2020 Draft Prospects I Love
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
It is not incredibly rare to see small school players make a splash in the offseason through venues such as the Senior Bowl. What is a bit more rare is when a small school guy makes his splash while looking like a Division I player. Dugger has the ability to play around the line of scrimmage as well as over top. His big frame is exactly what you desire at the safety position and he seems to be exactly the type of player that you want on your defense in today’s NFL. Long, strong, and quick on his feet, I believe that he has the opportunity to make an immediate impact on an NFL roster. While he may not be the same caliber of player that Derwin James is, he has the ability to provide similar versatility. I expect him to go in the early to mid second round.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Names like Swift, Etienne, Dobbins, and Taylor have continually overshadowed Edwards-Helaire. Combined with a less than stellar showing at the combine, many have been scared away from the idea of drafting Edwards-Helaire. When watching his tape, it is clear that he is more quick than he is fast, but that is only a small part of his game. His vision and patience at the line of scrimmage are some of the skills that I admire most about him. His ability to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield makes him an even more appealing target for any offense that is looking for a back in this year’s draft. With each of the aforementioned backs, besides Etienne of course, being flashier picks, I expect them to go earlier than Edwards-Helaire. I think that he will fall to the 4th round and will be a tremendous steal for whoever gets him.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
When looking at the App State defense there are a few names that stand out: Jordan Fehr, Demetrius Taylor, and Akeem Davis-Gaither. All three of these players made big plays throughout App State’s stellar season, but one stood out as a true star of the defense. Davis-Gaither provided the App State defense with versatility, but made most of his plays on or around the line of scrimmage, but don’t let that fool you. He can make plays in coverage as well. When looking at NFL rosters, it is clear that he fits the mold for a modern linebacker. Unfortunately, he had to have foot surgery this off-season which removed him from the combine prior to completing all the drills, and will likely sideline him for the App State Pro Day. He should be ready to play by the time the training camps start, but there will surely be some teams that get scared off by the injury. I feel that even with the injury that he should land in the third round of the NFL draft, but I doubt he slides further than the mid-fourth round.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
If you haven’t read my article detailing why Justin Herbert should be the first overall pick, you should go check it out. It will provide more detail than I will provide in this article. Herbert has the size, mobility, and arm strength that you want in an NFL quarterback. He also had a great season which was capped off with a PAC-12 championship, and he improved each season as a starter. For all of these reasons and more, which I discuss in my previously mentioned article, it baffles me that there is so much Herbert hate in the NFL Draft sphere. I fully expect Herbert to be selected in the top 15, but I truly think that he should go in the top 5-7.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
I don’t think there is a better combination of names between quarterback Buckshot Calvert and receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. Calvert and Gandy-Golden put up solid numbers this season, which is more likely attributed to Gandy-Golden’s ability than Calvert’s. Although he has a solid deep game, he struggled with consistent ball placement, perhaps due to his namesake. With his 6’4″ frame, Gandy-Golden boasts a large catch radius, which is a quarterback’s best friend. I feel like the third round is going to be riddled with wide receiver selections and Gandy-Golden will be one of them. Also, it may seem like I’m being harsh on Buckshot Calvert, but I do think that he could be a sixth or seventh round selection.