14 Aug 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

South Carolina Gamecocks NFL Draft Guide

NFL Draft expert John Vogel breaks down the prospects that South Carolina has to offer the 2020 NFL Draft.

South Carolina is full of rich tradition, having played since the inception of the SEC. It’s had it’s ups and it’s downs. This season has been no different. While it was an overall disappointment, the Gamecocks pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season against Georgia. A team loaded with talent, South Carolina has plenty to offer to NFL teams in the 2020 NFL Draft on both sides of the football.

IDL Javon Kinlaw (Sr-Transfer)

Javon Kinlaw has been at times this season unstoppable. Kinlaw has been one of the most watched seniors in this class this season, a 6’6″ 300 pound athlete with incredible quickness. Kinlaw certainly doesn’t look 300 pounds while looking at him, so if he weighs in at that size, it will be a big deal.

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Kinlaw has the physical tools to dominate in the NFL for a long time. He uses his hands well in the trenches and is an effective stuff player. Don’t expect him to be a great pass rusher. While he is capable, he is mostly a run stop player, and completed his college career with just 10 sacks. Kinlaw is currently a first round prospect, but teams are worried about his motor. This leaves space for Kinlaw to drop on draft boards.

WR Bryan Edwards (Sr)

Before I start this brief evaluation, let me preface it by saying that if this was any other receiver class in the history of football, Edwards would certainly be a top ten receiver. Because of the depth of the position in this class, Edwards is borderline top fifteen. He’s got great size (6’3″ and 215 pounds) and has shown the ability to use his length as a factor while separating.

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Edwards has good hands, a great catch radius, and good route running technique. However, his hands aren’t great as he will sometimes drop routine catches and Edwards has made some boneheaded decisions that NFL teams will question because of how regular they have been. Regardless, the Senior Bowl will be a great chance for Edwards to show what he can really do.

RB Rico Dowdle (Sr)

Rico Dowdle has the perfect skill set to be a rotational piece on almost any NFL team. He’s done pretty much everything for the Gamecocks during his career at South Carolina. He finished his stay in South Carolina with 2167 career rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns.

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Dowdle is a good runner, showing excellent burst in between the tackles and contact balance. He has always been a good receiver, but was utilized even more during this season. He’s a good pass protector as well, seeing the field well and picking up blocks as needed. Dowdle is a valuable option on day three to add depth to the running back room.

EDGE DJ Wonnum (Sr)

Want to talk about consistency? Wonnum has struggled with it all throughout his career. He shows flashes of brilliance before disappearing for long stretches of time, often through games. He finished his college career with 29.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks.

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Wonnum has flashed signs of being a great pass rusher. He ripped Kentucky this season for 3 sacks, and in both 2017 and 2018, he collected 2 sacks per game against Tennessee. However, it seems to be tackle dependent. Wonnum doesn’t have the consistent skill set to dominate against pro tackles. Still, he should be valued as a run stopping EDGE prospect who can play in both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts.

RB Tavien Feaster (Sr-Transfer)

Tavien Feaster has been a RB2 his entire life. First at Clemson, Feaster shared the backfield role with Wayne Gallman Jr and then with Travis Ettiene. He transferred to South Carolina in hopes of winning the starting job but was unable to beat out Rico Dowdle.

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Feaster does have a lot of talent, and is more of a speed guy, especially when he gets to open field. He’s got good size (5’11” 220 pounds) but I believe that his size actually limits his ability to be quick. When watching both Feaster and Dowdle, it’s clear that Dowdle has more burst in the hole. Still, Feaster averaged 5.8 yards per carry during his college career, and has shown to be a check-down option out of the backfield.

LB TJ Brunson (Sr)

TJ Brunson was one of those linebackers who showed immense potential as a freshman and never quite panned out to be what draft scouts had hoped to see. There are a lot of factors that play into this, as I have pointed out through my career, talent under Will Muschamp doesn’t really thrive. Brunson still had a good college career, collecting 283 career tackles, 21 for loss.

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Brunson is more of a run stopper, but did show an ability to play effective zone coverage this season. He’s a tad bit undersized (6’1″ 230 pounds) but I think once he gets around someone who wants to use his strengths, Brunson will break out and be a surprise to a lot of people.

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