2020 NFL Draft Prospects
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Josiah Coatney, DT
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started his final three seasons at Mississippi. Set career highs with 65 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as sophomore in 2017. Made 46 tackles (3.5 for loss) with two sacks as a senior.
Positives: Wide-bodied defensive lineman who flashes athleticism. Works his hands, keeps his feet moving and shows power in his lower body. Fires off the snap with a terrific first step, keeps his pads low to the ground and gets leverage on opponents. Fluidly changes direction and displays solid movement skills.
Negatives: Slow to shed blocks and gets easily controlled by opponents. Gets ragdolled in the middle of the line. Was never much of a play-maker at Mississippi. Comes off a disappointing senior campaign.
Analysis: Early in his college career, Coatney displayed size, movement skills and the ability to impact games. His play slid in 2019, and as a result he’s likely to go unselected in the draft. He possesses good upside, but he must quickly pull the pieces together to have a career at the next level.
Octavius Cooley, TE
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who caught 13 passes for 162 yards as a senior in 2019. Started one game and made eight catches for 172 yards and one touchdown as a junior.
Positives: Athletic tight end who flashes ability. Quickly releases off the line, runs sharp routes and separates from defenders. Extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Effective as a blocker, fires off the snap and controls opponents at the point of attack.
Negatives: Was never a big part of the Mississippi offense and never truly met expectations. Doesn’t play to his timed speed. Stiff.
Analysis: Cooley entered the season graded as a potential priority free agent, but he showed no real progress in 2019. He’s a size/speed prospect who should be kept on a practice squad to develop his game, but Cooley must produce in camp this year.
Alex Givens, OT
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who spent his final two seasons at right tackle. Started seven games at guard as a sophomore in 2017 and five games at right tackle as a redshirt freshman. Had offseason surgery on his lower back before the 2019 season. Missed time with a concussion in 2017.
Positives: Large right-tackle prospect with growth potential. Quickly sets up off the snap, displays strength and controls opponents once engaged. Sets with a wide base, starts with good knee bend and stays square. Solid position blocker who keeps his feet moving and seals defenders from the action.
Negatives: Marginal athlete. Struggles to adjust, lacks the footwork to slide off the edge and overextends into blocks.
Analysis: Givens entered the season with late-round grades, but he never elevated his game. He’s a size prospect who must refine his technique to have a spot at the next level.
Myles Hartsfield, CB
Career Snapshot: Four-year starter who made 41 tackles (2.5 for loss) with one interception and three pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 41 tackles with seven PBUs as a junior. Intercepted a career-high two passes as a sophomore.
Positives: Nice-sized defensive back who can line up at corner or safety. Tough, gives effort against the run and wraps up tackling. Strong, brings down ball carriers at the point of attack and physically defeats pass catchers to defend the throw. Possesses a solid closing burst, runs downfield with opponents and plays to his 40 time. Effectively recognizes coverage assignments and stays with the action.
Negatives: Must improve his footwork and backpedal. Struggles to stay with receivers out of breaks and does not show a burst to the ball. Faceguards too often and rarely gets his head back around to locate the ball in the air.
Analysis: Hartsfield entered the season as a priority free agent, but he failed to elevate his game. He possesses the size and speed to play at the next level and would be effective in a system where he faces the action.
Benito Jones, DT
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who earned Second Team All-SEC honors and made 30 tackles (10 for loss) with 5.5 sacks as a senior in 2019. Made 34 tackles (nine for loss) with three sacks as a junior. Started four games as a true freshman.
Positives: Explosive three-technique tackle who plays with impressive quickness. Fires off the snap, plays with proper pad level and keeps his feet moving. Terrific technician who is agile and quick in all his actions. Easily changes direction, smoothly moves about the field and chases laterally in pursuit of the action. Plays with leverage and holds his ground against blocks.
Negatives: Rarely gets penetration or makes plays on the ball. Struggles to get off blocks and gets stood up at the point by a single opponent.
Analysis: Jones looked like a potential second day pick after his sophomore season, but his game has leveled off the past two seasons. He presents himself as a gap occupier and has scheme limitations at the next level.
Scottie Phillips, RB
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started both his seasons at Mississippi. Rushed 125 times for 542 yards and five touchdowns as a senior in 2019. Set career highs with 153 carries, 928 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns and 10 catches, 105 receiving yards and two TDs as a junior. Missed two games in 2019 due to a knee injury. Missed one game in 2018 due to an ankle injury.
Positives: Hard-charging ball carrier who gives effort in all areas. Quick, displays the ability to immediately cut back against the grain and immediately gets to top speed. Keeps his feet moving, grinds it out on the inside and falls forward when tackled. Built low to the ground and runs behind his pads. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield. Quickly gets into routes and works to become an available target.
Negatives: Comes with average size and strength and doesn’t pick up much yardage after contact. Displays no great physical skills. Struggled with injuries in 2019.
Analysis: Despite limitations, Phillips entered his senior season with solid grades from NFL scouts. He’s a potential situational ball carrier and third-down back, but I do not believe Phillips has much upside.
Austrian Robinson, DE
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who made 29 tackles (two for loss) with 1.5 sacks as a senior in 2019. Made 29 tackles (3.5 for loss) with 1.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2017.
Positives: Underrated defensive end with solid size. Plays with terrific pad level, fires off the snap with a quick step first step and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Quick, works hard and fluidly moves about the field.
Negatives: Lacks natural bulk, struggles to get off blocks and gets completely engulfed at the point. Minimally productive at the college level.
Analysis: Robinson possesses solid size and comes with good upside, but he must quickly elevate his game and produce this summer to have a chance to make it out of camp.
Qaadir Sheppard, OLB
Career Snapshot: Transfer from Syracuse who started his final two seasons at Mississippi. Made 25 tackles (two for loss) as a senior in 2019. Set career highs with 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as a junior. Moved from defensive end to outside linebacker when Mississippi moved from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme before the 2019 season. Missed most of the 2017 season due to a lingering ankle injury. Dismissed from Syracuse after the 2015 season for a violation of team rules.
Positives: Relatively athletic defensive lineman who flashes ability. Fluidly moves about the field, nicely redirects to the action and gives effort. Plays with proper pad level and moves well in pursuit down the line of scrimmage and outside the box to make plays. Effectively uses his hands to protect himself, keeps his feet moving and flashes speed off the edge.
Negatives: Struggles to get off blocks and gets handled at the point by tight ends. Possesses marginal speed. Comes off a disappointing senior season and has turned in mostly average production at the college level.
Analysis: Sheppard was overhyped by scouts who gave him a mid-round grade prior to the 2019 season. He’s more of a flash player than a consistent defender, and Sheppard lacks great upside.
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