Some big-time college football games headlined this Saturday’s action, and some even bigger news came from the draft community. PFN’s own Tony Pauline again reported on some of the top 2020 NFL Draft prospects and their offseason intentions. The shortlist for this week includes Washington quarterback Jacob Eason and TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor.
Both players are leaning towards entering the 2020 NFL Draft, according to Pauline. Below I will take a look at each of these exciting and potential high draft picks, focusing and what makes their possible entry so newsworthy. Eason and Reagor will add to the already loaded QB and WR position groups. With strong offseasons, Eason and Raegor could hear their names called early in Las Vegas.
Transfer QB crushing lofty expectations
In the biggest news of the day, Washington quarterback Jacob Eason appears to be leaning towards entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Eason is no stranger to the limelight, as he was once considered the top prep star at quarterback for the 2016 class. As a former five-star recruit, Eason was expected to walk into Georgia as the next Matthew Stafford and lead the Bulldogs to the college football promised land.
Eason took over as the starter early in the 2016 season and led Georgia to some big wins. He also had some disappointing losses, but he showed tremendous potential as a freshman. Eason was again named the starter for the 2017 campaign, but he injured his knee in the first game against Appalachian State. The backup quarterback, Jake Fromm entered the game and never relinquished the starting job. Following the 2017 season, Eason transferred to Washington.
Eason was forced to sit out in 2018 due to the NCAA transfer rules, but the redshirt junior claimed the starting for the 2019 season. This season, Eason has shown tremendous potential and deserves to mentioned among the other great quarterbacks in College Football.
Coming into Saturday’s game against Utah, the new Huskies’ starter led the team to a 5-3 record and once again shown fans the tremendous promise he displayed as a freshman at Georgia. Eason has thrown for 1,981 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also only thrown for three interceptions and shown excellent decision-making in some high-pressure situations.
On Saturday night, Eason and the Huskies fell to the Utes 33-28. The star quarterback and 2020 NFL Draft prospect threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns. The difference in this game was the two ugly interceptions thrown by Eason. These throws seemed to be very uncharacteristic for the junior signal-caller, who faced some tremendous pressure from the Utah defense. While it looks like a step back for Eason, there is a lot to love about him from this game and the 2019 season in general.
Eason has developed a great connection with all of his receivers, especially senior Aaron Fuller. The two have hooked up for five scores and countless big plays this year. Fuller is a player that should hear his name drafted, but Eason is the straw that stirs the drink for this offense. Look at this tight-window throw made by Eason on Saturday night.
These are the types of throws that excite you about Washington QB Jacob Eason. He has the confidence that he can fit a football through a key hole.
Reminds me a lot of Matthew Stafford. pic.twitter.com/5wEConsRPD
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) November 2, 2019
As evidenced by this throw, Eason has the touch and accuracy to make every throw on the field. He has the look of a potential first-rounder, but will likely settle into round two of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Speedy WR looks to make the leap
Another ultra-talented prospect looking to make the leap to the NFL after this season is TCU WR Jalen Reagor. Based on Reagor’s underwhelming 2019 season, this may come as a surprise to some in the draft community. The 5’11”, 195-pound speedster lit up the college football world in 2018, accumulating 1,231 total yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. He was also electric on punt and kick returns as well for the Horned Frogs.
Reagor was a favorite of the draft community following the 2018 season and looked destined to be a top 2020 NFL Draft prospect at the WR position. However, the junior has struggled to the tune of only 25 catches for 326 yards and four scores. Reagor’s struggles can be chalked up to the growing pains experienced by TCU’s young QB, Max Duggan, a true freshman that has started the entire 2019 season.
The punt return game is one area that Reagor has vastly improved in 2019. This skill will be Raegor’s calling card early in his NFL career, and he looks like the best available for the 2020 NFL Draft. After averaging a modest 12.1 yards per return last season, Raegor is averaging a robust 19.3 in 2019. His shift and burst is almost impossible to contain in the open field and separates him from the other return men and WRs in this draft. On Saturday, Reagor exploded for seven catches and 128 yards in the loss to Oklahoma State.
The first comparison that comes to mind when I watch Raegor is Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill. Another former Big 12 receiver, Hill is also undersized for the position but makes up for it with his extreme speed, agility, and burst. He can even win contested balls against bigger corners with his explosive leaping ability and suddenness. For a speedy receiver, Hill is also an outstanding route runner with great hands. Reagor has the same type of skill, and you can see some of that explosiveness on this run below.
Jalen Raegor without a doubt is #2 most dangerous wideout in this draft. Complete package. Athleticism, Route-Running, Separation, Hands pic.twitter.com/HDhJ4OXJTJ
— Maliik 🏁🇳🇬 (@Obee1ne) May 24, 2019
Reagor could easily hear his name called on day one of the draft due to his overall ability as a multipurpose offensive threat and return man. Reagor has the elite speed and playmaking ability that NFL teams are looking for, and his workout numbers are pretty impressive. An organization such as the Oakland Raiders would be an excellent fit for him.
Other draft prospects making the news
Some other draft prospects that Pauline reported to be making the early jump to the 2020 NFL Draft are Temple’s Harrison Hand and Ifeanyi Maijeh; Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott; Oregon State receiver Isaiah Hodgins; Houston’s Gabe Davis and Otis Anderson; and Maryland running back Anthony McFarland.
The biggest name of the day aside from Eason and Reagor is McFarland. Despite the overwhelming talent at the running back position for the 2020 NFL Draft, McFarland is a player to keep an eye on. The explosive redshirt sophomore is a tad undersized but is a real difference-maker on the field. He is dynamic and remains a threat to take any play the distance. McFarland should test well in Indy and will be considered an explosive change-of-pace back and return man likely taken before the end of the draft’s second day.
Anderson is another undersized player that can be moved around the offense and used in the return game, like McFarland and Reagor. He could be an option for teams early on day three. Hodgins and Elliott are players who have shined this season and will be taken earlier than expected, following breakout seasons in 2019. I do not see Davis, Hand, or Maijeh hearing their name before the fifth or sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Pauline mentions hand as a “prototypical three-technique tackle for the next level.”
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him at @sgormanPFN on Twitter.