Who is your draft crush in the 2020 NFL Draft class?
Part 5 of the 2020 Seahawks Draft Panel
Our draft panel concludes with my favorite draft-related question of the year. Draft experts spend countless hours poring through tape of hundreds of prospects. Inevitably, they’re going to be drawn to some guys more than others.
But while each expert’s draft board will inherently be different, there will be a few players that each analyst will be far higher on than their colleagues. Those prospects are called “draft crushes.”
Which leads us to the finale of this series: Who are your draft crushes in this class?
Our 10 experts came up with some good ones.
Part 3: Which Day 2 WR fits in Seattle?
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
I have a pair of guys from LSU who are draft crushes. Linebacker Patrick Queen is the first, who came on late, nobody knew who he was midway through the season, and then he took off. He’s exactly what you’re looking for in a linebacker right now with his ability to run and make plays. He brings a lot of energy when you watch him on tape. Then I’d say wide receiver Justin Jefferson. He’s just a pure route runner. He catches everything. He’s going to be a slot receiver, and he’s going to be ready Day 1. I think you’ll see both of those guys go between picks 15-25 in the first round.
Charles Davis, NFL Network
I’m going to give you one early-round guy and one guy who will go a little later. Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault – I think he’s Deebo Samuel in this year’s draft. I know he got hurt at the Combine with a core injury and didn’t run as well as people would have liked to have seen. If you watch him on tape, people bounce off of him. He’s a strong, aggressive kid downfield. You can run him on the jet sweeps. You can toss it to him. He can play wildcat quarterback in short-yardage situations. I love him. Later on, there’s a corner from Louisiana Tech named Amik Robertson – love him. He’s a ballhawk and ballhawks get my attention. Robertson had 48 career pass breakups and 14 interceptions in college.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
I would say it’s Zach Baun from Wisconsin. I’m a big fan of his. I think he’s just learning to play the game the way he’s going to need to as a pro. He’s been caught in between as an edge rusher. He doesn’t really have the perfect build for a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s still raw as an off-ball linebacker. But I’ll tell you what, he’s got the athletic ability and traits to play in a 4-3 and play in an even or odd front. He can cover in space, man or zone. He has a lot of physicality and aggressiveness. And then he has some real rush speed. He’s an intriguing hybrid-caliber player who can play off the ball on early downs and then come off the edge and rush the passer on passing downs.
My other guy is Amik Robertson out of La Tech. He’s small, but he’s a ferocious on the ball corner. I saw him press guys who were way bigger than him. He had 43 career passes defended and 14 interceptions. He has phenomenal instincts and ball skills.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
It’s LSU’s Joe Burrow, which I know sounds so cliché because he’s going to be the first pick in the draft. But I loved Joe Burrow in season. I have been saying for a while that he’s the best QB in the class and was going to be the first pick in the draft. He’s my favorite player to watch. I also love safety Antoine Winfield Jr. out of Minnesota. He’s a late first or early second kind of guy. I love the way he plays.
Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl
That’s difficult to narrow down because there are a lot of players I really like in this class but it would have to be Michigan OLB Josh Uche. After South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw, I thought Uche was the best defensive player at this year’s Senior Bowl. Uche brings unique versatility on sub-downs with his ability to rush and cover. He was far more productive as a rusher at Michigan, particularly on a per-snap basis, than former teammates Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, who went in the first and third rounds last year, and he looked really good in coverage down in Mobile. He can just do so many things for you. He can play on or off the ball, he has the speed to play sideline to sideline, he is athletic enough to track RB and TE down the field, and he can affect quarterback from multiple alignments. In terms of pure bend as a pass rusher, Uche is arguably the best in this class. He will be an absolute steal for any team if he lasts to the second round.
Dane Brugler, The Athletic
Alabama's Jedrick Wills has been my guy for a while. I took some heat last Thanksgiving when I put him at OT1 on my board, but he is deserving. Love his potential. A couple of day two guys that I love: Dayton TE Adam Trautman and Wyoming LB Logan Wilson. Trautman isn't going to be Travis Kelce, but he is going to be a reliable TE for a lot of years. Love his competitive spirit and short-area athleticism. Wilson is one of the best tacklers in this draft due to his instincts
Trevor Sikkema, The Draft Network
Amik Robertson the cornerback out of LA Tech is a player who I was late to the party to, but man, he’s awesome. If he were a little taller/longer, he’d be a first-round pick. I love the way he attacks the ball in coverage, and his mentality for making the most impactful play possible. I also really like Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon. I’m not saying he’s a day one starter or anything. But there’s something about those quarterbacks who just have it in their nature to throw the ball often and throw for points. Gordon has a higher ceiling than most day three quarterbacks because of that mentality.
Jordan Reid, The Draft Network
There are a few for me, but I'll keep it Seahawks related with their positions of need. Darrell Taylor the edge rusher from Tennessee is a player that I like a lot and one that fits the previous mold of what the team has drafted in years past. Another fit that I think would be perfect is former LSU guard Damien Lewis. He was terrific last year during their national title run. He also was a late call up for the Senior Bowl and dominated in Mobile. He fits the identity and run-first culture that the team has established.
Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
It's a great class. Picking a single crush is a tall order — but I would bet on LSU rush linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson. He's still developing as a pass rusher but he's capable of doing so many things on defense. He oozes with confidence, too. Watch the tape and you'll see him stacking blocks and sorting through traffic in the run game, bending off the edge to crash the pocket and playing out in space in zone coverage. He's explosive and he got better throughout the 2019 season after missing all of 2018 with a knee injury. He's EDGE2 behind Chase Young for me, personally — and I don't think it is close.
Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network
I'm willing to mortgage the house to buy Antonio Gibson stock: the Memphis RB is thick, explosive, has surprisingly soft hands and homerun speed as both a returner and a receiver. I think this CB class is high-quality, and I have a ton of belief in LSU's Kristian Fulton, who's as smooth and steady a press corner as I can remember -- of course, if he goes Round 1, there's no way Seattle drafts him. He and Ohio State’s Damon Arnette are two first-round grades for me; I just love guys who are comfortable in press.