College football is over and so will the NFL season in a few weeks. The 2020 NFL Draft process officially begins with the 2020 Senior Bowl. This week-long annual event in Mobile, AL is an evaluation of some of the top former collegiate seniors. NFL coaches and scouts come to evaluate these players through three practices and then a game on Saturday, January 25th. Last year, eight participants in the 2019 Senior Bowl earned first-round selections. This year, there are plenty of high-profile and high caliber collegiate seniors participating in the 2020 Senior Bowl. As of now, there are currently five participants that are a lock for a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
2020 Senior Bowl: First-Round Talent to Watch
Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Not only is Kinlaw the highest-ranked defensive tackle in the Senior Bowl, but he is also a high-ranked prospect overall. In his senior year, Kinlaw accounted for 35 total tackles, six sacks, six tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries. At 6’6″ and 310 pounds, he is one of the biggest players in this Senior Bowl. He is a huge disruptive player in the pass rush and as a run stopper. While he is big, he has a great explosive first step which makes him more efficient in beating opposing linemen. Kinlaw is projected to be selected somewhere in the middle of the first round. Scout’s Inc has him ranked as the 13th overall player in the Draft with an 89 grade. Many teams will be looking forward to his performance all week during the practices.
Quarterback Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Outside of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, Herbert will be the most prolific participant in the Senior Bowl. Herbert had a very successful season that resulted in his team’s 28-27 win over the eighth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the 2020 Rose Bowl. In his senior year, he threw for 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only six interceptions on 286 completions (out of 428 attempts). Overall in his collegiate career, he threw for 10,541 yards, 95 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions out of 827 completions (out of 1,293 completions). Scout’s Inc has Hebert ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft and the third-ranked quarterback. Due to the dire need for the quarterback position, Hebert is projected to be a top-ten pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. This Senior Bowl week is the first real look at Hebert for NFL personnel outside of the University of Oregon.
Defensive Tackle Raekwon Davis (Alabama)
This Senior Bowl week will display a wide variety of talented defensive linemen. Davis played mostly defensive end in non-blitzing schemes at Alabama. He will be transitioning to a three-technique defensive tackle to provide support as a run stopper and pass rusher. Davis finished his career by accounting for 175 total tackles, 67 solo tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 11.5 sacks. Scout’s Inc has Davis ranked as the 20th overall prospect and the third-ranked defensive tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft. Davis is projected to be selected somewhere in the mid-20’s pick to a playoff team. Coaches can benefit from the versatility of his playing ability to play as a three-technique and a defensive end.
Cornerback Kristian Fulton (LSU)
Fulton had a very successful season individually and as an LSU Tiger by winning the 2020 National Championship over Clemson this past Monday. In a stout senior season, Fulton accounted for 38 total tackles, 28 solo tackles, and 14 pass deflections. Fulton might have had his best performance in the National Championship against a talented group of highly efficient Clemson receivers. He is one of the best man coverage cornerbacks in the country and in the 2020 NFL Draft. Scout’s Inc has Fulton ranked as the 25th-ranked prospect in the Draft and the fourth-ranked cornerback. Fulton will be the center of attention on most defensive plays as he might contend with Baylor’s Denzel Mims.
Linebacker Terrell Lewis (Alabama)
Lewis encountered a career revive in 2019 after coming back from a torn ACL in the season opener of 2018. This past season, Lewis accounted for 31 total tackles, 21 solo tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. Lewis is one of the top edge rushers in this 2020 NFL Draft and has been projected to be selected late in the first round. Other mock drafts have him selected in the middle of the first round. The Senior Bowl has a rule where defenses cannot send blitzers. Having Lewis at the line of scrimmage as a defensive end is a common attribute to his passing rushing ability. He will also have to show his ability to stay in zone coverage or man coverage in the linebacker zone.
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