Mississippi State Bulldogs
2020 NFL Draft Prospects
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Brian Cole, S
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started his final season at Mississippi State. Made 67 tackles (7.5 for loss) with two sacks, one interception and two pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Started four of five games as a junior before he suffered an upper-body injury that ended his season. Began his college career as a wide receiver at Michigan before he transferred to East Mississippi Community College and moved to safety.
Positives: Smart, tough safety with upside. Instinctive, fires up the field and attacks ball carriers. Hard hitter who forces turnovers. Constantly around the action, works well with teammates and does not have mental lapses on the field. Squares into tackles and brings opponents down at the point of attack.
Negatives: Must improve his overall ball skills. Does not show great timing on pass defenses. Cannot burst to the action out of his plant. Plays like an average athlete.
Analysis: Cole is a tough, hard-working defensive back who is best as a traditional strong safety. He also comes with a special-teams mentality, which is added value.
Cameron Dantzler, CB
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who made 40 tackles (two for loss) with two interceptions and eight pass breakups as a junior in 2019. Made 43 tackles (two for loss) with two INTs and nine PBUs as a sophomore. Missed three games in 2019 due to various lower-body and upper-body injuries.
Positives: Nice-sized cornerback who plays physical football. Quick to flip his hips in transition with opponents off the line, shows an explosive closing burst of speed and competes to break up throws. Plays faster than his 40 time, runs downfield with opponents and remains in contact with receivers to break up throws. Gives effort against the run, fires up the field and effectively makes tackles in space.
Negatives: Struggles to make plays with his back to the ball. Very slow to turn his head and locate the pass in the air. Must improve his backpedal and prefers to side shuffle down the field. Ran poorly at the combine.
Analysis: Scouts graded Dantzler as a potential mid first-round pick before the season, as he’s flashed those abilities the past two years. Opponents purposely stayed away from Dantzler, and NFL teams must determine if Dantzler has enough speed to be a starter at the next level or if he can only lineup in nickel packages.
Willie Gay Jr., OLB
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who made 28 tackles (3.5 for loss) with one interception in five games as a junior in 2019 before he missed eight contests due to a violation of team rules. Started six games and made 48 tackles (5.5 for loss) with five sacks and two interceptions as a sophomore.
Positives: Athletic linebacker with next-level size and speed and big upside. Keeps the action in front of him, effectively diagnoses plays and moves well laterally. Fires up the field to defend the run. Explosive at the point and creates turnovers. Displays good change-of-direction skills and nicely redirects to ball carriers.
Negatives: Despite his 40 time, does not show great range and struggles to cut off the corners from ball carriers. Average pursuit ability and ball skills.
Analysis: Gay possesses the size and speed to develop into a productive linebacker at the next level. He must keep his focus on the field and learn to play at a high level on every down to have a career in the NFL.
Farrod Green, TE
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who made 21 catches for 257 yards and one touchdown as a senior in 2019. Caught nine passes for 174 yards as a sophomore. Started eight games as a true freshman and made 11 receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Positives: Athletic tight end with solid computer numbers. Bends his knees, stays square and gives effort as a blocker. Quick out to the second level and redirects to linebackers to take them from the action. Flashes strong hands, adjusts to the errant throw and snatches the pass out of the air.
Negatives: Struggles to finish blocks and displays limited strength. Doesn’t play to his 40 time. Turned in average production at Mississippi State.
Analysis: Green comes with the size and speed to play at the next level and flashed the ability to be a third tight end at the next level. He must improve every aspect of his game and play to his computer numbers.
Stephen Guidry, WR
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started his final season at Mississippi State. Made 30 catches for 387 yards and five touchdowns as a senior in 2019. Made five starts and caught 19 passes for 440 yards and three TDs as a junior.
Positives: Underrated receiver with the size, speed and pass-catching skill necessary to play at the next level. Fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage, runs solid routes and separates from defenders. Displays solid hand-eye coordination, uses his frame to shield away defenders and protect the pass and nicely adjusts to make the reception in stride.
Runs well both in a straight line and laterally, extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target and tracks the pass in the air. Gets vertical over defenders, effectively times his receptions and competes to come away with the difficult catch. Uses the sidelines well, possesses strong hands and snatches the ball out of the air.
Negatives: Despite his 40 time, really doesn’t show a second gear. Timed well in the 40 at the combine, although his other marks were rather pedestrian.
Analysis: Guidry is a prospect I like who could develop into a fourth receiver at the next level. He’ll be a Day 3 steal and would do well on both underneath and intermediate routes.
Jaquarius Landrews, S
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started his final season at Mississippi State. Made 77 tackles with one interception and eight pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Started three games and made 21 tackles (4.5 for loss) with three sacks and five PBUs as a junior. Missed three games in 2018 due to a high-ankle sprain.
Positives: Athletically gifted defensive back with big upside. Effective facing the action, possesses a solid burst of speed and fires up the field to defend the run. Displays a solid head for the ball and recognizes the action when it’s in front of him. Athletic and gives effort tackling.
Negatives: Doesn’t play to his 40 time or show much in the way of deep speed. Late to react and does not make many plays against the pass. Not a stout tackler and gets dragged for yards before he brings down the ball carrier.
Analysis: Landrews was given high grades by scouts before the season even though he rarely saw the field as a junior in 2018. To this point he’s a better athlete than football player, and he must elevate his game in camp this summer to make an NFL roster.
Leo Lewis, LB
Career Snapshot: Four-year starter who made 65 tackles (5.5 for loss) with one sack as a senior in 2019. Set career highs with 79 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss and added one sack as a redshirt freshman in 2016. Arrested for disorderly conduct in May 2018.
Positives: Nice-sized linebacker who is best against the run. Displays a good head for the ball, fluidly changes direction and effectively makes plays in pursuit. Fires up the field, sells out on the blitz and works to make tackles.
Negatives: Displays limited quickness, does not play to his 40 time and possesses marginal ball skills. Does not get depth on pass drops and shows a lot of hesitation and indecision when the ball is in the air.
Analysis:Lewis has flashed ability the past three seasons and comes with solid size and speed, but he never pulled together his game. He possesses solid upside and comes with a special-teams mentality, which could help him make a roster as an eighth linebacker.
Tyre Phillips, OT
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started at left tackle during his final season at Mississippi State. Rotated at left tackle as a junior in 2018.
Positives: Large right-tackle prospect who dominates as a run blocker. Fires into blocks, stays square and uses his large frame to seal defenders from the action. Strong, drives opponents off the line as a run blocker and engulfs them all together. Sets with a wide base, works to bend his knees and turns opponents from the action once he gets his hands into them. Explosive.
Negatives: Lacks footwork and range off the edge. Struggles to adjust. Rumbles around the field and isn’t light on his feet.
Analysis: While Phillips saw a lot of action at left tackle for Mississippi State, he’s a strong-side prospect with outstanding size. Phillips needs to refine his technique, but at the very least I could see him on a practice squad this fall.
Chauncey Rivers, DE
Career Snapshot: Junior-college transfer who started his final season at Mississippi State. Made 43 tackles (eight for loss) with five sacks and three pass breakups as a senior in 2019. Made 24 tackles (seven for loss) with 2.5 sacks as a junior. Started his college career at Georgia before he was dismissed from the team due to three marijuana arrests.
Positives: Relatively athletic defensive end who easily moves about the field to make plays in any direction. Explodes off the snap, fires between blocks and possesses the ability to make game-changing plays behind the line of scrimmage. Plays with outstanding knee bend and pad level and keeps his feet moving.
Fluid in lateral pursuit of the action. Agile, chases plays hard and covers a lot of area on the field. Solid pass rusher off the edge who is athletic enough to drop off the line of scrimmage and make plays in space. Squares and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: Struggles to get off blocks and gets easily outpositioned by opponents. Must develop more moves with his hands.
Analysis: Rivers was a solid player at the college level, but he may have no true position in the NFL. He lacks the speed for defensive end and the size for defensive tackle, but he could be a situational pass rusher who also lines up on special teams.
Tommy Stevens, QB
Career Snapshot: Graduate transfer from Penn State who started his final season at Mississippi State. Completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 1,155 yards and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions and rushed 83 times for 381 yards and four TDs as a senior in 2019.
Completed 24 of 41 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns with one interception and rushed 76 times for 516 yards and eight TDs in his three-year career at Penn State, where he also played running back and wide receiver. Missed time in 2019 due to rib and upper-body injuries.
Positives: Penn State transfer with solid physical skills. Possesses terrific size, has a strong arm and flashes the ability to place throws downfield. Sits in the pocket and takes big hits in order to get the throw away. Shows the ability to pick up yardage with his legs.
Negatives: Gets rattled under the rush and makes some questionable decisions. Often releases the ball off his back foot. Does not properly locate defenders in the defensive back seven. Struggled with injuries last season.
Analysis: Stevens possesses next-level size and solid physical skills, but he must find a new position at the next level. He possesses the skills necessary to make it as a move tight end, and if he’s properly coached, don’t be surprised if Stevens eventually makes an active roster.
Deddrick Thomas, WR
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who caught 30 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns as a senior in 2019. Made 19 receptions for 256 yards and two TDs as a junior. Caught a career-high four touchdown passes and made 22 catches for 227 yards as a sophomore.
Positives: Quick, reliable receiver who easily separates from defenders. Runs good routes, fires into breaks and stays low on exit. Possesses solid hand-eye coordination, displays soft hands and makes a lot of difficult receptions. Nicely adjusts to the errant throw and makes the reception in stride. Immediately turns upfield and works to pick up as much yardage as possible. Gives effort as a blocker.
Negatives: Lack of height is a hindrance. Was modestly productive for Mississippi State.
Analysis: Thomas is a quick receiver with solid speed and next-level skills as a pass catcher. He also comes with the ability to return punts and could be a surprise in camp this summer.
Darryl Williams, OG
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who moved to center before his final season at Mississippi State. Started at left guard the prior two seasons. Suffered a season-ending neck injury seven games into his redshirt freshman season.
Positives: Fundamentally sound lineman who gets the most from his ability. Blocks with good lean, sets with a wide base and works to bend his knees. Fires off the snap, quickly gets out to the second level and keeps his head on a swivel. Anchors in pass protection and always looks for someone to hit. Effective with the shotgun snap.
Negatives: Lacks a dominant base, gets pushed back off the line and really doesn’t finish blocks. Lacks agility and struggles to adjust.
Analysis: Williams is a versatile offensive lineman with next-level size and the ability to line up at guard or center. He’s an average athlete who does not possess great upside, but his ability to play multiple spots on the offensive line could help him catch on as an inexpensive backup.
Isaiah Zuber, WR
Career Snapshot: Transfer from Kansas State who started three games and made 14 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns during his lone season at Mississippi State. Two-year starter for the Wildcats who caught 52 passes for 619 yards and five TDs as a junior in 2018.
Positives: Once-highly considered receiver prospect who can also double as a punt returner. Plays with solid instincts, comes back to the ball to make himself an available target and tracks the pass in the air. Gets vertical and exposes himself to the big hit in order to come away with the reception. Extends his hands to snatch the pass away from his frame and displays soft hands. Nicely adjusts to the errant throw.
Negatives: Can’t take a pounding and hold onto the throw. One-speed wideout who lacks vertical burst. Dropped a lot of catchable throws in 2019.
Analysis: Zuber was graded as a potential late-round pick by NFL scouts after his junior season at Kansas State in 2018, but he was a non-factor last season at Mississippi State. He possesses the style and substance to line up as a fifth receiver and return specialist, but Zuber now has to do it the hard way based off his poor play from last year.
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