2020 NFL Draft Stock – Week 11

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2020 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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2020 NFL Draft Stock Up

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Perhaps no player in college football has helped their draft stock more this season than Burrow. He ripped up the Alabama defense last Saturday bye making money throws and using his legs to pick up critical yards. Via his great set of receivers, Burrow ended up completing 31-of-39 passes for 393 yards with three touchdowns. He also ran for 64 yards on 14 carries.

The Alabama game definitely helps Burrow’s draft grade, as he carried his team to a win in a tough road environment against an excellent opponent. Burrow has the ability to play at the next level due to his quality size, strong-enough arm and decemt accuracy as a passer. In speaking to team sources, they say that Burrow is a rising prospect with his strong play as a senior. However, they feel that Burrow has some skill-set limitations, and as a result they see him more topping out as a second-day prospect similar to Andy Dalton or Derek Carr.

Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
One player who really helped himself in clash of the titans between LSU and Alabama was Harris. To help get the Crimson Tide back into the game after falling behind by 20, Harris came alive in the third quarter, ripping off yards in chunks, powering through tacklers, and showing speed to get downfield. He had two big receptions on screen runs and then made a beautiful leaping back-shoulder reception for a touchdown. He powered through the Tigers’ defense on the next possession to rip off yards after contact and then had a short rushing touchdown to bring Alabama within six points. Harris finished with 146 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown and three receptions for 44 yards and a score.

Harris is a big back who has some quickness and athleticism. Over the past few seasons, he has not run in line with his size and has looked to bounce too many carries to the outside rather than use his power to run downhill behind his pads in a physical manner. Lately, and especially against LSU, Harris’ running has been aggressively North-South and decisiven. The tape against LSU will really help his draft grade and definitely makes him look like a better pro prospect compared to his performances from the beginning of the season.

Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
Lawrence showed up and provided a big boost for the Tigers’ defense to help them win in Alabama. Lawrence had a clutch sack and gave Crimson Tide left tackle Alex Leatherwood a lot of problems with his strength and athleticism. Lawrence showed nice versatility, lining up at a variety of places, including five-technique end, and used his quickness to cause disruption in the backfield. The Alabama game was a good tape for Lawrence that could really help his draft grade by showing his ability to do a variety of things on the defensive line.

Darrell Taylor, OLB, Tennessee
Taylor has played well enough in 2019 to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and after a bit of a slow start to the year, he has come on strong over the past month, including four sacks over his last three games. He is up to seven sacks, a forced fumble, four passes batted and 36 tackles on the year. In Mobile, Taylor could be a riser if he performs well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones.

Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
The Senior Bowl has been a great venue for some small-school offensive line prospects to jump up teams’ draft boards. Because of the caliber of competition, it can be harder for players from smaller schools to get initial grades that fit them appropriately, but when they perform well after a big jump of talent at an all-star game, prospects can really rise. Ali Marpet is one example from the past. Taylor will have that opportunity after earning an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-9, 305-pounder certainly has the length for the NFL, and his technique and skill set will be put to the test against a much higher caliber of competition.

Darius Anderson, RB, TCU
Scouts have taken a liking to Anderson and label him an intriguing player with running and receiving ability for the NFL. Anderson, also known as “Jet,” has some quickness as a runner that makes him dangerous in the open field as a receiver. He has been a solid contributor over the past three seasons while working in a platoon. This year, TCU’s offense has struggled at quarterback, but Anderson has still managed to help himself with pro evaluators. He could end up being a mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
Last week, we reported in the Hot Press that multiple team sources believe Lemieux could end up going in the first round next April. Lemieux is a 4-year starter who some sources believe has plug-and-play potential for the NFL. At 6-foot-4, 317 pounds, Lemieux has good size to go with strength and athleticism. He is a good technician and a well-balanced blocker who is effective in both phases. Sources from three different teams said they thought Lemieux could go late in the first round or early in the second round. A couple of other team sources thought that was a bit too high, having Lemieux graded lower on Day 2. Past NFL drafts have seen a number of solid interior linemen get selected in the back half of the first round because they are viewed as quick contributors and safe picks for playoff teams looking to improve their pass protection and run blocking. A number of teams think Lemieux could be that kind of pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

2020 NFL Draft Stock Down

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Entering the 2019 season, Okwuegbunam had the potential to be a first-round pick, but he has been underwhelming this fall. Okwuegbunam’s receiving production is down, and his blocking has not significantly improved. It isn’t all Okwuegbunam’s fault because he has dealt with a huge drop in quarterback play after losing Drew Lock to the NFL. Still, Okwuegbunan is now more of a second-day prospect rather than a first-rounder.

Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs did not have terrible game against LSU, as he had some nice moments, but he had some mistakes that were critical in the Crimson Tide losing to the Tigers. On LSU’s first drive of the game, Diggs ran with speedster wide out Ja’Marr Chase down the sideline, but Chase made a superb adjustment to stop and cut inside of Diggs to make a leaping grab for a 33-yard touchdown in front of Diggs. In the second quarter, Diggs stumbled, which let Chase get open for gain of about 20 yards. Diggs later had tight coverage on LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, but the big tight end made an incredible sideline reception to set up another touchdown for the Tigers.

In the fourth quarter, a running back carried Diggs on his back for five yards to get a critical third-down conversion after Diggs did not demonstrate good form on the tackle. Late in the fourth quarter near the goal line, Diggs made a huge mistake by going for a strip on the running back rather than making the tackle, and that let the back shake free of Diggs and get into the end zone. Overall, the LSU tape won’t help Diggs because his tackling was a weakness and he had some shaky plays in coverage.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Leatherwood has the skill set of a first-round pick, but he had a rough outing against LSU’s athletic defensive line that suggest he should probably go back to school for 2020. Tigers edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson gave Leatherwood problems with speed rushes around the corner. Leatherwood had to grab Chaisson’s facemask to prevent a sack in the first half and allowed some pressure on his quarterback.

Leatherwood has the ability of a first-rounder in that he is quick, athletic, strong, and able to bend at the knee. However, he has some uneven moments and could stand to iron out some technique issues. Leatherwood should return to school to improve before going pro.

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