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Hidden Gems of the 2020 NFL Draft: DB Edition

Hidden Gems DB Edition

2020 NFL Draft Sleepers  by Matt Anzio           

Tulane cornerbacks Thakarous Keyes is a big and physical corner who is not afraid to jump a route.
  • CB Thakarius Keyes  
  • Tulane 
  • Height: 6’1  
  • Weight: 195 Lbs

Keyes  Hits like  Running into a Brick Wall. 

The Physical Makeup of Keyes along with his mobility makes him a candidate for a day 3 sleeper next year. As a Junior he had 38 tackles, 12 PBU & 1 INT as a Junior & is already in the NFL Preseason watch list for this coming Senior Season. 

Top notch outing this season he can shoot to the top of day 3 get himself in a better position to succeed in the NFL. 

Fluid backpedals smooth with loose hips can turn to anticipate & run stride for stride with most wideouts. Can play on the outside or inside has the speed size & physicality to be a versatile CB.  Good long speed physical uses the sideline to box pass catchers out. Gets his head around plays the ball with cat-like reflexes. Can hang with some fast pass catchers confident player that plays with an abundance of energy. 

Played a lot of zones not allowing wideouts to get in front of him &  has the closing speed for any underneath passes. 

A CB that most signal callers avoid like the plague as he handles his assignments like a true pro. Long arms with good timing to get his hand up & knock the ball to the dirt.    

Looks good on the left side or covering the Y position. Can handle some of the quicker players on the outside. 

Special teams ace perfect fit for every special team unit with his elite quickness strong body frame with excellent momentum against kick returners. Can shut down any return ace like a blockbuster video. 

  • DB /LB  Jeremiah Baker
  • Cumberlands 
  • Height: 5 ‘ 11 
  • Weight: 190 lbs

Baker is a Linebacker in a DB’s Frame. 

That is not to say he can not cover & fits ideally into a nickel or safety position. Could see him at the Spear or 3rd safety position. Often used instead of 3 LB sets. 

Explodes like an LB on the attack no matter where he lined up. Downhill thumper avoiding clutter to find the ball carrier. While still possessing the ball skills quickness back pedal lateral ability to cut off routes for a pick. Timing to jump a route than with the ball in his hands he is like lightning in a bottle, good luck catching him.  Fluent hips good knee bend that has great ball skills & instincts. 

In 2018 in his Junior year had an impressive 53 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FR & 6 PBU’s. In all 12 of the contests the Patriots played. 

Special teams ace with the discipline to maintain lanes keep focus through obstacles. Find  & drop the returner like a bad habit on New Year’s Day. Really shines in the special team’s role because he is very disciplined in his return coverage.  Reid is just a bonafide playmaker not to mention a high character human being. 

Ideally, get him to about 210 to 215 pounds while maintaining his natural movement skill set. At that size, he will be perfect in that highly sought after role of LB/DB hybrid  Beastman. 

  • Safety Bryan Okeh 
  • Furman   
  • Height: 6 ‘ 4      
  • Weight: 212

Was Ranked 2nd on his squad with 83 tackles.  Had 13 tackles vs Mercer alone than 14 tackles a fumble recovery vs West Carolina & 9 stops against Elon.  

Tall long physical safety with a good range of motion & ball reaction instinctual tackler.  Can line him up against big physical TEs or beastly backs out the backfield. Okeh has that ability to cover closet space quick or attack or attack forward with a swift burst off the snap. 

Furman has a lot of young Rookies but Okeh is one of the few returning stars for the team. He is a consistent hard nose never quit playing. Think that will show this year as he tries to take the leap from College to the Pros. 

A workaholic on the field once he gets rolling he just keeps going like the Energizer bunny.  Long strong quick spacial closer with a knack for being around the ball. Good size speed technique & just a straight up playmaker.  Potential Pro coming out of the Southern Conference in the FCS. 

  • SS/Nickel  DB Daryus Skinner 
  • Winston Salem State University
  • Height: 5 ‘ 11     
  • Weight: 190 lbs 

Strategic  Intelligence Cerebral DB Skinner will Snatch up ints like a Smooth Criminal. 

Patient Intelligent high football IQ that takes proper angles to the ball carrier.  Very little wasted motion with the flick of his hips he adjusts from run to pass gracefully without incident. Puts himself in position to make plays & doesn’t miss those opportunities often.

Elegant in his movement hips in transitioning from run to pass effortlessly. Has the sideline to sideline ability to flow through blockers find & secure the tackle against the run. 

 Plays The ball very well especially from the slot or strong safety position. Can play short intermediate or long putting himself in position to make a play on the ball. See him as a strong safety slot prospect with the ability to cover off or man.  

Runs the routes better than the wideouts at times winning his Statistical Award for having an outstanding 11 ints in only 9 games.  Has 3 Defensive Player of The Year Awards with his Senior year upon us.  

They move him around use him to his strengths well. Expect a big year from Skinner coming out of Winston Salem.  One of the more intelligent defensive backs I have come across & believed me there have been many intelligent DB’s. On the field, he just seems to really put in the time as well in the film room. No doubt a footballer & a student of the game that is something that is apparent. 

  • DB Dakota Reid 
  • McKendree  & North Dakota State 
  • Height: 5’ 10    
  • Weight: 190 lbs 

Reid Can Be A Dangerous Nickel or Slot & Special Team Stand out. 

Going into his Senior season 1 yr removed from 2 National Championships at NDSU where he did play in a limited role. He is back at a small School Mckendree for his 2nd & final season. 

Had 38 tackles, 5 TFL, & 6 PBU last yr as a Junior.  Had 5 tackles vs Angelo ST, an INT against Lincoln & a Fumble recovery vs Hillside in 2018. 

Good in attack situations with outstanding closing speed on his tackles.  Has good awareness with the quick reaction in coverage with the long speed to run with some of the faster  & bigger guys used in in the slot, TEs or RB’s out the backfield. 

A strong masterful hitter with good size & power to handle some targets bigger than himself. Aggressive attack style DB with a linebacker mindset. He loves to make the big hit or the takeaway. He hits like a beastly savage with good intensity & finishes his tackles. 

Can cover well especially short-intermediate areas he can really explode in short areas. 

As he is fully acquainted with his new surroundings think he can have his best year to date.  A name to keep tabs on going into his SR campaign. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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