Sleeper edge rushers in 2020 NFL Draft
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Rhett Lewis offered up three sleeper edge rushers that could likely be had in the middle or late rounds of next week's draft.
First up is Alabama's Anfernee Jennings, who enjoyed a strong senior season for the Crimson Tide. Jennings finished the year with 83 tackles (45 solo), 8.0 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one interception and five passes defended, and was named First-Team All-SEC. Jennings totaled 13.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons.
Next is Florida's Jonathan Greenard, whose performance this past season earned him First-Team All-SEC honors. Greenard collected 53 tackles (27 solo), 10.0 sacks, 16.0 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, an interception and four passes defended. In the last two seasons, Greenard had a total of 17.0 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss, as well as four forced fumbles.
The third sleeper pick is Michigan State's Kenny Willekes. Willekes put together a solid career for the Spartans, earning Third-Team All-Big Ten honors in 2017 before being named First-Team All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2019. The edge rusher was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 after finishing the year with 78 total tackles, 8.0 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception and four passes defended. Willekes followed that up with yet another strong showing last year, ending the season with 78 tackles (31 solo), 10.0 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown. Willekes holds the school record with 51 career tackles for loss.
NFL Network lists boom or bust prospects
Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the NFL Draft. While some prospects could be considered "safer" picks than others, a draft pick cannot be truly judged until he gets onto the field. However, in each draft class, there are certainly some players that come with more risk than others.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Rhett Lewis each selected a boom or bust prospect in this year's draft. As Lewis explains it, a boom or bust prospect is a guy "with a little bit of a risk factor, considering maybe where they came from or the system that they played in."
Jeremiah listed Baylor WR Denzel Mims as his choice, describing him as "a very talented wide receiver, but a little bit raw." Mims' performance in 2019 earned him First-Team All-Big 12 honors after he caught 66 passes for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mims came in at No. 45 on Jeremiah's latest top 50 prospect rankings.
Brooks selected LSU EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson as his boom or bust prospect. As Brooks states, "I love the athleticism, I love the burst, I haven't seen consistent production, so I just worry about his ability to translate that athleticism to dominant production as a pro." Chaisson was named First-Team All-SEC last year, finishing the season with 60 tackles (34 solo), 6.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two passes defended. Chaisson is No. 25 in Jeremiah's rankings.
Lewis went with Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore as his pick, stating "I see the activity, but I don't see the productivity." Gallimore was selected as Second-Team All-Big 12 in 2019 after he recorded 29 tackles (17 solo), 4.0 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one pass defended. Gallimore fell out of Jeremiah's Top 50 rankings after coming in at No. 45 last month.
Dane Brugler's seven-round mock draft has Giants going OT at No. 4
With the 2020 NFL Draft just over a week away, The Athletic's Dane Brugler released his first and only seven-round mock draft. Brugler predicted a familiar name to the Giants at No. 4, as he believes Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs will be the pick. As the NFL draft analyst states, "The Giants' decision could come down to their highest-ranked tackle or a defensive playmaker like Isaiah Simmons. One of the reasons I think they will lean toward tackle is the impact that will make on other recent first-round picks like Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones."
Here are Brugler's predictions for the Giants' remaining nine draft picks.
Round 2, Pick 36 - Iowa EDGE A.J. Epenesa
Round 3, Pick 99 - South Carolina WR Bryan Edwards - "Out of sight and out of mind – unfortunately that has been the theme of Edwards' draft process after injuries sidelined him for the Senior Bowl and combine. But teams know what type of competitor he is after his record-setting career for the Gamecocks."
Round 4, Pick 110 - XFL FS Kenny Robinson - "Robinson is expected to be drafted in the mid-rounds, which would make him the first XFL player selected in the NFL Draft."
Round 5, Pick 150 - San Diego State C Keith Ismael
Round 6, Pick 183 - California LB Evan Weaver
Round 7, Pick 218 - Georgia K Rodrigo Blankenship
Round 7, Pick 238 - Vanderbilt TE Jared Pinkney
Round 7, Pick 247 - South Carolina RB Rico Dowdle
Round 7, Pick 255 - FIU CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts one week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.