Stock up, stock down: Who's soaring and who's fading before the 2024 NFL Draft

stock up, stock down: who's soaring and who's fading before the 2024 nfl draft

Ladd McConkey.

The NFL Draft is almost here. With only about a week until the Bears are officially on the clock, let’s examine which players are receiving positive stock updates and who is trending in the wrong direction.

Stock up

Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey: Buzz has mounted that McConkey, whose “ceiling is like an Antonio Brown” according to NFL draft expert Dane Brugler, could be one of several wideouts selected in the first round.

The Buffalo News’s Ryan O’Halloran laid out a compelling argument for the Bills, which moved on from receivers Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs this offseason, to select him at No. 28 overall.

O’Halloran pointed to his 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, and that could also make him an option for the 49ers. NFL insider Peter Schrager has San Francisco selecting the Georgia wideout at No. 29 in his mock draft released Tuesday.

“The chances of hitting that ceiling? Probably not super high,” Brugler cautioned, before adding, “But I at least think he has that type of ability because he’s super talented.” (h/t Sports Illustrated)

Stock down

Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu: Fashanu hasn’t changed since he entered the offseason in consideration with Notre Dame’s Joe Alt for best tackle in the class, and yet his momentum has stalled in recent months. The former Nittany Lions’ dip has more to do with others, including Alabama’s JC Latham and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, lifting their stock.

Stock up

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.: Even ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., who has Penix falling to the second round, conceded that the former Husky appears to be in the mix for a Day 1 selection during a recent crossover appearance on NFL Network.

“Michael Penix Jr. is gaining momentum,” Kiper said. He then listed a few things working in his favor. “We see him throw the football. He can spin it, he can layer it to every level. Can he stay healthy? He was the last two years after being injured at Indiana.”

One executive recently told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “I don’t think he’s there in [Round] 2.”

Stock down

Illinois defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton: Texas’ Byron Murphy has emerged as the top interior defensive lineman in the class, and his rise could result in Newton sliding down the draft, potentially out of the first round.

Stock up

Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell: The top prospect from a mid-major, Mitchell has also established himself as the draft’s top corner. Kiper listed him as his No. 1 cornerback in the class, and Mitchell also recently received praise from Yates and ESPN’s Pete Thames during the “College GameDay Podcast.”

Mitchell’s stock has soared since he appeared at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, where he excelled against Power Five talent in one-on-one drills. He’s no longer sneaking up on anyone. Mitchell is on everyone’s radar.

Stock down

Running backs: A year after two backs (Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs) went in the first round, it will, in all likelihood, take much longer for the first running back to come off the board in 2024.

Jonathon Brooks (Texas), Trey Benson (Florida State) and Blake Corum (Michigan) are the top backs in this year’s class but none of the trio is expected to be selected early. In Field Yates’ and Kiper’s three-round mock draft, for example, Brooks is the first back off the board at No. 56.

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