost scary." Time will tell if he can stay healthy, but there is no question Richardson has intriguing NFL talent.
4.Stock Rising
Arthur Lynch
TEGeorgiaAlthough the Georgia offense has to replace two of its top targets from a year ago (Tavarres King, Marlon Brown), senior quarterback A.J. Murray has more excitement about the 2013 group than last year's. And a big reason for that is the development of Lynch. He had just nine catches over the first nine games of 2012, but finished strong with three catches in each of the final five games, proving to be a reliable pass-catcher in crucial games for his quarterback. Lynch looks the part at 6-5 and 260 pounds and if he can improve upon his second half production from a year ago, he will be one of the top SEC tight ends this season.
5.Stock Rising
Chaz Sutton
DESouth CarolinaThe "other" defensive end from South Carolina, Sutton doesn't have nearly the name notoriety of teammate and future top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, but he won't be overlooked by NFL scouts. Forced to play behind Clowney, Melvin Ingram and Devin Taylor the past two seasons, Sutton has only six career sacks, but as fifth-year senior in 2013, it wouldn't be a shock if he comes close to doubling his career sack total. He saw one start a year ago and was often subbed in on passing downs, sometimes at defensive tackle just to get him on the field. Although it will be tough to take your eyes off Clowney when watching the Gamecocks in 2013, it'll be worth it when Sutton takes advantage of all the attention blockers give to Clowney's side of the field.
1.Stock Falling
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
TEWashingtonConsidered a strong candidate to be the first tight end selected in the NFL Draft when he decides to go pro, Seferian-Jenkins is currently serving an indefinite team suspension after being charged with DUI following an accident on March 9. A two-sport star (football and basketball) at Washington, Seferian-Jenkins is a true junior, but already holds the school records for career catches (110), receiving yards (1,390) and touchdowns (13) by a tight end after just two collegiate seasons. He has no other known off-field incidents and according to head coach Steve Sarkisian, "he's a good kid who made a bad decision ... he's learned from it." While the DUI and suspension are a black eye on his NFL resume, it likely won't hurt his standing in the eyes of most pro teams as long as there are no further incidents.
2.Stock Falling
Jake Ryan
OLBMichiganNot many defenders led their teams in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks last season, but Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan did exactly that and emerged as a leader and the Wolverines' best player on that side of the ball. However he suffered a torn ACL during spring practices and is expected to miss most of the 2013 season. Head coach Brady Hoke said the best case scenario is for Ryan to return to the field by mid-October, but that prediction is extremely optimistic for torn knee ligaments and the Wolverines won't have a clearer picture about his rehab timetable until the fall. Ryan is a valuable piece to Michigan's resurgence under Hoke, but also a legitimate NFL prospect when healthy.
3.Stock Falling
Tevin McDonald
FSEastern WashingtonA two-year starter at UCLA, McDonald was dismissed from the program by Bruins head coach Jim Mora this past March for violating a team policy. He was suspended for the Holiday Bowl game in December for reportedly failing a third drug test. McDonald, the son of NFL veteran Tim McDonald and brother of 2013 NFL Draft pick T.J. McDonald, has since resurfaced at Eastern Washington where head coach Beau Baldwin said he "deserves the opportunity to continue his collegiate career." While he has next-level talent, McDonald, who finished third in tackles at UCLA last season, needs to show scouts he can stay clean off the field and stay football focused.

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