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NFL Draft

5 Players Who Raised 2021 NFL Draft Stock This Week

  • The Draft Network
  • November 23, 2020
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For the first time all season, this column is absent of any SEC or ACC players and only has one returning name from a prior week. From a scouting perspective, one of the most enjoyable parts of following the season is watching new names emerge as more games are played. The circumstances of 2020 has changed some of those dynamics, but the bottom line is we are getting more exposure to more football players and the landscape of the 2021 NFL Draft is slowly coming into focus. These five prospects helped themselves the most this weekend. 

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Indiana

The Hoosiers came close but weren’t able to upset Ohio State on Saturday, but Penix Jr. could hardly be faulted for the 42-35 loss. For the contest, Penix Jr. completed 27-of-51 passes for 491 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He also fell victim to seven drops by his receivers. 

The Buckeyes are usually loaded with future NFL players in the secondary, but that didn’t stop Penix Jr. from throwing the ball all over the yard. He completed five passes targeted at least 20 yards down the field and was unfazed by the heavy pressure Ohio State was able to generate all game long. While Penix Jr. isn’t among the elite quarterback prospects in the rising class, finding this type of success against Ohio State absolutely helps his draft stock. No quarterback did more this weekend than Penix Jr. when it comes to capturing some buzz about their NFL future.

Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Midweek MAC football is a tradition like no other and Patterson put on an absolute show against Bowling Green. In the Bulls’ 42-17 victory on Thursday night, Patterson logged 31 carries for 301 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He accounted for 64% of Buffalo’s total offensive yards—Bowling Green knew he was getting the ball and still couldn’t stop him. 

Averaging a whopping 9.7 yards per carry, eight of Patterson’s carries went for at least 10 yards and 16 resulted in first downs. Patterson has been a productive back for the Bulls since 2018 and his blend of elusiveness, vision, and balance makes him an appealing prospect for the NFL. While Bowling Green isn’t known for its stout defense, the type of production Patterson had on Thursday helps his stock. He was a game-changer.

Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State

The collective Buckeyes defensive effort against Indiana was far from impressive, but that doesn’t mean there weren't any strong individual efforts and Garrett is proof of that. Garrett was able to apply steady heat on the quarterback and helped limit the Hoosiers to -1 rushing yards in the game. 

Much has been said about how the 2021 NFL Draft class is lacking when it comes to defensive tackle prospects, but Garrett has certainly moved the needle with how he’s performed so far in 2020 and Saturday was another strong outing. While his sack production has been modest, that doesn’t tell the story of how effective he has been in applying heat on the passer and impacting them. Garrett is finally commanding starter reps for Ohio State and he’s producing and elevating his draft stock along the way.

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Another week, another dominant outing for Collins, who has arguably been the biggest riser when it comes to defensive prospects this season. For consecutive weeks, Collins snagged a game-clinching interception to give Tulsa a victory. His production as a pass rusher, run defender, and especially in coverage has been elite so far in 2020. It’s rare to find linebackers of his size that bring such a versatile skill set to the table and at this point, Collins is just showing off each week. 

Collins logged a game-high 15 tackles, applied heat on the quarterback in limited pass-rush snaps, and continued to be lock down in coverage to go with the game-winning defensive touchdown in overtime. Look at this man move at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds!

Ronnie Perkins, EDGE, Oklahoma

I always pay close attention to rivalry games because of the elevated intensity and what it reveals in prospects. In the Sooners’ 41-13 win over Oklahoma State, Perkins was the best football player on the field. On the Sooners’ first defensive snap of the game, Perkins pressured Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders into an intentional grounding penalty that set the tone for a rare dominant defensive performance for Oklahoma.

The forced intentional grounding penalty won’t show up in the stat sheet, but Perkins did tally five tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks in a game where Oklahoma limited Oklahoma State to just 13 points and fewer than 250 total yards. Perkins has questions to answer about the suspension that delayed the start of his season, but he’s been completely dominant in three games since returning to the lineup.

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