The 2020 NFL Draft is over 260 days away, but it’s never too early to begin preparing. This summer to prepare you for both the NFL Draft and college football season, the Armchair Scout column will be putting out 2020 NFL Draft preseason all-conference teams. These teams are purely from an NFL Draft aspect and will only include draft eligible players. On top of that, they’ll be running alongside Armchair’s NFL Draft podcast, Seven Rounds in Heaven, and their “Summer Scouting Series” episodes. Those episodes are going conference by conference and looking at the top 2020 NFL Draft prospects.
The first 2020 NFL Draft preseason team in the Armchair Scout series is for all of the non-Power 5. This team consists of the top prospects from the AAC, Mountain West, C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt, Independents (excluding Notre Dame who will be covered with the ACC), FCS, and Division II/III. It’s belligerently early in the process so by the time the 2020 NFL Draft does roll around there could be plenty of non-Power 5 prospects who have emerged. For now, these are the best players at each position that I’ve scouted from the non-Power 5.
QB- Jordan Love, Utah State, RS Jr (6-3, 225)
- It’s rare to find a real top-end QB prospect outside of the Power 5, but Utah State has a stud in Jordan Love. Love has a real chance to be a first-round pick in April. He’s a consensus top five preseason QB prospect thanks to his arm talent and ball placement. Love throws with elite velocity, which allows him to make tight window throws. He’s also got the movement skills to make plays outside of the pocket. Love is the real deal.
Second Team: D’Eriq King, Houston
Third Team: Cole McDonald, Hawaii
RB- Michael Warren II, Cincinnati, Jr (5-10, 218)
- There aren’t a ton of running backs in the non-Power 5 with the talent and size to be more than bit players in the NFL. Michael Warren stands out because of his NFL size. He can run between the tackles and has excellent contact balance. Warren isn’t the greatest athlete, but he has solid quickness and catches the ball well. His instincts and vision are good enough for the NFL.
Second Team: Greg McCrae, UCF
Third Team: Patrick Taylor, Memphis
RB- Juwan Washington, San Diego State, Sr (5-7, 190)
- One thing is always true in the Mountain West, San Diego State can and will run the football down your throat. Juwan Washington is their current star at running back and is poised for a monster season. Despite his tiny stature, he should receive NFL looks with the new popularity for satellite backs. Washington has impressive quickness and elusiveness in the open field. His pass catching ability is his key to making the NFL.
Second Team: James Robinson, Illinois State
Third Team: Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan
AP- LeVante Bellamy, Western Michigan, RS Sr (5-9, 185)
Western Michigan RB LeVante Bellamy is definitely a 2020 NFL Draft prospect to watch in the MAC. Big time quickness and burst. Landed on Bruce Feldman’s CFB Freaks List. pic.twitter.com/pqSUIZPOT0
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 11, 2019
- A lot like Washington, LeVante Bellamy will need to carve out a role as a satellite back in the NFL. Bellamy is a former wide receiver, and it shows with his explosive burst and natural hands. In the right situation, Bellamy will be a fun change of pace runner/pass catcher who adds upside as a return man. His burst and quickness will have the NFL’s attention.
Second Team: Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
Third Team: Gerold Bright, Utah State
WR- Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty, Sr (6-4, 220)
- Get ready for Liberty football to matter, well kind of, but not really. They actually do have a guy in Antonio Gandy-Golden who will be a polarizing prospect. AGG is one of the best contested-catch receivers in the country. He’s got strong hands, a big catch radius, and consistently uses his body to box out. There will be questions about route running and ability to separate, but he’s got NFL talent.
Second Team: Cedric Byrd, Hawaii
Third Team: John Hightower, Boise State
WR- James Proche, SMU, RS Sr (5-11, 190)
- Throw SMU on the non-Power 5 WRU list. They’ve got another one. James Proche was the third option at SMU when Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn were there, but now he’s the guy. Proche is a clean route runner with excellent ball skills who can win 50/50 balls despite not being the biggest guy in the world. He’s got the tools to be an NFL slot receiver, and if he expands his route tree this year, his name will be buzzing.
Second Team: Darnell Mooney, Tulane
Third Team: Marquez Stevenson, Houston
TE- Matt Bushman, BYU, RS Jr (6-4, 245)
- The non-Power 5 is quietly loaded at tight end. There are three legitimate NFL talents to choose from, but Matt Bushman is the safest option. Bushman’s stock might be hurt because he’s a little older, but he looks like former BYU TE Dennis Pitta. He’s got trustworthy hands and is terrific in traffic. Bushman has enough athleticism that he can make plays downfield and he’s a solid effort blocker.
Second Team: Mitchell Wilcox, USF
Third Team: Harrison Bryant, FAU
OT- Ezra Cleveland, Boise State, RS Jr (6-5, 309)
- As of now, outside of Jordan Love, the only other non-Power 5 prospect on offense who could go in the first-round is Ezra Cleveland. In what looks like a strong offensive tackle class, Cleveland isn’t getting enough love. Cleveland is an impressive pass protector who uses his length and anchor to win. His balance and base are outstanding in pass pro, and his feet are clean. If Cleveland plays with better leverage in the run game and with more of a mean streak, the sky is the limit.
Second Team: Jake Nelson, Nevada
Third Team: Josh Jones, Houston
OT- Cameron Clark, Charlotte, RS Sr (6-5, 296)
- After Cleveland, there’s a huge drop off with the non-Power 5 OT class. There’s nobody else who looks like a clear draft pick, but there are things to like with Cameron Clark. Clark has a nice frame and uses it to finish through the whistle. He’s a strong run blocker at the point of attack and plays with heavy hands. The issue is pass protection. He’s a mess with his footwork and not a good athlete.
Second Team: Brandon Walton, FAU
Third Team: Matthew Peart, UCONN
OG- Ethan Reed, Louisiana Tech, RS Sr (6-3, 295)
- There might be a hidden gem on the Louisiana Tech football roster. Ethan Reed had a strong performance against LSU last season and could be the best guard in the non-Power 5. He’s a strong run blocker who plays with nice leverage and powerful hands. Reed’s quickness allows him to work to the second level and move linebackers. If he cleans up his technique in pass pro and works on his base to create a stronger anchor, Reed will get NFL attention.
Second Team: Jovahn Fair, Temple
Third Team: Tristan Crowder, Troy
OG- Eric Quevedo, Boise State, RS Sr (6-3, 317)
- Boise State has a few offensive linemen to watch for the 2020 NFL Draft. After Cleveland, Eric Quevedo pops the most. He’s a mean SOB in the run game and uses his size and power to open up holes. The strength and leverage Quevedo plays with are intriguing, but he’s not a good athlete. He’ll need to be in a power scheme with his lack of quickness. Pass pro is also a question.
Second Team: John Molchon, Boise State
Third Team: Troy Kowalski, San Jose State
C- Matt Hennessy, Temple, RS Jr (6-3, 295)
- It’s shaping up to be an impressive center class in the 2020 NFL Draft. The non-Power 5 has a potential dude here in Matt Hennessy. Temple got a ton out of him last season, and there’s plenty of reasons to expect him to be the best interior offensive lineman in the non-Power 5. Despite a lack of size, Hennessy is a power scheme center. He’s great at the point of attack, has a strong anchor in pass pro, and always finishes the play. Athleticism will be his biggest question.
Second Team: Garrett Larson, Boise State
Third Team: Bobby Reynolds, UL Monroe
EDGE- Curtis Weaver, Boise State, RS Jr (6-3, 266)
Boise State EDGE Curtis Weaver is excellent with his hands. Consistently wins as a pass rusher with multiple moves. Could be the top G5 pass rusher in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/ukwTPb46TK
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) May 18, 2019
- There’s already been some first-round hype surrounding Boise State’s Curtis Weaver. He’s put up huge numbers in his two seasons as a starter for the Broncos, and he’s got the most upside of any non-Power 5 defensive prospect. Weaver is a strong hand to hand combat pass rusher with a litany of moves. He’s not the twitchiest athlete in the world, but he has enough bend on the edge. Weaver has the squatty body type to hold up vs. the run but needs to play stronger at the point of attack to reach his potential.
Second Team: Patrick Johnson, Tulane
Third Team: Jacques Turner, Southern Miss
IDL- Sonatane Lui, Boise State, Sr (6-1, 287)
Boise State NT Sonatane Lui with the club move to get to the QB and force an incompletion. One of the more interesting G5 interior D-line prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/mhHnqGQ12s
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 21, 2019
- As of now, the non-Power 5 is a wasteland for interior defensive line prospects. After some major digging, it turns out the most interesting option plays for Boise State. Sonatane Lui is an undersized nose tackle who wins with leverage and power. He’s not going to wow on passing downs, but he’s strong holding the point and can be a nice run defender. He’s by far the most interesting IDL prospect in the non-Power 5, right now.
Second Team: Forrest Merrill, Arkansas State
Third Team: Jasad Haynes, Fresno State
IDL- Brendon Hayes, UCF, Sr (6-2, 293)
- Technically Brendon Hayes is an oversized edge rusher for UCF but in the NFL he best projects as an interior defensive lineman. Hayes doesn’t look draftable and will need to take major strides this season, but he moves well for his size and has a nice motor. He’s got some power as a pass rusher and plays with solid leverage. He’ll need to learn to use his hands and hold up vs. the point of attack.
Second Team: David Moa, Boise State
Third Team: Khyiris Tonga, BYU
EDGE- Tipa Galeai, Utah State, Sr (6-4, 230)
Utah State EDGE Tipa Galeai is one of the best pass rushers in the Group of 5. TCU transfer with an explosive first step and the flexibility to dip and bend on the edge. 2020 NFL Draft name to watch. pic.twitter.com/1PP0wR6Hzv
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) May 22, 2019
- One of the most underrated pass rushers in the country plays for Utah State. Tipa Galeai is a TCU transfer who put up big sack numbers in his first season with the Aggies. He clearly lacks size, but Galeai plays a bit of a hybrid edge rusher/linebacker role. As a pass rusher, he wins with an impressive first step and NFL-level bend. He’s a natural speed rusher and can dominate bigger offensive tackles with his athleticism. Right now Galeai needs to get bigger and stronger, or he’ll never hold up vs. the run.
Second Team: Isaiah Chambers, Houston
Third Team: Quincy Roche, Temple
LB- Zayne Anderson, BYU, Sr (6-2, 205)
- The first question to ask yourself when watching Zayne Anderson is, “does he really play linebacker?” He’s built like a safety, wears a safety number, and spends more time in coverage than in the box. Anderson is an overhang defender. He plays the same role Fred Warner did for BYU. In the NFL Anderson will make his money as Swiss Army knife defender, playing box safety, dime linebacker, and overhang. He’s an aggressive tackler with instincts and solid athleticism.
Second Team: Antonio Jones-Davis, Northern Illinois
Third Team: Perry Young, Cincinnati
LB- David Woodward, Utah State, RS Jr (6-0, 235)
- Utah State is loaded this year, and the QB of their defense is David Woodward. Woodward isn’t the most gifted athlete, but he’s one of the best tacklers in the country. His instincts make up for his athletic shortcomings, and he’s got NFL size that allows him to get off blocks and make plays vs. the run. Woodward needs to show improvements in coverage this year to warrant some of the Day 2 talk he’s receiving.
Second Team: Mykal Walker, Fresno State
Third Team: Kyahva Tezino, San Diego State
LB- Nate Evans, UCF, Sr (6-1, 240)
- UCF is good at football. UCF also seems to have hidden gems on defense every year. Despite not a ton of draft hype, Nate Evans is a guy to watch. Evans is a thick between the tackles playmaker at linebacker. He’s physical at getting off blocks and rarely misses tackles. He needs to improve his instincts and ability in coverage, but he’s got what it takes to be a run defender in the NFL.
Second Team: Shaun Bradley, Temple
Third Team: Logan Wilson, Wyoming
CB- Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern, Sr (5-11, 180)
- One of the best cornerback tandems in college football is located in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern has two guys in Kindle Vildor and Monquavion Brinson who will play on Sundays. Vildor is an instinctual and smooth corner with ball skills. He lacks some size, but he’s aggressive and willing vs. the run. The biggest question with him is overall athleticism. If he’s more explosive and better in man coverage this year, then he could be an early Day 3 pick.
Second Team: Jaron Bryant, Fresno State
Third Team: TJ Carter, Memphis
NB- Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech, Jr (5-9, 180)
Louisiana Tech CB Amik Robertson is a G5 prospect to watch for the 2020 NFL Draft. Love his reaction speed and feistiness. Has what the NFL looks for in a nickel. pic.twitter.com/vWY3YinPjS
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) June 10, 2019
- It’s not often one of the best nickel prospects in the country is a true junior at LA Tech. Amik Robertson is the real deal, and with the realization of how vital nickels are in today’s NFL, he will be drafted early. Robertson is a feisty and instinctual nickel who excels in man coverage. He’s a little tight hipped, but he’s got crisp footwork and enough athleticism to match up with any slot receiver he faces.
Second Team: Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern
Third Team: DJ Williams, Utah State
S- Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne, RS Sr (6-1, 215)
Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger plays Division II CFB, but he stands out. Reads the QB and breaks on the ball here for an easy INT. Came in at #19 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List thanks to a 4.41 40, 40” vert, 11’0” broad, and 6.7 3-cone. pic.twitter.com/gaBxMgJ9kQ
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 13, 2019
- Here we are… we’ve got our most hyped Division II prospect on the board. Kyle Dugger plays for Lenoir-Rhyne, a tiny university in North Carolina. It just so happens Dugger has NFL talent and was even on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List. On the field, Dugger is a physical run defender who flies to the football. He’s got the ball skills to make plays in coverage but must improve his fluidity and footwork to make it in the NFL.
Second Team: Richie Grant, UCF
Third Team: Javon Hagan, Ohio
S- James Wiggins, Cincinnati, RS Jr (6-0, 205)
- There isn’t a ton of NFL-level options playing safety in the non-Power 5, but there are a ton of tools with James Wiggins. He’s well built, consistently tackles, and has ball skills. With Cincinnati’s defense playing so well last year, Wiggins could be their star this year. He’ll need to show improvements in coverage technique to make up for a lack of range, but he shows enough on tape to warrant NFL Draft hype.
Second Team: Kekoa Nawahine, Boise State
Third Team: Marlon Bridges, Jacksonville State
CB- Kevin McGill, Eastern Michigan, Sr (6-2, 193)
This interception from Eastern Michigan CB Kevin McGill is sick. His length, physicality, and ball skills make him the best CB prospect in the MAC. pic.twitter.com/3c4YpD1e5U
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 22, 2019
- There might not be a more underrated defensive prospect in the non-Power 5 than Eastern Michigan’s Kevin McGill. McGill has the length NFL teams desire at cornerback. More importantly, he uses that length as a physical press-man corner. McGill also has impressive ball skills and consistently makes plays in coverage. He is tight hipped and not the greatest athlete, but the size and physicality are going to catch the NFL’s attention.
Second Team: Linwood Crump, Temple
Third Team: Nevelle Clarke, UCF
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