2020 NFL Draft Stock Watch: Is Iowa’s Nate Stanley even draftable?

NCAA Football, NFL Draft

In this week’s 2020 NFL Draft stock watch, a quarterback disappoints, a tight end rises and two receivers going in opposite directions.

It’s often difficult to rely on just one performance to determine where players’ 2020 NFL Draft stock is in the middle of the season. Take Utah State’s Jordan Love for example. I think there’s no doubt a strong performance against LSU is a big deal, but a rough game is more expected because of the talent differential.

We are now approaching mid-season in college football, which means there’s probably enough tape out on most guys to back up or refute thoughts from the summer. The 2020 NFL Draft is still a long way off, and there is still plenty of time for prospects to turn things around.

But right now, these six players are moving in one direction or another. After five or six games of performance, here’s where they stand.

Stock up: Jacob Breeland, TE, Oregon

No tight end has done more to improve his draft stock in the 2019 season than Jacob Breeland. Breeland has been an important target for Justin Herbert so far this season. He has five touchdowns on the season which already surpassed his total of two from 2018, and he has nearly passed his total receptions and yards from last season.

Getting away from the stat sheet, Breeland has been excellent stretching the field with his straight-line speed. He is opening things up for this offense and finding space in the secondary. Breeland’s hands are much better than last season as well. If you look back to 2018, there are some bad drops on tape. It’s not the case this season. He’s working his way to Day Two right now.

Stock up: Ashtyn Davis, S, California

Ashtyn Davis is a name that hasn’t come up on stock watch, but he should’ve been on here a long while ago. However, he fits in perfectly this week because we can talk about the body of work so far this season.

The safety class looks a little weak right now, but it’s not because of Davis. Davis has three passes defensed, 33 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception so far this year. He has the speed and range to cover so much ground on the back end of the defense but also has the instincts to watch quarterbacks and break early on the football. He made an excellent play last weekend against Oregon, picking off Herbert with great anticipation. He’s a top 50 player right now.

Stock down: Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

Nate Stanley was the ultimate conundrum last season for the Hawkeyes as far as an NFL Draft prospect, making him a fringe top 10 draft-eligible quarterback coming into the season. After five games this season, it’s clear he isn’t even a top 10 player at the position.

Stanley definitely plays conservative as a quarterback, which isn’t necessarily a big knock. He manages the game well for the most part on an Iowa team that plays great defense. There are even times where he will make a tough intermediate throw that gets you excited. The problem is his inconsistency. Against Michigan this past weekend, Stanley looked lost scanning the field and threw bad interceptions, one over the middle with his tight end completely covered, and another where he overshot his receiver by five yards.

Stock up: James Proche, WR, SMU

James Proche had a great year as a redshirt junior, putting up nearly 1,200 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He has seven touchdowns already this year and should clear the 1,000-yard mark again this season.

Despite his six-foot, 193-pound stature, Proche can make plays in contested situations, especially in the red zone. He has excellent body control along the sideline as well. The fact Proche can win in many ways as a receiver immediately boosts his stock. He should end up down in Mobile in January and could contend for the top senior receiver prospect.

Stock up: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

We know Georgia has an elite tackle prospect in Andrew Thomas, but flip over to the other side and you’ll see Isaiah Wilson has some prowess too. At first glance, you see a tackle that is pretty quick and athletic with his movement. He can recover well and can get out in front of running plays when asked to. He is a finisher who is constantly looking for more defenders to run over. There is a reason he isn’t up there with the top tackle prospects right now. He is mostly using his athleticism to win rather than technique. The good news though is technique can be taught and Wilson has some traits others don’t have.

Stock down: Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

We’ve talked about how the wide receiver class is loaded for the 2020 NFL Draft. That includes the senior group, where many guys are already turning heads and improving. The same can’t be said right now for Collin Johnson. Johnson is a six-foot-six beast who can win above the rim at will and showed plenty of that last season.

He chose to return for his senior season, and so far it hasn’t gone great. He’s missed three games with a hamstring injury, but when he did play, he was overshadowed by others around him, especially Devin Duvernay. He posted just seven catches in two games. With teams moving away from big targets who can’t separate well, it’s possible Johnson becomes a late day three selection.

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