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2020 NFL Draft: Mountain West Scouting Reports

2020 NFL Draft: Mountain West Scouting Reports
Aug 30, 2019; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Utah State Aggies quarterback Jordan Love (10) jogs off the field after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado State Rams
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Jalen Bates, OLB

Career Snapshot: Graduate transfer from Arizona State who started his lone season at Colorado State. Made 46 tackles (2.5 for loss) with one sack as a senior in 2019. Made 31 tackles (six for loss) with one sack and lost his starting job by the end of his junior season with the Sun Devils.

Positives: Undersized college defensive end who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL. Quick, very effective with his hands and plays with leverage. Covers a lot of area on the field and shows the ability to get down the line of scrimmage and pursue the action in space. Agile, nicely redirects and gives effort against the run. Fires off the snap with a quick first step and bends off the edge.

Negatives: Easily controlled at the point by a single blocker. Slow to locate the ball and possesses poor instincts. Lacks size, bulk and balance.

Analysis: Bates comes with solid measurables and flashed playmaking ability, but he has yet to pull together a consistent game. He comes with an upside and should get practice-squad consideration this fall.

Jamal Hicks, S

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned First Team All-Mountain West honors and made 117 tackles (5.5 for loss) with 1.5 sacks and four pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 93 tackles (two for loss) with three PBUs as a junior. Suffered a season-ending arm injury after eight games in 2017.

Positives: Tough, hard-working safety who is best up the field and against the run. Remains disciplined with assignments, keeps the action in front of him and sells out to make plays. Takes proper angles to the action, plays within the system and drives through tackles. Effectively reads and diagnoses the action and works hard to get involved.

Negatives: Misses coverage assignments, which leads to open receivers. Cannot stay on the receiver’s hip out of breaks.

Analysis: Hicks is a tough, hard-working safety who leads by example, but he’s a limited athlete with a one-dimensional game. He’s a strong-safety prospect who plays with a special-teams mentality, which will be his ticket at the next level.

Adam Prentice, FB

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who caught seven passes for 44 yards as a senior in 2019. Rushed 16 times for 62 yards and made four catches for 26 yards as a junior.

Positives: Underrated fullback with a well-rounded game. Explosive, displays terrific vision as a blocker and squares into defenders. Strong, has a physical nature and takes defenders from the action. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who extends his hands and looks the ball in. Turns it upfield and works hard to pick up yardage after the catch.

Negatives: Lacks size and speed and may not have a true position at the next level. Rarely asked to carry the ball.

Analysis: Prentice is a hard-working prospect who gets the most from his ability and offers possibilities as a fullback or H-back at the next level.

Fresno State Bulldogs
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Jaron Bryant, S

Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West as a junior and as a sophomore. Made 55 tackles (two for loss) with one interception and eight pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 50 tackles (two for loss) with one interception and 12 pass breakups in 2018. Posted 67 tackles (2.5 for loss), four INTs and seven PBUs in 2017.

Positives: Tall, physical college cornerback who projects to safety. Aggressive, possesses nice length and physically beats down opponents to defend the throw. Engages receivers at the line of scrimmage, battles throughout the route and plays heads-up football. Keeps the action in front of him, stays with assignments and shows excellent discipline. Works hard to get off blocks and makes his way up the field to defend running plays or screen passes.

Negatives: Stiff and mechanical in his backpedal. Lack of quickness and speed are major issues.

Analysis: Bryant comes off a solid senior campaign where opponents rarely threw in his direction. He was a solid cornerback in the Mountain West Conference, but he lacks the speed and quickness to stay at that position in the NFL. His size and toughness lend to a move inside to safety.

JuJu Hughes, S

Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West and made 80 tackles with two interceptions and eight pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors and made 78 tackles with four INTs and eight PBUs as a junior. Named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West and posted 71 tackles (seven for loss), one interception, one sack and seven pass breakups as a sophomore.

Positives: Explosive cornerback with solid instincts. Remains disciplined with assignments, effectively diagnoses plays and takes good angles to the action. Fires up the field and gives effort against the run and screen passes. Shows a burst to the ball out of his plant and effectively times his pass defenses. Gives effort in all areas.

Negatives: Must improve his backpedal and prefers to side shuffle downfield. Undersized and lacks speed and strength at the point.

Analysis: Hughes is a solid cornerback, but he’s an average athlete with limited upside. He possesses enough size and ball skills to line up as a dime back in zone systems where he can face the action.

Netane Muti, G

Career Snapshot: One-year starter who missed most of the 2019 season with a Lisfranc injury and most of the 2018 season after he ruptured his Achilles. Started all 14 games in 2017.

Positives: Wide-bodied blocker who is best in a small area. Fires off the snap into blocks, plays with proper lean and quickly gets his hands into defenders. Strong, keeps his feet moving and generally blocks with leverage. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit. Turns defenders off the line to open up running lanes and anchors in pass protection.

Negatives: Stiff, not fluid on his feet and lacks balance. Bends at the waist and overextends into blocks. Has a very thin body of work and a long injury history.

Analysis: Muti is a strong, wide-bodied offensive lineman who is best as a run blocker. He has limited scheme versatility, does not come with much of an upside and has a long injury history.

Jared Rice, TE

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors and caught 55 passes for 664 yards and three touchdowns as a junior in 2018. Made 32 catches for 307 yards and four TDs as a senior. Started six games and made 22 receptions for 388 yards and two TDs as a sophomore.

Positives: Long, fluid pass catcher who plays the tight end position like a receiver. Natural receiver who quickly releases off the line into pass routes and comes back to the ball. Adjusts to the errant throw, makes the reception in stride and displays timing and hand-eye coordination. Tracks the pass in the air and extends to pull the ball from the air. Sacrifices his body to make the reception. Blocks with proper fundamentals.

Negatives: Must significantly pick up his intensity as a blocker. Possesses poor strength, falls off blocks and struggles to even finish off defensive backs.

Analysis: Rice possesses the style and skill to line up as a move tight end at the next level, but he must improve as a blocker to make a roster.

Mykal Walker, OLB

Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started both his seasons at Fresno State and earned First Team All-Mountain West honors each year. Made 96 tackles (nine for loss) with 2.5 sacks and four pass breakups as a senior. Made 87 tackles (14 for loss) with 4.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and six PBUs as a junior.

Positives: Athletic, intelligent linebacker with terrific versatility. Instinctive, remains disciplined with assignments and keeps the action in front of him. Does not bite on ball fakes, breaks down well and slides off blocks to make the tackle. Always willing to get involved in the action, constantly around the ball and sacrifices his body to make plays. Effectively makes the defensive calls and gets his teammates in proper position. Displays good range in coverage, covers a lot of area on the field and shows ability in pursuit. Displayed himself as a terrific pass rusher as a junior. Leads by example.

Negatives: Has a thin build, lacks strength at the point and gets outpositioned from the action. Not smooth or fluid with his footwork laterally or in reverse.

Analysis: As a junior in 2018, Walker presented himself as a terrific 3-4 outside linebacker prospect before he moved to middle linebacker this season. He’s a tough, intelligent defender who comes with good athleticism, and if properly coached, Walker could eventually develop into a starter at the next level for a variety of schemes.

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