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2020 RB Prospect Reset: Stock watch, who needs big Senior Bowl & combine, plus more

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  • 2020 RB Prospect Reset: Stock watch, who needs big Senior Bowl & combine, plus more

    2020 NFL Draft RB prospect reset: Whose stock is up and down, who needs big Senior Bowl and combine, plus more
    The 2020 running back class is coming into focus
    Josh Edwards
    mugshotby Josh Edwards
    Jan 10, 2020 at 11:23 am ET • 4 min read

    NFL fans are familiar with the names that have sat atop the list of 2020 NFL Draft running back prospects: Georgia's D'Andre Swift, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor and Clemson's Travis Etienne. There is a lengthy list of talented backs behind them. New names will surface through the Reese's Senior Bowl, NFL combine and other pre-draft opportunities.

    The league values prospects capable of toting the rock and nabbing passes out of the backfield. Balance through contact is a desirable trait as well. CBS Sports has a list of prospects that have caught the attention of NFL talent evaluators -- good or bad -- during the 2019 season.

    Stock Up
    J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

    Dobbins had a fantastic season proving all of his doubters wrong. He displays great balance through contact as well as an ability to make an impact in the passing game. The Texas native runs good routes and is able to regulate his speed. Ohio State loved utilizing him on stretch plays this season to create running lanes. There are a few concerns remaining: Dobbins is average in pass protection and has accumulated significant wear on his legs over the past three seasons.

    Najee Harris, Alabama

    Harris has been behind Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs over the past few years. He looked like a physical player with average to below average speed. In 2019, he received a larger workload and was productive. His athleticism was on display with countless hurdles and his involvement in the pass game was a huge bonus. The California native had a nose for the end zone this season, compiling 20 touchdowns. He has grown up from the comparison of a poor man's Derrick Henry.

    Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

    Hill is an overall good running back. He has good enough speed when he hits open turf but his patience, vision and agility allow him to get to those green spaces. The Mississippi native has good hands and plays with a mean spirit. He is tough. The junior has already declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. There is currently a third round grade on Hill.

    Stock Down
    Reggie Corbin, Illinois

    Corbin started the season averaging 104.7 rushing yards per game through the first three. His average dropped drastically to 40.1 rushing yards per game over the final nine. He is fast straight line but goes down on initial contact. His pass protection leaves a lot to be desired as well.

    Trey Sermon, Oklahoma

    Entering the season, Sermon was one of the more anticipated running back prospects. He was a dual-threat athlete capable of making a difference in the run and pass games. The Georgia native showed speed and agility. He suffered a season-ending injury that would require surgery late in the season but he was mysteriously receiving fewer and fewer carries as the season progressed. It made little sense unless he was bothered by an injury. There was never any public acknowledgement. He has not officially declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Anthony McFarland Jr., Maryland

    McFarland was a bit like Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn this season in the sense that he was inconsistent. There are games when he cannot be stopped (i.e.: Ohio State 2018 and Michigan State 2019) and games where he is only able to manage a few yards per carry. He should test well at the NFL combine and that will help his stock. The Maryland native has been moderately effective catching passes as well. The junior has already declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Notable Senior Bowl participants
    Darius Anderson, TCU

    Anderson began his senior season on a tear, recording 100 rushing yards in three of his first four games. His production quickly plummeted thereafter though. He averaged 42.5 rushing yards in the final eight games. Anderson is a physical back capable of breaking tackles. He is not a liability catching passes but he was not overly explosive in that arena either. The Texas native is patient and displays good vision.

    Eno Benjamin, Arizona State

    Benjamin is an explosive player that makes an impact on the ground and through the air. He displays good balance and body control. The Texas native is not great in pass protection but that has not been his biggest issue. NFL teams will have a larger problem with the number of fumbles (6) that he had this season. He accumulated a lot of wear on his legs by being a high volume carrying as well.

    Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt

    Vaughn is originally from Nashville but he transferred in from Illinois. He is the best example of a boom or bust prospect in this draft class. There are moments when he shows good lateral quickness and burst. Other times, he has been less consistent. The Tennessee native is physical and does an average job catching passes out of the backfield. The Commodores had a long season and that likely impacted his play.

    Likely to be forgotten until the combine
    Cam Akers, Florida State

    Akers has been one of my favorite running backs to study in this class. He is explosive and patient. He is solid in pass protection and capable of catching passes downfield. Despite his compact build, he can improve his lower body strength. His production was hindered a bit by Florida State's offensive line play. The Mississippi native should test well at the NFL combine. Fumbles have been an issue with him.

    DeeJay Dallas, Miami

    Dallas is a bit smaller in stature compared to his peers but he is very explosive. Fans were able to see that in their matchup against Florida. He averaged six yards per carry this season but was not a huge contributor through the air. The NFL combine is right up his alley after competing in sprints and the long jump in high school.

Related Topics


  • Nick
    NFL Draft Preview: Winks' Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects
    by Nick
    April 14, 2020, 1:54 am ET
    Updated On: April 14, 2020, 3:50 am ET

    I did a lot of cool things last year with the NFL Draft -- and it led to an FSWA award (shoutout to me) -- but my process this draft season was much better because I had more time now that I'm a full-timer here at Rotoworld. Compared to other draft analysts, it's fair to say I lean a lot more on analytics, but I watched a vast amount of tape on all these prospects. Here are the things that I'm looking for at each position, which are ranked in order of importance to building a championship roster:

    QB: production, accuracy, decision-making, mobility
    CB: speed, agility, length, production allowed, ball skills
    EDGE: speed/burst, agility, production, size
    OT: pass-blocking, agility, size/strength, run-blocking, speed
    Outside WR: production, separation at LOS, speed, ball skills
    Slot WR: production, separation at LOS, agility, YAC
    LB: speed, coverage skills, tackle production, agility
    S: instincts, versatility, speed, tackling
    DT: speed/burst, production, agility, size/strength
    TE: speed, production, agility, size, run-blocking
    IOL: pass-blocking, run-blocking, size/strength, agility, speed
    RB: production, receiving ability, speed, agility, size, pass-blocking

    And for all positions, I'm heavily weighing youth (great players usually declare early) and prospects who went to good programs (great players usually play on good teams). With that laid out, here are my 2020 NFL Draft rankings:


    1. Joe Burrow - QB1
    Burrow (6’3/221) became the consensus No. 1 overall prospect after setting the new FBS record for passing touchdowns (60) in his Heisman winning season at LSU. His accuracy, poise, and ability to read defenses led to the second-best completion percentage (76%) since at least 1956, and are traits that typically translate to the NFL. His arm strength is quite average for a first rounder pocket passer, but doesn’t limit him from making downfield and sideline passes. A former all-state high school basketball player, he was able to average 24.5 rushing yards per game as an underrated scrambler, although he does most of his damage within the pocket. As a 23-year-old rookie with elite mental makeup, Burrow should be considered as a Rookie of the Year favorite and potential decade-long NFL starter, likely for the Cincinnati Bengals.

    2. Tua Tagovailoa - QB2
    Two ankle surgeries and a dislocated hip likely cost Tagovailoa (6’0/217) the No. 1 overall pick, but post-Combine medical scans have been relatively positive, although a redshirt rookie season can’t be completely ruled out. When healthy, Tagovailoa is a very accurate and aggressive in-pocket passer. He finished second in Total QBR among FBS quarterbacks...
    -04-14-2020, 04:37 AM
  • Nick
    The Complete Guide to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
    by Nick
    The Complete Guide to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
    By Dane Brugler Feb 24, 2020 37

    As the NFL Draft grows in popularity, so do the events of the draft process like the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. NFL Network began airing combine drills over a decade ago and now the coverage is moving to primetime, making it even more viewer-friendly.

    Not only has the schedule structure changed, but many around the league believe it is only a matter of time before the combine becomes a traveling roadshow. While Indianapolis is a fabulous host, the opportunity to move the event to places like Frisco, Texas or Los Angeles for added exposure might be too enticing to pass up.

    But amid the evolution of the event, what hasn’t changed is the importance of the combine as NFL teams evaluate the class of draft prospects. The combine can basically be broken down into three separate categories:

    – Medical evaluations
    – Interview process
    – Agility/positional drills

    The 337 invited prospects who will travel to Indianapolis represent 337 different situations and game tapes. However, for one week, February 24-March 1, they will all be evaluated in the same environment at Lucas Oil Stadium. The scouting combine is also where teams get a head start on offseason deals, both free agency and corporate. It’s basically a league-wide convention.

    The old scouting adage is the 90-10 rule at the Combine – 90% of the results should reflect the tape and expectations. But around 10% of results might send evaluators back to the tape to find the reasoning for discrepancies.

    All of the categories are immensely important for all 337 participants, but several prospects have a little extra to prove in certain areas. Below, we break down the players to watch for when it comes to medical evaluations, interviews and drills.

    Medical Evaluations
    Medical information is the most important step of the NFL Scouting Combine.

    The scouting combine started in the early ‘80s as a way for each team to perform medical checks at a neutral, geographically-friendly site instead of forcing players to travel from city to city, going through the same exams. And that’s one of the main reasons the scouting combine is in Indianapolis, because of the medical equipment available. Over 300 MRIs are conducted in only a handful of days, making it difficult for a host city to accommodate the demands.

    NFL scouts provide the doctors and trainers any pre-existing medical information from their school calls, giving the training staffs a starting point with each prospect. The examinations include everything from blood work to joint movement and everything in between. Drug testing is also part of the process.

    With the physical nature of the sport, players battle natural attrition over their careers, but some players have more serious medical concerns...
    -02-25-2020, 06:50 AM
  • Nick
    Dane Brugler’s Top-60 Draft Board: Seven quarterbacks crack updated list
    by Nick
    Dane Brugler’s Top-60 Draft Board: Seven quarterbacks crack updated list
    Dane Brugler
    1h ago 15

    Four quarterbacks made my preseason draft board. Over a month into the season, the same four quarterbacks remain, but now they are joined by three more passers – one expected, two not as expected.

    Washington’s Jacob Eason is expected. A 6-5, 230-pound passer with elite arm talent, it hasn’t been surprising to see him performing well. The impressive skill set was obvious when he took the field as a true freshman at Georgia, but after missing the last two seasons, the sample size wasn’t there. Now that he has put five games on film for the Huskies, it is impossible to keep him off this list.

    The two other quarterback additions to the draft board are much more unexpected: LSU’s Joe Burrow and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. In fact, I extended this list from my top-50 to my top-60 to include both of them.

    It’s important to note that Burrow didn’t come out of nowhere. He was highly recruited out of high school and narrowly lost the quarterback battle with Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State. Last year in his first season at LSU, Burrow was solid and received mid-round draft grades from myself and others around the league. But so far in 2019, he looks like a much more confident and seasoned passer, flashing NFL starting traits.

    Facing Houston, South Dakota, UCLA and Texas Tech this season, Hurts has yet to be truly tested by a defense with a pulse, which clouds the evaluation. But that doesn’t mean you ignore what Hurts has put on tape, showing tremendous development as a passer, especially within the pocket. He benefits from an elite supporting cast with terrific protection, dynamic skill players and an offensive system that caters to his strengths. However, the execution and production are the responsibility of the quarterback and Hurts has been stellar. Five weeks into the college football season, I’m glad I don’t have to put a final grade on him yet, but NFL scouts are starting to believe in Hurts’ next level potential.

    It is still early in the process and this list will continue to fluctuate as we gain more information and learn about these prospects. But if the 2020 NFL Draft was tomorrow…

    *Indicates draft-eligible underclassman

    1. *Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State (6-5, 266, 4.76)

    Once the 2019 NFL Draft ended, Young was the clear No. 1 draft-eligible prospect for the 2020 draft class. Over a month into the 2019 season, he has only improved and widened that gap between him and the next-best nonquarterback in April’s draft.

    2. *Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-0, 232, 4.78)

    No, I don’t think Tagovailoa will be the consensus top quarterback for next year’s class. He won’t be for everyone due to his size and average arm...
    -09-30-2019, 07:04 AM
  • Nick
    East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch
    by Nick
    East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch include sleeper at running back
    These are the draft prospects you need to watch in the Shrine Game on Saturday
    Chris Trapasso
    20 hrs ago • 4 min read

    The East-West Shrine Game is the first big all-star game of the pre-draft process, and while not featuring as many high-profile prospects as the Senior Bowl, it's undoubtedly a worthwhile event in which a handful of participants will eventually make plays in the NFL. Some will become stars.

    Recent alumni include Jimmy Garoppolo, Za'Darius Smith, Justin Simmons, Terron Armstead and Shaq Barrett.

    Here are the five prospects from each team to keep a close eye on during this year's game.

    East Team

    Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
    Onwenu is a large, heavy guard who carries his 350-plus pounds well. His frame is very unusual in that he has shorter arms and isn't imposingly tall. Because of his size, he's rarely pushed back into the quarterback and plays with high-level awareness of stunts and blitzes with just enough lateral movement to get to a secondary block when needed. Most offensive line prospects aren't "NFL strong" as rookies. It looks like Onwenu is.

    Kendall Coleman, EDGE, Syracuse
    Coleman is a technician with his hands, rarely letting offensive tackles to get into his frame, and when they do, his arsenal of pass-rushing moves allows him to counter. While not overly twitchy, Coleman is decently smooth once his momentum starts moving forward, an attribute which gives way to an effective inside move. Coleman needs to get stronger, because at times he can get manhandled. But the senior was productive thanks to his fundamentally sound hand usage during his time with the Orange.

    Parnell Motley, CB, Oklahoma
    On mostly average-at-best Oklahoma defenses, Motley stood out as a play-making cornerback. His pass breakup figures improved from nine to 11 to 13 in his final three seasons with the Sooners, and he hauled in six interceptions in that span. Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Motley isn't super strong and his hips can be a little tight, but his feet are lightning quick, and he obviously plays with high-end awareness at the catch point.

    Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
    Highsmith went into the season with a fair amount of draft hype after 18.5 tackles for loss in 2018. Then, the 6-foot-3, 240-ish pound edge rusher amassed 21.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in 2019. He held his own against Clemson early in the year and flashed a nice blend of quickness, power, and hand use around the corner as a senior. There will definitely be Day 3 appeal with Highsmith in April.

    Garrett Marino, DT, UAB
    A strong penetrator on the inside, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Marino tallied 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss for UAB in 2019. And he reached those figures in many ways....
    -01-17-2020, 03:57 AM
  • Nick
    2019 Senior Bowl: Offensive prospects who'll have great value later in 2019 NFL Draft
    by Nick
    2019 Senior Bowl: Offensive prospects who'll have great value later in 2019 NFL Draft
    These offensive prospects likely won't go early in the draft but will have great value when they're picked
    By Chris Trapasso
    Jan 17, 2019 3 min read

    The 2019 NFL Draft will feature a defensive-heavy class of prospects, and many of the top offensive players are underclassmen.

    That means this year's Senior Bowl isn't oozing with first-round picks on the offensive side of the ball. So what? How about zeroing in on some prospects who'll ultimately come with outstanding value later in the draft? Those are always fun to identify.

    Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis
    After emerging as a budding star in 2016 with 10 receiving scores, Doss put back-to-back 110-plus catch seasons on his collegiate resume, and he topped 1,300 yards in each of the last two years.

    At 6-foot-3 and around 210 pounds, he has an athletic frame that allows him to explode off the line, quickly gain then sustain speed downfield, contort his body to make receptions on inaccurate passes, and morph into a tall running back after the ball is in his hands.

    It'll be interesting to monitor how much difficulty Doss' combination of length and athleticism gives the Senior Bowl cornerbacks next week.

    Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple
    Armstead plays with a lot of controlled power. What I mean by that is he doesn't simply look for contact and lower his head every time he carries the football. When defenders get to him, they bounce off because he runs so hard. Armstead is a north-south back with light feet capable of delivering a quick spin move or efficient jump cut at the second level to make linebackers miss.

    He's quicker than fast but sneaks through crevasses in the line between the tackles. Armstead won't hit many 50-yard home runs, but he's a blue-collar runner with deceptive athleticism who can be a quality No. 2 ball-carrier in the NFL because of his vision, wherewithal, and twitchiness.

    Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
    Dillard needs to get stronger. There's no doubt about that. But he probably got more pass-protection reps than any other left tackle in the country over the past three seasons playing at Washington State, and his amazing athletic gifts allow him to stay under control and extraordinarily balanced essentially every time he's asked to block on a pass play.

    He'll likely be tested the most against bull rushes, but if Dillard shows improved anchoring skills in Mobile, the Washington State star will prove his worth as a high-quality value pick in the 2019 class.

    Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington
    All Gaskin did in his four-year career with the Huskies was piece together four-straight 1,200-plus yard seasons with 57 rushing scores at a hefty 5.6 yards per pop.

    He may not hit the 200-pound threshold,...
    -01-22-2019, 02:22 PM