2020 NFL Draft Dark Horses Part 1 by Kieran Patterson

Every year, draft websites and draft coverage is always focused on the Joe Burrows and the Chase Youngs of the world but often there’s some amazing talent hiding in days 2 and 3 of the draft. So today we’re going to break down some of the top Dark Horses in this year’s draft – These guys are players that I think should be rated higher than they are or players who are going to really prove that they really are a first round talent. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU

If we’re talking underrated players going into the 2020 draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a talent that needs a lot more attention, because I think personally he’s a first round talent and should be picked on day one. The Baton Rouge native was nothing short of electric this year picking up 1,414 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, accompanied by 453 receiving yards and a singular touchdown.

You didn’t come here to read stats though, you came here to hear exactly why these players deserve to have more eyes on them.

The most impressive thing about Edwards-Helaire is his lateral movement and vision, which is why you’ll see his best moments at LSU when they run gap schemes. Edwards-Helaire doesn’t possess the necessary downhill speed to tear off big 50-60 yard touchdown runs, he has the hips and lateral speed to exploit gaps and give you 10-20 yards on a play.

There is no other player in this draft that can spot a gap, pop his hips and make a play like Edwards-Helaire.

Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State 

Gordon battled Gardner Minshew for the Washington State starting job in 2018 and only just fell short to the eventual NCAA passing leader.

Despite a 3 year wait before he won the starting job Gordon proved he was worth the wait, with 5,579 passing yards, 48 passing touchdowns with only 16 interceptions and was named second team all Pac-12. Gordon possesses a ton of traits that set him up well for when he makes it to the pros and not just in a gunslinging air raid system like the one Mike Leach ran with Gordon at the helm.

Although sometimes rattled by interior pressure, Gordon is willing to take a hit to deliver a pass and makes some great anticipatory throws in the middle of the field. His delivery is compact, efficient and he can really lead receivers in stride underneath when it is called for.

While Gordon is on some teams boards as early as the 3rd round I personally think Gordon is a day one talent.

Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford

In his last season at Stanford, Parkinson put up very average numbers with 29 catches, 485 yards and 7 touchdowns, however Parkinson didn’t drop a pass and came down with the most contested catches amongst draft eligible tight ends.

So besides being a huge target with safe hands what does Parkinson do to set himself apart from the other tight ends in this class? Physically, his height and length create some huge matchup issues in the red area and he is able to extend the high point to play over safeties – Parkinson has incredible body control to help him make adjustments downfield. My only real issue with his size as I think he needs to bulk up a little bit to really be a top level tight end in the NFL.

Parkinson certainly has day one talent and a bunch of upside with very little downside, if you want a big pass catching tight end this is the player for you!

Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming

Despite being a two time All-State player coming out of high school Logan Wilson only had two scholarship offers, Weber State and Wyoming. I’m sure plenty of colleges were kicking themselves after seeing this kid play. 

Cementing himself as one of the best linebackers in college football and by far the best linebacker in the Mountain Western Conference (MWC), Logan Wilson has been nothing short of amazing.

Yet still some mocks have him going as late as the 4th round and I have no idea how!

In his 2019 campaign Wilson tallied 62 solo tackles (105 total), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 4 interceptions. While the MWC not exactly being stacked with top tier teams is still very very impressive. 

Colleagues at the Full 10 Yards joke that I use the word “Instinct” too much but if I’m being honest, Wilson has it. His build and ability would allow him to play MIKE or SAM linebacker and he has a high motor runs hot and means that Wilson is getting after it on every single down he’s on the field. Lastly, Wilson has elite fundamentals and impressive recognition that help him diagnose and shut down plays easily.

However, Wilson’s high motor can cause some jitters meaning he will need to balance his activity level with patience – That’s another small downside that can be worked out early in NFL training camps. This can also lead to Wilson being baited out of position with some false keys by more complex offences but once again…training will fix that.

Hopefully Wilson lands with a team that recognizes his talent and gives him the chance to shine, maybe the Patriots…please Bill!

If there’s any players I’ve missed feel free to message me on social media with anyone I could possibly add to a part 2!

Follow Kieran on Twitter @DCCYTFootball

Follow Kieran on Instagram @DustCoveredCleats

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