2020 NFL Draft: Mountain West Scouting Reports

PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline's scouting reports for 2020 NFL Draft prospects from the Mountain West, including QB Jordan Love and OT Ezra Cleveland.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Cedric Byrd, WR

Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started both his seasons at Hawaii. Earned First Team All-Mountain West honors and made a conference-leading 98 receptions for 1,097 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior in 2019. Caught 79 passes for 970 yards and nine TDs as a junior.

Positives: A sure-handed receiver who also offers potential as a return specialist. Tracks the pass in the air, adjusts to the errant throw and uses his frame to shield away defenders. Comes back to the quarterback to make himself an available target and contorts to pluck the ball from the air. Creative after the catch.

Negatives: More quick than fast and lacks deep speed. Possesses a slender build, loses out in battles and gets knocked off balance easily.

Analysis: Byrd was a very productive receiver who displayed development for Hawaii, but he comes with size and speed limitations. He’s a slot receiver who must show versatility in the return game this summer.

Rojesterman Farris II, CB

Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West in each of his final two seasons at Hawaii. Made 54 tackles with one interception and 10 pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 45 tackles with one interception and 11 pass breakups as a junior.

Positives: Nice-sized cornerback with solid instincts. Quick to read and diagnose, fires up the field and gives effort against the run. Fluidly flips his hips in transition, mixes it up with receivers and effectively times his pass defenses. Plays to his size.

Negatives: Faceguards too often. Slow to get his head back around and locate the pass in the air. Lacks a great burst to the ball out of his plant.

Analysis: Farris possesses next-level size and has flashed ball skills, but he lacks NFL speed and struggles when his back is to the ball. He has the mentality and physicality to get consideration at safety or as a zone cornerback.

Cole McDonald, QB

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors and completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 4,135 yards and 33 touchdowns with 14 interceptions as a junior in 2019. Named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West and completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns with 10 interceptions as a sophomore.

Positives: Super-productive college quarterback with outstanding athleticism. Patient in the pocket, stands strong against the rush and buys time for receivers. Locates the open wideout, throws with an over-the-top delivery and puts air under deep passes. Sells ball fakes, knows where receivers are on the field and puts speed on short and intermediate passes. Competes, picks up yardage with his legs and generally does not make poor decisions.

Negatives: Tends to stare down his primary target. Does not always find players in the defensive back seven. All over the place with throws and occasionally puts receivers in perilous spots.

Analysis: McDonald commanded the Hawaii offense extremely well the past three years and comes with NFL size, but he must significantly improve his accuracy and pass placement. He possesses the physical tools to end up on a practice squad this fall.

Nevada Wolf Pack
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Daniel Brown, CB

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West in both of those seasons. Made 41 tackles (three for loss) with four interceptions and five pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 53 tackles (1.5 for loss) with one interception and 11 pass breakups as a junior. Suspended for the 2020 Potato Bowl after a postgame fight against UNLV. Arrested in April 2019 on three misdemeanor driving charges.

Positives: Physical, hard-working cornerback with an underrated game. Athletic, gets vertical and displays good hands for the interception. Remains patient with assignments, displays good route recognition in zone coverage and possesses a burst of closing speed. Physical and makes plays against the run.

Negatives: Deep speed is a concern. Has off-field issues that must be investigated. Moderately productive throughout his college career.

Analysis: Brown is an underrated corner with solid ball skills who could be used in a variety of schemes. Though he must play well on special teams this summer, I could see Brown on an NFL roster as a ninth defensive back.

E.J. Muhammad, S

Career Snapshot: First-year starter who made 58 tackles with six pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Started two games in 2018 before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Positives: Underrated defensive back who can line up at safety or cornerback. Physical, plays heads-up football and works to get involved in the action. Keeps the play in front of him, displays a closing burst and wraps up tackling. Quick to read and diagnose the action and displays above-average ball skills.

Negatives: Gets a little tall as a tackler. Speed is a concern. Was never a consistent starter at the college level until his senior season.

Analysis: Muhammad is an under-the-radar prospect who is rarely mentioned by scouts, but he comes off a terrific senior season. He’s a zone safety prospect who must play well on special teams this summer.

Jake Nelson, G

Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West as a junior in 2018. Started five games as a senior before a broken arm ended his season.

Positives: College tackle who is best in a small area. Strong enough to turn defenders from the action, stays square and keeps his feet moving. Drives defenders off the line, fights with his hands and plays to his size. Quickly sets up in pass protection and plays through the whistle.

Negatives: Really doesn’t sink his butt at the line of scrimmage or block with leverage. Overextends into blocks and bends at the waist. Struggled with injury as a senior.

Analysis: Nelson was graded as a priority free agent by scouts before the season, and while he plays smart, tough football, he’s a limited athlete with marginal upside.

Gabe Sewell, ILB

Career Snapshot: Four-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West and made 54 tackles (5.5 for loss) with two pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 91 tackles (7.5 for loss) with three sacks and two PBUs as a junior.

Positives: Feisty, hard-hitting linebacker who is best in the box and up the field. Intense, sells out and drives his shoulders through ball carriers to finish tackles. Forces the action up the field, fires through gaps to defend the run and breaks down well. Slides off blocks to get to the action and possesses good change-of-direction skills. Remains disciplined with assignments and quickly reads the action.

Negatives: Does not get depth on pass drops, isn’t fluid in his hips and takes a while to close to the action.

Analysis: Sewell is a tough, intense linebacker with limited athleticism and upside. He’s a two-down defender who must really make his mark on special teams this summer to have any chance to make a practice squad.