Building On Last Year’s Momentum
On the heels of the first ten win season in 41 years the Kentucky football team had its best showing in the draft in years. With players taken in each of the first four rounds and five overall, these Wildcats had the most players selected since 1979. While they won’t have as big of a splash as last year, they’re still going to make an impact. Let’s look at the players likely to hear their name called as we bring you the 2020 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview.
“The Most Fascinating Player In The Draft”
That’s how more than one draft expert describes Lynn Bowden. Following a stellar three year career in Lexington the junior declared for the NFL. As most everyone knows Bowden began the season at wide receiver. During the first five games he caught 30 passes for 348 yards and a touchdown. Even though he didn’t catch a pass in the last eight games he still led the team in receptions.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 21, 2020
However when Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith went down with injuries coach Mark Stoops moved the former high school quarterback under center. What followed next was an incredible eight game run in which Bowden ran for 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns. Furthermore he nearly eclipsed Cam Newton’s record of 1,473 for the most by an SEC quarterback. As a result Bowden won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
Where Will He Go?
When it comes to the draft the question is “where will Bowden go and at what position?” He draws comparisons to another former Cat Randall Cobb who lined up everywhere while at Kentucky. Some believe the fact Bowden didn’t play receiver for most of last year could hurt him because he’s not going to be an NFL quarterback. However he thinks his versatility could help him. Long time NFL scout Gil Brandt ranks Bowden as 44th best prospect in the draft. Of course teams draft on need and not always the best player available.
Along with Cobb the two players Bowden most compares to are Taysom Hill and Deebo Samuel. Recent mock drafts have been all over the place with him going anywhere from the second round all the way down to the fifth. Teams who come up most are Baltimore, Buffalo, Miami and New England and Philadelphia. He could do some impressive things in in Bill Belichick’s system.
Prediction: New England- 3rd Round Pick 99
A Strong Presence Up Front
The other Wildcats likely hearing his named called is offensive lineman Logan Stenberg. The six foot six 322 pound guard was a first team All-SEC and second team All-American during his senior year. Stenberg started 39 consecutive games and did not allow a sack all last season.
As part of “The Big Blue Wall” he led an offensive line that set school records for most yards in a season with 3,624. In addition they also set records for yards per rush (6.32) and 36 touchdowns.
Following his final year at Kentucky Stenberg took part in the Senior Bowl. By all accounts he had a great week of practice especially in run blocking drills. He has the size and strength to play in the NFL. In addition he plays with a serious mean streak. However as True Blue Fans know he needs to be more disciplined as countless Kentucky drives were hampered by holding or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Much like his fellow former Wildcat Stenberg’s mock draft picks vary from one to the next. ESPN guru Mel Kiper Jr. lists him as the third best guard in the draft. Most have him going anywhere from the third to fifth round, with Baltimore, Kansas City, and Minnesota as teams showing the most interest. The guess here is he ends up with the Super Bowl Champs.
Prediction: Kansas City- 4th Round pick 145
Other Cats Looking To Hear Their Name
As we continue on with our 2020 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview let’s look at another player hoping to get the call this weekend. Calvin Taylor came to Kentucky as a lightly recruited player. His senior year he finished second in the SEC with 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. As a result Last Word named him as defensive MVP for 2019. His six foot nine frame alone should warrant calls from the NFL.
In addition to Taylor a few more Cats look for a late round phone call. They include T.J. Carter, Kash Daniel, Jordan Griffin and Ahmad Wagner. Unfortunately for all these guys they never got their chance to work out before NFL scouts. Kentucky’s pro day was canceled due to COVID-19.
The Most Unique Draft Ever
Because of COVID-19 this year’s NFL Draft will like no other. Originally this year’s draft was scheduled to be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, with all the glitz and glamour the strip can offer. However the virus that’s canceled the entire sports world got the draft as well. As a result this year’s event is basically a high tech, higher stakes version of your annual fantasy draft.
After not having any players taken in 2017 and 2018 Kentucky’s rebounded in a big way last season. They look to continue that momentum in 2020. Another great showing can only help with recruiting as Mark Stoops and the Cats continue to climb the ladder in the SEC.
Thanks for checking out our 2020 Kentucky NFL Draft Preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back with a complete recap and reaction to the Cats’ landing spots.