MOBILE, Ala. — Which 2020 NFL Draft prospects had strong showings during the week of Senior Bowl practices besides Justin Herbert and Javon Kinlaw? Glad you asked, because for as much as Herbert, Kinlaw and the crop of receivers deserve , a collection of prospects had performances that, to this point, have been overlooked.
Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
When Jackson measured in at under 6-foot with arms shorter than 31 inches, it raised some red flags about his size, especially given that he primarily played on the outside at Pittsburgh. Then Jackson stepped on the field, and he was the most disruptive corner of the week, winning with rapid footwork, plus awareness when the ball was arriving, and the ability to make a play on it. It wasn’t easy completing a pass on Jackson all week.
Phillips was truly the only offensive linemen to stop Javon Kinlaw in his tracks in one-on-one drills during the week of practices. LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry gave Kinlaw some problems, but only after Kinlaw’s elite first step and jolting punch knocked him back a bit. The Mississippi State blocker isn’t going to be one of the most nimble offensive linemen in this class but will be one of the most powerful with one of the heaviest anchors. At 6-foot-5 and 345 pounds, he’s a boulder of a man.
Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
At over 6-foot with 32-inch arms, Ojemudia will check the size box for just about every NFL team. And while it wasn’t a flashy week with a handful of interceptions and pass breakups, in one-on-ones Ojemudia held his own and blanketed receivers in team drills. I almost forgot he was on the field many times because targets were simply not going in his direction.
Josiah Coatney, DT, Ole Miss
A late add to the South team, Coatney flashed instantly as a relentless interior defensive lineman with active hands and deceptive snap to his movements. He was not fun to block in one-on-one drills thanks to his burst, sustained speed, and low-center-of-gravity power. At nearly 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds, the Ole Miss star gets low and generates power that, at times, is overwhelming.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
ADG was everywhere in Mobile, getting his hands on the football often, as quarterbacks liked to check it down in team drills to start the week. He also covered laterally very well and was a fixture in the backfield in run-game drills. At just 6-foot-1 and 219 pounds, he’s not huge. Davis-Gaither is perfectly sized to be a play-making weakside linebacker in the NFL today.
Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska
Jackson entered the week as a polarizing prospect who many believed would struggle in one-on-ones because he’s not the most fleet-footed corner and tends to be overly aggressive biting on double moves. But at 6-foot-2 and change with 32-plus inch arms, Jackson was calmly suffocating at the line of scrimmage and, while he was beaten down the field a few times, used his length to breakup many passes.
Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU
Sullivan legit came out of nowhere. I mean, on most prolific passing offense in college football history this season, he had 12 catches for 130 yards. But after the week he had in Mobile, Sullivan will convince many his pedestrian production was simply due to the talent around him. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds with an absolutely ridiculous wingspan just over 85 inches, Sullivan ran away from just about everybody down the seam, and his huge catch radius allowed him to make grabs well outside his frame. He was a rock in blitz-pickup drills too. And per Zebra Technology, the company that tracked the movements of all players at the Senior Bowl, Sullivan hit 19.9 mph on the first day of practices. That’s wide receiver speed.
Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
The Rutgers transfer was a brick wall for Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins in 2019, and that sturdy, fundamentally sound play continued in Mobile. At over 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds with long arms for the guard spot, Jackson gets low to win the leverage battle from the jump, is plenty strong in his upper half and has just enough athleticism to slide to stop counter moves.
Terrell Burgess, DB, Utah
Burgess has nickel corner footwork and coverage savvy at just under 6-foot and 194 pounds. If you think of him as a traditional safety, you’d be correct in calling him small for that position. But today’s safeties have to help against the run — which he did often in Mobile — and man up in the slot. Burgess stayed with receivers on intricate routes down the field all week.