College football’s conference championship weekend served up an entertaining slate of games and provided the players with a platform from which to improve their NFL Draft stock.
Let’s take a look a five players who improved their NFL Draft stock with their performances, and five players whose stock has slipped.
NFL Draft Stock ↑: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Lamb entered the Big-12 Championship game with his sights set not only on a CFP birth, but also to improve his draft stock. Lamb is considered by most to be the second-best receiver in the group behind Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. His performance on Saturday, though, closed the gap.
Lamb hauled in eight passes for 173 yards versus Baylor. On the season, he made 58 receptions for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns. His performance on Saturday may have vaulted the junior wideout into the Top-10 as a prospect.
NFL Draft Stock ↑: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins‘ performance versus Virginia on Saturday vaulted him into the national consciousness. His nine catches for 182 yards and three touchdowns were captivating. Every time he touched the ball, viewers knew something incredible was bound to happen.
Higgins has hauled in 52 receptions for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. The 6’4″ junior wideout may have played his way into the first round after Saturday. Another big time game or two in the CFP might solidify Higgins’ position as a top-flight receiver.
Just an awesome catch by Tee Higgins pic.twitter.com/XqQNilqjlz— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) December 8, 2019
NFL Draft Stock ↑: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert finished 14 of 26 for 193 yards and one touchdown versus a vaunted Utah defense. He showed off some mobility throughout the game, particularly in the opening drive. Herbert was certainly helped by the struggles of some of the other quarterback prospects, but he helped cement his place in the Top-5.
NFL Draft Stock ↑: James Lynch, DL, Baylor
Although players whose teams lost on conference championship weekend may be disappointed, James Lynch can rest assured he did everything he could to get the win.
Lynch finished the Big-12 Championship game with five total tackles, three tackles-for-loss, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. The junior could return to Baylor for his senior season, but his performance set him up to be one of the top defensive linemen on the Big Board.
NFL Draft Stock ↑: Antonio Gibson, WR/RB, Memphis
The high-profile prospects were part of the high-profile matchups on championship weekend, but players like Antonio Gibson used the platform to put their name on the board. And the versatile Gibson did it all for Memphis in the AAC championship game.
Gibson made three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown, while also making 11 carries good for 130 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three kicks for 72 total yards. Gibson could be a versatile offensive or special teams weapon in the NFL.
NFL Draft Stock ↓: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
With the season-ending injury to Tua Tagovailoa, the other quarterbacks with draft eligibility had an opportunity to move up the board. Georgia’s Jake Fromm had the chance to solidify his first-round stock, but he struggled during the SEC Championship game.
Fromm finished 20 of 42 for 225 yards one touchdown and two interceptions against LSU. He was without George Pickens for the first half and Lawrence Cager for the entire game. And yes there were dropped passes, but Fromm was off the mark throughout the afternoon. He’s probably better off returning for his senior season and rebuilding his draft stock.
NFL Draft Stock ↓: Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah
Bradlee Anae is one top-edge rushers in the nation this year, but in the Pac-12 championship game, he was largely invisible. Oregon boasts one of the top offensive lines in the country, and Anae’s inability to consistently generate pressure doesn’t bode well for his draft prospects.
Anae had hopes of being a second-day selection, perhaps in the third round. But he’ll need to rebuild his stock in the Alamo Bowl and the Senior Bowl.
NFL Draft Stock ↓: Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
Anae’s teammate, Leki Fotu, also had a chance to move up the board but his performance didn’t help. Utah featured one of the top rushing defenses in the country this year, and Fotu was a big part of the that.
Unfortunately, Fotu and the Utes couldn’t stop Oregon’s rushing attack last Friday. The Ducks ran for 239 yards on the night, and running back CJ Verdell broke off a pair of long fourth quarter runs to put the game out of reach. Fotu will join his Ute teammates at the Senior Bowl in hopes of improving his draft stock.
NFL Draft Stock ↓: Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Although the Sooners won the Big-12 in another thriller, Humphrey couldn’t do much to improve his stock during the game. Considered one of the top interior linemen in the country, Humphrey could have cemented his spot as a first rounder.
Humphrey committed a pair of false start penalties on Saturday. He also allowed the Baylor Bears to pressure his quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Humphrey is a redshirt sophomore, so he could return to school, but a solid showing during the CFP could reestablish his spot as the top center in the 2020 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft Stock ↓: Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Georgia
Blankenship entered the game as one of the top kickers eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the senior kicker missed a pair of field goals and did not help his stock in the least.
Blankenship is 25-31 as a senior, but he’s missed several clutch kicks, including the pair in the SEC Championship as well as during the Bulldogs’ lost to South Carolina. Blankenship may have kicked himself off the board.