2020 Senior Bowl: Monday Hot Press
This is Charlie Campbell's Monday 2020 Senior Bowl Hot Press. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
If you want to see other 2020 Senior Bowl Reports, click the link.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates, and stay tuned all week for tons of 2020 Senior Bowl coverage.
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Senior Bowl Rumors Monday
With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from around the league from the first day of the 2020 Senior Bowl week.
Over the next few offseasons, the Houston Texans are going to be a very interesting team to watch as they have a lot of holes to fill and some essential players who have to be re-signed. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil are musts as extensions who the team plans on addressing. Like Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes, Watson's extension could approach or top $200 million, while Tunsil will likely become the highest paid left tackle in the NFL.
Aside from those two, Houston has some other good players who will be reaching free agency in the near future, including defensive tackle D.J. Reader, wide receiver Will Fuller and cornerback Bradley Roby.
"We know we are probably going to lose some good players," said one executive in the front office.
Sources with the Texans also acknowledge the team needs to add some youth to its defensive line. J.J. Watt is aging and has missed the majority of three of the past four seasons with injury. Sources with Houston say the organization would like to add more pass rush and has interest in upcoming free agents like Jacksonville's Yannick Ngakoue and Dallas' Robert Quinn, but how the Texans spend their available money remains a question.
If it weren't for character concerns, Ohio State Damon Arnette might be a sure-fire first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Arnette has always had a good skill set with size and speed, but he didn't play up to it prior to 2019. That changed as a senior, when Arnette put together an excellent season producing the tape of Thursday night selection.
Sources from multiple teams, however, say they have serious character concerns about Arnette and his mental makeup. Because of those issues, they felt he was too risky to give a first-round grade to, and as a result, he received second-round grades, according to a few organizations.
Thus, the pre-draft interviews are going to be critical for Arnette. If he aces those meetings and erases doubts about his mental makeup, he has a shot at going late in the first round during the 2020 NFL Draft. If he doesn't answer questions well, he could slide well into the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft.
One of the positions of strength in the 2020 NFL Draft is offensive tackle. After a few lean years for edge-blocking talent, the 2019 NFL Draft broke through with a quality class of tackles for the opening night of the draft. This year looks even better, and team sources say there could easily be four offensive tackles who become top-20 picks. Those players are Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Alabama's Jedrick Wills and Iowa's Tristan Wirfs.
Thomas is the consensus top tackle, and teams sources say Thomas set an extremely high bar with his dominant play. Becton could be the next tackle to get selected because teams are raving about his upside. They note Becton has some freak-show athleticism for being a massive blocker, and some scouts believe Becton could be a more athletic version of Trent Brown, who was made the highest paid offensive tackle in the NFL last year. Wills is viewed as being a plug-and-play starter. Some teams have Wirfs a little lower than the top 20, but he also has a lot of upside and teams think he could get a lot better in the years to come. With a few other tackles in first-round contention, the 2020 NFL Draft could be a great year for offensive tackle talent.
Two other tackles could factor into the first-round discussion as well, according to team sources. They are USC's Austin Jackson and Georgia's Isaiah Wilson. Wilson could have been Georgia's left tackle if he had returned to school for 2020, but he decided to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Team sources note Wilson's high level of inconsistency. They compared him to T.J. Clemmings in looking amazing at times and awful at others. However, Wilson has a great skill set with size, athleticism and quickness. Whichever tea, drafts him will be taking him off of the positive moments on tape, and his selection could come in the back half of the opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft. Sources believe playoff teams could think they are getting a potential high first-round talent who needs development, and he could end up being a great value if he develops.
During the fall, Jackson really generated a buzz in the scouting community with a strong start to the year, but he did not play as well to close out the season, including a rough bowl game versus Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa. Multiple team sources say Jackson is raw and needs a lot of development on his technique because his athleticism let him get away with some bad habits. Due to his crazy athleticism, however, they think Jackson has a ton of upside. Additionally, he is said to be a great kid with character and intangibles that could create the belief with evaluators he will work hard to maximize his great skill set. Jackson looks like a late first-round or early second-rounder for the 2020 NFL Draft.
This offseason, the Buccaneers are going to be dishing out some big money contracts due to a lot of key players entering free agency. The team will do whatever it takes to bring back defensive end Shaq Barrett after his 19.5-sack season. The Bucs also really want to re-sign fellow edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul. A long-term contract extension with wide receiver Chris Godwin is another offseason priority. Not rewarding Godwin would send a bad message to the locker room, as Godwin has earned the long-term commitment and large contract. Tampa Bay also would like to re-sign veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. However, the Bucs don't know if they will be able to afford Suh, so he figures to test the open market. If the price is right, Tampa Bay would like to have Suh come back for 2020, but the team is also preparing for another team being able to give Suh a bigger contract. Right now, paying Barrett, Pierre-Paul and Godwin are the priorities, along with figuring to pay a starting quarterback, likely to be Jameis Winston.
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2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Quarterbacks
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2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Wide Receivers
2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Tight Ends
2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Offensive Linemen
2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Linemen
2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Linebackers
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2020 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: EDGE
2020 Senior Bowl Rumor Mill: Monday Edition
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