In terms of ACC draft prospects, the group lost a great deal of its luster when Clemson running back Travis Etienne, Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, Florida State safety Hamsah Nasirildeen and Wake Forest pass rusher Carlos Basham Jr. announced their intentions to return to school for the 2020 season. When you consider this, plus the likelihood that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will declare, the ACC will be producing some outstanding talent for the 2021 NFL draft.

As it relates to the 2020 NFL draft, the best ACC draft prospect is Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. He is a unicorn, as he offers position versatility to play linebacker or safety and there isn’t a defensive scheme he won’t excel in: he’s likely to be a top-10 selection in the draft. However, he isn’t the only prospect from the ACC that will merit a high selection. Let’s take a look at the prospects from the ACC, whom are seeing their 2020 NFL draft prospectus skyrocket.

Mekhi Becton, Left Tackle, Louisville Cardinals (6’7″, 370 pounds)

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah shocked the draft community when he released his first 2020 NFL mock draft and he had Louisville’s mammoth offensive tackle Mekhi Becton being selected by the New York Giants with the fourth pick. Becton wasn’t a first-round lock on most draft analysts’ big boards and was certainly ranked behind the position’s top players such as Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs. The good news, Jeremiah’s jaw-dropping placement of Becton caused many in the draft community, including myself, to take a deeper dive on Becton. Due to his size, he is immediately drawing comparisons to the Las Vegas Raiders’ Trent Brown.

Becton is physically imposing in every sense of the word. He is a physical marvel, capable of complete domination in the run game. In terms of pass protection, he is light on his feet and movers extremely well for a man of his size. 

For a man of his stature, the quickness he possesses is impressive.

In terms of ACC draft prospects, Becton is the best player from the conference not named Isaiah Simmons. While I think Jeremiah’s prediction of Becton being a top-5 selection in the 2020 NFL draft is a bit rich, I see no way he isn’t a top-15 selection. In today’s NFL, it is paramount that you invest in protecting the quarterback and Becton can fill that role marvelously.   

Jason Strowbridge, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina (6’5″, 267 pounds)

Jason Strowbridge is another ACC draft prospect on the rise after a strong showing at the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl. His play was so impressive in Mobile that he made Pro Football Network draft contributor Matt Valdovinos’ breakdown of “2020 Senior Bowl Risers: Jordan Love headlines Tuesday’s list” from the second day of Senior Bowl practices. The beauty of a player like Strowbridge is that he can line up at any position along the defensive line, whether it be a 1-tech, 3-tech or 5-tech. Also, he offers tremendous scheme versatility. 

He possesses good size and exhibits the ability to explode off the snap, which allows him to create consistent penetration. Strowbridge has violent hands, which is evident in his powerful punch and excels as a stout run defender. While he hasn’t put everything together as a pass rusher, he has coachable tools and some traits that will have NFL teams excited to work with him. 

Below, you will see a clip of Strowbridge dominating Connecticut left tackle Matt Peart during Senior Bowl week. Watch how he uses his hands to rip through Peart’s attempt to block him…impressive.

 
Throughout Senior Bowl practices, Strowbridge dominated most of his one-on-one reps. In the clip below, you will get to see his power and relentless effort.


Jason Strowbridge entered Senior Bowl week as a late round selection; however, his impressive week in Mobile might have elevated him to a fourth round selection in the 2020 NFL draft. 

FINAL ACC DRAFT PROSPECT BIG BOARD

RankPlayerPositionSchoolYear
1Isaiah SimmonsLBClemsonJR
2Mekhi BectonOTLouisvilleJR
3Tee HigginsWRClemsonJR
4A.J. TerrellCBClemsonJR
5John SimpsonOLClemsonSR
6Jason StrowbridgeDTUNCSR
7Cam AkersRBFlorida StateJR
8Bryce HallCBVirginiaSR
9Larrell MurchisonDTNorth Carolina StateSR
10Jonathan GarvinEdgeMiamiSR
11Trajan BandyCBMiamiJR
12Alton RobinsonEdgeSyracuseSR
13A.J. DillonRBBoston CollegeSR
14K’Von WallaceSafetyClemsonSR
15Essang BasseyCBWake ForestSR
16Reggie FloydSafetyVirginia TechSR
17Shaq QuartermanLBMiamiSR
18Myles DornSafetyUNCSR
19Trevon HillEdgeMiamiSR
20Kendall ColemanEdgeSyracuseSR