By Craig Forrestal
Back in October, my initial 2020 Big Board was uploaded to the NFL Draft Diamonds website and was also selected by fanspeak.com as one of their featured mock draft big boards. Fanspeak.com offers a mock draft simulator to allow fans the opportunity to draft as their favorite team. You are given certain customizable options to create your own unique mock draft experience.
I have been deep in my film studying updating my big board and making sure I do not let a player slip through the cracks. Here are some of my most recent observations as I am working on updating the next batch of the rankings on the big board.
- Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame) is about 15 pounds away from being the next matchup nightmare at TE in the NFL
- Joe Burrow (QB, LSU) looks like a high-end starting QB in the NFL. Son of Jim Burrow; former NFL/CFL DB and college coach.
- Nasir Player (EDGE, East TN State) get familiar with him. He lives in the backfield of opposing teams.
- Lynn Bowden (WR, Kentucky) has been Kentucky’s do-it-all player this season starting games at WR and QB (emergency multi-game starter due to injury). Bowden has been the leading rusher, passer and receiver for the Wildcats this season. I think his NFL position is RB. Keep an eye out for him.
- Kyle Dugger (S, Lenoir-Rhyne) is a D2 standout and this dude will blow up at the Senior Bowl. Athletic FREAK.
- The Notre Dame Defense is super talented. Daelin Hayes, Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem are all NFL caliber edge players.
- Doug Costin (DL, Miami Ohio) strikes me as a Davon Godchaux type of player.
- Sage Lewis (LB, Florida International) is just a good football player with nice size for the MLB position. His offseason workouts will be critical but I think he has a chance.
- Garrett Marino (DL, UAB) I don’t know how he fits in the NFL because of size concerns but he belongs in the league.
- Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR, Liberty) reminds me of Allen Robinson. Hit Baylor for 13 catches 192 yards and 2 TD in 2017. His film is more impressive every year.
- Tristan Wirfs (OT, Iowa) crazy workout numbers for a guy that is about 320 pounds. Played LT when Alaric Jackson went down in the first game and performed admirably. I wouldn’t be surprised if teams work him out at both RT and LT. Wirfs and Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia) are fighting it out for #1 OT in the 2020 Draft Class. Wirfs could be a once-in-a-generation type of talent.
- Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) Nick Saban QBs scare me. The best Saban-era QB to date is AJ McCarron and that might be debatable. He is a winner and the team always plays hard for Tua, but I wouldn’t take him with a high pick because of prior Saban QBs in the NFL. However, I do think Tua is going to be beyond impressive during the draft process.
- James Robinson (RB, Illinois State) good in pass protection. Patient runner. Hard runner. Tremendous vision. Some people say he is the “Next David Johnson” due to similar playing styles and skillsets. This kid is going to be a workhorse for an NFL team.
- Jeff Thomas (WR, Miami) never lived up to the hype that came with him from East St. Louis, but that is also because of terrible offensive play during his time in Coral Gables. Watch the 2018 film against LSU and every bit of his talent is on display. Thomas will be a better pro than a college player in my estimation. I get a game-breaker vibe from him; a little bit like Tyreek Hill.
- Jeremy Chinn (S, Southern Illinois) and Marlon Bridges (S, Jacksonville State) are two small-school safety prospects that will pick up buzz as the draft nears and could be in the mix for some post-season All-Star games.
- Jamie Newman (QB, Wake Forest) if he comes out, is a serious talent and based on what he has done this season he could find himself being selected in the 1st or 2nd Round. Solid size. Good athletic ability. His stock may never be higher.
- Speaking of Wake Forest, Sage Surratt (WR), Carlos Basham (EDGE) and Essang Bassey (CB) are all NFL Draft pick worthy.
- Maurice Ffrench (WR, Pittsburgh) is electric and has really come into his own as a WR this season. Ffrench will need a team to take a chance on him as a returner most likely if he is to stick.
- Jordan Love (QB, Utah State) has the physical and athletic traits that make you want to watch him. Crazy arm talent. Can put the ball wherever he wants. Could end up being the best QB of this draft class.
- Charlie Taumoepeau (TE, Portland State) excellent hands and route-running ability. Splits out wide a lot due to elite receiving ability. In 2018, against Nevada and Oregon, Taumoepeau totaled 8 catches 255 yards and 4 TD. In 2019, against Arkansas, he put together a 4 catch 56 yard and 1 TD day. No questions about the competition here.
- Hunter Bryant (TE, Washington) has a kind of lengthy injury history but has regained his Freshman season form. Small; he is listed at 6ft2 and 239 pounds on the school website. He fits the mold of the smaller but more athletic TE. If I had to describe his game I would say he is somewhere between Evan Engram and Aaron Hernandez.
- Alex Taylor (OT, South Carolina State) transferred to SC State from Appalachian State and he immediately emerged on the offensive line. Mountain of a man at 6ft9 and 310 pounds. He has a basketball background and is still raw in terms of football experience. Taylor comes from an athletic family sprinkled with college and professional football players throughout and plenty of NFL teams will be getting to know him in the upcoming months.
- Purdue has two nice prospects in Lorenzo Neal Jr. (DL) and Markus Bailey (LB).
- Central Florida has two DB prospects that are growing on me in Richie Grant (S) and Nevelle Clarke (CB).
- Josh Jones (OT, Houston) he is going to have a fast rise this offseason. 4-year starter at LT. Good in pass protection; the best part of his game. A really good looking frame that could probably hold some more weight. His arms are long like tree branches.
- AJ Dillon (RB, Boston College) is a throwback type of RB. Big bruiser type of back. Tips the scale in the 250-pound neighborhood. Makes more tacklers miss than you would expect; lead ACC with 51 last season according to Pro Football Focus. You show me a team that wants to have a power run game and I will show your RB in AJ Dillon.