2020 NFL Draft: Dantzler headlines new potential declarations

PFN Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reported a top prospect's apparent intention to leave school early as Mississippi cover corner Cameron Dantzler has been rumored to be leaning towards entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

After another exciting Saturday of College Football, we have some big NFL Draft news. PFN Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reported a top prospect’s apparent intention to enter the draft as Mississippi cover corner Cameron Dantzler has been rumored to be leaning towards entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Pauline also reported other draft prospect news, which I cover throughout the article. 

According to one source close to the situation, Dantzler appears to be about “99%” sure to enter the draft. The redshirt junior will join a loaded cornerback class, but Dantzler figures to be one of the best available at the position. In fact, he’s ranked as the seventh cornerback on Pauline’s board at this time.

Take a look below as I break down the big news regarding the Mississippi State cover man and what his declaration could mean for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Defensive weapon for the Bulldogs

In terms of size and speed at the cornerback position, Dantzler has everything you look for in an elite cover corner at the next level. Not only is the Mississippi State man one of the taller players available at the cornerback position in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he’s also one of the longest. Dantzler has done a great job this year, interrupting passing lanes and staying with receivers with his excellent length. The long cornerback prospect had 15 career pass deflections coming into 2019 and has added four more this season.

Dantzler’s return to school and leadership provided a significant boost to the Mississippi State defense after the Bulldog’s lost Johnathan Abram, Jeffrey Simmons, and Montez Sweat to the 2019 Draft. Dantzler bulked up during the offseason, which has allowed him to match up with the bigger receivers in the SEC. He has been deemed Mississippi State’s “most lethal defensive weapon” and continues to look like a future first-rounder at the position, and a likely top 25 selection.

The NFL will be taking notice

If the 2020 NFL Draft declaration news holds, Dantzler will compete with the likes of Trevon Diggs, C.J. Henderson, and Jeffery Okudah to be the first player selected at the cornerback position. In a year without a real number one cover man, Dantzler has done his best to separate himself from the pack. In addition to the six pass deflections, the Bulldog also has two interceptions, a fumble recovery and half a sack during the 2019 season.

Dantzler continues to be a versatile centerpiece for this Bulldogs’ defense, and his experience at the position allows him to make plays all over the field. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens should be taking notice of Dantzler’s abilities. Both teams value length and feisty press corners, such as Dantzler. He would be a great addition to either team, possibly in the latter portion of the first round.  

Penn State’s Hamler leaning towards NFL

Another player that Pauline reported may turn pro is Penn State’s speed demon, K.J. Hamler. Pauline hears it is “likely” that Hamler declares for the 2020 NFL Draft following his redshirt sophomore season. Hamler had an outstanding freshman season for the Nittany Lions, as he caught 42 balls for 754 yards and five scores. With Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley off to the NFL, Hamler has become the focal point of the Penn State offense in 2019.

The speedy sophomore already had seven receiving scores coming into the Michigan State matchup, and Hamler added another explosive touchdown through the air against the Spartans. Penn State has been a hotbed for receiving talent in recent years, producing players such as Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and DaeSean Hamilton of the Denver Broncos. Hamler has better top-end speed than both Godwin and Hamilton and could hear his name before the end of NFL draft’s second day. Hamler’s speed is on display in this touchdown last week against Michigan.  

To read more about Hamler and his NFL prospects, take a look at this piece by PFN’s Matthew Valdovinos.

Other prospects in the news

While Hamler and Dantzler highlight the biggest draft declaration news of the day, another Mississippi State standout could be entering the 2020 NFL Draft. In the Week 9 CFB Live Blog, Pauline said, “Multiple sources tell me running back Kylin Hill, stamped as a third-round prospect before the season by the scouts who graded a handful of juniors, is very likely to enter the draft.”

Hill will join a crowded running back group that promises to be one of the more talented positional groups in the entire draft. There are a few other standouts at the running back position that helped their draft positioning on Saturday. Both Florida State’s Cam Akers and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins stood out in big wins for their teams at home. Akers rushed for 144 yards and four scores, while Dobbins led the Buckeyes with 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

PFN’s Nick Farabaugh gives Akers a solid second-round grade, while Pauline says Dobbins should be firmly in the first-round conversation.

Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. Find him on twitter @sgormanpfn.

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