The 2020 NFL Draft is over four months away. Most college athletes are giving their bodies a brief break before beginning an exhaustive pre-Draft workout regimen while the NFL sorts out the selection order in the playoffs. It’s still incredibly premature in the process, but we can still paint a vague picture of where the Wildcats are expected to fall.
A year after Josh Allen grabbed the spotlight as a top ten pick, Kentucky’s top prospect in 2020 is Lynn Bowden. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Bowden will not be a top ten pick.
Few mock drafts project past the first round this early in the process. One of the few analysts to release a three-round mock draft, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report believes Bowden is third round pick, currently slated to fall to the Broncos at No. 83 overall.
Does Bowden have an opportunity to climb up draft boards? Of course, but there are two reasons why he will remain in third round projections until just before the draft:
1. The misconception that playing quarterback hurt his draft stock.
2. Combine tests will not cater to his strengths.
To address the latter, what makes Bowden special is his playmaking ability, regardless of scenario or position. He can do whatever is asked of him whenever his number is called, something that is not simulated with a stopwatch. Bowden busted some big plays throughout his career, but his defining characteristic is his ability to break tackles with agility and acceleration. That means he’ll have great times in the shuttle and 3-cone drill, but will he make headlines in the 40-yard dash? Doubtful.
The limited tape on Bowden at wide receiver will (luckily) scare away all of the front office idiots. You know who I’m talking about, the Browns and Lions of the league. In three years of SEC football, he has about 25 games of tape at wide receiver and less than half are his best work.
What some see as a hindrance to his NFL Draft prospects will eventually become an attractive quality for an inventive young football mind. There will be a Kyle Shanahan or Kliff Kingsbury-type that will see Bowden’s expansive toolset and start imagining ingenious plays to install into their system. If you need a comparison, look no further than Taysom Hill for the New Orleans Saints (you don’t even have to take my word for it).
Lynn Bowden Jr https://t.co/E39IVkyU7c
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 6, 2020
As the draft draws nearer, I foresee Bowden drawing interest from multiple NFL teams, with one making the move to pick him up earlier than expected in the second round just to make sure he doesn’t get away. Mike Tomlin did just that with Benny Snell last season.
Obviously, he can dramatically rise or fall with either great or abysmal pre-draft workouts and interviews. Much will change before Roger Goodell is booed at the podium in Las Vegas April 23. As of now, Bowden is in that third round range, with the ability to climb up into the late second round, right where Randall Cobb was picked in 2011.
Outside of Bowden, four Wildcats will be fighting to get picked: Logan Stenberg, T.J. Carter, Calvin Taylor Jr. and Ahmad Wagner. Stenberg’s athleticism will get him in the 5-7 round range at the Senior Bowl. Taylor could reach that territory if he picks up an invitation to the senior showcase. Carter and Wagner are likely undrafted free agents, but there’s a scenario where a team would use a compensatory pick to make sure they get the first crack at Wagner in a training camp. Plenty of former basketball players become stars in the NFL and he may just be the next one.