Friday, January 22, 2021


2020 NFL Draft: The road to becoming an NFL prospect at every position group.

April 21, 2020 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, talent, and even luck to become a professional athlete. Days ago, 36 young women had their hard work pay off and their dreams come true as they were drafted into the WNBA during the 2020 WNBA Draft. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend the WNBA Draft at a central location due to COVID-19 but they are now professionals after working towards that goal for several years of their lives.

This week, over 200 former college football players will be drafted into the NFL during the 2020 NFL Draft, which will also be remotely done. There is a good chance that the 2020 NFL Draft will have the highest ratings of any NFL Draft ever due to the significant amount of Americans who remain quarantined across the country. As sports fans prepare to watch the lives of young men change forever in pursuit of a lifelong goal, here is a look at some endearing background information on one NFL prospect at each position of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Quarterback: Jalen Hurts-Oklahoma

  • College football fans are well aware of Hurts due to his time as the starting quarterback at Alabama and then Oklahoma for one year last year. He has starting experience at two big time college football programs in Alabama and Oklahoma and high football character as the son of a high school football coach. Being the son of a football coach is viewed as a desirable trait for any quarterback.

Running back: AJ Dillon-Boston College

  • Dillon was one of the best running backs in college football, carried a heavy workload while in college, and is the grandson of College Football Hall of famer Thom Gatewood, who was the first African-American team captain at Notre Dame. His strong football influences that led to his rise as a NFL prospect included playing for former Boston College offensive lineman Paul Zukauskas at Lawrence Academy in Connecticut.

Wide receiver: Donovan Peoples-Jones-Michigan

  • Oftentimes, highly acclaimed high school football players are viewed as narrowly focused on football and stereotyped as disinterested in academics. Those stereotypes do not apply to Peoples-Jones, who was an All-American at Detroit’s Cass Tech High School and had a 3.9 grade-point average in high school. His intelligence and talent would be good for any prospective NFL team.

Tight end: Brycen Hopkins-Purdue

  • Hopkins is not the tight end prospect with the most famous father as that would be LSU’s Thaddeus Moss, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss. Brycen Hopkins’ dad was former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Brad Hopkins. It’s surprising to learn that Brycen Hopkins became a star in college despite not playing football until high school showing that even though he played in the NFL, Brad Hopkins did not pressure his son into the same sport as him.

Offensive Lineman: Prince Tega Wanogho-Auburn

  • Arguably the coolest name in the entire 2020 NFL Draft belongs to Prince Tega Wanogho. He is an actual prince as his grandfather was the king of a village in Nigeria, where Wanogho grew up. His athleticism for his 300 pound frame can be somewhat attributed to growing up playing soccer and basketball.

Defensive Lineman: Derrick Brown-Auburn

  • It will not take very long during the 2020 NFL Draft to hear Derrick Brown’s name called. He is considered one of the elite prospects in the entire NFL Draft. While Brown’s physical traits are impressive so are his off-field credentials. In 2017, he was named to the SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Council and won the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy, which goes to the defensive player who has the biggest IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity).

Linebacker: Troy Dye-Oregon

  • The versatile Dye filled up the stat sheet for the improved Ducks defense as a senior. His season had to be more fun in that he was able to enjoy it with his brother, Travis, who is also a running back on the team. A Dye on offense and a Dye on defense makes for interesting Oregon practices if the Dye brothers had to face each other.

Defensive Back: Noah Igbinoghene-Auburn

  • The 2019 Auburn football team was full of athletes with unique backstories. Igbinoghene might be the slowest member of his family despite being an NFL-caliber athlete. He is the son of two former Nigerian Olympians. His mother, Faith, won a bronze medal with the Nigerian 4×100 relay team in 1992 and finished fifth with that team in 1996. His father, Festus, attended Mississippi State and won five SEC titles in the long and triple jumps.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines


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