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SEC’s Best Draft Prospects

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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BJ Bennett's Top 10 2020 NFL Draft Prospects coming of out the SEC.

1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6'3'', 221)

By almost every measure, Burrow just had college football's greatest season ever, one fit with countless records: 76.3% completions, 5,671 passing yards, 60 touchdowns. He went 15-0 in winning a national championship, beating six ranked teams along the way. In addition rewriting the record books, Burrow has great size, good mobility and, as the likely number one overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, is an Ohio-native. A palpable confidence follows Burrow every time he takes the field -- and for good reason. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has as much momentum as possible as he heads to the next level.    

2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6'0'', 217)

Tagovailoa's career arc is one the likes of which college football has never before seen. After completing one of the most iconic throws in the history of the game with his walk-off touchdown pass in the national championship game against Georgia as a true freshman, Tagovailoa set a new single season record with a 199.44 passer rating as a sophomore and, though he didn't quite attempt enough passes to quality for another record, peaked with a measure of 206.93 as a junior. A career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 87-to-11 is a testament to Tagovailoa's unprecedented proficiency. There is an obvious injury history that has to be considered, but his abilities remain generational.  

3. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6'5'', 326)

Any look at the game tape validates the massive Brown, who simply overwhelmed blockers in the SEC, as a consistently disruptive and dominant anchor at the point of attack. He is everything you want up front. Brown's athleticism for a player of his size is remarkable. His playmaking ability resulted in 12.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four pass deflections and two fumble returns for 53 yards in 2019. All that Brown does can be the foundation for an entire defense. Going back some time, he is one of the most impressive defensive tackles prospects the draft has seen.  

4. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6'5'', 315)

Few offensive tackles in recent memory have the credentials that Thomas has. Starting from day one as a true freshman in Athens, Thomas helped pace the Bulldogs to the national championship game that season. Such was a springboard into two All-American campaigns for Thomas. In all, Thomas played in three straight SEC Championship Games. Mature beyond his years, Thomas led the nation's premier offensive front at Georgia, played both left and right tackle and excelled at both run and pass blocking. His start-to-finish consistency makes Thomas the top tackle. 

5. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6'1'', 193)

Agile and fluid, Jeudy is a natural, effortless playmaker. He can do any and everything as a number one option, from stretch the field out wide on the perimeter to finding coverage openings in the slot. Jeudy, in 2018, had one of the great seasons in SEC history with 1,315 yards at 19.3 yards per reception with 14 touchdown catches. He added ten more scores last fall. In addition to understanding of the advanced nuances of the position, Jeudy's route-running sets him apart; Jeudy is one of the most polished wide receivers entering the draft in quite some time.

6. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (6'5'', 324)

Kinlaw, by every measure, is the type of disruptive force in the trenches that opponents must gameplan around. Especially athletic for an interior lineman, he has a rare ability to pressure the quarterback from the tackle position. Over the last two years with the Gamecocks, Kinlaw recorded 10.5 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and seven pass deflections. He, with a great first step off the ball, also blocked a kick in each of his three seasons at South Carolina. An impressive Senior Bowl showing has helped boost Kinlaw's stock ahead of April.

7. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida (6'1'', 204)

An overall winner at the recent NFL Combine, Henderson is one of the most talked about prospects on the board entering the stretch run of the pre-draft process. He, with prototypical size for the cornerback position, ran a 4.39 forty yard dash and did 20 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds, among other standout efforts. For a player who has dominated at college football's highest level since the start of his career, these measurables came as extra validation. Henderson showed his worth right away for the Gators, recording four interceptions as a true freshman back in 2017.

8. K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU (6'3'', 254)

Considered the top edge pass-rusher on the board after Ohio State's Chase Young, Chaisson has the potential to be the prototype. There were moments last season where he was unstoppable, see ten total tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss against Alabama and two sacks versus Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff. After a torn ACL in 2018 slowed Chaisson's progression, he often looked the part in helping the Tigers win the national championship this past year. Chaisson, an impressive athlete who is still improving, is a fascinatingly talented prospect.

9. Jedrick Wills, Jr., OT, Alabama (6'4'', 312)

So much of Willis' game translates seamlessly to the next level, making him another elite offensive tackle prospect in this heralded class. Wills is a fluid lineman, with the quickness to handle dynamic edge rushers coming off the edge. His consistency in containing such playmakers in the SEC was obviously vital to the success of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. A 5.05 forty yard dash time at the NFL Combine was a glimpse into Wills' impressive athletic potential. 

10. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama (5'11'', 188)

Speed, speed and more speed. Ruggs wowed the NFL Combine with an event-best 4.27 forty yard dash time, not to mention a 42-inch vertical leap. Those measurables served as extra confirmation after a three-year career that came with 24 total touchdown receptions. A big play waiting to happen, Ruggs can impact a game a number of different ways: as a receiver, a runner and a return specialist. You simply cannot coach the skills that he has.  

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports