To date, my 2020 Preseason Summer Scouting series has taken a close look at four of the Power Five conferences. Over the next couple weeks, my early look at the prospects that may be available in the 2021 NFL Draft wraps up the Power Five conferences by examining the Pac-12 conference. While not loaded with elite talent, I do give three Pac-12 prospects first-round grades entering the 2020 college football season, which the conference hopes to play in the spring.
The final Pac-12 installment has been released, meaning all of the Pac-12 teams are below. To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Pac-12 draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.
2020 Pac-12 Preseason Summer Scouting
At their best, Arizona has been a mediocre football program the past decade, and those results have been witnessed on draft weekend. The last time Arizona had a player selected in the first round was 2008, and just five players have been top-100 selections since.
The way the board looks now, the Wildcats have a pair of last-day picks at best.
Colin Schooler is a small but fierce linebacker who chases hard and shows good instincts. Schooler measures under six feet tall and will have to run fast (under 4.7 seconds) to get drafted.
Lorenzo Burns has next-level speed, but he is a small-bodied corner with a thin frame. He could find a home as a dime back and return specialist in the NFL.
Receiver Brenden Schooler, Colin’s brother who transferred to Arizona, showed flashes of ability for Oregon and hopes a change in scenery will be to his benefit
Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils placed a pair of players into the first round in each of the past two drafts, both receivers. Once again, it is a wideout atop the ASU board, though this one is of the last-day variety.
I grade Frank Darby higher than most scouts, giving him a fifth-round grade. And with the graduation of Brandon Aiyuk, Eno Benjamin and Kyle Williams to the NFL, I expect big things from Darby in 2020. He’s a nice-sized wideout with solid vertical speed and terrific hands. Darby has displayed himself to be an outstanding vertical receiver and makes the tough catch downfield with defenders draped on him.
He needs to step up his production — he has just 49 combined receptions the past two years — and will have that opportunity this season.
Jack Jones was a player I had highly-rated early in his USC career. After sitting out a season, Jones returned and played well last year. He’s a speedy corner with solid ball skills, and he has nickel potential at the next level.
D.J. Davidson is an athletic interior defensive lineman with nice size. He easily moves about the field and displays a lot of force in his game.
Reminder: To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Big 12 draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.
California Golden Bears
The Cal Bears are a solid mid-level team that can be counted on to make a bowl game every other year and place a prospect in the second day of the draft every so often.
I graded Chase Garbers as a potential second-day pick off his freshman season, and though he was injured for part of last season, he showed development in his game when he was on the field. Garbers is a patient, intelligent passer with terrific accuracy. He nicely places throws and does not make receivers work hard for the reception. His timing, decision making and feel are next-level worthy.
What Garbers lacks is a big frame and a huge arm. While I don’t think he’s a franchise quarterback per se, I do believe Garbers is more than a game manager at the next level.
Camryn Bynum is another player I’ve had highly rated since his freshman season. Bynum is a feisty corner with terrific ball skills and solid instincts. His downfall is speed, as Bynum plays like a 4.55-second corner, which will depress his draft stock.
Kuony Deng is, like his teammates, a smart, tough playmaker. He has terrific length and solid speed. Deng has a thin build and must improve his playing strength, but he has good upside.