2020 NFL Draft Stock – Pre-Bowls I

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
Burrow has become the favorite to be selected a the No. 1-overall-pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, and that was reinforced in the SEC championship game in which Burrow led LSU to cruise over Georgia. Burrow had his way with one of the best defenses in college football and continues to solidify his status as a high first-rounder.

Throughout the SEC Championship game, Burrow used his feet to pick up some critical yards and conversions on the ground and dodged sacks while extending the time his receivers had to get open. He made accurate throws to all levels of the field to carve up the Georgia defense, completing 28-of-38 passes for 349 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His decision-making and ball security were superb. He also ran for 41 critical yards. The tape against Georgia will help Burrow to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft..

Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
Davis-Gaither has been a steady defender for Appalachian State over the past few seasons, and his consistent production earned him an invitation for the Senior Bowl. After 103 tackles as a junior, the senior has 4.5 sacks, six passes broken up, an interception, and 92 tackles in 2019. Davis-Gaither is listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, so he will need to add significant weight to hold up as a three-down starting linebacker in the NFL.

Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
Martin has been a leading defender for the Gophers this season, showing a good ability to defend the ground game. He produced some impressive tackle totals against the likes of Fresno State and Nebraska, plus turnrf in a two-interception game against Purdue. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound has good, versatile size to play inside or outside linebacker as a pro.

Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Wills has been the starting right tackle for Alabama and a steady performer. He has the strength to open holes in the ground game as well as the quickness and athleticism to block on the edge. Wills looks like a quick starter for right tackle in the NFL. As a sophomore in 2018, Wills earned the starting spot on the right edge and has remained the starter at right tackle over 2018 and 2019.

Quincy Roche, DE, Temple
As we reported in the Hot Press last week, Roche has created a buzz in the scouting community. He has collected 26 sacks over the past three seasons, and as a result, multiple teams have given him a third-round, grade according to a handful of team sources. Roche is listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, and scouts feel he will get heavier. Team evaluators really like Roche’s initial explosion off the snap and how he closes on the quarterback. They feel Roche will get bigger as he ages and develops in a pro strength and conditioning program.

One team source said they had graded Roche as a fourth- to fifth-rounder, but three others said Round 3 and one said third- to fourth-rounder. However, Roche could rise if he works out well. There are a few issues that keep teams from grading him in the early rounds, and the most cited one is lower body stiffness. They feel there is a lack of lower body strength and believe he doesn’t play hard all the time. Thus, Roche could improve his grade if he returns for his senior year and gets stronger in the lower body while also showing an improved motor in 2020.

Sean McKeon, TE, Michigan
The 6-foot-5, 246-pound McKeon did not have a prolific year as a receiver, but he played well enough to earn a roster spot at the Senior Bowl. Entering his bowl game, McKeon has 13 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns. His best season for receiving production came as a sophomore with 31 catches for 301 yards and three scores. McKeon could add some strength and get consideration as a Y – blocking – tight end for the NFL.

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins continued his superb season with the ACC Championship. On the Tigers’ first drive, he caught a pass in the flat and broke a tackle to coast into the end zone. In the second quarter, Higgins, despite being well-covered running across the end zone, was able to use his size and length to shield the defensive back away from the ball to make a short touchdown catch. Midway through the third quarter, Higgins had a long reception after adjusting to pass off the mark. Higgins finished that drive by getting open on a slant for a touchdown from 11 yards out. He totaled nine receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns for the evening.

Higgins is a big wideout who has mismatch size for the NFL alongside strong hands and quality route-running. He has superb length and height that make him a dangerous mismatch. Even when defensive backs run with Higgins, he makes catches over them using his height and long arms, and he is never truly covered. Higgins has been superb to close out this season, and for the year, he has 52 receptions for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns. If Higgins runs well in the 40, he could really rise, but if he has an average 40 time, he should be selected, at worst, during Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tremayne Anchrum, G, Clemson
Anchrum has played tackle and guard at Clemson, helping the Tigers to light up the scoreboard on a weekly basis. The 6-foot-2, 315-pounder has height and length limitations for the NFL, so he will have to play on the inside. If he has the quickness and the athleticism, playing center would be his best fit given his height. Anchrum has played well enough to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl in January.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Aiyuk had a big jump in production from his junior to senior year, and that increase helped to land him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. After catching only 33 passes for 474 yards and three scores in 2018, Aiyuk jumped to 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and eight scores as a senior. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder has quality size to him as well. If he can generate separation in Mobile, he could rise during the leadup to the 2020 NFL Draft.

2020 NFL Draft Stock Down

Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Muse gave some proof as to why he is more of a third-day draft prospect via some ugly plays against Virginia. On the first drive, Muse gave up a long reception downfield and missed a tackle in space. On the next drive, a slot receiver ran right by him to get open in the end zone for a score from about 20 yards out. Even though Muse has received some media hype, he has some limitations for the NFL, and the ACC Championship gives proof of that.

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