In this week's special edition of Tuls' Takes, I’m answering your top Twitter questions regarding the 2020 NFL Draft.
A big part of this series is to have your voice heard, which is why I am doing at least one question-and-answer format each month. The NFL combine is almost here, and now that we are just two weeks away, I wanted to get all of your burning questions answered about the top prospects.
Here are my takes on your takes.
My take: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
This is a very good question, as for those who don’t know, I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan. Therefore, the worst thing the Philadelphia Eagles could do is draft one of my favorite prospects in the first round to fill a big need on their roster, which just so happens to be at cornerback. I've been touting TCU’s Jeff Gladney as a top prospect since the preseason, and if he tests as well as I think he will, his draft range will be in striking distance of the Eagles' first-round selection. The Eagles' Achilles heel last season was the inability to stop big plays in the passing game, and by adding a player like Gladney with his playmaking ability, man coverage twitch and zone discipline, the process towards turning that trend around will be on the fast track. He’s a realistic pick that perfectly fits what my most hated team needs the most: a nightmare scenario.
My take: I doubt Javon Kinlaw makes it to No. 17.
In this scenario, I would take Javon Kinlaw 10 times out of 10 over Xavier McKinney. They're in two different stratospheres. Kinlaw is a top-10 prospect who you hope could fall because of positional value, but I just don't see it happening. There is a case to be made that his tape is just as dominant as what you see from Auburn's Derrick Brown, who is unanimously viewed as the better prospect in the draft community. Kinlaw is also going to be a big winner during the interview process with his contagious personality and leadership qualities. To me, Kinlaw getting to the Cowboys at No. 17 is going to feel like a pipe dream when we get closer to April, similar to Derwin James a couple of years ago. The only way Kinlaw raises a Cowboys jersey on draft day is if Jerry Jones decides to trade up in the first round for the first time since 2012.
In regards to McKinney at No. 17, I wouldn't hate it. But, the value just isn't there for a safety in the first round. With similar-level players like Kyle Dugger, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ashtyn Davis all likely available on Day 2, I think drafting McKinney in the first round would be a reach. He would be a nice addition to Dallas’ defense, but this team needs a true free safety who can roam and make plays from the deep middle. I don't see McKinney excelling in that kind of role at the next level as opposed to a player like Grant Delpit.
My take: Neville Gallimore, Justin Madubuike and Ross Blacklock are all second-round grades.
If your top two defensive tackles in this class aren’t Brown and Kinlaw, you should be outlawed from talking about football. With that established, Neville Gallimore is the top player of the second-tier defensive tackles. His explosive first-step quickness and flexibility as an interior pass rusher are uncanny. I fully expect him to have one of the top combine performances among defensive linemen. He's not as effective as other two-gap run defenders in this class, but his pass rush potential is up there with both Kinlaw and Brown. As for Justin Madubuike and Ross Blacklock, the other two defensive tackles in my second tier of this class, both are flash players. If you watch their highlights, you'd be inclined to believe they should each be legitimate options in the top 20. Consistency is the biggest question for both Madubuike and Blacklock, but they are more stout against the run than Gallimore. All three of those players I just mentioned received second-round film grades from me.
My take: Running back
Antonio Gibson is one of the most fascinating studies in the entire class. He split time at wide receiver, running back and kick returner for Memphis in 2019, accumulating ridiculous numbers in all three areas of the game: 39 receptions for 735 yards and eight touchdowns; 33 carries for 369 yards and four touchdowns and 23 kick returns for 645 yards and one touchdown. He played strictly running back throughout Senior Bowl practices but is scheduled to test with wide receivers at the combine. I think Gibson could be a very good pass catcher at the next level, but not in a full-time role. His best spot is unequivocally in the backfield, but NFL teams would be wise to not box him into one specific position. Instead, they should embrace his versatility and use his skill set similar to how the New Orleans Saints maximize Taysom Hill in their offense.
My take: He will get drafted much higher than he should.
If there's a Kolton Miller in this 2020 offensive tackle class, it's Boise State's Ezra Cleveland. He is in the upper echelon of functional athleticism at the position, but he hasn't yet shown the ability to maximize those gifts in pass protection. His sloppy habits in pass protection and inconsistent hand timing mirroring rushers largely overshadow his quickness and mobility. Like Miller coming out of UCLA, Cleveland plays too tall and upright, which makes him susceptible in his pass set anchor if he misses his initial punch. He is the ideal development offensive tackle who should be drafted in the third round because of his athletic upside and zone blocking profile, but I have a bad feeling some team is going to be disappointed with their return on investment if he is drafted any higher, especially if he is forced into action right away.
My take: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton; Robert Hunt, OG, Louisiana
Tight end and offensive guard are two significant needs for the Chicago Bears heading into 2020, and Day 2 is the perfect range to address those spots in this class. Dayton's Adam Trautman is the best move tight end in this draft at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. He ran the best routes of any TE at the Senior Bowl and is undoubtedly the top jump ball artist at the position. If you're looking for a volume pass-catcher who can sort of play a "big slot" role like Eagles' tight end Dallas Goedert, then Trautman should squarely be on your radar.
As for offensive guard, Louisiana's Robert Hunt will have a Will Hernandez-type rise the closer we get to April. He buries defensive lineman with his power in the run game and his anchor in pass protection is eye-opening. He is quicker than people give him credit for, as his skill set is suited well for both power and zone blocking teams. Hunt is the best guard prospect in this draft for my money, but if a center like Cesar Ruiz or Lloyd Cushenberry III falls to the second round, it wouldn't surprise me if the Bears valued them higher as guards.