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NFL Draft Mailbag: Tony Pauline on Jordan Love, top 10 RBs, and more

week 12 college football recap
Oct 6, 2018; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back D'Andre Swift (7) runs against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, I open up the mailbag for anyone to send me their questions. This week, the mailbag includes questions on Notre Dame draft prospects, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jordan Love. Other inquiries included questions about my running back board, especially after I released my top 10 NFL Draft eligible quarterbacks last week.

Do you have a question you want to send in? Send it to [email protected], and we’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming mailbag column. 

What do you make of Michigan’s Donovan Peoples-Jones’ development from last year to this year? Can he be a first-rounder in April?

There’s probably less than 0% that Donovan Peoples-Jones is a first-round selection if he enters next April’s NFL draft, if that’s even a mathematical possibility. He missed the first half of September with injury and has just 9 receptions for 93 years since his return the past three games.

His development is largely also hampered by the poor quarterback play at Michigan. Unless there’s some incredible turnaround in his game, I don’t think he’s anything earlier than a third-round choice. This is especially true after one takes into account the incredible receiver talent from the junior class.

Who is your top-rated quarterback that is draft-eligible and why?

My top-rated quarterback entering the 2020 NFL Draft is Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. I think he’s a terrific passer who gets it between the ears and has an outstanding combination of physical skills, arm strength, and quarterback intellect.

That said, Alabama has played virtually no one this season, and last year Tagovailoa struggled against Georgia in the SEC title game and then Clemson in the national title game.

Of the final four games on Bama’s regular season schedule, LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn will pose the toughest challenge for Tagovailoa, then the SEC title game and final four.

Hi Tony, I love to read your insights into the NFL Draft. I’ve seen your preliminary ratings for the major conferences, but none for independent schools, primarily Notre Dame. Who are some of those top prospects available for the 2020 draft?

You are correct about this as I never hit the Independents or the minor conferences. Just ran out of time!

The Notre Dame board has tremendous next level prospects on defense – players that will be sprinkled from the first round through the late rounds of the NFL Draft. Offensively, tight end Cole Kmet and receiver Chase Claypool have progressed on the field and have improved their draft stock. My Notre Dame board is as follows:

Notre Dame Prospects
Grade Rnd Full Name Pos # Yr
4.03 1-2 Julian Okwara DE 42 4Sr
3.93 1-2 Troy Pride Jr. CB 5 4Sr
3.84 2nd Khalid Kareem DE 53 4Sr
3.54 4th Daelin Hayes DE 9 4Sr
3.54 4th Jalen Elliott S 21 4Sr
3.51 5th Chase Claypool WR 83 4Sr
3.48 4-5 Aaron Banks G 69 3Jr
3.35 6th Alohi Gilman S 11 4Sr
3.34 6th Cole Kmet TE 84 3Jr
3.33 6th Chris Finke WR 10 5Sr
3.31 6th Donte Vaughn CB 8 4Sr
3.28 7th Kurt Hinish DT 41 3Jr
3.15 FA Tony Jones Jr RB 6 4Sr
3.06 FA Robert Hainsey T 72 3Jr
3.00 FA Asmar Bilal OLB 22 5Sr
2.98 FA Liam Eichenberg T 74 4Sr

Are there any “significant” comparisons to Patrick Mahomes & Jordan Love? It appears to me that Love is extremely raw & will need to develop more..a lot more? What was Mahomes’ scouting report look like coming out of Texas Tech?

I didn’t make the comparison. I hate making comparisons, so I can’t speak to that. My take is that Jordan Love has tremendous upside but will need a lot of work on his game. This was basically the book on Mahomes when he entered the 2017 NFL Draft.

I’m a big fan of Love, and I understand why some scouts grade him higher than Tagovailoa based on his upside. However, I also realize he’s going to need time and a real good quarterback coach at the next level, just like Mahomes.

For more, be sure to check out my recent article on Love when I named him the Moutain West Player of the Week. 

Tony – you posted your top ten quarterbacks during the college game day blog on Saturday. Care to share the top ten running backs on your board?

Right now my top ten running backs headed into the 2020 NFL Draft are as follows:

Top 10 Running Backs
Rnd Grade Full Name School Yr
1st 4.13 D’Andre Swift Georgia 3Jr
1st 4.11 Travis Etienne Clemson 3Jr
1st 4.10 Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin 3Jr
1-2 4.00 J.K. Dobbins Ohio State 3Jr
2nd 3.98 Najee Harris Alabama 3Jr
3rd 3.66 Eno Benjamin Arizona State 3Jr
3rd 3.63 Ke’Shawn Vaughn Vanderbilt 5Sr
4th 3.55 Anthony McFarland Maryland 3So
4th 3.53 Zack Moss Utah 4Sr
5th 3.46 Cam Akers Florida State 3Jr

Follow Pro Football Network on Twitter: @PFN365 and look out for tweets at the beginning of the week where you can ask me any questions related to the college football landscape or NFL Draft prospects. Be sure to also follow me on Twitter: @TonyPauline for the latest around the 2020 NFL Draft.

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