An updated 2020 NFL draft watch-list

August 24th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Georgia’s Andrew Thomas is highly impressive

With the college football season kicking off today, it’s time for an updated watch-list.

After the 2019 draft I posted an early look at the class. LSU safety Grant Delpit might be the most talented of the bunch. He’s a natural playmaker with the range, ball-skills and versatility to be a top-level safety in the modern NFL. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown could’ve been a top-15 pick this year but chose to stay in school. He’s a complete defensive tackle with the stoutness and strength to play the run and the quickness and mobility to act as a pass rusher (he also has great intensity and a BAMF streak).

Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay Jr might be the best player nobody talks about in the SEC. In every game last year he seemed to make an incredible play. He jumped a 39-inch vertical at SPARQ, ran a 4.26 short shuttle and achieved an overall score of 128.22. Florida’s Jabari Zuniga and Ohio State’s Chase Young will look to take a step forward as EDGE rushers and Raekwon Davis will be hoping to return to 2017 form to secure a top-20 grade.

On offense, Laviska Shenault Jr at Colorado is the ultimate X-factor weapon capable of scoring and making big gains in every way. His quarterback, Steven Montez, also continues to fly under the radar. The SEC is full of big name potential high picks on offense like Jerry Jeudy, Jake Fromm and Tua Tagovailoa. Oregon’s Justin Herbert is a strong contender and probably the clubhouse leader to go #1 overall.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking at other names to add to the list.

C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)
Henderson ran a 4.35 forty and a 3.92 short shuttle at SPARQ. He also recorded a 37-inch vertical. There’s evidence of an ability to play the back-shoulder throw which isn’t common among college DB’s. He gets his head turned and plays the ball rather than face-guarding. He’s diminutive with a lean frame but appears to have reasonable arm length. Henderson is very quick and agile and covers ground well as a blitzer (three sacks, five TFL’s in 2018). He made an incredible play against Tennessee where he chased down a receiver who was uncovered. Just as he was about to run in untouched, Henderson flies to make a big hit jarring the ball loose right at the goal line. It rolls out of the end zone for a touchback and a seven-point swing. He could be tried outside but if nothing else he looks like a terrific slot corner.

Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
Listed at 6-5, Kinlaw played with 16% body fat at 300lbs last season. He has the length and size to play inside and the quickness to shoot gaps and burst into the backfield. He has great potential. His agility shines when he works down the line on stunts and he can move in space to cover ground and burst to the QB. He broke up five passes in 2018 and has great leaping ability. You’d like to see better hand use inside and he can do some of the little things better — bull rush, power move. Kinlaw managed 10 TFL’s last season and, as with a few South Carolina prospects this year, you want to see him take the next step this season. He has the physical tools to be a high pick and he flashes — now he just has to become more of a complete player.

Brad Stewart (S, Florida)
For a few years now Florida have been churning out quality safety’s and Stewart is next off the production line. He has great range and can get deep downfield to cover the long ball and sprint to the sideline to cut off throws to the outside. He can hit — which is to be expected from a Florida DB. He can play closer to the LOS and blitz or make an ankle tackle on a crossing route. He ran a 4.16 short shuttle at SPARQ and jumped a 39-inch vertical. Stewart can really boost his stock in 2019 by making more plays (two interceptions in 2018, including a pick-six). Florida announced before their game against Miami that Stewart was one of four players serving a suspension.

Andrew Thomas (T, Georgia)
It was a pleasure to watch Andrew Thomas. At left tackle he just oozes control, balance and he’s never flustered. So many young tackles are manic getting into their stance. They struggle with stunts and too often create problems for themselves with bad footwork and spacial awareness. Thomas was a picture of consistency. Even against Alabama he was passing off stunts like a pro, he dominated any defensive end he lay his hands on and when he needed to get into the frame of a defender and drive in the running game he managed it. Thomas, on the evidence of his 2018 tape, is destined to be a high pick next year if he can continue to perform at that level. He managed a 101.52 SPARQ score (the highest by an offensive linemen in his class was Walker Little’s 107.25). An excellent pro-prospect.

Yetur Gross-Matos (DE, Penn State)
He has great hand use and works through traffic. YGM is very comfortable in space which is impressive for his size (6-5, 260lbs) and he sets the edge against the run. You have to love the agility he shows in the open-field and the motor to work across the line to chase down ball-carriers from behind. I’d like to see him win off the edge a bit more with speed this year. He has the frame, length, hand-technique and ability to stay clean or disengage. He had 20 TFL’s last season and could easily work himself into a high grade.

Jordan Love (QB, Utah State)
It’s strange that Patrick Mahomes felt like a unique case and yet two years later, a couple of quarterbacks with similar traits have emerged. Kyler Murray went #1 overall this year in part because of his amazing ability to make the unconventional a reality. Love also shares that quality. He can flick his wrist and zip the ball downfield on the run. He has a great range of throws plus the size and mobility to function as a NFL passer. He’s an exciting prospect and a wildcard to go top-five in 2020 if he has another strong season.

Jeffrey Okudah (CB, Ohio State)
What an athlete. He has great size and on tape you see the mobility and top-tier traits that could easily push Okudah into the top-15 next year. He’s a former five-star recruit and at SPARQ he ran a 4.49 forty, a 4.03 short shuttle and jumped a 42-inch vertical. His overall score was an elite 142.56. He’s listed at 6-1 and 200lbs. He has technical refinements to work on this year and he needs to make more plays but in terms of raw potential he’s a fantastic prospect.

Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama)
Another fantastic athlete. Moses follows in the footsteps of Devin White and Roquan Smith. His ability to fly to the ball-carrier is comparable to both and he glides through traffic with ease. Moses also hits like a sledgehammer helps set the tone on defense. A former 5-star recruit as an athlete, he ran a 4.56 at SPARQ plus a 4.09 short shuttle and he jumped a 37-inch vertical. He did all this at over 230lbs and scored a 132.48 overall. He’s a freakish athlete.

Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama)
Diggs vs D.K. Metcalf was a fun battle last year. Metcalf won a couple of times in a big way but Diggs also earned his stripes with tight coverage and he matched up well given the size/speed combo he was covering. He does an exceptional job when his back is turned away from the football. He often reaches out at the last minute to make a key deflection. He’s smooth in retreat and looks like the kind of top-level athlete you’d expect from Stefon’s brother. He also has excellent size. Diggs needs to stay healthy but if he pulls it off he’ll be a high pick next year.

Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
Physical cornerback with good size. Likes a tackle and plays with attitude. Fulton is a classic man-to-man corner. He seems to do his best work on shorter-routes across the middle where he can battle receivers and break to play the ball. I have concerns about his ability to run deep and stick with elite speed. He gets a little bit grabby downfield. His stock might be a little more measured than some of the other corner’s eligible for 2020. If you want someone to be physical outside and possibly play some big nickel, Fulton’s a candidate. He jumped a 37-inch vertical at SPARQ.

Isaiah Simmons (S, Clemson)
There’s no real rhyme or reason for Simmons’ great play. He’s listed at 6-2 and 230lbs. His testing results were mixed at SPARQ. He only managed a 4.75 forty (at 211lbs) plus a 4.52 short shuttle. He did jump a 37-inch vertical though. Yet on tape he’s all over the field. He looks like a playmaking strong safety with the ability to play up at the line and attack. Simmons is forceful as an extra rusher and a positive force against the run. Yet you see evidence of him racing downfield and to the sideline against quicker receivers. He plays with a warrior-like intensity. He’s not likely to rock up at the combine next year and put on a great performance. Teams are going to love the different ways he can impact a defense though. And, dare I say it, there’s a little bit of Kam Chancellor to his play (although he’s not the same kind of hitter).

Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson)
His running style is somewhat reminiscent of former-Tiger C.J. Spiller. He’s not quite as quick but he has that burst and second gear to run away from defenders. He narrows his frame to get skinny in the tackle and run to daylight. Etienne ran a 4.43 at SPARQ and jumped a 37-inch vertical. He’s not a physical runner who will drive through contact and wear down a defense. However, he’s incredibly well balanced and it takes a lot to bring him down. He keeps his legs powering and there’s some explosive qualities to go with the quickness. In the modern NFL, teams are looking for backs like this. He was more patient last season operating in the shotgun and began to wait for gaps to develop. It’d be nice to see him expand his role in the passing game this year.

Eno Benjamin (RB, Arizona State)
I loved watching Benjamin’s 2018 tape. He gains speed quickly and hits the line with authority. He has incredibly quick feet which allow him to break into cuts at full speed. He seeks out contact and has a mid-level gear to accelerate from defenders. He’s a competitor on the field and extremely well spoken and engaging in interviews. He’s tough to bring down and he’ll break tackles but he’s also elusive. He ran a 4.10 short shuttle at SPARQ and jumped a 33-inch vertical. He’s listed at 5-10 and 210lbs for this season which is in Seattle’s ballpark. Benjamin had 1642 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2018 (plus 263 receiving yards and a couple of TD’s).

Prince Tega Wanogho (T, Auburn)
His footwork concerns me and likely forces him to the right side. His kick-slide is clumsy and at times he’ll just plant the anchor and rely on his great size/length to connect. At the next level he’s better off at right tackle or even inside at guard where he make the most of his phone-booth skills. That’s where the positives lie. He’s listed at 6-7 and 305lbs and he has an ideal frame with a strong base, long arms and extreme upper body power. He delivers a great jolt on contact. On one snap against Georgia he thumped an EDGE rusher to the turf with a two-handed punch. He’s willing and able to progress to the second level. There are positives and limitations here.

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33 Responses to “An updated 2020 NFL draft watch-list”

  1. Sea Mode says:

    Amazing content. Love it!

    Here are some updated testing numbers from Feldman’s Freaks list. Sure, some of these numbers are a bit inflated by the school sources, but they are much more recent than SPARQ coming out of HS.

    It seems Simmons absolutely will light up the Combine. My interest is piqued!

    4. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson, linebacker
    The Tigers D-line was loaded with Freaks last year — and it still is — but the biggest freak in the program is their 6-4, 230-pound linebacker. Simmons is a sky-walker. He vertical jumps 40 inches and broad jumps 11-0. He routinely jumps onto a 52-inch box for single-response jump work. He also has run a sub-4.4 40 this off-season.
    “He had everything in place to be an NCAA champion jumper if that was his primary event,” Tigers track coach Mark Elliott told colleague Grace Raynor. “From a coaching side … if you have an athlete like that on your track team and he’s a jumper, you can only think about how good the person could be. Just the speed that he has and for the size (he is), personally, was impressive.
    “He has all the intangibles in everything and the athletic ability that could be successful in our event, too. That’s why we took the time to work him in with our group.”
    On the football field, Simmons also makes a ton of plays. In 2018, he had a team-best 97 tackles (9.5 for loss), seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and one interception.

    .

    24. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn, offensive tackle
    The native of Delta State, Nigeria, has blossomed into quite a player who is set to become a three-year starter at left tackle. The 6-7, 310 pounder, who also is a really good swimmer, bench presses 415 pounds and squats 560. More impressively, he clocked a 4.95 40 this off-season and vertical jumped 32 inches.
    “He’s a great testament to taking his development seriously,” says Auburn strength coach Ryan Russell. “He came in at 260 and is consistently 310-315 now without losing speed, agility or capability. He has progressed every year.”

    .

    34. C.J. Henderson, Florida, cornerback
    The Miami native is one of the top corners in the country and made the 2018 Coaches’ All-SEC second team after 38 tackles, five TFLs, three sacks, two interceptions, a team-high seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles. The 6-1, 193-pounder has just 4.3 percent body fat but is one powerful dude. He benches 380 and did 16 reps of 225 this offseason to go with a 545-pound squat, a 40.5-inch vertical and 10-4 in the broad jump.

    Also, we may have a new TEF monster for OL: #1 on the list junior OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Supposedly he had a 35 inch vert and a 9-5 broad at 6-5, 320. Wonder if he’s any good… Supposedly he’s too nice a guy right now:

    https://eu.hawkcentral.com/story/sports/2019/07/12/iowa-football-tristan-wirfs-big-talent-looking-have-more-faith-himself/1709240001/

    • Volume12 says:

      Wirfs is the best OT in this class behind Thomas that I’ve seen so far.

    • Volume12 says:

      Although ‘Bama has 2, Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Willis, who will give Wirfs and others a run for their $.

      Wouldn’t be a big surprise to see either one of them as the big riser amongst this years OT class.

  2. Sea Mode says:

    (Re-posting from the tail end of yesterday’s article)

    PC Preseason Week 3 Friday Presser notes:
    https://youtu.be/XvWXINeQzYk

    In general:
    – Looking to play a better 2nd half on the road. Lots of young guys will play again.
    – Focus on limiting explosive plays is mainly just discipline. This week is the first time we have had Bobby, KJ, and Kendricks on the field at the same time. That experience brings an awareness that really makes a difference on the field.
    – Competition KR/PR: Amadi has good burst, Terry Wright fumbled the catch but showed good acceleration, David Moore did well, McKissic is back and was Lockett’s backup last year. Amadi will get chances this week. Penny is out of the mix. [Sounded like PC really likes Amadi. Was the first name that came out and then he circled back to him again.]
    – Gary Jennings has played a lot of snaps, but not a lot of targets. He will get chances the next couple weeks and it would be really good for him to make a statement.

    Injury updates:
    – Ansah has a chance to practice next week. Already running in pads, but no drills. Shoulder is 100%, it’s just the groin holding him back still. He’s completely up to speed on the system. Got lots of walkthrough reps.
    – Reports are good on DK’s recovery. Should be active next week and back quickly.
    – Jemarco Jones will not be played this week just to give him extra time. Was almost back this week, but just want to make sure. Hip flexor issue.
    – Shaquem not back yet this week. Day to day.
    – Marquise Blair’s issue was not back spasms like they initially thought, but a bruised back caused by where he landed on the ground.
    – Geno Smith looks good to go and needs to show this week.
    – Delano Hill (he prefers to be called “Lano”) will play. Important for him to make a statement about where he stands in the safety competition.
    – Scarbrough out this week.
    – David Moore hurt his shoulder on Thursday and he’s going to be out a while. [PC looked really bummed and said he would offer more details once he had them. Brady Henderson reports early indications are that Moore is not expected to require surgery.]
    – Mike Iupati has a shot to get some work next week and will certainly be back for the opener.
    – Collier is running, next week will start changing direction.
    – Fant is close. Won’t be pushed to play next week but will be back for the opener for sure.
    – Ed Dickson is still a ways away. Trainers are happy with his progress, but he’s not running yet.

    • cha says:

      Good news on Ziggy.

      I wonder if that hastens a decision on Mingo. The Hawks could try the ‘cut him and resign him a week or two later’ tactic so his contract isn’t guaranteed the whole season.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Either he’s on the roster for depth and special teams or he’s gone IMO.

        I’ve seen this angle on twitter today that they could cut Mingo just to avoid guaranteeing his contract. Why? The pass rush is bad enough as it is and how many snaps is Ziggy playing week one?

        Again —- either Mingo will be part of this or he won’t. He’s either featuring in week one to try and have an impact as a rusher and ST or they’ll just move on.

  3. Sea Mode says:

    Here is a cool stat highlighted by Brady Henderson in his article reporting Moore’s injury. I know there had been some discussion the past couple weeks about how much Moore was really contributing.

    Moore, a seventh-round pick in 2017, emerged as a big-play threat last season while catching 26 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, Moore generated the third-highest passer rating when targeted on go routes at 108.8, behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown.

    Yes, he still needs to develop and find some Moore consistency (sorry, couldn’t resist… 😉 ), but that kind of stat is promising, especially with a deep-ball thrower like RW.

    https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27448087/seahawks-wr-moore-miss-start-season

  4. Sea Mode says:

    Of course, he may not have a choice in the business of the NFL, but with Everson Griffen it seems like he would greatly prefer to remain in MIN for the remainder of his career. The trust with PC is a good selling point, but keeping his current support structure that has helped him with his mental health issues may be the most important to him at this stage.

    So, not ruling it out, but just wanted to add another possible factor to the discussion.

    https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26540036/rough-year-mental-health

    “With me, it was bigger than football,” he said. “I took it upon myself and my family to make the right decision to stay here because I want to be a Viking for life and it’s rewarding because I know the people here love me and they have my best interest in mind. I just wanted to come back here and finish what I started. It feels good to be back in this building and being a Viking and just being around all my boys. This is going on my 10th year and I’m very blessed to be where I’m at right now and really, I’m just happy. I’m just happy to be standing here in front of you guys in this place I’m in right now.”

    But to balance that quote out, he did also say that he agreed to a pay cut because he knew his game wasn’t at 100%, but otherwise he would not have taken a pay cut. And now he is supposedly back to 100% so he probably won’t be offering any reduced rates in his (likely) upcoming FA…

  5. New Guy says:

    Hmmm… interesting that you have so many CB’s and Safeties listed.

    I guess you’re maybe thinking that besides DE, the Seahawks will be focussing their draft attention on this area for 2020.

    .

    • Rob Staton says:

      I do think corner warrants coverage in college this year for sure. Seattle needs help there.

      But also that’s just one of the strengths of the 2020 draft, regardless of Seattle’s individuals needs.

  6. icb12 says:

    A few others you might take a look at:
    Epenesa (DE, Iowa)- Bigger than Young, and YGM. And under-rated athletically with production to match.

    Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)- I know… nobody watches OU for the defense, but Murray is worth a look.

    Solomon Kindley, (G, Georgia). If you’re watching Thomas at LT, watch this guy too.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Epenesa was really ‘meh’ when I watched him. Didn’t see much to get excited about personally. Think he has to do more this year.

    • McZ says:

      If you say Epenesa, I say Curtis Weaver, Boise State, Carter Coughlin, Minnesota or Kenny Willekes, Michigan State.
      A middle round flyer could be Joe Gaziano, Northwestern.

  7. Saxon says:

    Glad to see so many DBs on this early list. We need to add to that pile.

    Who are you guys focusing on tonight in Canes vs Gators? For me: Jonathan Garvin DE 6’4″ 250 lbs. 2018: 5.5 sacks, 17 TFLs. Highly athletic. Will be interesting to see how he develops as a rusher this year.

    • Volume12 says:

      Garvin has a lot of potential. Freakish length, raw power, strong hands, but would like to see more fluidity and a sense of urgency from him.

      Florida:

      WRs Van Jefferson & Kadarius Toney (electric)
      CBs CJ Henderson & Marco Wilson
      DE Jabari Zuniga
      * can’t remember his name but they have a grad transfer at EDGE from L’ville who is supposed to be damn good

      Miami:

      WR Jeff Thomas
      TE Brevin Jordan
      DE Trevon Hill
      CB Trajan Bandy

  8. cha says:

    With the WRs banged up do the Hawks play it safe and only give Lockett and Brown a series or two? Or sit them altogether?

    Might be interesting to see Jennings, Ursuah, Jazz, etc get some time with the 1’s.

    • Rob Staton says:

      They can mix in the reps. Doesn’t have to be as strict as a series or two and out. They can spread reps across the first half. I expect the first team offense will get some time tonight.

  9. Volume12 says:

    IDK how long he is, but Miami CB Trajan Bandy’s physicality is impressive to say the least. Dude is an alpha. Love his game.

  10. cha says:

    Schefter reports Andrew Luck is retiring? Wow!

    • Saxon says:

      Sucks. I always liked Luck – the person and the player. Brissett isn’t terrible. Colts will still compete.

    • TJ says:

      I feel bad for Luck and the Colts. I was livid that they got the top pick in 2012 on the heels of Peyton Manning’s brilliant career, but always liked Luck and wanted him to succeed. Injuries have cut many promising careers short.

  11. DC says:

    QBs Colson Yankoff & now Jake Haener transferring from UW. Sirmon had briefly entered the transfer portal back in the spring as well. Hope Eason is all that and a bag of chips & that Sirmon & Morris stick around and grow. A crowded QB room is suddenly much leaner.

    • Eli says:

      No surprise about Haener.. its unfortunate since he’s only a sophomore and if Eason has a big year he’s likely to go pro. Reports out of camp though that Dylan Morris has looked really good, so maybe that played into the decision as well. Don’t see Sirmon leaving, despite entering the portal; I think his dad is a professor at Foster and his cousin is on the team as well.

  12. Troy says:

    And Penny is proving that with first team blocking he is pretty good…nice to see

  13. Pocic is killing it. We need new FS. T2 just cant tackle in open field.

  14. […] Don’t forget to check out the updated 2020 draft watch-list posted earlier today. […]

  15. […] Top NFL draft prospects Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) or Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) will go #1 overall. It’s just up to team preference. Andrew Thomas (T, Georgia) and Grant Delpit (S, LSU) will go very early. Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama) and Jeffrey Okudah (CB, Ohio State) have a good shot to go in the top-10. As things stand, they look like the top crop of 2020 prospects. The likes of Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn), Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama) and Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State) will be in the mix. For a run-down of other potential top prospects click here. […]