• Phil Houk

2020 NFL Draft: ND Fan Cheat Sheet

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

The 2020 NFL Draft is upon us, and it will be the closest we have come to 'kind of real sports' in almost two months. So Hip Hip Hooray!! To get you ready, here is your Fighting Irish Preview NFL Draft ND cheat sheet, in order of guessed selection:

1. COLE KMET-He is the pick of the TE litter this year, that is why he came out early. It was impressive how he came back so quickly from the broken collarbone in camp last year, and for 2 quarters in his first game back, Georgia had no answer for him. Big target, good speed, physical after the catch. Needs to become a better blocker. Didn’t have a large body of work in College, so I'd say he will only get better. Oh to have had him in South Bend one more year!

2. CHASE CLAYPOOL-Because big physical wideouts with good speed and special team skills, make it in the NFL. By the end of his ND career he had blossomed into a highlight film on continuous loop. Tough running after the catch reminds me of a good TE. Got better every year at ND, a trend that should continue in the NFL. Speed not elite but has just about everything else. Once scored 10 touchdowns in a game-when he was in junior high, a fact revealed in the funnest post game press conference moment of the 2019 season after a huge day against Navy. May not go as high as he might of other years because of a strong WR class.

3. JULIAN OKWARA- A broken leg caused him to miss the last four games of the season. Didn’t do himself a lot of favors with sub par statistics in 2019, but he has all the tools-speed, quickness, size- to rush the QB, really well. Has the athleticism to drop into coverage, but must prove himself as a run stopper. If nothing else, pencil him in on passing situations...... and expect fireworks.

4. KAHLID KAREEM—High motor, warrior style player. Big enough to provide front line flexibility. Played hurt, and almost seemed better when he did. Had a very consistent career in South Bend, and showed leadership skills as a Captain. Lacks elite burst, but strength is an asset.

5. TROY PRIDE Jr.-Still learning ball skills, but runs like an NFL corner: really fast. 4.4 at the combine-and was faster when dabbling in track at ND. Showed particularly well in one on one drills leading up to the Senior Bowl, and he had a pick in the game. With NFL coaching, he can play.

6. ALOHI GILMAN—Quickness and size are issues, but reminds me of the book on Drue Tranquill last year. In case you missed it, Tranquill was terrific in his first year with the Chargers. Coverage skills decent, leadership skills off the chart. Creates turnovers and arrives at the point of contact with an attitude. Had 19 tackles in the 2018 playoff against Clemson. I've seen enough, he can play, Anyone remember the name Bob Sanders? Indy Colts fans do.

7. JALEN ELLIOTT-Raised his stock in the Senior Bowl after being named DB of the week. Coverage skills and speed are issues, so is open field tackling. Good player in the box, good size. Should thank Alohi Gilman for a lot of the improvement in his play in 2018-19. Also served as a Captain. The Elliott/Gilman duo at safety will be missed, thank heaven for Kyle Hamilton.

8. TONY JONES, Jr.-Runs the ball pretty well, catches the ball pretty well, blocks and protects really well. At 5-11, 224, has prototype size. Showed well in big games-176 yards against USC and a big run with an epic stiff arm against Iowa St., his last game. An enjoyable post game interview, which speaks to his maturity. Someone may take a late round flyer.

9. LIKELY FREE AGENTS: JAMIR JONES, had an outstanding senior campaign, but needed a Pro day to show his stuff, might be a sleeper. ASMAR BILAL learned a lot playing behind Tranquill, coverage experience at rover his Junior year a plus, but also hurt by Pro day cancellation. CHRIS FINKE, soft hands, good route runner. 4.57 speed at the combine was slower than expected. Punt return skills a plus.


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