2020 NFL Draft Prospects
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Career Snapshot: Graduate transfer from Ohio State who started both his seasons at LSU. Won the Heisman Trophy and completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns with six interceptions as a senior in 2019. Completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions as a junior.
Positives: Highly celebrated quarterback who comes off a career campaign. Displays great patience, goes through progressions and remains poised under the rush. Steps up and slides to the side to avoid defenders, buys as much time as possible and does not leave the pocket or take it upfield unless totally necessary. Displays outstanding field vision and knows where his receivers are on the field. Resilient quarterback who stands in against the rush to get the throw away.
Plays tough football, pulls himself up off the ground and gets back into the huddle. Takes off upfield, doesn’t force the pass to covered targets and makes proper decisions. Displays great awareness, possesses a solid arm and puts air under deep throws. Naturallylooks off the safety, takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available and effectively sets up screen throws. Makes adjustments at the line of scrimmage and plays smart football. Displays timing on throws, leads receivers on crossing patterns and flashes the ability to place passes where only his receivers can make the catch. Shows the ability to pick up yardage with his legs when necessary.
Negatives: Must improve the consistency of his pass placement. Makes receivers slow down in patterns,wait for the ball to arrive and adjust backwards to grab the throw. Occasionally puts too much air under deep passes.
Analysis: Burrow comes off a tremendous campaign where he displayed himself to be a great leader on the field and played better as the lights got brighter.He’s presently the hot commodity at the quarterback position, but he is by no means a sure thing and must prove 2019 was not the exception to the rule. Burrow comes with outstanding talent, great moxie and football intelligence and should be successful at the next level if properly coached and developed.
K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who earned First Team All-SEC honors and made 60 tackles (13.5 for loss) with 6.5 sacks and two pass breakups as a sophomore in 2019. Started three games and made 27 tackles (4.5 for loss) with two sacks and two PBUs as a true freshman in 2017. Missed most of the 2018 season due to a torn ACL.
Positives: Explosive pass rusher who impacts the game and makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. Fluid, moves well around the field and nicely redirects to the ball carrier. Displays speed both in a straight line and laterally, quickly collapses outside-in against the run and plays with tremendous balance and body control. Breaks down well and effectively uses his hands. Explosive and rarely off his feet. Easily changes direction and flashes on the scene out of nowhere. Smoothly flips his hips in transition, fluidly moves in reverse and explodes to the action.
Negatives: Lacks bulk and struggles to take on blocks from bigger opponents. Possesses poor ball skills and shows marginal ability in coverage. Really does not show a great closing burst. Has a long injury history.
Analysis: When healthy and on his game, Chaisson impacts contests with big plays. He’s a terrific 3-4 outside linebacker prospect with big upside, but I expect bumps in the road for Chaisson as he will need proper coaching. More than anything else, he must stay healthy.
Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter at left tackle. Started one game at right tackle and one game at right guard as a true freshman in 2017. Missed six games in 2019 and three in 2018 due to undisclosed injuries.
Positives: Explosive position blocker who is best in a small area. Sets with a wide base, stays square and consistently seals defenders from the action. Strong and turns opponents off the line to open up running lanes. Plays with a nasty attitude and works to finish off opponents.
Negatives: Lacks quick or smooth footwork off the edge. Lacks balance and finds himself on the ground too much. Really doesn’t sink his butt or bend his knees at the line of scrimmage.
Analysis: Charles was a solid college right tackle, but he must play in confined quarters. He lacks great upside, but he could end up as an inexpensive utility backup at guard or tackle.
Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter at center. Earned First Team All-SEC honors as a junior in 2019.
Positives: Hard-working center who gets the most from his ability. Blocks with terrific knee bend and leverage, fires his hands into opponents andstays square. Quickly gets into blocks, keeps his feet moving and always looks to hit someone. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates.
Negatives: Lacks agility and struggles to adjust. Only effective in a small area. Lacks footwork in space. Minimally effective at the second level.
Analysis: Cushenberry is a hard-working center who plays with outstanding intelligence and toughness, but he lacks great upside. His approach to the game and ability to block with proper fundamentals could help him catch on as a backup at the next level.
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who earned First Team All-America honors, led the SEC with five interceptions and made 74 tackles (9.5 for loss) with five sacks and nine pass breakups as a sophomore in 2018. Earned Second Team All-America honors and made 65 tackles (4.5 for loss) with two interceptions, two sacks and seven PBUs as a junior in 2019. Made 10 starts as a true freshman and posted 60 tackles (3.5 for loss), one interception and eight pass breakups.
Positives: Explosive safety who was productive in all areas of the position. Tracks the pass in the air, works well with cornerbacks to bracket receivers over the middle of the field and displays a nice move to the throw. Quick, explosive and fast to every area of the field. Rarely off his feet, breaks down well and effectively uses his hands to protect himself. Displays excellent range from sideline to sideline.
Fires up the field and gives effort to defendrunning plays and screen passes. Instinctive, sudden player who shows excellent awareness and flashes on the scene out of nowhere. Aggressive and explodes through tackles but also shows great discipline. Displays timing and anticipation and plays within the system.
Negatives: Not a sure-handed or stout tackler and letsball carriers run through his arms at times. Possesses poor hands for the interception.
Analysis: Delpit has been a force on the LSU defense the past three years and is a three-down safety who is effective in coverage or run defense. He’s agood athlete who plays with great intensity and solid instincts and just needs to brush off his game. Delpit will be great value outside the top 20 of the draft, and I expect him to have an immediate impact as a rookie in the NFL.
Michael Divinity, OLB, LSU
Career Snapshot: One-year starter who made 54 tackles (10.5 for loss) with five sacks as a junior in 2018. Started three games and made 23 tackles (four for loss) with three sacks as a senior in 2019. Suspended for six games in 2019 due to a violation of LSU’s drug policy.
Positives: Forceful linebacker who shows the ability to make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage when focused on his game. Remains disciplined with assignments, breaks down well and plays with good knee bend. Easily changes direction, collapses laterally to make plays and stays balanced. Fast up the field when he comes out of a three-point stance. Tough run defender who wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Really doesn’t play to his timed speed. Easily taken from the action by blocks. Personality and character issues halted his development in 2019.
Analysis: Divinity has shown the physical traits to be used in a variety of schemes at the next level, but he has yet to show he’s willing to make football priority in his life. He offers upside, but he must really pull the pieces together to have a future at the next level.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who earned First Team All-SEC honors, carried 215 times for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 55 passes for 453 yards and one score as a junior in 2019. Rushed 146 times for 658 yards and seven TDs and made 11 receptions for 96 yards as a sophomore.
Positives: Stout, hard-charging running back with a complete game. Instinctive, patient and displays great football intelligence. Grinds it out on the inside and breaks tackles. Carries the pile and falls forward when tackled. Waits for blocks to develop, follows them everywhere on the field and shows a burst through the hole. Tough to bring down, runs with authority and works to get as much yardage as possible from each carry.
Displays tremendous short-area quickness and footwork, bounces around piles and keeps plays alive. Outstanding pass catcher out of the backfield who nicely adjusts to the errant throw and snatches the ball away from his frame to make the reception in stride. Runs with excellent lean and behind his pads.
Negatives: Not truly creative. Lacks the speed to beat defenders into the open field or run to daylight. Does not have the speed or quickness necessary to turn the perimeter.
Analysis: While Joe Burrow was the most celebrated player on the LSU offense, in many ways it was Edwards-Helairewho carried the offense. He’s a hard-charging ball carrier with a complete game and the ability to help an offense at the next level in a variety of ways. Edwards-Helaire will be underdrafted because of his lack of speed and inability to create yardage, but I expect him to have an immediate impact as a rotational back, and he ultimately could be a feature runner.
Breiden Fehoko, DT, LSU
Career Snapshot: Transfer from Texas Tech who started one season at LSU. Made 16 tackles (three for loss) with 1.5 sacks as a junior in 2018. Started four games and made 17 tackles (six for loss) with a half-sack as a senior in 2019. One-year starter for the Red Raiders who made 19 tackles (3.5 for loss) with one sack as a sophomore in 2016.
Positives: Quick, explosive defensive lineman who is best as a gap occupier. Fires off the snap, displays a solid first step and plays with good pad level. Fights with his hands, holds his ground and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Keeps his feet moving and works through the whistle.
Negatives: Must develop more moves and gets consistently handled at the point by a single blocker. Marginally productive at the college level. Lacks great upside.
Analysis: Fehoko was a consistent player who did well in his role at LSU, but he’s primarily a gap occupier with average size for the next level.
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who made 38 tackles with one interception and 14 pass breakups as a junior in 2019. Made 25 tackles with one INT and nine PBUs as a sophomore. Suspended for two years early in 2017 after he attempted to use somebody else’s urine to pass a drug test. Had the second year of his suspension overturned in August 2018.
Positives: Talented, athletic cornerback who flashes bigtime ability. Quick-footed in reverse, flips his hips in transition and runs step for step with receivers downfield. Gets his head back around, tracks the pass in the air and shows an explosive burst of closing speed. Aggressive, mixes it up with opponents throughout the route and fires to the action out of his plant. Displays good awareness in zone coverage and gives effort against the run.
Negatives: Late to transition with opponents off the line, which puts him a half-step behind receivers. Struggles against bigger receivers. Character issues have raised red flags among several teams. Showed a lot of inconsistency last season.
Analysis: Fulton grades as a first-round pick at the top of this game, but he’s been inconsistentandhas had lapses on the field. He possesses the size and physical skills to start at the next level, but he must consistently play at a high level, keep his focus on the field and do the right things off the field.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who led the SEC with 111 receptions and added 1,540 receiving yards and 18 touchdown catches as a junior in 2019. Caught 54 passes for 875 yards and six TDs as a sophomore.
Positives: Productive receiver who displayed great progress last season. Effectively works his hands to separate from defenders, runs sharp routes and comes back to the ball to make himself an available target. Extends his hands, displays solid hand-eye coordination and makes the reception away from his frame.
Keeps the play in bounds after the catch and works to pick up as much yardage as possible. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, takes a big hit and holds onto the throw. Resilient, possesses a short burst of speed and makes the difficult over-the-shoulder catch down the field. Works hard even when the action is away from him.
Negatives: Improved as a hands catcher last season but still lets the ball get inside him on occasion. Possesses a thin build and will struggle in battles on Sunday.
Analysis: Jefferson was a major threat for the LSU offense and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. He possesses solid receiving skills and solid physical skills, but he’s by no means an elite prospect. While Jefferson may end up in the first round of the draft, I think he’s best suited as a No. 2 receiver at the next level.
Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who earned Second Team All-SEC honors and made 28 tackles (six for loss) with 2.5 sacks and three pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 54 tackles (10.5 for loss) with four sacks and three pass breakups as a junior. Missed three games in 2019 due to an ankle injury.
Positives: Underrated defensive line prospect who can occupy gaps and make plays on the football. Fires off the snap with an explosive first step, quickly gets his hands up and effectively uses them to protect himself. Smart, relentless and displays outstanding instincts. Resilient, keeps his feet moving and quickly locates the ball. Displays good change-of-direction skills and easily collapses down the line of scrimmage against the run.
Negatives: Slow to get off blocks despite his size. Doesn’t get into space to make plays in pursuit.
Analysis: Lawrence was a productive lineman who consistently made big plays for LSUin important moments. He offers scheme versatility and upside, and in time Lawrence could develop into a three-down player at the next level.
Damien Lewis, G, LSU
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started at right guard during both of his seasons at LSU. Earned Second Team All-SEC honors as a senior in 2019.
Positives: Large, wide-bodied blocker who is best in a small area. Bends his knees, blocks with terrific fundamentals and stays square. Anchors in pass protection, turns defenders from the line in the run game and fires out to the second level. Strong, stays square and works blocks.
Negatives: Lacks agility and struggles to finish blocks. Cannot adjust and gets exploited by quick, explosive defensive tackles.
Analysis: Lewis possesses size, better-than-average movement skills and strength and could develop into an effective backup at the next level.
Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
Career Snapshot: Transfer from N.C. State who started his final season at LSU. Caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns as a junior in 2019. Missed the entire 2018 season due to a left foot injury.
Positives: Athletic pass-catching tight end with big upside. Possesses solid speed, extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target and snatches the pass from the air. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, takes a pounding and holds onto the throw. Makes the difficult reception in contorted positions and catches the ball down the field at full speed.
Nicely adjusts to the errant throw and looks the ball into his hands. Displays decent awareness, gives effort as a blocker and shows ability in motion. Squares into defenders and blocks with solid fundamentals.
Negatives: Unpolished in all aspects of his game. Can be stiff as a blocker. Must improve his balance and ball security. Foot injury from 2019 could keep him on the sidelines for a while.
Analysis: After he sat on the sidelines the prior two seasons, Moss had a breakout campaign in 2019 and took his game to the next level. He possesses the size, physical skills and bloodlines to play in the NFL, although his decision to make the jump may have been a bit premature. Moss comes with incredible upside, but he’ll need time to polish his game and I would expect a lot of bumps in the road before he’s truly NFL-ready.
Jacob Phillips, OLB, LSU
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who led the SEC with 113 tackles (7.5 for loss) as a junior in 2019. Made 87 tackles (5.5 for loss) with three pass breakups as a sophomore.
Positives: Small, explosive run-and-chase linebacker who stands out in pursuit. Quick, fluidly moves in every direction and covers a lot of area on the field. Easily changes direction, gets depth on pass drops and shows an excellent closing burst to the play. Instinctive, terrific in pursuit and shows a good head for the ball. Shows ability in coverage and solid ball skills. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself.
Negatives: Not big or sturdy. Struggles to get off blocks, gets controlled at the point and gets slowed up when he moves through the trash.
Analysis: Phillips is a terrific athlete and an outstanding linebacker who has size limitations. He projects as a traditional weakside linebacker or on the inside of a 3-4 alignment and is very much what teams want in a linebacker these days.
Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who made 85 tackles (12 for loss) with three sacks and two pass breakups as a junior in 2019. Started four games as a sophomore and made 40 tackles (five for loss) with one sack.
Positives: Explosive run-defending linebacker who plays tough, nasty football. Aggressive, fires up the field and viciously attacks opponents. Rarely off his feet, breaks down well and fluidly moves laterally. Flies around the action to make positive plays. Effectively quarterbacks the defense and gets his teammates in proper position.
Negatives: Despite his forty time, possesses average pursuit speed and struggles to catchball carriers from the backside. Tackles a little bit high. Possesses poor ball skills and faceguards too much in coverage.
Analysis: Queen comes off a tremendous campaign in which he doubled his production numbers in almost every area last season, which prompted him to turn pro. He’s more of a two-down defender and while I think Queen can produce at the next level, I don’t see a prospect with a high upside.
Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU
Career Snapshot: One-year starter who set career highs with 23 receptions, 363 receiving yards and two touchdown catches as a backup in 2018. Made 12 catches for 130 yards as a senior in 2019. Started eight games and caught 11 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore in 2017.
Positives: Seldom-used tight end with tremendous upside. Athletic and easily moves about the field. Terrific pass catcher who competes to come away with the difficult reception, extends to the pass and displays soft hands. Plays with quickness and speed and shows the ability to separate from defenders through routes and split the seam downfield. Blocks with terrific fundamentals and gives effort.
Negatives: Marginally productive at the college level and never met expectations at LSU. Failed to capitalize on a solid junior season.
Analysis: Sullivan fell under the radar before he turned in a tremendous week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He possesses the athleticism, physical dimensions and upside to play at the next level, but he needs a lot of work to complete his game. He’ll be a solid Day 3 pick, and if Sullivan is correctly coached and given time to develop, he could be one of the steals from this year’s tight end class.
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