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6 NFL Draft Prospects on the Rise

Posted Feb 2, 2018

NFL Draft expert Dane Brugler shares a list of players who have seen their stock rise following the Senior Bowl.


There are still two months until the 2018 NFL Draft, but we are already seeing several prospects begin to move their way up big boards everywhere. Last week’s Senior Bowl gave prominent upper classmen a chance to shine in front of all 32 NFL teams.

Here are the players who created a buzz in Mobile, Ala., according to draft expert Dane Brugler. Make sure to follow Brugler on Twitter @dpbrugler.

1. Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

2017 Summary: Started every game at left tackle and was named AP All-American.

Brugler: “For me, he was the best player there. He started all 15 games at left tackle for the SEC champs. He moved inside to guard at the Senior Bowl and maybe got beat once in individual drills. He was outstanding in team drills. He was actually playing with a torn labrum. I think he helped solidify himself in the late first round mix.”

2. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

2017 Summary: 2017 AP All-America Second Team, CBS Sports All-America Second Team and All-Conference USA First Team.

Brugler: “He is in the late first, early second round mix with how he played. He’s 340 pounds, but he doesn’t need to lose any weight. He carries it well, and he moves really well. His game is all about power. He looks to manhandle you. He plays nasty. He won’t have to wait too long to hear his name.”

3. Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State

2017 Summary (Division II): 38 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Brugler: “(The Senior Bowl) was a great opportunity for the small school guys. Shepherd was a guy who not many people knew about. He intrigued me when I watched his tape back in November, but against Division II competition, you’re always kind of skeptical. He came to Mobile, and he dominated. Unfortunately he broke his hand midway through the second practice, but in his reps, he was outstanding. He had power, nimble feet, active hands – he was really tough for blockers to keep in control 1-on-1."


4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma

2017 Summary: 75 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

Brugler: “He’s 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, but he also came in with 34.5-inch arms. That’s a very good length. He’s a little undersized for a pass rusher, but during practice he really did well. He showed that he can be a defensive end in a 4-3 or he can stand up in a 3-4. He’s not a scheme specific player.”

5. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

2017 Summary: 74 receptions for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top receiver.

Brugler: “He’s a guy who reset the record books in the Big 12 with his production the last three years. He’s not the biggest guy at 5-11, 210 pounds and 34-inch arms, but he’s well put together. The biggest thing for him is how he develops as a route runner. He ran a lot of verts and a lot of digs in college. He wasn’t asked to run a complete route tree. He got better throughout the week at the Senior Bowl.”


6. D.J. Chark, WR, LSU

2017 Summary: 40 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns.

Brugler: “He’s a wide receiver who jumps off the film with his speed, but there was a lot of inconsistency. At the Senior Bowl, you really saw that speed to get behind a defense. He showed that in the game. He had more receiving yards in the game than he ever did at LSU (160 yards).”