Debate: Which player has helped his stock most in first half?


It's the halfway point of the 2015 college football season. Which player who could be eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft (redshirt sophomores, juniors, seniors) has helped his stock the most in the first half of the season?

  • !
  • Lance Zierlein
  • Goff's hot start enough to entice scouts

Despite his five-interception game the last time out, I believe Cal quarterback Jared Goff has helped his draft stock the most so far this year. Scouts were already fairly high on Goff's potential heading into the season, but he's been the one guy I've heard mentioned the most as shooting up the draft boards. Teams want to believe in big, pocket quarterbacks and Goff's hot start, combined with solid tape from last year, is impressive.

  • !
  • Charles Davis
  • Hilltopper QB has been impressive

My pick is Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty. Overshadowed in 2014 in his own conference by the deserved hype for Marshall QB Rakeem Cato, and nationally, as WKU is a non-Power Five conference school, this "Hilltopper" is making everyone sit up and take notice in 2015. And, that's after posting a stat line of 4,830 yards passing (led FBS) and 49 TD passes -- he was responsible for 24.2 points per game. In 2015, he's continued his assault on the record books, but what really has caught my eye is his "spotlight-time" performances. Doughty led the game-winning drive in the opener at SEC member Vanderbilt. He almost beat Indiana (who took No. 1 Ohio State to the limit) on the road, throwing for 484 yards 3 TDs (2 INTs). And, currently he has his team sitting at 5-1, with a game at LSU looming on Oct. 24. Another big-time performance in that one, and the nation will truly know Doughty's name.

Houston CB William Jackson III is one of the most underrated defensive backs in college football, but the senior's draft status will be on the climb as his 2015 game film makes the scouting rounds. He's a lengthy cornerback at 6-foot-2, and has broken up eight passes in the Cougars' first five games. Assuming Jackson performs well at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, he'll eventually find himself ranked above a lot of more well-known cornerbacks from Power Five conference schools as a draft prospect.

  • !
  • Gil Brandt
  • TCU's Doctson has improved the most

From what I saw last year to what I see now, TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson has shown the biggest jump of anybody. Through six games, he has 50 catches for 877 yards and 10 TDs. The biggest question about him was his football playing experience. Coming out of Mansfield Legacy High in Texas, Doctson was probably a better basketball player than football player. He wasn't heavily recruited by a lot of people, including TCU. So, he initially started at Wyoming, where he attained the unique distinction of scoring against the school he now plays for.

After a year at Wyoming, schools started realizing how good of a player Doctson was. He then transferred to TCU, and one of the big reasons for that was because his mother is TCU's vice chancellor of marketing and communications. After starting six games in 2013 (with 36 catches and 4 TDs), Doctson started 12 of 13 games in 2014 and scored 11 TDs. Doctson has tremendous athletic ability. He can jump and has very good hands. He might not be a 4.4 40 guy; my eye tells me he's more in the 4.51-4.52 range. However, he has really good acceleration and has developed into a really good route runner.

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook needed a receiver to step into the "go-to guy" role this season with the departure of Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery. Senior Aaron Burbridge has always had talent, but he's already accumulated more receiving yards (570) than he had in his last two seasons combined (542), using his strong frame and hands. Continuing on this path will take Burbridge from being a potential late-round afterthought to a top-100 draft slot.

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