Shooter: Antoine Winfield Jr. "is expected to declare himself eligible for April’s draft."

BleedGopher

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per Shooter:

Gophers senior wide receiver Tyler Johnson is projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick in a strong receiver NFL draft class next April. Teammate wideout Rashod Bateman is considered the better pro prospect but is just a sophomore and not eligible for the 2020 draft.

Bateman currently projects as a top-100 player for the 2021 draft, meaning he could go within the top three rounds. That’s the opinion of keen draft analyst Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com.

Bateman is the Gophers’ best pro prospect.

Of note, Wright says, is that the top draft pick from Minnesota this spring won’t necessarily be a Gopher, but rather St. John’s 6-6, 306-pound left tackle Ben Bartch, who has a chance to be a third-round pick.

“The Senior Bowl (Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala.) will be a huge opportunity for Bartch, how he holds up against better competition (than Division III),” Wright said.

Also among Gophers, linebackers Kamal Martin and Carter Coughlin — both to play in the Senior Bowl — are forecast as Day 3 draft picks (rounds 4 through 7).

Big-play free safety Antoine Winfield Jr., whose pulverizing tackles are reminiscent of those of his former NFL-playing father Antoine Sr., is projected between the third and fifth rounds.

Although he’s a fourth-year sophomore, the 5-10, 205-pound Winfield, who is not going to get any bigger, is expected to declare himself eligible for April’s draft.

Running back Rodney Smith, who’s expected to play in the second-tier East-West Shrine all-star game, could be a late-round pick (rounds six or seven) because of the high number of underclassmen at his position coming out. Teammate running back Shannon Brooks should get a free-agent camp invitation.

Senior defensive lineman Winston DeLattiboudere has a chance for a NFL free-agent camp invitation.

Gophers QB Tanner Morgan is just a sophomore, and if his progression continues, has a chance to be a late-round draft pick in 2022. Morgan, an exceptionally accurate passer, has a NFL bloodline going for him — he’s a cousin of former NFL QB Tim Couch.


Go Gophers!!
 

Pompous Elitist

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Hard to blame him if he does considering the injury history. Make hay while the sun shines. That said, it would be nice if he wants to do the college thing one more year...
 

Section2

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If the decision had already been made, AWjr would have walked with the seniors. It was his class after all. That’s happened in the past with RSjrs
 

die hard gopher

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If the decision had already been made, AWjr would have walked with the seniors. It was his class after all. That’s happened in the past with RSjrs
Yep, Nokak-Goar and Ben Davis who are RS-juniors walked.

Still not expecting him back but it means he hasn't made up his mind yet.
 

Mulligan

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Wonder if all will play in the bowl game.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Yep, Nokak-Goar and Ben Davis who are RS-juniors walked.

Still not expecting him back but it means he hasn't made up his mind yet.
I thought the exact same thing. The decision is not made yet.

I wouldn't blame the kid for making the decision, but man would I love to see one more season of him playing S back there for us. I actually do think he could help his NFL stock by adding a second All American type of season. His limitations (size) will not go away but a second straight dominant and healthy college season would sure make him look like a squeeky clean version of the Honey [word removed] to me .
 

UpAndUnder43

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Hope so. New trend is not to play unfortunately.
very few guys sit out bowl games unless injured. It’s heavily publicized when it happens with superstar players but the gophers don’t have that type of guy in this class
 

SJUgopher

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very few guys sit out bowl games unless injured. It’s heavily publicized when it happens with superstar players but the gophers don’t have that type of guy in this class
Didn’t we have 2 sit out last year? Cashman and and OL?
 

hungan1

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Cashman didn't want to risk re-injury. I think OL Donnell Greene was mending from an injury which was bad timing
 

gopherbadgerman

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I’m guessing AWJr. is gone. Really good but short career. Amazing guys now leave early to be drafted is the 3-5th rounds, but I guess he’s been in college a long time and he’s not getting any younger.
 

hungan1

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He went over to PJ Fleck's house for a dinner meeting earlier according to a previous post here. I wonder what was discussed between him and PJ Fleck.

Maybe PJ was giving AWjr a pitch as to why he should stay. But, he will support his decision.
 

Mitu

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Go make your money AW. Thanks for everything.
 

e.bigelow

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Selfishly, I want to see him return for a SR season. But realistically, get paid AWjr. Football careers can be so short and the more players we are putting on NFL rosters, the better as far as recruiting goes.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Didn’t we have 2 sit out last year? Cashman and and OL?
Cashman did. Greene had surgery before the bowl game and would have missed it. Not saying it doesn’t/won’t happen but it isn’t like 2/3 of draft eligible guys sit out.

I think there is some advantage to having guys miss bowl games when they won’t be on the team the following year. 15 practices where someone gets 1st team reps, a game where someone gets experience.
 

HoustonTXGopher

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Don't forget that Antoine has a little brother on the team and may want to play with him for another year. Antoine should come back and demand to return punts as well which may move him up the draft significantly the following year.
 

LakerFan

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Hope so. New trend is not to play unfortunately.
If your a consensus #1 QB about to play in the Music City Bowl, yes the trend is not to play. If your a middle rounder playing in a new years day bowl your crazy to not take one more day national exposure.

Don't read anything into the two guys not playing last year and declaring early. IMO They left early for the same reason KM sat a few games to start the year, undisclosed team rules violation after the Wisconsin win.
 

dpodoll68

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Don't forget that he is only a RS sophomore, not junior, and he has two seasons of eligibility remaining should he choose to use them.
 

MNVCGUY

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Don't forget that he is only a RS sophomore, not junior, and he has two seasons of eligibility remaining should he choose to use them.
Very curious to see what Winfield does. I would not be shocked to see him go pro but I also wouldn't be shocked to see him come back for another year. One way or another we should find out pretty soon I would think because if he is going pro he is going to want to get on everyone's radar officially.
 

UpAndUnder43

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If your a consensus #1 QB about to play in the Music City Bowl, yes the trend is not to play. If your a middle rounder playing in a new years day bowl your crazy to not take one more day national exposure.

Don't read anything into the two guys not playing last year and declaring early. IMO They left early for the same reason KM sat a few games to start the year, undisclosed team rules violation after the Wisconsin win.
Also, didn't Cashman get called for targeting vs wisconsin? Would he have sat the first half of the Detroit bowl game?
 

Face The Facts

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There was the whole secret rule breaking thing last year so we're didn't know who broke rules or not. It was thought that Cashman was one. Comments came out that Greene's dad wasn't fond of Fleck around the same time.
 

Johnnyboy18

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All of his roommates outside of Geary are expected to graduate and at least have a shot at playing on Sundays. I think this could impact him as well.
 

MplsGopher

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He missed two seasons in a row with injury. If he came back and played another full season next year, that might put to rest any concerns NFL teams have about durability. I have no idea if there are any such concerns, just guessing.
 
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