Thursday, October 1, 2020

NFL 2020 Draft: Players to Watch

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed covering the 2020 NFL Draft this offseason, and have been grinding away, watching the tape to provide content, and most importantly insight for our readers. In doing that, I’ve discovered a whole load of players I never would have discovered before and wanted to share my thoughts on them.

These players are not necessarily the best at their position and may not even be drafted in the first round, there’s just something in their game that really resonates with me. Some of these may be household names by the end of the weekend, the others may not be. Without further ado let’s get underway with the first position, Quarterback.

NFL 2020 Draft: My favourite players – Offense

Quarterback – Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama

So, to put it quite frankly I’m a bit of a Tua fanboy, as are quite a lot of Miami Dolphins fans out there. In all my time as a Fins fan I’ve never wanted the team to draft a player quite as much as this, as many people would put it, that’s my quarterback. We don’t see many left-handed quarterbacks, so that was the first thing that began to fascinate me.

Then there’s his accuracy, his ball placement is immaculate and his connection with all three of his starting wideouts was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. He hasn’t got the height or arm strength of Justin Herbert or Jacob Eason, but I don’t mind that. The way the ball zips out of his hands is my favourite part of Tua’s game.

Running Back – Jonathan Taylor – Wisconsin

Two of my favourite running backs I’ve seen in my time watching the NFL are Marshawn Lynch, and Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor has elements of both of them. He’s got the strong build to power through tacklers, just like Lynch, whilst also having the cutting ability and quick first couple of steps we see in Saquon.

In a very pass heavy National Football League, Taylor has an old fashioned workhorse back vibe to his play, I like that. After all, my favourite teams to watch are those who win by pounding the rock and playing great defense. Taylor is one of my favourite players overall in this draft and I’m excited to see where he ends up, probably early in the second round by the looks of things.

Wide Reciever – Brandon Aiyuk – Arizona State

I had a real toss up here between Aiyuk and Jerry Jeudy, they’re both amazing players to watch and my favourite wideouts by far over the likes of CeeDee Lamb. I opted for the Arizona State Sun Devil, as he is the lesser-known of the two and deserves some buzz. He’s not the got the route tree of Jeudy, or the speed of Ruggs, there’s just something about him I really like

That being his run after catch ability, as soon as the ball hits his hands Aiyuk comes alive, it’s really entertaining. He’s got a strong build, as seen at that combine bench press drill. That build makes him great after the catch. He can also contribute on special teams, something I’d love in my skill position players if I was a coach.

Tight End – Cole Kmet – Notre Dame

The first player I’ve not mentioned at all in my draft coverage, and one I wasn’t aware of until the NFL Scouting Combine, where he outshone all tight ends and earned an almost first-round grade. There’s a lot of talk of Kmet to the Packers at 30, which would make sense. If not he’ll certainly go early second. He’s got receiver hands for a tight end, which is a common trend in today’s league so that’s a bonus.

I’d say Kmet is more Zach Ertz than Travis Kelce or George Kittle. They have similar frames and contribute massively in the red zone, slightly lacking in speed. He has the right shape to be a brilliant run blocker, but that isn’t his strong point. If a team can improve that he’s a great value pick.

Offensive Tackle – Mekhi Becton – Louisville

Not the most glorious of positions, but one man that makes me want to play offensive tackle is Mekhi Becton. I’m fascinated by how quick and light he is with his feet, bearing in mind the size of the Louisville tackle. His push-off is quick too, firing out of his stance very fast ready to protect his quarterback.

Becton matching up with Clemson’s Christian Wilkins

He’s got the biggest upside of all tackles and with the right coaching could easily have the best career of all those coming out this year. He has monster-like athletic prowess, which again is insane, he’s huge even for a tackle. He’s also great in space, easily being able to hit blocks.

Interior Offensive Line – Cesar Ruiz – Michigan

Another player mentioned for the first time in my coverage, and one who’s rising up draft boards into the first round, my favourite interior lineman is Cesar Ruiz. Just like Becton, he’s got super quick feet and is quick out of his stance. He has to ability to be moved around for some teams too, as he can also play at either guard spot.

Experience is this man’s middle name, he played in the Big 10, so is used to quality opposition in the likes of Ohio State and Penn State, as well as Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The team drafts Ruiz is in for a treat when discovering his run blocking, he’s very good at it.

NFL 2020 Draft: My favourite players – Defense

Defensive Tackle – Derrick Brown – Auburn

I’ve watched a lot of Brown , a lot, he is one of my top 5 players in the class after all. From watching his tape I like the way Derrick controls the one-on-one blocks he’s presented with, and how often he dominates when double-teamed. But it’s his explosiveness that’s the best part of his game.

He can get to the backfield within seconds stopping the rushing attack in the process, there’s no doubt he’s the best run-stopping defensive tackle in this draft. I love his attitude off the field too, Brown wanted to finish his Business degree after his Dad always told him to finish whatever he started and that education was happening, and not an option.

Defensive End – Chase Young – Ohio State

Easy one here, my favourite player in this entire draft, and the best player in this draft for many people, including myself. There’s the definition of a speed rusher, and then there’s Chase Young, a generational player. I’ve seen no one like him before.

He has by far the best motor of any prospect in the class and has the explosiveness out the blocks to get past a good O-line in seconds, watch the Clemson tape, then you’ll understand. Best player in the draft with absolute ease.

Linebacker – Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma

Murray covers sideline to sideline with great speed and has the biggest upside of all linebackers, bar Simmons. A real exciting player to watch with his closing speed and Luke Kuechly-like vision. His coverage ability is insane. I’m telling you insane, especially for a player expected to go late in the first.

Murray’s got a lot of buzz since the combine and makes his way to the first round for the first time in my mock. Teammates and coaches rave about how much of a leader he is and how hard he works, one of the standout players on that front in this entire draft.

Cornerback – Jaylon Johnson – Utah

My favourite cornerbacks are all ball hawks, and here’s another one in Jaylon Johnson. He’s a gritty corner who has the confidence and belief to challenge receivers on 50/50 balls. He’s got the hands of a wideout, partnered with good vision and quick drive. Think Xavien Howard coming out of Baylor, a natural zone corner with tremendous ability in man.

He’s great in the air, going up and getting it like a true number 1 receiver, it’s really fascinating. His length allows him to do that, as he has the size to match up against big receivers and take the ball away.

Safety – Antoine Winfield Jr. – Minnesota

Another versatile safety coming into the league, and Winfield is one of my favourites to come out of college in a while. He’s fast, like really fast, and has a tonne of agility loaded on top of that to cover a lot of ground. He’s tough, bit like a patriot player essentially, and has a physical streak to him.

I love his ability with the ball, he plays the ball well and yet again has receiver like hands, I think we’ve seen a theme in this article haha. He’s disciplined on the back end and rarely takes false steps in coverage. He’s a bit like Ed Reed, always around the ball

For more NFL Draft content, visit our dedicated NFL page here. Meanwhile, follow us Facebook for news and analysis direct to your timeline.

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