We are in full scouting report mode and now it’s time to finalize our takes on the prospects. Outside of bowl games, the film resumes of the 2020 NFL Draft class is complete. This week’s 6-Pack is again focused on discussing some of the players I recently evaluated in a different format.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, college football or NFL draft.
Let's crack this thing open.
Note: You can click on the name of each prospect to read my formal film evaluation.
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
After watching Colorado play live over the last few seasons, it was usually abundantly clear that Laviska Shenault Jr. was the best player on the field. In many ways, Colorado’s offense ran through Shenault as he was deployed in a variety of ways and proved to be a dynamic playmaker. The mark of a great player is when the entire stadium knows who is getting the ball yet the defense can’t stop them — that’s Shenalt.
Whether it’s deep shots down the field, quick game, jet sweeps, handoffs or shuffle passes, Colorado got Shenault the football any way it could. While this style took away from his development as a wide receiver, particularly as a route runner, it did showcase his ball skills as well as his ability to win post-catch and create for himself. Shenault is a true weapon at every level of the field.
While he may not be the type of receiver an NFL passing game is funneled through, he is dangerous and his versatility creates matchup problems. Shenault can add new dimensions to an NFL offense because of his skill set. There are just not many players who can take the top off a defense vertically, extend throwing windows with their catch radius, create chunk plays with touches in space and take handoffs.
Zack Moss, RB, Utah
Zack Moss is one of those players you watch and can’t imagine a scenario where he isn’t a highly effective NFL player. His feet are a lot more dynamic than I was expecting for a running back of his size. Moss’ ability to get width on cuts and planting well outside his frame while remaining balanced is rare for his body composition. He is extremely savvy dealing with traffic around his feet and does well to work through it. Moss’ base is always balanced, setting himself up to properly attack creases and address contact; and his competitive nature as a runner is impressive, often bullying tacklers when he reduces his pad level.
While he hasn’t run an expansive route tree, Moss has good hands and profiles well to NFL pass protection which makes him an option on every down.
Moss has been extremely consistent logging over 1,000 rushing yards three consecutive seasons. In that span, he has had at least 5.5 yards per carry and double-digit touchdowns. He has battled injuries throughout his collegiate career, and his near 800 touches at Utah does bring some concern to his durability at the next level. I’m not sure what his shelf life will be, but Moss is primed to be a productive NFL runner. His blend of traits is really impressive.
Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
Head coach Dino Babers wasn’t lacking confidence in his defensive unit entering the season and it couldn’t have turned out more disappointing. After a 10-win season in 2018, Syracuse’s win total was cut in half this year and the Orange isn’t even bowl-eligible.
In what was a totally disappointing year, Alton Robinson didn’t take the step forward I was hoping for. While his blend of burst, length and flexibility is still evident, his need to add functional strength is also apparent.
The most frustrating component of studying his tape was how often he got hip to hip or even had a step on his man around the outside edge track but lacked the core strength to truly press the angle and pressure the passer. Instead, Robinson is too easily ridden beyond the peak of the pocket and his efforts are fruitless. It’s obvious getting stronger is a must.
One notable area of growth for Robinson when comparing 2018 to 2019 is his improved vision and developed pass-rush plan. He did a much better job reading the set of the offensive tackle and appropriately attacking the pocket. Robinson showcased inside rush moves that were not as evident in 2018, and his overall repertoire of moves was better.
At the end of the day, Robinson has all the tools to be an effective and dynamic edge defender in the NFL. His ceiling is exciting but reaching his potential requires more functional strength and technical development.
Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
Prince Tega Wanogho is the type of prospect an NFL team will develop, and he will eventually reach his ceiling. With that said, his tape reveals plenty of warts in terms of pass sets, footwork and hand usage but his physical gifts are top-notch.
Wanogho is a fluid athlete with easy movement skills and length but has to learn how to blend his physicality together and apply it on the field. He has long arms but is often late with his strikes. He has the foot speed needed to shut down speedy pass rushers but his footwork has to improve to reach his set points. Wanogho has plenty of strength but getting his feet, hips and hands working in unison has to improve.
I’m not sure Wanoghu is a Day-1 starter. But given patience, he can be a long-term, high-quality blocker in the NFL. He has only played football for five years and his room for growth is notable. The NFL has shown a willingness to draft players like Wanoghu in the early rounds.
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Denzel Mims’ traits are tantalizing. He is a dynamic vertical threat and an explosive athlete that can put stress on defenses down the field. Mims has an outstanding above-the-rim game and an incredible ability to extend throwing windows with his catch radius. He tracks the football cleanly, makes terrific adjustments and competes like an alpha.
While Mims has no physical limitations, he needs technical growth to be a productive NFL wide receiver. First and foremost, his route running has to improve. I don’t anticipate him ever being a dynamic separator when hard horizontal cuts are required due to his high hips but he has a bad tendency to get upright in his stem and take away from his ability to sell breaks. Mims also needs to prove he can run a more complete route tree and find more consistency with his hands.
As a multi-sport athlete, Mims’ competitive demeanor shines when studying his tape. He can be a highly productive weapon if he can develop as a route runner and shore up his technique.
J.J. Taylor, RB, Arizona
Let’s state the obvious: J.J. Taylor is really short. He is listed as 5-foot-6 and 185 pounds, not wowing anyone with his stature. But it will be difficult for defenders to see behind blockers and Taylor doesn’t offer much surface area for tacklers to get their hands on. We have seen shorter backs like Tarik Cohen, Devin Singletary and Boston Scott find success in the league.
Don’t confuse Taylor’s stature with limitations running between-the-tackles. He is effective in that regard but profiles as a complementary running back that is frequently used off-tackle and in space. Taylor is a well-rounded receiver out of the backfield and provides additional value as a kick returner. He doesn’t come without limitations, but I think Taylor can carve out a niche role and provide value to an NFL offense.