2020 NFL Draft Prospects
Kalija Lipscomb, WR
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who led the SEC with 87 receptions and set career highs with 916 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches as a junior in 2018. Caught 46 passes for 505 yards and three touchdowns as a senior.
Positives: Productive receiver who can line up in the slot or on the boundary. Fluid, smooth and strong for his size. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage, sells routes and nicely adjusts to the errant throw. Extends his hands to snatch the ball from the air and displays both soft and strong hands.
Consistently keeps the play in bounds and works to pick up positive yardage. Plays heads-up football and finds ways to come free and make himself an available target. Fires into routes, stays low on exit and positions himself to come away with the catch. Tracks the pass in the air and battles to come away with the difficult reception.
Negatives: One-speed receiver who lacks deep burst. Average run-after-catch skill. Occasionally struggles in battles. Performed poorly during the combine and turned in pedestrian numbers.
Analysis: Before the season, Lipscomb was given high grades by NFL scouts who overrated his talent. He’s a solid receiver prospect, but he isn’t special in any single aspect and should compete to be a fourth receiver on an NFL roster.
Riley Neal, QB
Career Snapshot: Graduate transfer from Ball State who started his lone season at Vanderbilt. Completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,585 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions as a senior in 2019. Two-year starter for the Cardinals who completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards and 16 touchdowns with six interceptions as a true freshman in 2015. Missed one game in 2019 with concussion symptoms. Missed three games in 2018, nine games in 2017 and one game in 2016 with knee injuries.
Positives: Large, relatively athletic quarterback prospect who is patient in the pocket, sells ball fakes and displays good timing on throws. Displays good awareness, keeps his eyes downfield under the rush and shows the ability to pick up yardage with his legs when necessary. Flashes the ability to make some big time NFL passes.
Negatives: Lacks a big time arm and cannot fire the ball into targets. Does not react well to pressure. Slow to move on from his primary target. All over the place with passes and often way off the mark. Comes off a disappointing 2019 season.
Analysis: Neal looked like a legitimate next-level prospect early in his Ball State career, but his game showed no development last season and even regressed in some aspects. Benched for poor play in 2019, he was unable to build any kind of consistency on the field despite the talent around him. Neal is presently an undraftable prospect, but he should get practice-squad consideration based on his physical skills and the ability he displayed in the past.
Jared Pinckney, TE
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who caught 50 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2018. Made 20 catches for 233 yards and two TDs as a senior. Missed the final game of the 2019 season with a wrist injury.
Positives: Large pass-catching tight end who displayed NFL ability in the past. Fluidly moves about the field, nicely adjusts to the errant throw and makes the reception in stride. Runs sharp routes, stays low on exit and extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target. Flashes natural receiving skills and snatches the ball away from his frame. Blocks with solid pad level and gets leverage on opponents.
Negatives: Performed disastrously in 2019. Did not show the ability to come away with the difficult catch. Readies himself for the hit and doesn’t lay out to come away with the ball. Average strength at the point of attack. Does not finish off defenders. One-speed receiver who cannot split the seam. Performed horrendously during the combine.
Analysis: Scouts graded Pinkney as the top tight end from the senior class and a potential first-round pick before the season, but he fell flat from the start of the season through the lead-up to the draft. He’s a nice-sized target, but he comes with marginal athleticism and a game that is on a downward trajectory.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB
Career Snapshot: Transfer from Illinois who started both his seasons at Vanderbilt. Rushed 198 times for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 270 yards and one score as a senior in 2019. Carried 157 times for 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns and made 13 catches for 170 yards and two TDs as a junior. Made eight starts in two seasons with the Illini and led the team with 157 carries, 723 rushing yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman.
Positives: Underrated ball carrier with the ability to be a feature runner in the proper system. Plays with outstanding instincts, runs hard on the inside and keeps his feet moving. Strong, has an aggressive style and moves the pile. Displays a lot of strength andruns through opponents.
Possesses solid short-area quickness and slides around defenders. Finds running lanes, quickly gets through the hole and doesn’t lose balance or momentum when he changes direction. Solid receiver out of the backfield who works with the quarterback to make himself an available target. Patiently waits for blocks to develop and displays outstanding vision.
Negatives: One-speed back who cannot turn the perimeter or beat defenders into the open field. Gets into trouble when he tries to run east and west. Has small hands.
Analysis: Vaughn was the one shining light in what turned out to be a very disappointing season at Vanderbilt, and he moves towards the draft as one of the more underrated prospects at his position. Though he’s not the greatest athlete, Vaughn is fast for his size and comes with terrific football intelligence and a physical nature. He’ll likely drop out of the top-100 selections in the draft, but if properly used, he could turn into one of the real steals from April’s event.
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