It seems like every year the media starts buzzing about one or two prospects just before the draft. A guy who was mocked to go 11+ suddenly creeps into discussion as a top ten talent. In the midst of GM smoke screens and late pro day evaluations, the truth leaks and we realize our team is in the chase for a player we may not have considered ourselves.
Last year, right around the week of the draft, Luke Keuchly became a hot topic of conversation. Until then, I had heard little hype about him. Guys were praising his character, his tackling, and his smarts. No discussion of elite skills or athleticism. Next thing you know, he goes top ten to the Panthers and plays an award winning rookie season.
Mark Barron was a guy who I had seen mocked in the later rounds to the Cowboys or the Jets for months. He seemed to be another player regarded highly, but in the way that would make you think he could be a reach for some teams. As draft day neared, Barron also worked his way up the board and found himself playing for the Buccaneers. From what I've heard it seems like the Buccaneers are confident Barron can develop into something great.
Finally, we've got our boy Stephon Gilmore. Last year everything was Morris Claiborne this, Dre Kirkpatrick that. I saw Stephon Gilmore widely regarded as the third or fourth best cornerback in the draft. Right before draft day, we hear Cosell come out and rate Gilmore as the most high upside corner of them all. A few highlight reels of Gilmore later, he's wearing red white and blue and Kirkpatrick is still waiting for his name to be called.
I'm curious what player you guys think will have a rising stock come draft week. With all the mind games the GMs play, I feel it's only a matter of time before we start seeing the guys they really want come into focus.