As we inch closer to the 2020 NFL Draft, mock drafts and scouting reports are coming out at a high rate. The usual names — Joe Burrow, Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah, among others — mentioned at the top, but this is the point in the process where a lot of others become lost in the shuffle.
Every team is searching for that diamond in the rough — that one player other teams didn't have on their radar — and there are plenty of names in this class that qualify.
Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Lucas Niang was dealing with a nasty hip injury during the 2019 season and only played in four games, but prior to that, he was a stalwart for TCU’s offensive front. Niang was a four-year starter at right tackle and held his own prior to an injury-shortened senior season. He was lights out against Nick Bosa and Young in a 2018 contest. In that fantastic battle, Niang held his own against one of the best pass-rushing duo in the country.
Damien Lewis, G, LSU
Lloyd Cushenberry III and Saahdiq Charles are often names that come up when discussing LSU’s offense, but the unsung hero of the entire group may have been Damien Lewis. He is an absolute bully in the trenches and was the tone-setter that often incorporated a no non-sense type of mentality during battles. Lewis hardly ever let defenders run through him and made it a point to finish them on the ground. It’s the type of mindset that NFL teams salivate over. With the current state of offensive lineman so scarce, Lewis should be a strong third-round candidate with the potential to start early during his career.
Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
It's always a slippery slope when betting on a player’s potential. There's a variety of opinions about the testing numbers and how they should marry up with a prospects scouting profile, but athletic edge rushers usually turn into some type of contributors.
That's the case with Jabari Zuniga. He ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and recorded a 127-inch broad jump — both in the 90th-plus percentile at the position. Zuniga battled injuries during his final season in Gainesville and still pieced together a productive career. He's the exact case study of a prospect whose best days are ahead of him, but it will take patience and the right environment. Teams should be lining up to select him at the opening of the third round.
K'Von Wallace, S, Clemson
It's pretty awkward to say that a prospect from Clemson is underrated, but that's the case with K'Von Wallace. He fulfilled many roles in the Tigers secondary and was the spark plug on the third level of the defense. He was a team captain and well respected in the locker room. Wallace also led the team in special teams snaps while not suffering any type of drop off when on defense. He's the perfect type of prospect that you take a chance on.
Wallace is primarily a strong safety. He’s at his best the closer he is to the line. Wallace is an excellent blitz option off of the edge when he's allowed to play full-speed ahead. In a distinct role similar to that and as a special teams contributor, he will have minimal problems with sticking on a roster.