By now, football fans know all about the top players in the 2020 NFL Draft. But there is more to a draft than just the first two or three rounds.
There are four rounds after that which can elevate a draft from good to great if a general manager or his scouts can find those hidden gems. They can be players from smaller schools, ones that were overlooked for lack of athleticism or other reasons.
Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Davis is one of those players that could be really hurt by the inability for teams to do physicals with prospects at their respective team facilities. He had surgery on a groin injury in December, preventing him from working out at the combine. Teams will probably be less likely to take chances on players that have any injury questions with the lack of a clear picture. That describes Davis.But based on talent, Davis is among the best safeties in this year’s class. If he is healthy, he has the ability to be a quality starter.
Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
This year’s receiver class is so talented and deep that at least one or two talented receivers could slip through the cracks. Johnson could be one since he lacks the athleticism of some of his counterparts like Chase Claypool and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Johnson simply got better and better throughout his college career, capping it off in 2019 with 86 catches for 1,318 yards and 13 TDs.
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dugger is the kind of player who will cause a spike in “Lenoir-Rhyne” Google searches when he introduces himself as a starter on prime-time NFL broadcasts. Those already familiar with the Division II school in Hickory, N.C., might simply search something like, “How the hell did Kyle Dugger end up at a D2 school?”
He is one of those players who is simply good at football, for lack of a better phrase, as proven by his impact both in the secondary and as a return specialist. That versatility will allow him to play either safety position in the pros.
Jeremy Chinn, LB/S, Southern Illinois
Chinn could be considered the “small school” version of Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, one of the best players in the 2020 NFL Draft, as a versatile, speedy-but-powerful linebacker/safety hybrid. His athleticism is off the charts, and his closing speed and efficient tackling make him a good blitzer.
If he is asked to play weakside linebacker in the NFL, Chinn will flourish as a cover man, even in tough matchups against top tight ends.
Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
Edwards being this low on in our draft projection is directly related to his recent injuries — certainly not his ability when healthy. The 6-3, 212-pound receiver missed his last two college games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the NFL Combine. Including another knee injury that prematurely ended his senior season in high school, those ailments are the only sources of pause.
If Edwards can stay healthy in the pros, the team that drafts him is going to get a steal on a physical possession receiver who can dominate the short-to-intermediate area of the field.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Charlotte had its first two players drafted in the last three years, with defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi going to the Browns in 2017 and guard Nate Davis joining the Titans in 2019. Both were third-round picks. Highsmith can possibly go in Day 2 as well. But because of the amount of edge rushers available in that area, Highsmith could slide into the final day.
Like Davidson and his teammate Brown at Auburn, Hamilton is another impressive defensive line prospect who was overshadowed by one of the draft’s best players — in this case, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.
Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State
Hamilton’s quick first step and initial punch make him a problem for blockers, and even when a lineman gets his hands on him while run-blocking, Hamilton patiently holds his ground and wisely sheds the block at the perfect time and angle. At worst, he can be a rotational defensive lineman who can play multiple positions, but his impact in the NFL likely will be greater.
Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
Evans’ tape is ridiculously impressive, and if he can add a little to his 5-10, 203-pound frame, he has what it takes to be a three-down running back in the NFL.
If he indeed slips to the fifth round, somebody is going to draft a good all-around running back who, if not a strong rotational player, could be an impactful starter.