Wednesdays Watchers is a weekly Stock Up/Stock Down feature breaking down the players who's 2014 draft stock were most affected by the past weekend's games, for good, or for bad. Who's rising? Who's Falling? Find out each week with Wednesdays Watchers!
2. Mike Evans - WR Texas A&M. Seven catches for 279 yards; I don't care if you're playing Our Sisters of the Blind, that is impressive, let alone against Alabama. It didn't matter what corner 'Bama matched up against him, or what coverages they used to try to stop him, Evans was unstoppable. At 6-5 225, Evans is an overpowering receiver who looks almost identical to Vincent Jackson. He's only a Sophomore, but if the draft were today, he'd be a first round pick.
3. Za'Darius Smith - DE Kentucky. Last year we saw Cordarrelle Patterson go take the three year path from JUCO, to the SEC, to 1st round NFL Draft selection. Za'Darius Smith is hoping to do the same this year, and has gotten his college career off to a great start. He didn't start playing football until his senior year in high school, but this freakish athlete took to it quickly and dominated at the JUCO level. He passed up offers to play at Texas, Miami, Florida State and others, but is thriving at Kentucky. Smith is 6-5 255 with outstanding explosion, and has racked up five sacks already in three games, three alone last week against Louisville.
4. A.J McCarron - QB Alabama. A.J McCarron has long been a household name, but his performance against Texas A&M on Saturday may have been the best individual performance we've seen from him yet. When the Tide got down 14-3 early, he led the team right back with four consecutive touchdown drives, then when Manziel and the Aggies fought back, McCarron led a championship drive in the final minutes to step on their throats and finish the game. He couldn't have been any more clutch. As of now he's looking like an Andy Dalton type, late 1st/early 2nd round prospect.
5. Anthony Barr - OLB UCLA. After Barr exploded onto the scene last year in his first ever year playing defense, many opined that he could be a flash in the pan. Barr is proving them all wrong with his play this year. Anthony finished 11 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and a whopping three forced fumbles. What stood out the most to me though was how fluid he looked in coverage, and his effort and closing speed in pursuit down the line and behind plays. He's improving in every aspect of the game.
6. Jace Amaro - TE Texas Tech. Texas Tech's prized blue-chip recruit is really starting to shine in Kliff Kingsbury's offense. The six foot six 260 pound Amaro moves like a gazelle, and looks every bit like your prototypical "Basketball body" tight end. He's big, strong, fast, agile and boxes out defenders to create room for himself. His nine catches against TCU was basically the only offense Texas Tech could muster, but it was enough to get the win.
7. Bishop Sankey - RB Washington. This could finally be the year Washington proves to be more steak than sizzle, and a big part of that is Bishop Sankey. Bishop Sankey currently leads the FBS in rushing per game with 184.5 in two big victories over Boise State and Illinois. Sankey has shown tremendous agility and acceleration, looking like a true home-run hitter. He's also been very effective catching the ball, averaging 19 yards per reception.
8. Kenny Guiton - QB Ohio State. Kenny Guiton could easily start for over three quarters of FBS teams. Unfortunately for him he's stuck behind Braxton Miller, but the senior quarterback has taken advantage of every opportunity granted him, now sporting a 3-0 record when Miller has gone down with injury. Guiton has shown a strong and accurate passing arm, to go along with his athletic ability as a scrambler. He'll never sniff the first two days, but I'd be shocked if Guiton wasn't drafted at some point in April.
1. Cyrus Kouandjio - OT Alabama. I'm not totally trashing Kouandjio here, but through two games he simply hasn't looked as good as we expected. He hasn't been bad, but he's struggled with speed and quickness more than he did last year, and just hasn't looked as nimble. Maybe we're seeing the results of him losing his running-mate Chance Warmack, but possibly it's just a slow start to the season for him.
2. Ricardo Allen - CB Purdue. It wasn't the best of games for Ricardo Allen Saturday night against Notre Dame. Purdue had a 17-10 lead over the Irish in the 4th quarter, until Allen got beat on consecutive TD passes to DaVaris Daniels. One where Allen got turned around, lost his awareness and wasn't able to get his head around for a 9 yard catch in the end zone. Less than two minutes later Allen got beat on an 82 yarder where Daniels stiff armed Allen to the turf. Ricardo is a gritty physical corner, and should be able to bounce back from this tough performance.