Best value picks from the 2020 NFL draft

The 2020 NFL draft is officially in the rear view mirror. It is hard to believe that the first round was already a week ago. That is partially because I almost never what day of the week it is now since social distancing measures have gone into place. While the first rounders gets the majority of the headlines, there were a lot of teams that found incredible value in the later rounds of the draft. Here are my favorite players that last way longer than they should have.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Josh Jones, OT, Houston – Arizona Cardinals
Draft position: No. 72 (3rd round)
My ranking: No. 21 (1st-round grade)
I don’t think I am the only one who was shocked Josh Jones slid all the way to the third round. I wrote about it as one of the biggest surprises of the first round, and then as one of the biggest surprises of Day 2. He is powerful and athletic. There are certainly areas for improvement when it comes to his base strength. He uses his hands well though, seeks out contact and finishes blocks at the second level. I think he has a real chance to start this season for Arizona.

Saints logoZack Baun, LB, Wisconsin – New Orleans Saints
Draft position: No. 74 (3rd round)
My ranking: No. 29 (1st round grade)
The reason Zack Baun dropped into the third round primarily has to do with his lack of experience as an off-ball linebacker. He showed he could transition to that role at the Senior Bowl. I really like his versatility. He is very comfortable rushing the passer, something he did with regularity at Wisconsin, and is a solid open-field tackler. I think he is also a great fit for this Saints defense. I think he should be in line for a lot of playing time.

Cowboys logoTyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin – Dallas Cowboys
Draft position: No. 146 (4th round)
My ranking: No. 52 (2nd-round grade)
I know I was a bit higher than the consensus on Tyler Biadasz, but there is no way he should have fallen to the end of the fourth round. Biadasz dealt with some injuries in 2019, but he is rock solid in pass protection and works very well as a head-on run blocker. He might struggle if asked to pull and block in space, but overall, I think he also has room for growth from a technical standpoint. He will be in consideration for the starting center role following Travis Frederick’s retirement.

Jets logoBryce Hall, CB, Virginia – New York Jets
Draft position: No. 158 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 24 (1st-round grade)
As a Jets fan, I was thrilled with this pick. Bryce Hall has the size and technique to excel in the NFL. He does not have elite speed, but he knows how to press his opponent to the sideline and tracks the ball very well in the air. Apparently, teams are still worried about the ankle injury that cut his 2019 season short. Once he is healthy, I think we will see him return to his 2018 form, where he led the country in pass breakups. He will likely top out as a serviceable No. 1 corner or a great No. 2 option.

Dolphins logoCurtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State – Miami Dolphins
Draft position: No. 164 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 55 (2nd-round grade)
There are few players in this year’s draft who had the level of production in college that Curtis Weaver had. He had 34 sacks and 43.5 tackles for loss during his three years at Boise State. He has the size to be a rotational pass rusher right away either as a 4-3 defense end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. I think he will fit really well with Miami, who needs a young edge rusher to develop. He does not have the explosive first step that makes you think he will turn into a game-wrecker, but his pass-rush moves and technique could see him develop into an eight-to-ten sack per year guy.

Cowboys logoBradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah – Dallas Cowboys
Draft position: No. 179 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 59 (2nd-round grade)
I still can’t wrap my head around this one. Bradlee Anae dominated the Senior Bowl and is at the very least a pro-ready rotational pass rusher. He does not have the desired bend some teams are looking for in edge players, but he brings plenty of experience and some very polished pass rush moves. For a team that really needed to find some help getting pressure on the quarterback, this is an absolute steal in the fifth round.

Browns logoDonovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan – Cleveland Browns
Draft position: No. 187 (6th round)
My ranking: No. 65 (2nd-round grade)
Donovan Peoples-Jones is definitely a project, but coming from a big program with poor quarterback play, I will be curious to see how he translates. He has all the physical traits you look for. He has long arms and tore up the combine when it came to testing. He ran a 4.48 40, which is really solid given his size (6’2″, 212 pounds). Peoples-Jones posted a combine-bests in the vertical jump (44.5 inches) and broad jump (139 inches). I get that combine stars don’t always translate and there are questions about his agility. However, I think spending a sixth-round pick on a player with that much athleticism is definitely worth it.

Eagles LogoPrince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn – Philadelphia Eagles
Draft position: No. 210 (6th round)
My ranking: No. 66 (2nd-round grade)
A medical red flag on his knee caused Prince Tega Wanogho to plummet. I can understand teams being wary to spend a high draft pick on a player with an injury history. That being said, I think by the 210th pick in the draft, finding a player who, when healthy, is probably worth spending an early third-round selection on is worth the risk. If Tega Wanogho can get on the field, he is a developmental tackle that moves well and has a lot of experience at left tackle in the SEC. In the short term, he can provide some depth for a team that saw veteran stalwart Jason Peters end his 11-season tenure with the franchise.

Chargers logoK.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State – Los Angeles Chargers
Draft position: No. 220 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 93 (3rd-round grade)
There were several players that should have gone in the third round that fell into the seventh. However, K.J. Hill is the most understandable of the group to drop. He did not test well at the combine and this was an incredibly deep receiver class. However, if you go back and watch his film at Ohio State and the Senior Bowl, you will see a crafty slot receiver with more than enough speed to make it at the next level. He definitely has his physical limitations, but I could see Hill developing into a Danny Amendola-type receiver in the right offense. I think the Chargers would be thrilled to get that out of a seventh-round pick.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State – Arizona Cardinals
Draft position: No. 222 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 91 (3rd-round grade)
I was a bit more surprised to Eno Benjamin slide this far. He did have a lot of touches in college, and his sophomore season was more impressive than his junior one, but the talent is still there. He caught 77 passes over the past two years, so he is definitely comfortable as a receiver. Benjamin has the makings of a great rotational back. Someone you can rely on to touch the ball 10-15 times a game and be productive with those touches. I think he will be a great fit in Arizona.

Vikings logoKenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State – Minnesota Vikings
Draft position: No. 225 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 87 (3rd-round grade)
How does a redshirt junior return to school and put up the same number of tackles and register more sacks and drop in the NFL draft? Beats me. Perhaps teams were not as high on Willekes because of his age. There also seems to be a misconception that he is not very athletic. Watch this video and tell me you still think that. I don’t expect Willekes to set the world on fire in the NFL, but he deserved to be drafted much higher than this. Minnesota found themselves someone who will likely compete for Everson Griffin’s spot at defensive end as a rookie.

Bills logoDane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh – Buffalo Bills
Draft position: No. 239 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 148 (4th-round grade)
He was definitely a bit of a sleeper, but Dane Jackson was one of my favorite late-round grabs. He was the last player I gave a fourth-round grade to, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him slip into the fifth or even sixth round. The Bills getting him in the seventh makes this great value. Jackson looked really solid at the Senior Bowl. I was impressed with how he competed against the top receivers in this class. He was a three-year starter at Pittsburgh. He tackles well and is aggressive in closing to break up passes. I think he has a good shot to carve out a role on this Buffalo defense.

Check back in Friday for the biggest reaches of the 2020 draft.

7 prospects who can boost their stock during bowl season

Bowl season is officially upon us. It kicked off on Friday with a pair of games featuring a number of intriguing draft prospects. While a good chunk of draft prospects will sit out of these games to prepare for the NFL draft, there is still a lot of work to be done for prospects looking to make an impact on a more national stage. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love definitely looked sharp in his eventual loss to Kent State. The result doesn’t matter. He took care of the ball, with lone interception coming off a tipped pass that should have been caught. His draft stock received a small boost in the process, as it was a positive note to leave with evaluators heading into the pre-draft process.

There are quite a few other prospects who could do a lot to benefit their draft stock in their upcoming bowl games. Here are some of the biggest ones to keep an eye on.

Ohio State Logo

Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
You have no doubt heard about Jeff Okudah by now. He is the consensus top corner in the class and expected to be a top-10 pick. Playing alongside him is Shaun Wade, a redshirt sophomore who commands the nickel. It is not a guarantee Wade will declare, but his play during the College Football Playoff could go a long way in making that decision for him. He will get a chance to go up against a loaded receiving core at Clemson. Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers, Justyn Ross and Joseph Ngata are likely the second-best group in the country, behind Alabama. If Wade can have a good day against that group and even potentially facing LSU’s high-powered offense, he should lock himself in as a late first round pick.

Wake Forest Logo

Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
Basham’s name is becoming more common in draft circles after a strong redshirt junior season. He has 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss this year. In a class that lacks a ton of depth behind Chase Young, there is an opportunity to separate from a lot of the other mid-tier prospects facing Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl. He has the size to be an edge rusher at the next level, either as an end in a 4-3 scheme or standing up in a 3-4 set up. A solid outing against a Big Ten team could help propel him into the conversation to go early on Day 2 of the draft.

USC logo

Austin Jackson, OT, USC
It’s hard to imagine a USC player possibly being under the radar given the history the school has in college football. Not to mention, the Trojans are ranked again entering bowl season. However, Austin Jackson is not a household name yet. He has not gotten the same press as Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs or Alabama’s Jedrick Wills. Jackson could find himself right in the mix to be drafted alongside these players in the first round with a good showing against Iowa in the Holiday Bowl. He will get a chance to face a talented Hawkeye’s defensive line, lead by projected first round pick A.J. Epenesa. With so many NFL teams needed improvement at left tackle, a good game from Jackson could make his size and footwork impossible to pass up come draft day.


Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
Texas has not had the type of season fans were expected after ranking in the preseason top 10. It has been a tough year for Collin Johnson as well. After entering the year looking like he would be one of the first 10 receivers off the board, he has slipped due to a number of injuries and a lack of game-breaking speed. He still has plenty of athletic ability and has put up good numbers since returning in mid-October. Putting together some good game tape against a suffocating Utah secondary in the Alamo Bowl would go a long way to putting him back on the right track. If Johnson performs against the likes of Jaylon Johnson, Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess, who all figure to be drafted this year, it would give the Texas senior a much-needed boost ahead of the Senior Bowl and combine.


Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Really any of the trio of Michigan’s top receivers could be here. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Nico Collins have all garnered varying amounts of draft buzz, but Peoples-Jones seems to be leading the pack. He will get an incredible opportunity to prove himself going up against the Alabama defense in the Citrus Bowl. With a secondary that boasts Day 1 hopeful in Xavier McKinney (Trevon Diggs is sitting out), Peoples-Jones will have his work cut out for him. If he shows he can generate separation from Patrick Surtain, that will be a good sign for his ability to translate to the pros. As a junior, he won’t be in the Senior Bowl, so this is his last real chance to showcase on-field traits before the combine.

Oregon logo

Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
When you think of toughness and grit in college football, one of the first teams that comes to mind has to be Wisconsin. Troy Dye will get a chance to face that stout offense in the Rose Bowl this year. He is a tackling machine with good speed. Dye has even played through injury this season with a broken thumb. That screams toughness to me, but the biggest knock on Dye is his lack of strength. After all, he only weighs 225 pounds, very light for an NFL linebacker. If he can put together some good tape and make some disruptive plays against a Badgers front that features the best center in college football in Tyler Biadasz and a legendary running back in Jonathan Taylor, he could push himself firmly into the round one conversation heading into the Senior Bowl.

Georgia LogoSolomon Kindley, G, Georgia
While Georgia’s offense has struggled in the second half of the season, this offensive line has still been one of the best in the nation, featuring a pair of draft prospects. Not quite as well known as the guy he plays next to in Andrew Thomas, Solomon Kindley has been showing up in the middle rounds of a lot of mock drafts. He will matchup with Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, which brings with it the challenge of facing the disruptive James Lynch. With Thomas set to sit out the game, this is a big opportunity for Kindley to show how good he can be in a vacuum. If he can hold up in protection and keep Lynch from wrecking the running game, that could go a long way in helping solidify his draft stock in a year without a ton of elite interior offensive prospects.