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2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl: Prospects to watch for the Giants

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Who are some of the players to watch this week in Mobile?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice-North John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest events in the lead-up to the 2020 NFL Draft is upon us. This week we see the top senior prospects in the country gather in Mobile, Ala. for the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl is a big deal for every team and figures prominently in draft evaluations. But fans of the New York Giants should pay particular attention as the team has drafted the MVP of the game in each of the last three years. Of course, it’s unlikely that they will be drafting a quarterback again this year (though there is an argument for selecting one every year or two), but this year’s roster is stacked with talent at a variety of positions. And considering the Giants have needs at almost every position, we’ll be watching both North and South squads closely this week.

And really, the week is the important part. Scouts, coaches, and GMs descend on Mobile for the week of practices — which are run by NFL coaches — but generally leave well before the game itself is played.

We’ll start our week of Senior Bowl coverage with an overview of some of the most intriguing prospects on the property, 10 from each team.

North Team

Nick Harris (OC, Washington)
Harris is in the conversation with Tyler Biadasz for the top center in the draft. Smart, compact and athletic, Harris wins more with athleticism, leverage, and positioning than with dominating power. Harris is likely a better fit for teams that want to run a zone blocking scheme.

Trey Adams (OT, Washington)
Adams has all the tools to be a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. However, he has a serious injury history, including a torn ACL in 2017 and a back injury which sidelined him for much of 2018. Though he made it through 2019 healthy, he seemed to take a step backward. He has a lot to prove over the next few months, starting with his health but also that he is still the top-flight tackle prospect he was once reckoned to be.

Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, USC)
Big, strong, and with strong hands and good ball skills, Pittman Jr. is an intriguing prospect for a team looking for an “X” receiver. He has the physical tools — and mentality — to be an asset in short yardage and red zone situations. He could help his stock if he is able to prove that he is a more polished receiver than the simple route tree he was asked to run at USC would suggest.

Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
A decorated former track athlete, Mims has the athleticism to make vertical routes dangers. He also has a massive catch radius and reliable hands at the top of those routes. Like many other big receivers, Mims is used to winning through physical dominance and needs to improve as a route runner and keep building consistency in his game.

Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame)
One more big receiver for the North squad. Claypool is a smooth mover and has a more diverse route tree than we see from the other two big wideouts, and he is a natural “hands” catcher. He could be a big riser if the draft process reveals more athleticism than was shown in Notre Dame’s offense.

Adam Trautman (TE, Dayton)
A small-school prospect who could wind up generating a ton of buzz this week. Trautman is a fantastic athlete, a “complete” tight end, and a true mismatch of an offensive weapon. The NFL will want to see how Trautman responds to the jump in quarterbacking and in competition.

Alton Robinson (EDGE, Syracuse)
Robinson is a player to watch in an EDGE class that is muddled after Chase Young. He has the frame and explosiveness the NFL looks for in EDGE prospects and an be a dangerous speed rusher. However, he will also have to answer questions about his character stemming from a (dropped) second-degree robbery charge that cost him his scholarship to Texas A&M. He will also want to prove that he can hold up on the edge in run defense.

Malik Harrison (iLB, Ohio State)
Harrison has always been an intriguing linebacker, but he really came into his own this year for Ohio State. He has prototypical size and can be a force coming downhill player against the run or as a blitzer. He’ll need to show that he has the ability to play in space to defend passes over the middle at the NFL level.

Ashtyn Davis (S, Cal)
If you’re looking for a free safety, Davis is a player to watch. He isn’t elite in any one aspect of his game, but he is smart, athletic enough, versatile, and very sound in just about every aspect of his game. Davis has good range, can play man or zone coverage, is a sound (and physical) tackler, and a high-effort player.

Jeremy Chinn (S, Southern Illinois)
Another small-school player who could make waves this week. Chinn is labeled as a “safety,” but at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and highly athletic, he has the the tools to be a hybrid player who blurs the lines between box safety and coverage linebacker. He was a playmaker at Southern Illinois, notching at least 5 passes defensed and 3 interceptions each year. If he responds well to the jump in competition, he could definitely improve his draft stock.

South Team

Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
Fulton is one of the top prospects in the draft and likely the number two corner behind Ohio State’s Jeffery Okudah. Fulton is a long, athletic corner who is sticky in press-man coverage. He is an instinctive corner who is willing to be aggressive going for the ball. He isn’t a ballhawk, however, and prefers to break passes up than come up with the turnover. Teams will be looking to see if he can put ball skills on display during practices.

K’Von Wallace (S, Clemson)
A versatile and experienced safety, Wallace has played all over Clemson’s secondary. He is at his best as a safety covering the short to intermediate area of the field, but he is versatile enough to play a variety of roles. That versatility — similar to that of Isaiah Simmons at linebacker — allowed Clemson a lot of freedom in designing and disguising defensive calls.

Kyle Duggar (S, Lenoir-Rhyne)
We’ve mentioned Duggar a few times, but there’s good reason. For all the hype that Isaiah Simmons has gotten for his play throughout the 2019 season (and particularly in the National Championship game), Duggar is a similar player. Listed at safety due to his freakish athleticism, Duggar has the frame (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) to play as a hybrid linebacker at the NFL level. While Fulton is currently considered a Top-20 prospect, Duggar could well become the star of the show this week.

Antoine Brooks Jr. (S, Maryland)
Another player who defies traditional football labeling. Brooks Jr. is considered a box safety but was really more of a defensive weapon for Maryland. He played everything from slot corner to linebacker, and is a whirlwind in the short to intermediate area of the field. He could go from covering a linebacker one play to blitzing as an EDGE the next, to sniffing out and blowing up a wide receiver screen the third play. Brooks doesn’t have the size of other “hybrid” players, listed at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, and teams will be interested to see how he holds up going downhill this week.

Darrell Taylor Jr. (EDGE, Tennessee)
Another unheralded EDGE who could emerge in this class. Taylor is both extremely explosive and very flexibile. He has the burst to beat tackles off the line of scrimmage and the bend to flatten around the corner. He could be an absolute handful in pass rushing drills this week — if not a practice-wrecker. Taylor also has some ability to play in space and was asked at times to defend slot receivers in short zones and was able to do so well-enough. But for all his athletic ability and pass rush upside, teams are going to want to see how well he can hold up on the edge as a run defender.

Terrell Lewis (EDGE, Alabama)
Both of Alabama’s EDGE prospects, Lewis and Anfernee Jennings, are worth watching this week, but Lewis is the higher profile player. He simply looks like an NFL EDGE rusher with a long (6-foot-5) frame, explosive power, and enough mass to be stout but still have the required flexibility. He is a red-shirt junior and teams will want to see just how much refinement he has as a pass rusher. If he can show the ability to rush with a plan and have a viable counter-move, Lewis could become a hot name heading into the Combine.

Lloyd Cushenberry III (OC, LSU)
The Giants need to upgrade their center position. Jon Halapio might be a hell of a competitor and a great guy, but he has ended the last two seasons with significant injuries and wasn’t a great center before those. Likewise, Spencer Pulley has failed to impress when he was on the field in relief. Cushenberry brings size that could appeal to the Giants and more than enough athleticism to play in any blocking scheme. If he shows consistency this week, he could put himself in the conversation with Biadasz and Harris.

Prince Tega Wanogho (OT, Auburn)
Wanogho is definitely going to be a player to watch this week. Not only is he the top tackle prospect on the property, but he has an absolutely fascinating journey to the NFL. He came to America from Nigeria at the age of 16 to pursue a basketball scholarship and only picked up football at the age of 17. He is still obviously learning the game and filling out his frame, but his basketball background is obvious in his movement skills. Additionally, Auburn’s offense played him on both ends of the line and he did not look uncomfortable at either position. He is still a developing prospect, but his upside is significant.

Lamical Perine (RB, Florida)
Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin is likely going to be the most exciting running back on the property, but if we’re looking at potential back-ups for Saquon Barkley, Perine is a better prospect to watch. He doesn’t have the top-end athleticism which is drafted early, but he is a smart, decisive, and powerful runner who always maximizes his blocking. In some ways he is the anti-Barkley as a runner with great vision between the tackles who spends little time behind the line of scrimmage or trying to hit the home run.

Collin Johnson (WR, Texas)
One last big-bodied receiving prospect, Johnson has basketball player’s frame at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. He definitely has the ability to high-point the ball and works to make the tough grabs in contested catch situations. As we might expect, Johnson is a long-strider with limited burst off the line of scrimmage. He was frequently used on shallow crossing routes due to his size and catch radius, but has upside as a vertical threat due to those long strides. How he runs his routes and separates from DBs in practice — particularly Fulton — will be the keys to watch in practice this week.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) and Nicholas Falato (@NickFalato) will both be in Mobile this week. Look for their updates here and on Twitter.]