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NFL Draft

5 Pac-12 Players That Could Benefit From 2020 Season

  • The Draft Network
  • September 30, 2020
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In the midst of the pandemic, the Pac-12 decided to postpone all sports until 2021. However, they recently announced a reversal of that decision and will return for a seven-game football season which is scheduled to begin on November 6.  Now that rapid testing is readily available, this certainly eases some of the concerns from both players and administrators. Some Pac-12 players who had opted out due to the lack of a football season are now faced with the decision of if it would benefit them to return to school and play a final year. Here’s a look at five players who stand to benefit from playing the Pac-12 season. 

Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State

Robertson is a junior at ASU. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2018 and immediately made an impact. He finished the year as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and also made the Freshman All-American team as he led ASU in tackles, TFLs, and sacks while missing only eight tackles on the year. However, his sophomore campaign was really inconsistent as he dealt with personal issues throughout the year. This year, he is on the Butkus Award watch list. He could benefit from playing in 2020 to prove that his freshman year was not a fluke and that he can be as dominant and as consistent as he was in 2018. 

Abraham Lucas, RT, Washington State

Lucas will be a redshirt junior in 2019. He was voted second-team All-Pac-12 and rated as the best pass-blocking tackle in the country by Pro Football Focus. He has ideal length and size for the position, however he could benefit from playing in 2020 to see how he performs in a new system and to prove that he can get his weight at a manageable level and move a lot better on the edge. He can also afford to be more effective in the run game, improve his natural block temperament, and his overall ability as a finisher. 

Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State

In 2019, Rashed led the nation in TFLs and was third in the nation with 14 sacks. Most of his production came over Oregon State’s five wins and he was voted a First-Team All-American. In 2018, he had 11.5 TFLs but had only 2.5 sacks. Rashed could benefit from playing this season to solidify that 2019 was not a fluke and that he can be just as productive through the duration of an entire season. He can also prove that he improved his strength at the point of attack and can be a true edge defender in the NFL.

Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC

Hufanga started all 10 games in 2019 and was voted Second-Team All-Pac-12. He could benefit from playing in 2020 to prove that he can stay healthy for an entire season. Also, when he is on the field, he can prove to be a bigger asset in the passing game. He could show NFL scouts that he has the coverage upside to not only be a special teams player in the NFL but someone who adds value in base and sub-package situations, as well. 

Jack Jones, CB, ASU

Jones played as a true freshman at USC then started all 14 games as a true sophomore and led the team in interceptions. He then transferred to junior college and later ended up at ASU. In 2019 at ASU he only started one game but had three interceptions and 13 PBUs. He doesn’t have the ideal size for the position and he could use 2020 to prove that any character issues are overstated. Also, he can use the season to show that he can play inside and outside, defend the run, and that his production will overcome his size limitations—ultimately becoming a draftable player from the Sun Devils’ defense.

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