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Steve Muench's Stock Report
Up: Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews*
Offensive tackle is one of the most unsettled positions on 2013 draft boards. The potential for prospects to make a move is there, and Matthews is taking advantage. He doesn't grade as high as teammate Luke Joeckel, who has an edge in terms of foot speed and awareness, but Matthews' overall footwork, balance and strength at the top of his set in pass protection stood out earlier this season in a matchup with a potential first-rounder in LSU DE Barkevious Mingo.
Michigan State DE William Gholston*
Gholston has the frame and athleticism to push for early playing time at end in a three- or four-man front in the NFL. Problem is, his production doesn't match his talent level. Gholston struggles to sink his hips and keep his balance and was seen on the ground far too often against Michigan. Effort is another issue. His motor is inconsistent, and while the coaching staff didn't reveal much about the decision not to start him against Eastern Michigan earlier this season, any organization interested in drafting him will want a definitive reason for it.
Kevin Weidl's Stock Report
Wheaton doesn't get a lot of publicity playing late games out west, but he's worth watching. He's a burner with the top-end speed to get behind defenses, and he has the extra gear to ruin pursuit angles once he gets the ball in his hands. Wheaton is a little tight in the hips and is somewhat restricted in his route-running, but he is shifty in the open field and has impressive hands/ball skills. We gave him a second-round grade coming into the season, and Wheaton is cementing that status.
Down: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
Let's be clear about one thing: Hunter remains atop the wide receiver class thanks to his frame, body control and potential. However, I've seen him live multiple times this season and have concerns about his inconsistency. Hunter has had trouble tracking the ball and been late finding it out of breaks at times, and the result has been more than a handful of drops in the games I scouted in person. His focus is a little bit of a concern. Hunter remains in the first-round mix, but he's not living up to the top-10 grade he carried coming into the preseason.
Scouts Inc. Observations
Muench: South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore's gruesome season-ending knee injury is one of the toughest stories in college football this season, and from an NFL draft standpoint, it significantly weakens an already thin running back class. While Lattimore was the only back on our board with a first-round grade before he got hurt, other injuries have affected the depth of the class. Florida State's Chris Thompson sustained a season-ending knee injury in the Miami game, and the undersized speedster missed most of the 2011 season with a broken back. There's a chance that Ohio State's Jordan Hall misses the rest of the season after suffering a partial PCL tear in the Michigan State game. He hasn't played since then, after missing the first two games recovering from a foot injury he sustained in the offseason. Middle Tennessee's Benny Cunningham entered the Day 3 conversation after turning heads with his 217-yard, five-touchdown performance at Georgia Tech, but he sustained a season-ending knee injury against FIU.
Weidl: My colleague Steve Muench broke down the five first-round defensive tackles on the 2013 board, but there's a trio behind them that could really bolster the depth of the class if all three enter the draft. Tennessee's Daniel McCullers is a massive presence in the middle, and he has improved in terms of hands, technique and pad level in each of the four games I've seen in person. Notre Dame's Louis Nix is also a huge prospect. He flashes a strong anchor and the power to collapse the pocket and has good range for his size to make plays outside the tackle box. Finally, Purdue's Kawann Short is a senior who has become more consistent this season. He is not a massive two-gapper like McCullers and Nix, but Short has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt in a one-gap scheme. All three have early-round potential and would strengthen what is already one of the top positions on the board.