For NFL Draft enthusiasts and Dynasty fanatics, the 2019 Draft is in the rearview mirror. The players that were selected such as Marquise Brown, Kyler Murray, Josh Jacobs, etc. haven’t even entered their first official training camp yet, but that doesn’t stop the diehards from looking forward.
Some might say it’s too early to look at the 2020 Draft Class, but they would be wrong. If you have people around you saying that, ditch them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life… This 2020 Class has the potential to be special. There are some insanely talented players that are eligible for the NFL Draft in Las Vegas next year and it’s time to look ahead and get a grasp on who you should be watching this College Football season.
Editor’s Note: Want to see who will be the talk of the 2020 Draft? Check out all of Kyle Yates’ 2020 positional previews.
(Note: The players are listed below in no particular ranking order)
K.J. Costello – Stanford Cardinals
Strengths: Costello has the size that NFL teams covet at 6’4″/217 pounds and fits the mold of a prototypical pocket passer. He has great arm strength and can sling the ball all over the field. Allows his receivers to make a play on the ball with his placement into tight windows and shows good command of that Stanford offense.
Needs Improvement: Costello is raw as a prospect and has a lot of developing to do this season in order to become a well-rounded QB. He often “sees ghosts” while standing in the pocket and bails out of pressure more quickly than he needs to and needs to work on ball security – throwing 11 interceptions last season. Since he does have great arm talent, he can rely on it a bit too much sometimes and make throws too late instead of recognizing the coverage quickly and throwing with anticipation.
2019 Outlook: Costello shows the tools and traits, but needs to put it all together on the field in order to move up from a projected mid-round pick. He’ll need to do it this season without receiving threat J.J. Arcega-Whiteside either, which won’t be easy.
Jacob Eason – Washington Huskies
Strengths: A highly touted recruit in 2016, Eason came into Georgia and played decently in his freshman season before an injury led to Jake Fromm taking his position and never giving it back up. Now a transfer to Washington, Eason will look to bring his talents to a dynamic offense. Eason wins with arm strength and throwing with anticipation and has excelled when on the field.
Needs Improvement: Eason simply needs game reps to show that he still has the traits and tools he put on display his freshman season. He’s a tough evaluation at this point due to his lack of starting experience, but he has the accolades of a highly talented QB in high school and should be successful in Washington.
2019 Outlook: Due to the fact that we haven’t seen Eason play in a long time, it’s a wait-and-see game with him as a draft prospect currently. If he does display the potential we saw in 2016, Eason could elevate himself into 1st round discussion. Or, we could be talking about Eason as an undrafted prospect.
Shea Patterson – Michigan Wolverines
Strengths: Patterson brings an element to an offense that the other QBs on this list can’t; he’s a great runner in the open field. Michigan has previously chosen to predominantly run the ball in previous seasons and Patterson is used frequently in read-option plays. He also puts his arm talent on display from time to time and has a quick release of the football.
Needs Improvement: For all that Patterson brings on the ground, there are limitations in the passing game. He was nothing more than a “game manager” for Michigan in 2019 and the offense stalled on several occasions. Despite only throwing the ball 325 times last season, Patterson was also careless with the ball throwing seven interceptions and constantly tries to force the ball into tight windows that won’t work in the NFL.
2019 Outlook: People are going to watch Patterson and come away with a Case Keenum comparison, but I’m pausing on rushing to those assumptions. Michigan’s offense was so difficult to watch in 2018 due to their commitment to the run, but the Wolverines have brought in a new offensive coordinator in Josh Gattis who should open things up a little bit more. This should prove beneficial to gain a full perspective on Patterson as a prospect and his receiving weapons in Tarik Black, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins.