2014 NFL Draft Stock Watch: Running Backs Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey Lead Week 6 Impressive Performances

Carlos HydeIn a weekend that saw Ohio State, Stanford, and Georgia narrowly escape with victories and Arizona State come up just short against Notre Dame. This Week 6 Stock report is led by performances of Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey on the ground and Ty Montgomery in more places than at receiver.

Who Impressed This Weekend
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
After a three-game suspension started his season, Carlos Hyde has slowly climbed back into favor with the coaching staff. Now, after the way he played against Northwestern despite Braxton Miller’s suspect play, Hyde has regained the form I expected from the pre-season. A powerful interior runner who takes advantage of arm tackles/poor tackling positioning well, Hyde likely will be limited to a rotational role at the NFL level thanks to his lack of big play running ability. But if he’s able to produce in big games against sound defenses like Northwestern, he’ll have a very good shot at ending as a top five round selection.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington (JR)
While I’ve already wrote in-depth on his play against Stanford, Sankey certainly vaulted himself from well-producing runner to arguably the nation’s top back. Showcasing the body control, balance, and through-hole vision, Sankey still put up plus numbers despite playing one of the most talented front sevens in college football.

Ty Montgomery, WR/KR, Stanford (JR)
Neither quarterback Kevin Hogan nor feature running back Tyler Gaffney were able to produce against the Washington defense with consistency. However, it was Ty Montgomery’s play as a runner (2 carries for 30 yards, including a 26 yard run), receiver (39 yard touchdown vertical route) and as a returner (with a 99 yard touchdown to start the game). The 6’2 vertical threat continues to add to the ever-growing talent of Pac-12 receivers.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State (JR)
The Arizona State running game wasn’t able to produce as well as expected against the Notre Dame defense, but Jaelen Strong continued to have standout performances against another talented defense. Now with his fourth-straight 100-yard performance, Strong has now torched Wisconsin, Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks. The 6’4 receiver has the size, vertical presence, and subtle separation downfield to make plays at the next level, if the redshirt sophomore decides to declare.

Rajion Neal, RB, Tennessee
In what ended up being the most entertaining game of the weekend due to the near upset Tennessee pulled, both teams had surprising success on the ground. While Georgia ended with 238 yards as a team, Tennessee’s senior Raijon Neal ended up as the game’s leading rusher, with 148 yards. The compact runner was able to utilize the impressive offensive line play in front of him along with patience throughout the game to nearly lead the Volunteers to their first signature win in the Butch Jones era. Neal, considered still to be a late round running back, hopes to follow in the line of Tennessee running backs that have surprisingly NFL success.

Who Didn’t Struggled This Weekend
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
Continuing what has been more of a “flash” season than the elite production he had last year, Sutton has been surprisingly handled by one blocker in more than one game this season, and wasn’t able to make a substantial impact against Notre Dame. He’s a key to their defense’s success in the passing game, which is a big read the Notre Dame running game was efficient and the passing game able to be more consistent than in the past. Sutton has the burst off the line, quickness as a rusher, and finishing ability that certainly flashes, but he’s making it more and more difficult for teams to value him as a first round pick so far this year.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (JR)
After a game where I threw substantial praise on him, Miller struggled mightily against a schematically sound yet lackluster talent-wise Northwestern defense. Miller seemed to revert back to his footwork, decision making, and ball placement that he showed as a sophomore last year. He’s very thankful that Carlos Hyde was able to have success, and the team was able to get the win despite his struggles as a passer. I’d be surprised if Urban Meyer pulled the trigger, but as I alluded to in last week’s article, Kenny Guiton has proved to be a more consistent passer this year.

Coly Lyerla, TE, Oregon (JR)
It’s more of a story that Lyerla DID NOT play last week, or most of the season this year. Lyerla has decided to leave the Oregon program, opting to prepare for his professional career rather than finish out his season at Oregon. While it’s not a surprise that the NFL has been on Colt’s mind this year (he’s talented enough to be a Top 64 prospect), it is very concerning for him to leave mid-season, especially because of the concerns every NFL team has about him off the field. While the actual details of his past and current off the field transgressions haven’t come to a head in the media yet, we’ll be working towards uncovering more about what Colt Lyerla is like off the field, and if NFL teams should make the Aaron Hernandez-type comparison for Lyerla pre-draft.

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