The Combine Report: 2020 NFL Draft – HBCU,Ready Offensive Talents – Where They Fit

Draft Grading, Featuring Offensive HBCU Talents With NFL Qualities

After many decades, the playing field of opportunity for the hidden gems of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) brand was finally going to be leveled with the inception of the HBCU Combine.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game changer in the HBCU Combine was canceled.

But what wasn’t canceled, is the athletes’ will, desire, and the process – meaning the journey.

Through the vision of NFL Football Operations, nearly 6,200 athletes were given the opportunity to get in front of true NFL decision-makers, dating back to 2012 when the NFL Regional Combine was instituted.

Since 2014, 277 of those 6,200 NFL hopefuls made an NFL roster at some capacity.

Also dating back to 2014, for the HBCU community, in terms of the NFL Regional Combine, 12 programs from the proud institutions were represented, and 16 players signed with an NFL squad at some capacity.

Despite the absence of the HBCU Combine, which will take place next year, the select talents for the first annual would-have-been workout session will not be ignored or forgotten.

The unfortunate cancellation will not be allotted for an excuse as NFL talent continues to reside within the hash marks of HBCU collegiate football fields.

Currently, Las Vegas Raiders running back William Stanback is the only player from an HBCU program who journeyed through the NFL Regional Combine process.

Now, it’s time for more.

DRAFT WORTHY

QB DEONDRE FRANCOIS (HAMPTON)

Deondre Francois/Google Images



Projected Round(s) Mid 5th to 7th Round 6-1, 220-pounds 

Play-Action quarterback, strong, accurate, has a good touch, quick feet, mobile, athletic, read defenses, can go through progressions, can throw on the run, hard to bring down, good pocket presence, smart, can make all the NFL throw, savvy, talented for the position.

Virtual Pro Day – Francois displayed good twitch in his hips, got the ball out quickly, threw his pass catchers open and had good velocity on his passes. Consistency with the deep ball. Very few passes sailed too high, overall had good timing. Great foot work in the pocket, solid mechanics in the pocket, including his three, five and seven drop backs with great spacing. Showed NFL arm strength and good anticipation.

Teams

Any AFC West squad (except Kansas City Chiefs)

Any AFC South squad (except Houston Texans)

Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers

OL LACHAVIOUS SIMMONS (TENNESSEE STATE)

Lachavious Simmons /Google Images



Projected Round(s) (4th-7th Round) 6-5, 334-pounds 

Explosive off the ball, athletic, fast, elite speed for position, great lateral movement, powerful, great feet, versatile, despite center – can play every position on offensive line, strong hands, unbeatable one-on-one.

Teams

Any AFC North squad

Any NFC West squad

Any NFC South squad

Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders

RB DE’SHAWN WALLER (ALCORN STATE)

DeShawn Waller/Google Images



Projected Round(s) 5th to 7th Round 5-11, 209-pounds. 

STATS FCS All-America Third-Team. HBCU All-America. SWAC Newcomer of the Year. SWAC All-Conference First-Team. Finished with 1,215 rushing yards, including 12 touchdowns in 10 games in 2018. Great feet and awareness, has bounce, excellent stop-start-go ability, patience, hits the hole, feet always moving, balance, uses blockers well, good vision, go the distance, stamina, elusive. Sustained an injury after the eighth game of the season.

Teams

Any NFC West squad

Any AFC North or South squad

Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RB TAEYLER PORTER (ARK. PINE BLUFF)

Taeyler Porter /Google Images



Projected Round (s) 6th or 7th Round 5-10, 185-pounds. 

Preseason All-American Third Team. Finished his senior season with 1,027 rushing yards off 192 carries and 12 touchdowns. Caught 15 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. Shifty, great feet, stop-start-go excellent, strong, tough, agile, good balance, quick, elite speed for the position, difficult to bring down, protects the ball, dangerous in the open field, especially on a screen, great vision.

Teams

Any AFC North squad

Any AFC West (except Denver Broncos)

Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals

WR CHRIS ROWLAND (TENNESSEE STATE)

Chris Rowland/Google Images



Projected Round(s) 5th to 7th Round – 5-8, 170-pounds. 

Named Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Finished his senior season as the nation’s leader in receiving yards (1,437), averaged 119.8 receiving yards per game. He finished second in all-purpose yards per game at 175.83 and third best average in receptions at 8.7. Shifty, break away speed, great vision, feet, hands and awareness, outstanding in traffic, balance, control, dangerous out the backfield as a receiver, play slot and split out. Solid return specialist.

Teams

Any NFC North squad

Any NFC South squad

Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets

WR/RET/RB JIMMIE ROBINSON (BETHUNE-COOKMAN)

Jimmie Robinson/Google Images



Projected Round(s) 6th or 7th Round – 5-8, 185-pounds. 

On 86 plays, Robinson amassed 1,389 total yards (844 return yards, 468 receiving yards and 77 rushing yards) and five touchdowns. Solid return specialist, playmaking potential on every touch, explosive, quick, balance and control, elite breakaway speed, not easy to bring down, great in open space, good hands, great feet, savvy, confident, emotional.

Teams

Any NFC West squad

Any AFC and NFC East squad

Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts

WR STEVEN NEWBOLD (TENNESSEE STATE)

Steven Newbold/Google Images



Projected Round(s) 5th to 7th Round – 5-10, 185-pounds 

Elusive, electric, athletic (always acrobatic), great stop-start-and-go, plant-and-go, great feet and hands, has great concentration, balance, good vision and awareness, rarely let ball touch body, excellent speed, has breakaway talent, great in space, agile.

Teams

Any NFC or AFC South squad

Any AFC West squad

Any NFC South squad

TEAM WORTHY

De’Montrez Burroughs/Google Images



QB Ryan Stanley (FLORIDA A&M) – 6-3, 210-pounds – Pro-style quarterback, manipulate pocket well, good feet, solid mechanics, ball is not flat, has zip, delivers well on the run, especially to his right, solid pocket presence, read through his progression, keep ball high and close to ball, delivers ball quickly, good touch over the middle, accuracy down field, leader.

Teams

Any NFC East squad

Atlanta Falcons

QB Jalen Morton (Prairie View A&M) – 6-4, 226-pounds. Throw the deep ball well with accuracy, extend plays well from the pocket, has velocity on his balls, look to pass first, mobile when necessary, strong, commands the huddle, not the fastest but know how to get to his spot, decent touch, work the sideline well, elusive.

Teams (Will need to develop behind veteran or within a progressive coaching staff)

Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots

T Marcus Pettiford (North Carolina A&T) – 6-4, 286-pounds – Quick feet, solid hand usage, attack second level, gets hands on linebackers, great speed for position, strong hands, good reach, effective run blocker, aggressive.

Teams

Any NFC East squad

Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts

OL Frank Ball (Virginia State) – 6-3, 275-pounds – Agile, strong and powerful, dominating, great at getting to the outside, fast, quick off the snap, mean, aggressive, strong hands, good feet, finisher, great balance and control, unbreakable grip.

Teams

Any AFC and NFC North squad (especially Minnesota Vikings)

Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos

Donald Boone/Google Images



OL Donald Boone (Chowan) – 6-5, 310-pounds – Great technique and hand usage, balance and control, solid footwork, great catching ability especially in the flat, aggressive, nasty, quick, solid pass protector, seals the edge, protects the middle, agile, finish defenders to the ground, strong, a pure tackle.

Teams

Any AFC or NFC West squad

Any NFC South squad

New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals

OL Jean Cyriaque (Morehouse) – 6-3, 290-pounds – Open and turn his hips well especially from the inside, keeps arm high and extended, mobile, agile, strong, instinctive, recognize defensive stunt assignments, not easily fooled, great feet and hands, balance, forceful, smart, savvy, solid gap protector, legitimate pulling guard, pure guard both left and right.

Teams

Any AFC South squad

Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders

RB Jordan Bentley (Alabama A&M) – 6-1, 195-pounds. – Holds eight school records, including rushing yards. Finished final season with 1,417 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns (fourth best in the nation). Patience, quick first step, goes into a second gear in the second level, decent in space, agile for his size, decent pad level, strong, solid after contact, good vision, physical, but can get away, versatile – can play in the secondary.

Team(s)

Any NFC and AFC South squad

Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals

WR Kyle Anthony (Howard) – 6-3, 205-pounds – Processes quickly, adaptable in any system, physical, discipline, catches ball at highest point, physical, catch well in traffic, make hand catches, strong hands, good feet and speed, finish strong after the catch, poise.

Team(s)

Any AFC North squad

Any NFC East squad

Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts

WR De’Montrez Burroughs (South Carolina State) 6-2, 218-pounds – Good route runner, solid in traffic, tough over the middle, soft hands, great feet, physical, quick in tight spaces, elusive, agile, good awareness and vision, can catch deep, danger in the slot, confident.

Teams

Any NFC South squad

Any AFC West squad

Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears

WR Manasseh Bailey (Morgan State) – 6-1, 195-pounds. – Finished senior campaign with 54 receptions for 996 yards and ten touchdowns. Also had a punt returned for a score. Once played linebacker. Soft hands, physical, protect ball with body, decent in traffic, quick off snap, more of possession receiver, better in redzone, decent hand technique, balance, blocker.

Teams

Any AFC North squad

Any NFC West squad

New York Jets, New York Giants

WR Elijah Bell (North Carolina A&T) – 6-1, 225-pounds. – Good upper strength, physical, aggressive in bump-and-run coverage, strong hands, good hand usage, makes hand-catches, body control, does not shy from contact, intense, keeps ball up and tight, stiff arm essential, block well down field, solid in traffic, locate his spots.

Teams

Any AFC East squad

Any NFC North squad

San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints

TE Kevonta Moses (Shaw) – 6-0, 238-pounds – Disciplined route runner, sharp in his cuts, great hands, catch well in traffic, good speed in the open field, find his spots, detailed, smart, tough, can be physical, calculated, soft hands, good feet, good turn-and-go, athletic, dangerous against zone coverage, surprising quick, gifted pass catcher. (Will have to convert)

Team(s)

Any AFC North squad

New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints

TE DuShon David (Bowie State) – 6-3, 230-pounds – Good possession target, strong, good in speed, decent speed, great awareness, stay in quarterback sights, good vision, knows his spot, catch ball at highest point.

Team(s)

Any NFC North squad

New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers

NOTABLES

OL Jeremiah Abby (Southern) – 6-4, 328-pounds – A dominant defender, solid pass blocker, strong, agile, smart, aggressive, good feet and hand usage

OL Jodeci Harris (Southern) – 6-7, 315-pounds – Seal the edge well, keep defenders high and off balance, solid inside technique, slide and open hips well, good feet, strong hands, decent in getting to the outside, patience, discipline, has balance and control.

WR Marcus Williams (Florida A&M) – 5-11, 185-pounds – Decent hands, reliable, good return specialist, soft hands, quick, good possession receiver, fearless, excellent speed, good in space.

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