2020 NFL Draft superlatives: Prospects most likely to live up to the hype, over-deliver and more


The 2020 NFL Draft superlatives have arrived. In high school, you might have been voted on who was the ‘most likely to succeed’ or ‘most likely to end up in jail’; here is the NFL’s version. Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso and I hand out early honors to prospects based on what we see as their likely future in the league.

Quenton Nelson Award: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Highly touted prospect who’ll instantly live up to the hype 

Wilson: It’s hard to envision Chase Young not living up to the hype and we say that with the full understanding that the hype machine is currently out of control. Young is better now than Nick Bosa was a year ago, and the expectation is that he’ll have similar production as a rookie: something approaching double-digit sacks, countless hurries, hits and knockdowns, and the type of game-changing abilities that make him clearly the best player in this draft.

Whether Young ends up in Washington, or lands elsewhere because the Redskins trade out of the No. 2 pick, he will have success. His skills transcend scheme; his first step is jaw-droppingly explosive, his hand usage is next-level and while he has an array of pass-rush moves, Young usually relies on sheer power. Once he diversifies his approach … watch out. He’s as close to a can’t-miss prospect as you’ll ever see.

The 2020 draft is less than two weeks away, and we’re diving headfirst into all the latest news, rumors and more on Mock Draft Monday. Listen to Ryan Wilson and R.J. White join me on the Pick Six Podcast below, and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Antonio Brown Award: Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island

Late-round receiver most likely to become an All-Pro 

Edwards: There is a wide range of opinions regarding Coulter. Rhode Island wide receivers coach Donovan Varner was expecting Coulter to come back for another season. He felt as though there was still a lot to teach him and the player was only scratching the surface. The talent will now have to come out at the next level. His athleticism is evident. At the NFL combine, he ran a 4.45 second 40-yard dash and tested well in the vertical and broad jumps, which measures explosion.

There is no question that he is a raw talent, but it could pay big dividends for a team on Day 3.

Travis Frederick Award: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

Most likely to be considered a reach on draft day, then regarded as a fantastic pick two years later  

Wilson: In any other year, Michael Pittman would be in the first-round conversation. But this year, he’s much more likely to hear his name called on Day 2 — though don’t be surprised if he sneaks his way into the second round. And when that happens, we’ll likely hear some talk of him being overdrafted, but know this: Pittman dominated in college and while he’ll certainly face stiffer competition in the NFL, he has all the tools to prosper there, too.

He’s 6-foot-4 but runs routes like he’s much smaller. He also turned in a 4.52 40 at the combine and his play speed matches that time. He’s a solid route runner with soft hands who regularly wins at the high point and plays with a physicality that will translate well to the next level. He also excels on special teams, which is an important consideration when projecting a college player’s likelihood of success in the NFL.

Andrew Whitworth Award: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

His tape is boring because he just blocks everyone 

Trapasso: Wirfs, my top offensive line prospect in this class, is mostly a bore to watch on film, until he demolishes a defensive lineman into the turf. Blessed with freakish athleticism — his combine was historic for an offensive tackle — and gargantuan size and strength, there’s not a type of pass rush for which he isn’t ready. 

He even seamlessly flipped over to left tackle in the middle of the 2019 season when his teammate Alaric Jackson was injured without missing a beat.

Phillip Lindsay Award: J.J. Taylor, Arizona

Most likely to be the next surprisingly good undrafted free-agent running back  

Trapasso: At 5-foot-5 and 181 pounds with 4.61 speed, no one will be shocked if Taylor goes undrafted. But that size profile is quite stocky, and he plays with a fair amount of power to his game when he’s not leaving linebackers whiffing at air in space. 

Taylor legit hides behind blockers and can piece together multiple, devastating cuts in a single run. He doesn’t have as much juice as Tarik Cohen, but he has the twitch, explosiveness, vision, and low-center-of-gravity contact balance to be a valuable asset to an NFL running game.

Christian Ponder Award: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

Quarterback who’ll go much earlier than he should  

Edwards: I like Love and the talent that he brings to the table. His ceiling is probably higher than any other prospect in this class. However, from a value perspective, his floor is probably the lowest. Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and LSU’s Joe Burrow are all safer prospects when healthy and in the right system. 

The most frustrating part of Love’s game are the lows that he experiences. His lows are really low because he starts pressing too much and it comes out in his play. His game feels like he will either be a home run for one lucky team or a prospect that flames out. There is no in-between.

Damon Harrison Award: Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State

Small-school deep sleeper who’ll have a long NFL career  

Trapasso: This is a difficult year to unearth small-school sleepers, but before the COVID-19 outbreak, Taylor appeared on the radar after his invite and respectable showing at the Senior Bowl. 

At 6-8 with arms over 36 inches, Taylor is impossibly long, and he doesn’t play like a stiff center on the basketball court. He glides in pass protection with good lateral quickness to deal with inside counters, and with more weight — he’s only 308 pounds — Taylor will have the complete package to be a pass-pro specialist in the NFL.

Danielle Hunter Award: Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida

Day 2 edge rusher who’ll become a consistent double-digit sack guy  

Wilson: There aren’t nearly as many high-quality pass rushers in the 2020 draft class  as the one that preceded it but that doesn’t mean you can’t find playmakers on Day 2. After Chase Young, there are no sure things; K’Lavon Chaisson, Yetur Gross-Matos, Terrell Lewis, Josh Uche, Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard all come with questions, but that doesn’t mean some of these players won’t go on to have successful NFL careers. 

Greenard hasn’t gotten a ton of pub during the draft process, in part because of of the aforementioned Chase Young, but also because the focus has been on other topics — Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, the insane depth at wide receiver, and what the Dolphins will do with all those draft picks. But Greenard will not be outworked, and that non-stop motor coupled with his physical skills — he’s got an explosive first step, strong hands, and routinely wins at the point of attack. His game needs refinement for sure, but Greenard has a lot of those intangible qualities coaches rave about, and as he continues to grow on the field he could end up being one of the gems of this draft class.

Joel Bitonio Award: Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette 

Offensive tackle who’ll be a Pro Bowl guard in the NFL  

Edwards: In early March after the NFL combine, I wrote that Hunt was quietly asserting himself as a top interior offensive line prospect despite playing right tackle for the Ragin’ Cajuns last season. Hunt has an ideal frame for the guard position. He is a strong lineman that is quick off the snap and shows great lateral potential. 

The newest buzz suggests that he will be taken somewhere in the second round. The Steelers and Bears stand out as teams in need for interior offensive line play.

Terrell Edmunds Award: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois

Prospect whose combine performance will lead to him being a surprise first-round pick  

Edwards: Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland would also be a candidate for this award. However, fans are probably accustomed to seeing him in first round projections by this point. A real surprise would be safety Jeremy Chinn from Southern Illinois. He had a great combine performance and teams are intrigued by his ability to play safety or move down into the box and play linebacker. The safety position is relatively thin, which could lead a team to take a chance on him earlier than expected. The athleticism he presents is obvious.





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