The draft starts in Mobile, Alabama, and an important list of visitors is (mostly) set for Ladd-Peebles Stadium and the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl.
Reese's Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy joined the Move The Sticks Podcast on Tuesday to reveal a healthy portion of the game's roster.
We'll be lucky enough to witness a head-to-head DB U battle between LSU and Ohio State when Tigers defensive back Kristian Fulton takes the same field as Ohio State defensive back Damon Arnette. The defensive back class itself is loaded entering this draft, with physical freak of nature Jeff Gladney (TCU) and top senior safety Ashtyn Davis (Cal) joining the aforementioned, and under-the-radar talent Darnay Holmes (UCLA) also making the trip to Mobile.
One last name to watch on this list: Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger, who has the potential to serve as a box safety or a sub package linebacker in the NFL at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds.
"He plays high, he can drop down in the box, he's got great ball skills," NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah said of Dugger. ... "In an era where the NFL is going more for more of these hybrid guys to match up with tight ends and backs and be able to cover in the slot, this guy can do a lot of different things."
A trio of studs to watch out for along the front seven come from opposite ends of the country to Mobile. Cal's Evan Weaver, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and an AP All-American, and Utah interior lineman (and strongman) Leki Fotu will venture east, where they'll meet the menacing defensive monstrosity named Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina). It's truly a treat to watch the last of the trio play football.
"Big, powerful man," Jeremiah said of Kinlaw. ... "When they played against the big-time opponents in the SEC, he was a dominant player. ... He's an easy scout for me. He's a top-20 pick, that's where he starts in this process."
Three players to watch on the edge: Florida's Jonathan Greenard, Auburn's Marlon Davidson and Alabama's Terrell Lewis, the last of whom Nagy said was a big get for the game.
We know who will fill out the running back position, as a late commitment from Baylor's Jamycal Hasty made it a complete group of six backs, headlined by the likes of Utah running back Zack Moss and Arizona State tailback Eno Benjamin.
"He's one of my favorites because he's a workhorse," NFL Media's Bucky Brooks said of Moss, comparing him to Texans running back Carlos Hyde. "I think when you're looking at running backs, you're looking for guys who have the stamina to be able to tote it 20, 25 times a game. But he's more than that."
Moss' coach, Kyle Whittingham, joined the show to talk about the half-dozen Utes headed to Mobile from a loaded senior class and raved about Moss.
"He's the whole package," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said of Moss. ... "You name it, he does it. He's a complete back."
Benjamin, meanwhile, has racked up over 2,600 rushing yards in his last two seasons as a Sun Devil.
"To me, this is the best running back group the Senior Bowl has had in a long, long time," Nagy said.
The receiving corps in the Senior Bowl includes Arizona State star Brandon Aiyuk, who racked up 1,192 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 while playing with a true freshman at quarterback, and Texas slot receiver Devin Duvernay, who needs to work on route running (per Brooks) but still managed to tally 103 receptions, 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. Jeremiah projects Aiyuk as a first-round prospect and also advises folks keep an eye on Liberty's Antonio Gandy-Golden.
Four quarterbacks are currently committed to play in the game: Michigan's Shea Patterson, Utah State's Jordan Love, Colorado's Steven Montez and Washington State's Anthony Gordon.
There isn't quite a top-flight prospect in that group yet, but there is someone who could experience a rise similar to that of Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who came from Wyoming to Mobile, dazzled with his big-time arm and ended up being selected seventh overall. This time around, that could be Utah State's Love, whose final college season wasn't exactly incredible statistically, but his physical talents cannot be overlooked.
Nagy was impressed by the closing power of Patterson, who he said, "really earned his invite in the last month of the season."
Nagy added Senior Bowl officials have made it clear to top QB prospects Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow (LSU) that they'd love to have them be a part of the showcase and the valuable week of practice leading up to it. We'll likely have to wait until after the completion of bowl season before receiving their final responses.