Each day that passes, we get that much closer to the 2020 NFL Draft. The smokescreens have already started and it goes beyond just the initial rumors that the Detroit Lions were interested in taking a quarterback with the third overall pick.
Currently, the rumor that’s been circulating is that plenty of teams have Justin Herbert ranked higher than Tua Tagovailoa. This is actually something that I could believe. Despite the development needed with Herbert, there’s plenty of concerns within the health of Tua. With that being said, there’s plenty of players that have fallen a bit under the radar over the last few months. There’s a chance that these three players could land in the first round. If they don’t, they could provide some serious value on the second day of the draft. Here are three players we’ve forgotten about for the 2020 NFL Draft!
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Not too long ago, plenty of mock drafts had inserted Aiyuk in the first round. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills were easily the most common teams linked to the former Sun Devil. Fast forward to now, and Aiyuk isn’t getting nearly the same buzz. The climb from LSU’s Justin Jefferson and Baylor’s Denzel Mims has played a part into that but let’s not write Aiyuk off just yet.
Checking into the Scouting Combine at 6-0 and 205 pounds, Aiyuk is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the draft. He had a broad jump of 128 inches and a vertical jump of 40-inches. Aside from that, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. When you put on the tape, you’ll see his 33 1/5-inch arms put on display. He makes some terrific adjustments on the ball and does a great job after the catch. So much so, that he created just over 700 yards after-the-catch. He needs some refinement within his route running ability but the big play ability that he provides can’t be ignored.
During the 2019 season, he had 65 receptions for 1192 yards (18.3 yards per reception) and eight touchdowns. Aside from that, he does a nice job securing passes at the catch-point. It shows with his 6.8% drop percentage (same percentage as CeeDee Lamb) according to Sports Info Solutions. While I was never fully on board with Aiyuk as a first round pick (has a second round grade on my board), he could certainly see his name called on day one. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers make a ton of sense for him. Regardless, keep tabs and don’t write off this talented playmaker. He should be a top 50 pick in a few weeks.
Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
This will always be a head scratcher for me. Going into the season, Tyler Biadasz was heavily listed as a top 25 player. He clearly didn’t have the season as predicted but far too many people are jumping the gun and writing him off completely. I’m the opposite, though. I’d pound the table for my team to draft Biadasz on Day 2.
According to Pro Football Focus, he had 377 pass blocking snaps and only gave up one sack and four quarterback pressures on the year. This was graded as third best for the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s no secret that there’s some questions in regards to lower body strength from the 2019 Rimington Trophy winner (best center in college football). His anchor could use a slight improvement. In both games against Ohio State from last season, he lost his balance early and often against Davon Hamilton. However, he got better as the game went on and made good in-game adjustments.
He didn’t compete at the Scouting Combine due to having his AC joint (right shoulder) scoped. But he did check into the event at 6-4 and 314 pounds. Whenever you watch him play, he shows natural leadership and good football IQ. He has 41 games of experience and operates incredibly well in space. His snap-to-step quickness is very good and his hand placement is consistently inside. Despite the Dallas Cowboys losing Travis Frederick to retirement, they could be in great position to replace him with Biadasz with the 51st overall pick. They’re just one of many teams that make sense for him early on the second day of the draft.
Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
It was a down year of production for Okwara of Notre Dame. He only had 19 tackles with seven for loss and five sacks. But, he only played in nine games in 2019 and suffered a season-ending injury after fracturing his left fibula. The Fighting Irish team captain did have successful surgery but hasn’t been able to get back on the field to show teams and scouts that he’s recovered.
Teams might be going into drafting the talented edge rusher with some doubt but his tape checks out with plenty of positives. With 44 career games played, his length immediately stands out at 6-4 and 252 pounds with 34 3/8-inch arms. He’s got a natural feel as a pass rusher with a solid long-arm technique and double swipe move. However, he needs to start developing some type of counter move. His pass rush plan can become one-dimensional because of this issue.
Despite not running at the Scouting Combine, he did put up 27 reps in the bench press. That’s an impressive number for a player with such long arms. According to Pro Football Focus, he only earned a 2.7 run stop grade. Keep in mind, he only played in nine games and missed on an additional four games to try and improve that number. On the contrary, he did earn a 9.4 pass rush grade from PFF with 32 total pressures on 211 pass rush snaps. Going into the season, I thought Okwara had a chance of being a first round pick and that’s certainly on the table. If he does fall into Day 2 of the draft, teams like the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants make a ton of sense.