The 2020 NFL Draft was a successful one for players with ties to the state of Georgia. Two local players are among the list of 26 players from Georgia picked by NFL teams. The draft was held April 23-25 in Bristol, Conn. although due to COVID-19, the draft was held virtually for the first time in the history of the NFL draft.
The highest-drafted player from Gwinnett County this year is Derrick Brown, a defensive tackle who was drafted seventh in the first round to the Carolina Panthers. Brown is from Sugar Hill and played for the Lanier High School Longhorns. In his senior year at Lanier, Brown was the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Defensive Player of the Year and the Georgia Sports Writers Association Player of the Year. During the 2015-2016 season, Brown had 106 tackles, 42 for loss, and 12 sacks.
In the fall of 2016, Brown chose to play football for Auburn University. As a freshman, he played in all 13 games but was not named an official starter until the following year. Brown became a full-time starter for the Tigers in 2017. The following year, he was voted to the SEC second-team all-conference. Many were surprised that he did not enter the draft last year but instead chose to return and play his senior year at Auburn. Brown had a stellar senior year earning first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC honors. He was a finalist for the Outland, Nagurski, and Bednarik Awards. He won the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy for the defensive player who has had the biggest IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity). Brown ended his senior season at Auburn with 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, got four sacks and four pass breakups and caused two fumbles. He was a member of the SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Council. Brown earned his Bachelor’s in business in December 2019.
One more player that is from the North Gwinnett area that was drafted this year is Blake Ferguson, a long snapper out of LSU. He was drafted in the sixth round as the 185th pick going to the Miami Dolphins. Ferguson graduated from Buford High School in 2015. He was ranked as the No. 1 long snapper nationally by both Scout and 247Sports during high school. Ferguson, under Head Coach Jess Simpson earned the Chris Rubio Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top long snapper in both his junior and senior years. He was perfect on all snaps in each season and helped the Wolves win three state titles while at BHS.
Ferguson chose to play for LSU like his older brother Reid Ferguson, who is the long snapper for the Buffalo Bills, following Buford High School. He is a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, two-time Chair of the SEC’s Football Leadership Council, named to the SEC Community Service Team in 2018 and 2019, was also named to the Hampshire Honor Society by the National Football Foundation, and was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy which recognizes the nation’s top student-athlete in college football. Ferguson was a four-year starter at the long snapper position for LSU playing in 53 consecutive games and was a two-time permanent captain of the team. In 2018, he was named to the first-team All-American by Phil Steele Magazine. He helped LSU capture the 2020 National Championship title. Ferguson earned a Bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2018 and in December of 2019 earned his Master’s degree in business administration.
Here is a full list of players with ties to the state of Georgia that were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
No. 4, New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, OT, Pace Academy (Georgia)
No. 7, Carolina Panthers, Derrick Brown, DT, Lanier HS (Auburn)
No. 16, Atlanta Falcons, A.J. Terrell, CB, Westlake HS (Clemson)
No. 29, Tennessee Titans, Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
No. 35, Detroit Lions, D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
No. 36, New York Giants, Xavier McKinney, S, Roswell HS (Alabama)
No. 37, New England Patriots, Kyle Dugger, S, Whitewater HS (Lenoir-Rhyne)
No. 66, Washington Redskins, Antonio Gibson, WR, Eagle’s Landing HS (Memphis)
No. 79, New York Jets, Jabari Zuniga, DL, Sprayberry HS (Florida)
No. 90, Houston Texans, Jonathan Greenard, DL, Hiram HS (Florida)
No. 11, Miami Dolphins, Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
No. 115, Cleveland Browns, Harrison Bryant, TE, John Milledge Academy (Florida Atlantic)
No. 117, Minnesota Vikings, D.J. Wonnum, DL, Stephenson HS (South Carolina)
No. 142, Washington Redskins, Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Paulding Co. HS (Liberty)
No. 144, Seattle Seahawks, DeeJay Dallas, RB, Glynn Academy (Miami)
No. 163, Chicago Bears, Kindle Vildor, DB, North Clayton HS (Georgia Southern)
No. 166, Detroit Lions, Quintez Cephus, WR, Stratford Academy (Wisconsin)
No. 167, Buffalo Bills, Jake Fromm, QB, Houston Co. HS (Georgia)
No. 185, Miami Dolphins, Blake Ferguson, LS, Buford HS (LSU)
No. 188, Buffalo Bills, Tyler Bass, K, Georgia Southern
No. 190, San Francisco 49ers, Charlie Woerner, TE, Rabun Co. HS (Georgia)
No. 206, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tyler Davis, TE, Georgia Tech
No. 247, New York Giants, Chris Williamson, DB, Gainesville HS (Minnesota)
No. 248, Los Angeles Rams, Sam Sloman, PK, Pace Academy (Miami-Ohio)
No. 250, Los Angeles Rams, Tremayne Anchrum, OL, McEachern HS (Clemson)
No. 255, New York Giants, Tae Crowder, LB, Harris Co. HS (Georgia)