SDS Roundtable: Which SEC player picked in the 2nd round or later will have the best NFL career?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: Which SEC player picked in the 2nd round or later will have the best NFL career?
Previous roundtable discussions:
- If you could change 1 thing about college football, what would it be?
- What are you watching right now?
- Who is your favorite SEC football player of all-time?
- What are your 3 favorite postseason moments involving SEC teams?
- Which 4 SEC athletes are on your Mount Rushmore?
- What is your most painful sports memory?
- The greatest team I ever saw …
- Which school’s all-time position group is the best in SEC history?
- Who are your way-too-early picks to make the College Football Playoff?
- If and when the SEC expands, which 2 teams should it add?
- Who is your pick to win the SEC East, SEC West in 2020?
- Who is your favorite player from every SEC program?
- Who is your favorite SEC personality to follow on Twitter?
- Which SEC program produced best pro sports duo?
- Which prop bet would you risk stimulus check on?
- Which former assistant is first to beat Nick Saban?
- Which SEC helmet absolutely needs to be redesigned?
A bit of background …
The NFL Draft starts Thursday night. A dozen or so SEC players could be selected in the 1st round. History tells us that plenty of players drafted in the 2nd round or later will become impact players — or even Pro Bowl performers. Which Day 2 or Day 3 SEC pick will be the best from this class?
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
I absolutely love former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s a 3-down back who can do it all in the NFL. He rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 55 passes for 453 yards, and he led the Tigers in the all-purpose category. At 5-7 and 207 pounds, defenders have a tough time getting a clean hit on CEH and his bowling ball-like ability. He’s versatile enough to break into the NFL on special teams, too.
Perhaps the best thing going for CEH is he has low miles. To put his 370 career rushing attempts into perspective, Leonard Fournette had 616 attempts exiting college. Former South Carolina great Marcus Lattimore had 555 attempts. There’s a lot of tread still left on the tires for 1 NFL team to get a gem in CEH.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
He’s a football player, through and through. Just stick him on the field, give him the ball and watch him go. Against SEC defenses, he turned into the conference’s top running threat … even when everyone knew he was going to run.
I’d love to see Bowden go to a team like San Francisco or Los Angeles (Rams), where he could be coached by an elite offensive mind who knows how to maximize him. I think he can be this year’s Deebo Samuel. I’m convinced he has the toughness, the vision and the speed to make it in the NFL. He won’t be taken in the 1st round and he could even slip to the 3rd round. That makes sense because he’s not going to start off as an outside guy, and I think in the wrong hands, his talents could go to waste.
But as long as he goes to a team who actually has a plan for him and wants to use him as a Swiss Army Knife, I wouldn’t bet against the Kentucky legend.
Chris Marler, The SDS Podcast, co-host
I just spent a little over an hour trying to research the best player to make me sound smart for our readers. I was between Justin Madubuike, Kristian Fulton and Cam Dantzler. Then I realized I am an idiot and totally overthought this whole thing. It’s Rodrigo Blankenship. He’s the best kicker in the draft. And besides former record-setting undersized QBs who become career backups (looking at you Chase Daniel), there’s no more stable career in the NFL than kicker or punter. Specs will be in the NFL longer than he and Hunter Renfrow were in college. So … about 20 years.
Adam Spencer, Newsletter editor
I’m going to take this opportunity to make a case for a Mizzou guy, because why not? Albert Okwuegbunam is going to be a beast in the NFL if he ends up in the right position. I will be absolutely ecstatic if the Green Bay Packers can snag him in Round 3. Imagine a guy like Aaron Rodgers getting to have a weapon like Okwuegbunam in the red zone. Super Bowl berth? I think so.
Yes, durability is a concern for Albert O, but when he was healthy at Mizzou, he was a touchdown machine. He could be another of those tight ends that come from a basketball background (did you know Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez all played college basketball? It’s weird they never mention that fact on TV broadcasts) to become NFL stars. No, Albert O didn’t play basketball at Mizzou, but he played in high school and that athleticism shows on the field. I really hope he ends up in the right situation (like Green Bay).
Michael Bratton, News editor
The speculation is Jauan Jennings will slide due to his poor 40-yard dash run at the NFL Combine, but any team passing on the former Tennessee receiver based purely on his lack of elite speed will be making a huge mistake.
Jennings has so many attributes that will help him excel at the next level, including his main assets — his toughness and physicality. At the next level, Jennings is going to have to fight hard to get open against man coverage, but that’s something he has proven he can do consistently against SEC defensive backs his entire career. He breaks more tackles than many running backs and when the ball is in the air, not only can he high point the ball he’s going to outmuscle defenders to snatch it out of the air (just ask Georgia fans).
Making defenders miss pic.twitter.com/uQaHdQL9AO
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) April 13, 2020
Unlike most prospects in the draft, football has already been taken away from Jennings as he was dismissed from Tennessee by former interim coach Brady Hoke. Jennings had to work hard just to get another opportunity to play for the Vols and that’s something he’s going to have to do all over again to make an NFL roster.
Jennings clearly made the most of his second chance and ran with it. Now he’ll have to do the exact same thing to even get a shot at playing at the next level. The same lessons he learned working his way back on Tennessee’s roster could prove to be invaluable as he attempts to work his way up an NFL training camp depth chart.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
There’s always a chance D’Andre Swift slips into the 2nd round, but a lot of mocks have him as a late 1st-round pick. Let’s assume he’s drafted on Day 1, thereby making him ineligible for this exercise.
Of players sure to be available in rounds 2 through 7, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann can do more than just flip a field. There isn’t a punt he can’t execute. Most fans think punters have one job: boom every kick as far as possible. Mann understands the job description is far more complex than that.
Last July, he took us through his repertoire, explaining when he unleashes each type of punt and what he hopes to accomplish. It was like listening to a QB discuss all of the throws he might have to make in a game.
Mann only had 4 touchbacks on 68 punts last season. He pinned opponents inside the 20 26 times and blasted balls more than 50 yards 28 times.
He is the most complete college punter in the draft, and that sets up well for a long and impactful NFL career.