WACO, Texas — The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday evening. Many lives will change over the course of three days, including in Central Texas.
Baylor University has a great shot of anywhere between 3-5 players being selected.
Wide Receiver Denzel Mims skyrocketed up the draft charts at the 2020 Senior Bowl with a strong week of practice. Mims followed that up by producing eye-popping results at the NFL Combine.
In two of the last three seasons, he topped 1,000 receiving yards while catching at least eight touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. This past season, Mims had 66 receptions for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"What you want to do is nail the process," Mel Kiper Jr. said. "Have the year, all-star, combine and if it all comes together positively, you are going to soar up the board and he did. I think Mims and Jefferson along with Higgins are all vying for that fourth receiver off the board spot and that's going to determine the team you go to. It's a great spot for Mims, who I think goes anywhere between 19-25."
Defensive Tackle James Lynch recorded one of the best seasons in Baylor history. The junior led the Bears with 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks, a new program single-season record.
Lynch was named first-team Associated Press All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. For his career, Lynch played in 38 games and recorded 101 tackles and 22 sacks.
"I see Lynch as a kind of guy if you are a four-three defense, you can play him in the middle," ESPN Radio Host Freddie Coleman said. "If you are a three-four defense, you can slide him up and down the line because he can collapse the pockets. He'll command a lot of double, triple teams. That allows your linebackers to roam free and make plays on the other line of the scrimmage. If he winds up sliding into the third or fourth round, teams like the Patriots, Chiefs or any playoff team would get a steal."
Grayland Arnold is coming off his most productive season at Baylor. Arnold started 11 of 13 games, finishing tied for fifth in the FBS with six interceptions.
He earned second-team All-Big 12 and second-team All-American by Sports Illustrated. Arnold also returned punts for Baylor and took back 12 for 149 yards and a touchdown.
"I say about eight teams have some really high interest in me," Arnold said. "They love my style of play, the passion I play with. They love different things that I can do."
Clay Johnston dealt with injuries in each of the last three seasons, including a season-ending knee injury in October. Johnston was very productive prior to his injury. He recorded 58 tackles, 2.5 sacks and five pass breakups.
"When he went down with that knee injury, I felt so bad for him," Voice of the Bears John Morris said. "But I also knew that Clay would do whatever it took to put himself in position to get drafted and play in the NFL."
Defensive Tackle Bravvon Roy is coming off the best season of his collegiate career. Roy recorded career highs in run stops (29), sacks (6), quarterback hits (15) and hurries (30).
"He is your prototypical nose tackle type guy," Morris said. "Just a big space heater on the defensive line. I think there's a place for a guy like that on a defensive line in the NFL. I hope Bravvon gets a chance."
Safety Chris Miller earned a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the country. Miller earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after recording 76 tackles, 2.5 for loss, two pass breakups in 13 games.
"He's one of the hardest hitters we have had here in a long time," Morris said. "His style of play will translate better in the pros. I think somebody will look at that and say that guy has a lot of energy and is not afraid of contact."
Fans can watch the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
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