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Week 4 NCAA Stock Watch

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Is it acceptable yet to look at NFL draft stock? No. It probably won't be for a few more weeks, but here it is anyway!

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Stock Up

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Cooper came in to the game against Florida already being one of the top prospects in the country. He is a contender for being the top wide receiver taken in the 2015 draft and appears to be a lock to go in the top half of the first round. The Florida game was always regarded as a big test for Cooper because he was matched up against one of the nation's top young cornerbacks, Vernon Hargreaves. The matchup ended up being a lot more one sided then people had hoped, with Cooper catching 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. So far through four weeks Cooper is averaging over 10 receptions and 150 yards per game. He has some more tough matchups ahead of him, but if he plays as well as he has been so far he will continue to rise up draft boards.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

It seems like every week a different running back is trying to make a case to prove that they're the best in football right now. This week it was Melvin Gordon who made the strongest case, rushing for 253 yards and 5 touchdowns on just 13 carries. Granted, it was against Bowling Green who is anything but spectacular, but it was still a very impressive performance for the junior running back. Gordon is one of the few running backs that could end up going in the bottom of the first round, but he struggled two weeks ago against a lackluster Western Illinois team. That game saw him rush for just 38 yards for 2.2 yards per carry. Gordon really needed to bounce back after a bye week and he did just that. It is hard to say where he will go in the draft at this point but it is likely he will be one of the first backs taken.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

Melvin Gordon wasn't the only running back from the Big 10 to explode this week, Ameer Abdullah ran for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries and added another touchdown receiving. While Gordon had the more impressive stats, Abdullah's performance was potentially better due to it coming against the Miami Hurricanes who have had a strong run defense so far this season. Abdullah was expected to declare for last year's draft, but he decided to return for his senior season so he could receive a full education. He appears to have the talent to go early in the draft, but the extra wear and tear might push his stock down a little more than his ability warrants.

Stock Down

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan

Most of the prospects I've mentioned as having falling draft stock have been considered day two picks or better. Devin Gardner was never regarded that highly, but instead was considered by some to be sleeper pick on day three that could develop into something special. So far through four games he has instead been on a decline, culminating in a two interception performance this past week against Utah. He has now thrown 6 interceptions to 5 touchdowns and has had two, maybe three bad games so far this year. Its possible that he will play himself out of the starting job soon which will hurt his chances to play quarterback in the NFL. It is possible he could switch positions due to his athleticism and size which might be his best chance at making it in the NFL.

Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

Erving has been regarded as one of the top offensive tackles in college football so far, but he really struggled against Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley last weekend. Beasley is regarded as one of the best outside linebackers with an explosive burst off the line, but the way he continuously beat Erving does not bode well for the tackle's draft stock. He is currently considered a late first to second round pick who has potential to make it as a left tackle in the NFL. After teams saw his weaknesses exposed it might be more likely that he makes the move to right tackle. It's too early to say what will happen, but if Erving can't handle quick pass rushers then it will be hard to project him to one of the most important positions on the field.