NFL Draft Stock Report: Pauline’s Week 3 Risers and Sliders

Week 3 of college football is in the books. Tony Pauline is here to tell you who is rising and sliding in his 2021 NFL Draft Stock Report.

The final abbreviated weekend schedule in college football before the SEC kicks off saw several outstanding performances from defensive players back from injury. We also saw three skill prospects light the field up. So who saw their NFL draft stock improve in Week 3? Here are this week’s risers and sliders.

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NFL Draft Stock Report: CFB Week 3 Risers

Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh

Despite missing 2019 with a knee injury, scouts graded Weaver as a potential top-100 prospect entering the season. He proved worthy of that grade, if not better, against Syracuse. In his first game back, Weaver posted seven tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. He was omnipresent in all facets of the game and was a constant nuisance for the SU offense. Continued productive play on the field, coupled with solid predraft workouts, will help Weaver snag a spot on the second day of the draft.

Josh Ball, OT, Marshall

Ball was someone I highlighted numerous times last week in anticipation of his matchup against Demetrius Taylor of Appalachian State. It was obvious from the start that Ball was winning the battle, as the playmaking Taylor struggled to make his presence felt. Ball is a tall, lanky left tackle who blocks with tremendous fundamentals, strength and balance. Though he was given a third-day grade entering the season, many in the scouting community believe Ball could slide into the draft’s second day, and the senior made his case Saturday.

Zach McCloud, LB, Miami (FL)

McCloud made the difficult decision last season to redshirt, but he has returned with a vengeance. Against the high-octane Louisville offense, McCloud finished with nine tackles including one for loss and a sack. More impressive than the stats were the leadership and discipline McCloud displayed. While he lacks the desired size and speed, McCloud is a hard-charging, instinctive linebacker who plays assignment football and finds ways to produce.

Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana

After upsetting Iowa State a week ago, it looked as though Louisiana would have a letdown and get upset themselves by Georgia State. But Mitchell ended up carrying his team to victory in overtime, totaling 164 yards on 16 carries, two which went for touchdowns. Mitchell is a powerful downhill ball carrier with terrific vision and outstanding short-area quickness. He has limitations, but he’ll be a solid Day 3 pick for a team that wants a short-yardage ball carrier.

Tim Jones, WR, Southern Mississippi

Despite being in control for most of the game, Southern Miss succumbed to Louisiana Tech in the final seconds. Despite this, Jones did his best to help USM win the contest. The senior wideout, who is graded as a potential late-round pick by scouts, finished the game with eight receptions for 160 yards and two TDs, showing the one element many were concerned he didn’t possess — speed. He’s well-built and catches the ball well, and if Jones runs fast times (under 4.50 seconds) prior to next April, he should be selected in the late rounds.

Marlon Williams, WR, Central Florida

Despite graduations, defections to the NFL and a multitude of quarterback changes, the Central Florida offense never seems to skip a beat. And so it was against Georgia Tech, as UCF racked up 660 yards in total offense. Williams was responsible for 154 of those yards on 10 receptions, two of which ended up in the end zone. Williams has a stout build and he’s known as a possession wideout rather than a pass-catcher who’ll average 15 yards or more per reception. His game really took off last season, and although he’s not a vertical wideout, he’ll be a good fit for a timing or West Coast passing game.

NFL Draft CFB Week 3 Sleeper Prospect

Miles Fox, DT, Wake Forest

Fox is someone who has been on my scouting radar since his days at Old Dominion. The sixth-year senior came to Wake Forest via the graduate transfer route, but he sat on the sidelines last season after tearing his Achilles. His return to the field included two tackles (one for loss) last week against Clemson and four tackles (1.5 for loss) and a sack this weekend against North Carolina State. Fox is undersized at barely six feet and 290 pounds, but he’s quick, explosive and intense. He’s a good fit as a three-technique/one-gap tackle at the next level.

NFL Draft Stock Report: CFB Week 3 Slider

Josh Johnson, RB, Louisiana-Monroe

Johnson is well-liked in the scouting community and has garnered some Day 3 consideration. He’s a short, powerful ball carrier who moves the pile and picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact, but his play this season has shown none of that. Johnson rushed for just 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0-yard average) against Texas State this weekend after only 32 yards against Army. While there’s plenty of season left to right the ship, Johnson must elevate his game after a pair of poor performances against average defenses.

Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365

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.