Summer scouting is about to come to an end, as the 2019 college football season is just around the corner. This is a great time to highlight some of the names to watch this year who could potentially be on the radar next April for the 2020 NFL draft. That is why on the third installment of "Tuls' Takes," I took a deeper look at four prospects who can establish themselves as top prospects in next year's draft class.
1. Tennessee EDGE Darrell Taylor has highest upside of any 2020 pass rusher
I have yet to see a pass rusher eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft who has as much talent and tools as Tennessee EDGE Darrell Taylor. His ability to win with speed and flexibility by bending around the corner and flattening to the quarterback is evident on tape. That juice off the edge made him one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the SEC last season, as he had eight sacks and three forced fumbles. What really caught my eye on his 2018 tape was his advanced hand technique against legit offensive tackle prospects. He displays a very good chop-rip move, as well as several inside counters. The biggest thing with Taylor has always been consistency, not talent. If he can turn his flashes into production each series, his stock will rise exponentially because of his upside as a high-volume sack artist.
2. Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney could rise to top TE status with big year
I love Jared Pinkney. To me, the talent and tools are all there for him at the tight end position. He has the size, athleticism, physicality, and catch point skills to be a productive chess piece at the next level. Pinkney still has a long way to go in terms of technique, both as a route runner and blocker, but you can see on tape that he shows the potential of being an all-around asset. His competitive toughness jumps off the tape. For example, I saw him get ahead of a screen and block 70 yards down the field for his ball carrier. As a pass catcher, boy does he have traits. He has the vertical speed to stretch the field, and he can go up and snag the ball with the best of them. If Pinkney can bottle up those flashes from his 2018 tape, I think he has a legitimate shot of being a top tight end prospect in the 2020 NFL draft.
3. Get ready for Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell to have a monster season
Remember Isaiah Oliver coming out of Colorado in the 2018 NFL draft? Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell has a very similar skill set with his combination of size, length, athleticism, ball skills, and zone/off man coverage instincts. It is rare to see 6’2 corners move as quickly and efficiently as Terrell. Tall cornerbacks usually have a rough time in off man coverage, but as evident on his 2018 tape, Terrell is at his best from a pedal and plant position. He has great eye discipline and reactionary quickness to anticipate route breaks and make plays on the ball. Terrell also displayed effectiveness with his back to ball on several occasions. His length plays a big factor at the catch point, and he is not fazed when he is forced to turn vertically and look over his shoulder to track the ball. It is incredibly promising to see a young cornerback like Terrell with this much nuance in his game already, and I fully expect him to cement his name as one of the top cornerback prospects this season.
4. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love is the real deal
Jordan Love is a legit quarterback prospect heading into the 2019 college football season. He has the size, arm talent, pocket presence, and mobility you look for in a next-level quarterback prospect. One trait I know that NFL scouts will fall in love with is his accuracy. Above all else, ball placement is the most important trait for a quarterback, and Love is one of the best touch throwers in this class. I also love his combination of composure and mobility. When he needs to stand in the pocket and deliver a strike, he has no fear of taking a shot. When he needs to bail and make a play outside the pocket, he has the athleticism and touch to do so. The biggest question I have with Love heading into this season is his processing pace. He is still very raw in terms of recognizing coverages and making quick, sharp decisions. Too many times on tape, he locks on to one receiver instead of going through his progressions. Love has all the tools you could want in a quarterback prospect. It’s just about him putting it together between the ears.