SEC'S 3 best NFL Draft prospects at every offensive position
The 2020 NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas in April, and once again, the SEC is expected to provide plenty of talent for the event.
The SEC consistently leads college football in draft picks produced, and that should be the case in 2020, too. But, who are the best of the best SEC prospects on the offensive side of the ball?
Here’s a look at the top 3 SEC prospects at each offensive position:
- Joe Burrow, LSU
- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
- Jake Fromm, Georgia
Burrow is coming off the best season a college quarterback has ever had, throwing for 60 touchdowns, 5,671 yards and completing 76.3% of his passes. He also won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a perfect season and a national title. He’ll likely be the No. 1 overall pick, so we’ll see what he can do with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tagovailoa didn’t have the best 2019 season, seeing it end with a brutal hip injury. Still, when he was healthy, he was electric. If he can stay healthy in the pros, he has the talent to be a Hall-of-Fame player. He’ll likely be a top 10 overall pick, even if he can’t participate in the NFL Combine.
Fromm had a lot more buzz heading into the season, but he took a step back in a number of statistical categories. He was without a couple of his main targets, but he also looked worse at times. He started the year as a potential 1st-round pick, but now he’ll probably be a Day 2 selection.
- D’Andre Swift, Georgia
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
- Lamical Perine, Florida
Swift didn’t find the end zone much in 2019, scoring only 8 touchdowns, but that was more of a reflection of the Georgia offense. Swift is the ideal running back for today’s NFL. He can run (1,218 yards on 196 carries in 2019) and he can catch the ball out of the backfield (73 total catches in 3 years with the Bulldogs). That’s what NFL teams want, and Swift is the closest thing to a guy like Christian McCaffrey we’re going to find in this draft class.
Edwards-Helaire is capitalizing on a breakout 2019 season in which he had 1,414 rushing yards, 453 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns. He’s another guy who can do it all and will be valuable in today’s NFL.
Perine’s numbers weren’t as big, but he ran for 6 touchdowns and caught 5 more for the Gators in 2019. He looked good at the Senior Bowl, catching a touchdown pass, but he’ll need to have a big performance at the NFL Combine to continue his rise up draft boards.
- Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
- Justin Jefferson, LSU
- Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Jeudy has had NFL Draft scouts salivating for the past couple of years. He can do anything you could possibly want on a football field and is one of the shiftiest guys in the draft class. He’ll likely be a top 10 overall pick and might end up being the 1st receiver off the board.
Most analysts would have Ruggs ahead of Jefferson because of his speed and big-play ability, but I absolutely love what Jefferson brings to the game. As a Packers fan, I would really enjoy seeing Jefferson fall to the end of the 1st round, where Green Bay could scoop him up. He has a huge catch radius, top-end speed (though not quite up to Ruggs’ level) and can juke defenders like nobody’s business:
— Run Pod Option (@RUNPODOPTION) January 14, 2020
Now, we get to Ruggs. He may very well end up being the fastest player to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. But he’s also able to make nice catches over the middle before leaving defenders in the dust:
Look at the acceleration that #FutureBillsWR Henry Ruggs offers. Just plain out runs 5 defenders.
I know the first thought will be that Ruggs won’t make it too 22, but in such a loaded draft class anything is possible. pic.twitter.com/1ADe0wONul
— The Big Bills (@TheBuffaloBrew) January 26, 2020
- Albert Okwuegbunam, Mizzou
- Thaddeus Moss, LSU
- Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
Albert O didn’t live up to his potential at Mizzou, but the flashes of greatness he did show will be enough to make NFL scouts interested. He caught 23 touchdowns in 27 career games and could flourish in an offense that features him correctly.
Moss is another LSU player who is capitalizing on a big season and a national title to make the leap to the NFL. Moss is an excellent blocker who showcased his big-play ability in the title game against Clemson. And, as the son of Randy Moss, he will have plenty of guidance through the pre-draft process.
Due to a wrist injury, Pinkney was limited to 8 games in 2019 and he was much less effective than he was in 2018, when he caught 7 touchdown passes and had 774 yards. This past fall, he only caught 20 passes for 233 yards and 2 scores. Still, that 2018 tape will have NFL scouts eager to snag him in the later rounds of the draft.
- Andrew Thomas, Georgia
- Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
- Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Thomas and Wills are likely top 15 picks and both could end up being off the board by the 10th pick if things go their way. They’ve been outstanding blockers for 2 of the quarterbacks mentioned above for the past couple of years.
Wilson was the No. 16 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class. While he hasn’t become the superstar many envisioned, he has been a steady part of some great Georgia offensive lines. He should be a Day 2 pick.
- Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
- Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
- Solomon Kindley, Georgia
Cushenberry was a huge part of the LSU offensive line, communicating the blocking schemes that kept Joe Burrow upright. Stenberg has blocked for guys like Benny Snell Jr. and Lynn Bowden Jr. the past couple of years. Kindley was a big part of the interior of Georgia’s offensive line, which was anchored on the edges by the 2 tackles mentioned above. All 3 players should hear their names called in Las Vegas.
- Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky
- Marquez Callaway, Tennessee
- Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
I had to get Bowden on the list somewhere. He had such a huge impact at quarterback for the Wildcats this past season, but he’ll go back to being a receiver in the NFL, most likely. However, he also showed off great skills as a return man during his time with the Wildcats.
Callaway had 3 punt return touchdowns in his Tennessee career, averaging 14 yards per return in 2019. Edwards averaged 17.9 yards on 11 punt returns in 2019. All 3 will be drafted a bit higher than they would if they were only receivers. Special-teams versatility is so important for young guys in the NFL.
- Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
- Braden Mann, Texas A&M
- Arryn Siposs, Auburn
Blankenship had some unfortunately timed misses in 2019, but he’s normally one of the steadiest kickers in the country. He’ll likely be one of the few kickers to hear his name called in the draft.
Meanwhile, Mann should be one of the only punters to get drafted. Mann won the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s best punter in 2018. He followed with another strong year in 2019.
Siposs came to Auburn from Australia and will be older than many of the other potential draftees. He probably won’t get drafted, but he has plenty of experience and should at least land an undrafted free agent contract.