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NFL Draft: Risers and Sliders | College Football Week 2

The second full week on the college football schedule saw a shift near the top of the rankings, as well as movement between some top draft prospects.

The second full week on the college football schedule saw a shift near the top of the rankings as LSU moved up the chart while Michigan went in the other direction.  It was also a Saturday in which three linebackers from the PAC-12 saw their NFL Draft stock rise.  Here are the Risers & Sliders for week two.

Risers

Nate Landman/ILB/Colorado:  The Nebraska-Colorado contest was one of the most exciting from the weekend and Landman was the Buffaloes defensive star.  Leading all defenders in the game, he posted 14 tackles against the Cornhuskers and their versatile offense which throws multiple looks at opponents.  Landman is a tough, instinctive linebacker who really stands out defending the run.

Evan Weaver/ILB/Cal: I spoke about Weaver’s tough, nasty style of play prior to the season and that’s exactly what he displayed during Cal’s upset victory over Washington.  The senior posted 18 tackles with 2 TFLs and was omnipresent all evening.  He’s a classic MLB/ILB type and a prospect I grade a full round (5th round) earlier than scouts.

Francis Bernard/LB/Utah: I was close to adding Bernard to the risers list a week ago, and his performance on Saturday clinched the deal.  During the victory over Northern Illinois, he led all defenders with 12 tackles.  This comes on the heels of 4 tackles and an interception returned 58 yards for a touchdown against BYU.  Ignored by scouts entering the season, Bernard is incredibly athletic, and he’s starting to put the pieces together.  His story and style of play remind me of Sione Takitaki, and like Takitaki, I believe Bernard will be a third round selection in the NFL draft.

Devin Duvernay/WR/Texas: The big match-up in the LSU-Texas contest was Longhorn receiver Colin Johnson versus the awesome Tigers secondary.  And while LSU pretty much shut down Johnson, his teammate lit it up.  Duvernay finished with 12 receptions for 154 yards and 2 TDs. He was pretty much unstoppable all evening, finding ways to get open and coming away with difficult catches.  Duvernay was given a late-round grade from scouts entering the season and performances such as the one against LSU’s top-rated secondary will only enhance his stock.

Antoine Brooks Jr/S/Maryland:  I sang the praises of Brooks during the summer, specifically pointing to his polished ball skills. But Saturday, his run defense during the Terps blowout victory over Syracuse was especially impressive.  Brooks totaled 9 tackles in the game, leading all Maryland defenders, and played mistake-free football.  He’s not the athlete of former teammate Darnell Savage, a first-round pick last April’s NFL Draft, but has enough ability to develop into a Sunday starter.

Sleeper Prospect- Antonio Gandy-Golden/WR/Liberty:  While the story of Liberty this season centers on the injury and illness of head coach Hugh Freeze, the scouting community is focused on Gandy-Golden.  Entering the season as a potential late-round pick, the senior has exceeded expectations in the early going.  He caught 6 passes for 119 yards in the season opener against Syracuse, then followed up with 5 receptions for 62 yards against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.  Gandy-Golden is big-bodied possession receiver with soft, dependable hands.  His forty time will determine his final draft grade, but right now Gandy-Golden looks like a lock to be a late-round pick.

Bryce Sterk/OLB/Montana St: Sterk entered the season stamped as a late-round prospect, and he’s living up to the hype.  More of a pass-rushing linebacker, Sterk possesses outstanding size at 6-feet-3.5-inches and 255 pounds, times the forty in 4.76 seconds, and plays to those measurables.  Against Southeast Missouri State, he finished with 6 tackles, 3 TFLs, and 3 sacks.  The prior week, against Texas Tech, it was another 6 tackles with a TFL and a sack.  Sterk is a forceful defender who would be a perfect fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4.

Sliders

Shea Patterson/QB/Michigan:  Though he was reportedly playing through an oblique injury, it was not a good showing for Patterson. The Wolverines managed to squeak out a victory over Army in overtime. His numbers weren’t awful, passing for 19 of 29 for 207 yards with no TDs or INTs. Yet Patterson missed open receivers throughout the game, and his pass placement needs a lot of work. Since transferring to Michigan from Mississippi, Patterson has shown nothing in the way of development as a quarterback.

Alton Robinson/Edge/Syracuse:  Robinson was graded as a potential middle-round NFL draft pick entering the season but has looked like a late-round prospect in the early going.  Against Maryland, when he was faced off against redshirt sophomore Marcus Minor who is a first-year starter, Robinson finished the game with just one tackle.  While he should’ve been credited with a few QBH’s, he was dormant throughout most of the game.  Though Robinson is a decent pass rusher off the edge, he’s too one-dimensional as a first step/wide-angle rusher.

Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @TonyPauline.

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