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2020 NFL Draft: Sun Belt Makes An Impact

Seven players were selected this weekend from the Fun Belt, all looking to make a roster spot.

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Sun Belt came away with seven draftees in the 2020 NFL Draft. In 2019 the conference only had one.

Players from the conference were taken from all rounds except the first with only three schools producing draft picks: Louisiana, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.

Second Round-39th Overall-Miami Dolphins
Robert Hunt

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Louisiana at Texas A&M Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hunt was the first Sun Belter off the board and it wasn’t a shocker. A 2019 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Hunt anchored a line that paved the way for one of the nation’s best running attacks.

The Ragin’ Cajuns ranked in the top ten in the FBS in multiple rushing categories:
6.28 yards per carry (3rd)
42 rushing touchdowns (4th)
257.4 rushing yards per game (5th)
3,604 rushing yards (7th)
He possesses great footwork and can seal running lanes at ease. Louisiana led the Sun Belt in allowing 1.07 sacks a game. That’s great news for fellow Dolphin rookie Tua Tagovailoa as he prepares for the life under center in the NFL.

Third Round-93 Overall-Tennessee Titans
Darrynton Evans
Running Back/Appalachian State

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A speedy back that would compliment starting running back Derrick Henry. The 2019 Sun Belt offensive player of the year rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns and was a two-time All-Sun Belt selection.

Evans decided to forgo his senior year to enter the NFL draft.

Fourth Round-107th Overall-Cincinnati Bengals
Akeem Davis-Gaither
Linebacker-Appalachian State

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The outside linebacker was chosen by Cincinnati who was in need of some help in the defensive interior.

What they got was the incumbent Sun Belt defensive player of the year.

The four year starter had 101 tackles, five sacks and an interception in 2019.

Fourth Round-135th Overall-Pittsburgh Steelers (From Tenn. via Mia.)
Kevin Dotson

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 22 UL Lafayette at Texas State Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another cog in the Ragin’ Cajun offensive line, Dotson got the starting job two weeks into his redshirt freshman season.

Was a second team All-Sun Belt selection in 2017 and a first teamer in 2018 and 2019.

Should be a valuable member of a rebuilding Steelers squad.

Fifth Round-163rd Overall-Chicago Bears
Kindle Vildor
Cornerback/Georgia Southern

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Bears selected Vildor who was coming off an All-American season. A shutdown corner, Vildor nabbed nine career interceptions and two All-Sun Belt first team selections.

Sixth Round-188th Overall-Buffalo Bills (From Clev.)
Tyler Bass
Kicker-Georgia Southern

FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl - Liberty v Georgia Southern Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Bass had a solid 2018 going 19 for 21 in field goal attempts. Despite only converting 71.4% in 2019, the Bills rolled the dice on this kicker who made two field goals and four extra points in the 2020 Senior Bowl. Prepare to get suplexed through a table in Buffalo if you ever hit a game winner, young Tyler.

Seventh Round-245th Overall-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (From SF)
Raymond Calais
Running Back-Louisiana

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 06 Lendingtree Bowl - Louisiana v Miami OH Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 5’8” Calais was a dual-threat at Louisiana as a running back and kick returner. Posted career high rushing numbers in 2019, producing 886 yards and six touchdowns for a dominant rushing team.