Clay Smarslok Aug 18th, 2019
In part two of this series, we take a look three Big Ten squads and two players that could definitely finish inside the top ten on my final big board come April. We’re officially less than a week from the first game of the season. So expect to be seeing the following three parts in the very near future.
20. Michigan State Spartans – EDGE Kenny Willekes
A high motor kid that will never give you everything he has on every play. Now, Willekes is not a highly athletic edge defender. So he doesn’t kill with speed or by being flexible. He is more of a technical and power rusher than anything else in the passing game. But with this, he is also a nice asset to have against the run, helping the Spartans lead the nation in rushing defense giving up less than 78 yards per game and less than 2.6 yards per carry. Rather than overpowering his opponents, it’s his smarts and ability to win the leverage battle more often than not that allows him to be as good as he is against the run. While this will help him hear his name relatively early in next year’s draft, it will be important to see if he can add more to his rushing attack, like some bend. Playing in the Big 10, he will have more than his fair share to get every opportunity to show that.
19. Iowa Hawkeyes – OT Tristen Wirfs
I don’t know what it is, but Iowa just puts out blockers year after year. 2018 draft was James Daniels, 2019 draft was TJ Hockenson and this year it’s Tristen Wirfs. Now, what I do know is that many people will probably complain and say, “What about AJ Epenesa?”. The truth of the matter is, his name could be put here and there would be no complaint about it here. Epenesa is an incredible talent as well but from my two eyes, Wirfs dominated just a little more. He has the size, strength, feet and pretty much everything else to be the first tackle taken off the board next year. He was a mirror at the right tackle position last year and it would be tough to expect anything less than that this year. He’s a freak of nature that is continuing to get coached up by some of the best in the business. Here’s to hoping Iowa and Ohio State meet in the Big 10 championship because him up against Chase Young would be one of the most fun matchups to watch all season long.
18. Wisconsin Badgers – C Tyler Biadasz
Biadasz shocked us all when he decided to pass on the opportunity to be a potential first-round pick last season but now he doesn’t have to compete with the likes of Garrett Bradbury for the title of top center. As highly as Bradbury was regarded, Biadasz might be even better. He’s a strong, strong man and not only that but he has shown to be the leader of a very good Wisconsin offensive line and the athleticism to move a little bit as well, whether it be vertically or laterally. There aren’t many complaints about his game but one that could possibly be made is his length but his technique, smart and everything can cover that up enough to not let it be too much of a problem. Blocking for a running back like Jonathan Taylor could definitely make him look better than he is, but this is more of a case where two great players just benefit from one another.
17. UCF Knights – S Richie Grant
Believe it or not, but Richie Grant is actually a former wide receiver entering just his second season as a starter at the safety position. Not only that, but he ran track in high school, running an 11.3 second 100-meter sprint, showing some serious wheels. Grant is not a safety that is as versatile as the ones that have gone in the first round over the last couple of years, he is more of a centerfielder and a good one at that. In his first season starting last year, he was able to haul in six interceptions as well as get in on 108 tackles, showing he knows how to be near the ball. While Grant shows no fear of getting in the mix, it will be hard to count on him in a one on one tackling situation. He takes some rough angles to the ball, allowing extra yards on the ground too often, making this the one area that needs to show the most improvement. However, when the ball is in the air, he shows great range, speed, and recognition of where the ball is going. The highlighted game will be when Stanford comes to Orlando to see if he matches up against tight end Colby Parkinson.
16. Auburn Tigers – IDL Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown is what some may call a “big boy”. At 6’5 318, he is bigger than most players in the trenches in any given game and it shows on tape. Even though he is so big, he can still get leverage on a lot of linemen. And once he wins that battle, he uses his brute strength to just drive linemen back a few yards with ease, at times. With all of this, he also has great athleticism for his size, being able to move laterally very well. Brown had every chance to enter the draft last year and be a potential first-round pick, but maybe he did not want to be in the same class as Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver and others. Now he is the top interior lineman on most, if not all boards entering this season. What most will be looking for, when it comes to improvement, is what he provides as a pass rusher. He has only gotten the quarterback seven times over the last two seasons, so if can get production to go along with his traits, we may be looking at a future top-five pick.
Check out my other Top 2020 Draft Prospects from Ranked Teams: #25-21|
Questions and comments?
Follow Us on Twitter @thescorecrow
Follow Us on Reddit at u/TheScorecrow
Follow Us on Facebook at The Scorecrow
Follow Us on Instagram at The Scorecrow
Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Coast to Coast Scouting on Twitter @CCScouting
Follow Clay Smarslok on Twitter @CSmarsNFLDraft
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images