The PAC-12 is one of my favorite conferences to watch each draft cycle because of its vast quantity of talented prospects, year in and year out. This conference also embodies the word "sleeper," as its games are mostly televised at times too late for the casual college football fan. So naturally, a lot of draft prospects from the PAC-12 conference often fall under the radar during the college football season.
Here are three draft-eligible prospects from the conference who are currently being overlooked ahead of the 2019 college football season that I believe have a chance to rise up boards in the near future.
Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
I wrote about Darnay Holmes earlier this week about how I believe he can be the NFL's next star nickel defender. With his blend of athleticism (legitimate 4.2 speed), instincts, and physicality, I think he projects perfectly to what the NFL looks for in a nickel starter. We heard so much about how Oklahoma wide receiver and Baltimore Ravens first-round pick Hollywood Brown torched cornerbacks all year in 2018, but no one talked about how Holmes was able to shut him down each time he tried to win vertically. Holmes has the speed and quickness to match any receiver in man coverage athletically, and he also has the playmaking instincts in Off and Zone of an NFL veteran. On top of that, he is arguably the most physical player on the Bruins defense, pound for pound. Holmes enters the season as a top-40 player on my board, even though most analysts have failed to recognize him as a top-10 cornerback in this draft class.
It is a crime that no one is talking about Washington's Aaron Fuller in the same light as other 2020 NFL draft-eligible wide receiver prospects. He is cut from the same cloth as former Washington wide receiver and San Francisco 49ers 2018 second-round pick Dante Pettis. At 5'11, 188 pounds, Fuller has experience playing both on the outside as the "Z" and in the slot. His nuanced skill set as a route runner sets him apart from other wide receivers in this class, as he wins with a combination of timing, foot quickness, and body control. Additionally, he is a natural hands catcher with deep-threat value, averaging 15 yards per catch last season. If Fuller has another productive, healthy year, he will have a legitimate chance to hear his name called on Day 2.
Davion Taylor, LB/SS, Colorado
Davion Taylor is Colorado's version of Isaiah Simmons. He plays the STAR position for the Buffs defense, which is a hybrid safety/linebacker overhang defender role. At 6'2, 225 pounds, Taylor qualified for the national track and field championships as an All-Pac-12 performer. Check this: He ran a 10.5 in the 100-meter dash, which was a sixth-place finish in the 2018 Pac-12 Outdoor Championships. Simply put it, Davion Taylor is a freak athlete. He clearly shows it on film too, as he is an absolute blur in the open field while roaming sideline to sideline and closing on the ball. His biggest strength is his ability in pass coverage. He is a matchup piece against big slots and running backs with the man coverage chops to win consistently. If he shows steps forward in zone processing and play strength against the run, his stock could skyrocket up draft boards.