I’m preview scouting 3-5 of the top players at each position (including IDPs) for the 2020 NFL Draft/Devy Dynasty draft class. I’m looking at 2-3 games (against top opponents they faced), looking at their highlight reel, and looking over their output numbers so far. This is not a perfect way to go about this because I like having their final college season to analyze along with the measurables to compare and profile. It’s early, but I like to take this early look and give my instant reaction. Obviously, we’ll be re-looking at these guys again pre-Draft and at the Combine, etc., next year. For now, here’s my quick take.
*In order of worst-to-best by school grades I assigned. Some of these players will be displayed in our top 300+ Dynasty Rookie Draft rankings going forward so you have an idea – they will be classified on team ‘Devy’ (for your searches of them starting with the 6/14/2019 rankings).
DT Lorenzo Neal, Purdue 6’2”/330 (Grade C-)
A mass of humanity up the middle of the D-Line. He looks huge and seems like he should be great, but he makes some plays occasionally and is mostly not having a real impact in games – just 1.0 sacks and 3 TFLs in 10 games last season. You can’t be a serious NFL prospect as a huge DT and have 1.0 sacks and 3.0 TFLs in a season. It means you’re just taking up space plugging the middle…not an NFL impact player of the future.
DE A.J. Espensa, Iowa 6’5”/277 (Grade: C-)
Big dude. Good visual impression at first glance. However, watching the tape all I saw was a big, stiff moving DE. I didn’t see any ‘wow’ factor. Has the look and some NFL size/skills, but more low-end pro projections as a 3-4 scheme DE. He might be better than this. Perhaps, I’ll be swayed by his Combine and 2019 season…but not pulled in by him yet.
DE Chase Young, Ohio State 6’4”/265 (Grade: C/C-)
Has the look, size of a star DE prospect. However, he showed me little/nothing on tape – always seemed to pick the wrong lane/path in pursuit. Wasn’t a big playmaker or sack machine when I watched. Has physical tools of a ‘B’ and the tape of a ‘C-D’, right now.
DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State 6’5”/260 (Grade B-/C+)
Another 2020 DL prospect that you look at first glance and you cannot believe humans look like this. He looks like and plays like a nice 3-4 DE prospect – sets the edge, plays the run very well, isn’t the world’s greatest pass rusher. So much size and moves well. He’ll likely be a 1st-round draft pick. How highly a pick will depend on his measurables at the Combine. I might have graded him a little light…there’s upside potential here.
DE Nick Coe, Auburn 6’5”/280 (Grade B-/B)
Another massive D-End who has the size of a small DT, but is lean and looks, and moves, like a true DE prospect. He offers a 3-4 DE potential or, maybe, a move to speedy 4-3 DT. He’s a power rusher off the edge. Not much technique or finesse feet off the edge. He’s built for the NFL, but if he’s a 3-4 DE, he’ll have a hard time putting up IDP numbers in the NFL.
DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama 6’6”/316 (Grade: B-/B)
A surreal physical specimen to look at. This whole 2020 preview DL group…it’s like they are creating superhumans in a lab, just to play D-Line in the NFL (and they all must begin playing in the SEC…and mostly for schools in the state of Alabama). Davis is the ‘first guy off the bus’ look you love to have. As a player, I didn’t see the tape match the body. He’s huge, but not the quickest/fastest 300+ pound prospect you’ll see. His 2018 numbers dipped, which is odd. Body = A+. Tape = C?
DT Derrick Brown, Auburn 6’4”/325 (Grade: B/B+)
A monster of a man…just huge. Not a big-bellied DT, but not a muscular one either. Just a country strong oak tree of a human who is pretty nimble for his size and usually drives his opposing blocker backwards off the snap; rare he gets moved around by single blockers. Highly aggressive and gives a great effort. Definite NFL DL.
DE/OLB Anfernee Jennings, Alabama 6’3”/255 (Grade A/A+)
I would need to see/study more, but I don’t know that Jennings isn’t the best DE/OLB prospect I’ve ever seen…again, saying this based on a short preview. Is a legit 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB…can rush the passer with speed, has size, quick off the snap, agile, drops into coverage well, and hits like a ton of bricks. But what he’s best at – 11 PDs in 2018…he times/bats down passes like rare DEs that I’ve ever seen. He’s a master at it. He could be a 10+ sack, 10+ TFL, 10+ PD in a season defender in the NFL…a triple-double guy. Did I just make that moniker up? I want credit for it if I did. He might have #1 overall NFL Draft pick abilities and physical profile.
Note…I’m usually looking at Alabama prospects and whining about how overrated they are because of ‘Alabama’, and I’ve been more right than wrong (by a lot) over the past 5+ years. But I think a ‘tide’ is shifting. The great college talents are going to Alabama for obvious reasons. My preview scouting is mostly impressed by the Alabama top rated/lauded prospects they have right now.