As we near the end of the college football bowl season, we continue to see some tremendous matchups among 2020 NFL Draft prospects. One of those battles featured two NFL Draft prospects in star Liberty wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and Georgia Southern standout cornerback Kindle Vildor.
The two big-time prospects recently faced off against each other in the Cure Bowl to end the 2019 season. Against Vildor and the rest of the Eagles’ secondary, Gandy-Golden only managed three catches in the game. Vildor made a name for himself in that matchup and with his excellent play during Georgia Southern’s 7-6 campaign.
Below I will take a look at Vildor’s rise from obscurity to a legitimate 2020 NFL Draft prospect. There have been multiple Eagles drafted into the NFL in recent years, and Vildor will look to join that group this coming April.
Life in the state of Georgia
Vildor is a former three-star prospect, according to MaxPreps.com, and he signed with Georgia Southern out of North Clayton High School. As a former two-way player, Vildor accumulated 892 all-purpose yards as a junior and finished his career with six career interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
After signing with Georgia Southern, Vildor played in 12 games as a freshman on defense and special teams. He followed up his promising freshman campaign by starting five games as a sophomore and intercepting three passes. He made the Honor Roll in each of his first two seasons, displaying great intelligence and commitment to learning on and off the field.
The talented corner was a player on the rise heading into his junior season at Georgia Southern. Vildor started all 13 games and paced the team with four interceptions and 11 pass deflections. This standout year earned Vildor second-team FBS All-American honors and Sun Belt Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus.
One of Vildor’s best games came against the defending National Champion Clemson Tigers. In that game, he played extremely tight coverage against both Clemson star wide receivers, Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. While covering the duo, he accumulated one interception and broke up another pass. If he wasn’t already, this game certainly put Vildor squarely on the map and into the NFL Draft conversation.
Senior year and beyond
Vildor entered his senior season with sky-high expectations for himself and the Eagles. He finished the year with 27 tackles, two picks and six passes broken up. His size and competitive nature showed in each game, and he earned himself the respect of scouts, coaches, and players alike. Vildor earned first-team All-Sun Belt in 2019 and has been very impressive during his four college seasons.
The most impressive aspect of Vildor’s game is his ability to raise his level of play to match his competition. His strong play against Ross, Higgins, and Gandy-Golden has helped improve his draft stock over the last two seasons and shows that he belongs in the NFL. He is not the biggest corner, but he has matched up exceptionally well against these taller, gifted receivers.
Bright future ahead for NFL draft hopeful
According to PFN’s own Nick Farabaugh, Vildor has received an invitation to attend the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Down in Mobile, Alabama, the small-school standout will have a chance to further cement his stock as a legitimate NFL draft prospect against some more of College Football’s elite draft-eligible receivers and playmakers.
Vildor joins teammate Tyler Bass and fellow Sun Belt star linebacker from Appalachian State, Omar Gaither, at the pivotal pre-draft extravaganza. Back in December, PFN’s Matt Valdovinos mentioned Vildor as one of the top sleepers to watch at the Senior Bowl.
Vildor earned the trip to the Senior Bowl through his outstanding play against top-tier competition and his aggressive, ball-hawking nature. When studying the film of Vildor, you can’t help but notice how physical he is and how his length helps against bigger receivers. That physicality and aggressiveness are evident in coverage as well as in run support. Take a look at this impressive play below.
GaSo CB Kindle Vildor isn't tested a whole lot on the outside because of his strong talent. Here he is busting up a bubble. I suspect he'll look pretty good on the all-star circuit this year. #SnapScout pic.twitter.com/jMTHp4PBZB
— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) November 4, 2019
Teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers that value length could find themselves very intrigued by Vildor’s tape and measurables. He does not take many false steps and uses his hands well in coverage. His lack of ideal height on the outside could relegate him to the slot, where his quickness and ball skills would shine, but I would not rule him out as a perimeter corner in the NFL.
The 49ers could use some depth at the corner position behind starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. San Francisco is a logical fit due to need and the fact that they house another former Eagle great, running back Matt Breida. Vildor is an NFL Draft prospect that should settle in around rounds 5-6 of the 2020 NFL Draft, but may even hear his name as early as round four.
Scott Gorman is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. Find him on Twitter: @sgormanPFN.