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NFL Draft

Evaluating The 3 HBCU Players On Senior Bowl Top 250 List

  • The Draft Network
  • August 21, 2020
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Darius Leonard, Javon Hargrave, Tarik Cohen, and Tytus Howard are only a handful of HBCU players who went on to become NFL draft picks that experienced immediate success on the next level. With every team searching each school around the country, HBCU's were once considered the hotbeds of the nation. From Jerry Rice to Walter Payton, the list of legends that have been produced from those ranks speak for itself.

Last year, with the inaugural HBCU Combine unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, the league took strides in hopes of creating reclamation projects with pipelines that produced Hall of Fame levels of talent. Former Tennessee State offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons, a redshirt senior from Selma, Alabama, was selected in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears. He would become the only HBCU prospect selected in the 2020 draft.

On Thursday, the Senior Bowl released its initial list of the top 250 prospects—a list that will eventually be dwindled down to form North and South teams for the annual event. On the list, three HBCU players were among the first release of the year.

*All measurements are based on the listed size on official team rosters

1. Bryan Mills, Cornerback, North Carolina Central

Size: 6-foot-2, 170, Senior

After spending a season at the College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA), the California native packed his bags and made his next stop on the other side of the country with the Eagles. Quickly finding his way to stardom following a three-interception performance against Morgan State (tying a single-game school record), Mills continued to be one of the biggest surprises on defense in the MEAC. Playing in all 12 games (10 starts), the first-year starter finished with 22 tackles and 13 passes defended. His five interceptions were the most by an Eagles cornerback since 2014 (Mike Jones).

A slinky, but physical press-man corner, he isn't afraid to get in the frame of defenders and mix it up with them. The soon-to-be second-year starter, if opting to play during the spring season, was described to me as a freaky athlete and one that can be left on an island. With the ball skills to match, Mills must continue to add weight onto his frame, improve his spacial awareness, and technique in off-man coverage. If able to do so, he climb the ranks as a Day 3 prospect. But, similar to what we have seen in years past, if he has a positive pre-draft process, his stock could improve even more.

2. DeCobie Durant, Cornerback, South Carolina State

Size: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Redshirt Senior

The Bulldogs are once again loaded on the defensive side of the ball, but with the MEAC delaying the season until the spring, they won't be able to take the field until then. With defensive tackle Roderick Perry transferring to Illinois for his final season, all eyes are now expected to be on the reigning second-team All-MEAC corner as the most important piece on that side of the ball. Durant is praised for his smooth hips, comfort in-and-out of phase, and his plant-drive ability back downhill to targets. Last season, he tallied the ball production to match his impressive technique, as he recorded a career-high 12 pass breakups and three interceptions.

A quarterback and free safety in high school, he led Lamar (South Carolina) to a 2015 Division II state championship. Signing to continue his career at Palmetto Prep Academy, he quickly became a staple of the secondary. Opting to sign in Orangeburg, he quickly became a mainstay for head coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough's defensive unit.

3. David Moore, Guard, Grambling

Size: 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, Redshirt Senior

A player that's receiving a considerable amount of preseason interest from evaluators is Moore. Owning a round and stout frame, he has the ideal body structure of an NFL guard. Moore combines an impressively built frame with the strength to obliterate and embarrass targets whenever he wants to. A bully in the run game, there are multiple ways he uses to win, but he frequently goes the extra mile and attempts to eliminate the opposition. A mature run-blocker, he always has quiet and effective feet as a pass protector. Considering what he's put on film thus far, it shouldn't come as a surprise if Moore ends up as a riser throughout the draft process and even becoming the highest drafted HBCU prospect of this year's crop.

Even though they both ultimately ended in losses, Moore put his best performances on tape during the 2019 season when matched up against Louisiana Tech and Louisiana Monroe. The bump up in competition didn't seem to phase him as he showed a stout anchor, consistent play strength, and that te adjustments to the speed of matchups didn't alter his effectiveness.

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