NFL Draft Underclassmen Early Entrants 2020: Who's Staying? Best Returning Pro Prospects

NFL Draft Underclassmen Early Entrants 2020: Who's Staying? Best Returning Pro Prospects

2020 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Underclassmen Early Entrants 2020: Who's Staying? Best Returning Pro Prospects

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The focus has been on the star underclassmen going off to the NFL, but who’s staying? Who are the best players who could’ve gone early, but are coming back?


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Underclassmen Deadline: January 17
Draft Date: April 23-25
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

2020 NFL Draft Early Entrants
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OG/Cs
DEs | DTs | LBs | CBs | Safeties

NFL Draft Underclassmen Early Entrants 2020: Who’s Staying?

Not everyone feels like going off to the League of Mercenaries to make gobs and gobs of money playing a sport. Some star pro prospects wanted to come back to up their draft stock for 2021, and some just wanted to come back for another year of school.

Here are the best NFL underclassmen who could’ve turned pro early – Trevor Lawrence isn’t eligible yet – but didn’t.

We’re still waiting on the decision from Clemson CB A.J. Terrell and a few others, but for now …

14. RB CJ Verdell, Oregon

2020 NFL Projection Was: 4th Round
2019 Stats: 197 carries for 1,220 yards (6.19 ypc), 8 TDs. 14 catches, 125 yards.

He’d be solid as a part of a running back rotation, but can he be the main man for an NFL offense? Not really. He’s got the flash, and he’s not afraid of providing a pop, but the consistency wasn’t there. He exploded in a few games, but disappeared in others. The fourth round might have been a bit of a reach for him had he come out.

13. RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

2020 NFL Projection Was: Late 4th Round/Early 5th Round
2019 Stats: 242 carries for 1,350 yards (5.58 ypc), 10 TDs. 18 catches for 180 yards and 1 TD

A strange move considering Mike Leach is taking over the reigns, Hill might be hoping to show off more of his pass catching skills and might be hoping to up his stock a bit. Here’s the problem – next year is going to be even more crowded with all the great running backs returning. He’s a good, solid 5-11, 215-pound runner, but he’s missing one great NFL trait to get him out of the Just Another Good Running Back category.

12. OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas

2020 NFL Projection Was: 4th Round
2019 Stats: Three-year starter, two-time All-Big 12

The 6-7, 300-pound redshirt sophomore could use just a bit more seasoning. He’s going to be tried out at left tackle at the next level, but he’s more likely a right tackle at the next level. This is an up-the-stock decision – 4th round was a bit of a reach call. A good season moves him into the top 100.

11. OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa

2020 NFL Projection Was: 3rd Round
2019 Stats: Three-year starter, two-time All-Big Ten

He needs to be The Guy. He might have been the team’s left tackle, but he’s not the talent that Tristan Wirfs was on the other side. He’s not going to wow anyone with his athleticism, but the 6-6, 320-pound veteran will be the star of the Hawkeye line. He’ll likely be a guard at the next level.

10. CB Deommodore Lenoir, Oregon

2020 NFL Projection Was: 3rd Round
2019 Stats: 47 tackles, 1 interception, 7 broken up passes

This might be a value move. He’s a stretch as a third round prospect, but one good year could move him up as a top 50 overall pick next season. At 5-11 and 202 pounds he has excellent size and can hit, but he could use a few more flashy interceptions. The former high school offensive star is still getting better.

9. OT/OG Trey Smith, Tennessee

2020 NFL Projection Was: 2nd Round
2019 Stats: Three-year starter, Two-time All-SEC

It was an interesting call. The one-time super-recruit appears to be past the frightening blood clot problems of 2018, and now he’s going to be a crushing presence for what appears to be a terrific-looking Vol line. What’s he going to be, though? He’s got 6-6, 325-pound tackle size, but he was a guard last year.

8. CB Thomas Graham, Oregon

2020 NFL Projection Was: 3rd Round
2019 Stats: 64 tackles, 2 interceptions, 10 broken up passes

Flip a coin between him and Deommodore Lenoir on which Oregon corner is the better pro prospect. Lenoir is a little bigger and more athletic overall, but Graham was more productive. The 5-11, 197-pounder – like Lenoir – can up his stock to be a top 50-caliber prospect next year.

7. S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

2020 NFL Projection Was: 3rd Round
2019 Stats: 101 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles

He might have moved up throughout the NFL workout process and boosted his stock once he got more of an in-depth look. Considering a high-second/early-third round pick, he’s got the 6-4, 215-pound size, athleticism, and tackling ability to be a possible top 50 selection. He’s a tweener, but he’ll find a spot somewhere on an NFL D when he’s done.

6. RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State

2020 NFL Projection Was: 3rd Round
2019 Stats: 328 carries for 2,094 yards (6.38 ypc), 21 TDs. 23 catches for 192 yards (8.61 ypc)

The lack of gushing from the next-level scouts has been a wee bit puzzling. The production is peerless, leading the nation with close to 2,100 yards with home run-hitting speed with good enough hands to be used in the passing game.

The problem? He’s not a thick back, not carrying enough bulk on his 6-1, 207-pound frame, but he’s built like former Minnesota Viking star Robert Smith – that’s not a bad thing. Yeah, he’s like a track star at running back, but he proved he could be durable with over 350 touches last year.

NEXT: Top Five Returning NFL Draft Eligible Underclassmen

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