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Some years, there aren’t 32 prospects with first-round grades. That’s not a problem for the 2020 class.
On Friday night we’ll see the depth of this year’s draft class. There are still plenty of fantastic players left for teams to pick from. There will be plenty of second-round picks who become Week 1 starters for their NFL teams, and that’s not something we can confidently say on draft week each year. In most years, many of the players listed below would have been first-round picks.
Based on the prospect rankings of Yahoo Sports’ draft expert Eric Edholm, here are the top 12 players still available as the draft restarts for Round 2 on Friday night:
Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
Swift might have been the most surprising omission from the first round, in part because the Kansas City Chiefs preferred LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire and took him with the 32nd pick. He was Edholm’s No. 19 overall prospect. Swift is going to be an impact, do-everything back for some team. It’s hard to see him slipping past the Dolphins at No. 39, and he could go sooner.
Baylor WR Denzel Mims
We knew there would be quality receivers available past the first round. Mims is a tall, rangy athlete who checked in at No. 21 on Edholm’s rankings. We know he can make highlight plays, and if he can develop all parts of his game he’ll end up being a great Round 2 pick.
LSU CB Kristian Fulton
Some of the more surprising picks of the first round came at the cornerback position. Somehow, Fulton ended up slipping through to the second round. His lack of high-end athleticism might have kept him from being a first-round pick, but he’s a solid corner who will compete and might be in play for the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick of Round 2.
Alabama S Xavier McKinney
Safety is still strangely underrated by the NFL, even with teams needing that versatile back-end player who can match up against any offensive look. McKinney fits that mold as a smart, athletic safety who can fill multiple roles, and you know he’s NFL-ready coming out of Alabama.
Clemson WR Tee Higgins
Yet another playmaking receiver available on the second day. Higgins, Edholm’s No. 26 prospect, put up plenty of numbers with Trevor Lawrence throwing him the ball. He’s not a speed demon but is big and athletic and can come down with contested catches.
Ohio State RB JK Dobbins
We’re going to see a lot of running backs go on the second day of the draft, after the first 31 picks on Thursday night didn’t see one picked. Dobbins is an easy plug-and-play workhorse back in the NFL. He’s going to be a starter in Week 1, assuming he goes to a team that needs one, and he could end up posting a fantastic rookie season.
Iowa EDGE A.J. Epenesa
You usually don’t find quality edge rushers in the second round, but there are some this year. Epenesa didn’t work out great at the NFL scouting combine, but he’s still a powerful and productive player who will help a defense right away.
Alabama CB Trevon Diggs
Yet another Alabama player. Diggs has some intriguing upside as he is still learning the position. Diggs, whose brother is Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs, is an outstanding athlete who could become a high-end starter in the right scheme.
Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
Gross-Matos has good size for an edge rusher, and if he continues to refine his game he could be a solid every-down player. His best landing spot is probably as an end in a 4-3 scheme.
Wisconsin EDGE Zack Baun
Did a diluted urine sample during his drug test at the combine knock Baun out of the first round? It couldn’t have helped. Baun was a late-developing player at Wisconsin but he had a great final college season. He brings scheme versatility and can do more on the field than just rush the passer.
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor
Taylor averaged more than 2,000 yards per season at Wisconsin, setting records at a school known for productive running backs. He has issues with fumbling and is mostly unproven in the passing game, but he’s a fantastic athlete who can easily be slotted in as a Week 1 starter.
LSU S Grant Delpit
At the end of the 2018 season Delpit looked like a potential high first-round pick. That didn’t pan out, but he’s still a rangy deep safety who can make plays, and potentially be a top-end starter if he becomes a better tackler.
Others to watch: Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr., Colorado WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis, Houston OT Josh Jones, TCU DL Ross Blacklock, Florida State RB Cam Akers, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, Georgia QB Jake Fromm, Washington QB Jacob Eason
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