It's my favorite day of the week. The day where I give you all the floor on Twitter to have a voice. It's none other than Tuls' Takes. This week, I asked you all to submit a name of a 2020 NFL draft prospect that you would want to hear my opinion on, two weeks into the college football season. So without further ado, here are some of my takes on this class, as you have requested.
My take: Joe Burrow is the best senior QB not named Justin Herbert.
It happens every year. There are always a couple of players in college football who burst on the draft radar out of nowhere with strong final seasons. For LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, his breakout moment came in his performance in primetime against the Texas Longhorns. Burrow completed 31 of 39 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns. LSU is asserting its status as a CFB Playoff contender, mostly because of the play of their senior quarterback. He was erratic and inconsistent in 2018, but so far this season, he has been absolutely flawless. From ball placement to decision making in the pocket, Burrow looks like the real deal. I'm ready to say he is clearly one of the top five quarterback prospects eligible for the 2020 NFL draft.
My take: Cam Akers is as talented as any RB in the nation -- and is finally playing like it.
The last couple of years for Cam Akers at Florida State -- to sum it up -- have been a disappointment. Akers was the top overall running back recruit coming out high school, ahead of players like D'Andre Swift and Travis Etienne, but he has yet to translate his freakish athletic gifts into consistent production. Much of that has been due to nagging injuries, but a large part of it has included a lack of efficiency in terms of patience and vision in the backfield. This year however, Akers looks like a different player -- a player who is finally living up to the hype. His combination of explosiveness, speed, contact balance, and pass-catching value have been on display for the Seminoles, two weeks into the college football season. The biggest improvement so far is clearly his processing pace in the backfield. He is playing quicker and thinking less. I hope to see these top-tier performances continue throughout the season because it is abundantly clear that Akers has as much upside as any running back eligible for the 2020 NFL draft.
My take: Paulson Adebo is my early frontrunner for CB1 in the 2020 NFL Draft.
I've said this since the summer: Stanford's Paulson Adebo is C-B-1 among 2020 draft-eligible prospects. A former wide receiver, Adebo is an ascending player with an attacking mindset at all times. What gets me really excited about Adebo's skill set is his man coverage nuance with such little experience on the boundary. He is a natural mover with arguably the best route-recognition skills in off man coverage in this cornerback class. Add that to his ability to be a consistent playmaker at the catch point, and I believe we may have something special here. He has a lot of Kyle Fuller in his game, and I am confident his stock will only continue to rise with more national exposure.
My take: Jalen Hurts needs a lot more respect and attention as a legit QB prospect.
Last year at this time, we were talking about Jalen Hurts making a position switch at the next level, most likely at running back. During Hurts' career at Alabama, it was his legs that made him a star for the Crimson Tide. But by transferring to play in Lincoln Riley's offense at Oklahoma, he wanted to prove in 2019 that he has a legitimate NFL future with his arm. The verdict so far? Extremely impressive. His completion percentage, through two games, is sitting at a scorching 83 percent. His decision making and composure in the pocket also looks a lot better, and it is reflected with his six touchdown to zero interception ratio. It is revealing to watch Hurts play in an offense that allows him to show off as a passer, and if he continues progressing at this current pace, he will be one of the top senior quarterbacks in this draft class.
My take: Maryland's Antoine Brooks is sort of a tweener at the next level
The word that shows up the most in my notes on Antoine Brooks? Tweener. I think he's somewhere in the middle of Deone Bucannon and Jabrill Peppers. Now, being a positionless player in today's NFL is not necessarily a knock. More so now than ever before, the NFL has a spot for players like Brooks. He is tenacious, explosive, and instinctive. Brooks is clearly at his best coming downhill and playing underneath as an overhang defender. As evident on his tape, he is an incredibly productive run defender and blitzer, but I think he needs to show a lot more consistency in man coverage before I can feel confident about his projection to the next level. He looks like a next-level nickel, but I'm not sure he has the man coverage chops to be consistent in that role. He plays like an outside linebacker, but his lack of length draws red flags for playing that role consistently at the next level. Nonetheless, I love watching Brooks' energy on the football field, and I think he offers immediate special teams value.
My take: Army's Elijah Riley has starter-level traits as an NFL nickel; SMU's Reggie Roberson needs to be more consistent on tape
I get why many teams hesitate drafting a player from a service academy like Army, but defensive back Elijah Riley is one of the exceptions. He is clearly the best player from that group this year, and he has legit tools. While he plays cornerback for the Black Knights, his best spot in the NFL is going to be at safety or as a nickel defender. His best traits are his mental processing and physicality against the run. Now, I guarantee you some team will see promise in his press man ability on the boundary, but I think he's at his best playing underneath, and I could see him playing in an overhang role at the next level. Above all else, he will make a roster because I think he offers immediate special teams value with his combination of speed, competitive toughness and tackling reliability. Pivoting to SMU junior speedster Reggie Roberson, I think he just needs to be more consistent. Whether that's finishing at the catch point or beating press man coverage, I want to see more out of Roberson in 2019. I know those next-level traits are in there because we've seen them in flashes, especially his ability to separate, but if he's going to assert himself as a legit receiver prospect for 2020, I need him to bottle up his high-mark plays.