Gophers’ draft prospects

Antoine Winfield Jr., S

Draft projection: Second round

Comment: Winfield is one of 59 prospects invited to participate in the virtual NFL draft starting Thursday. The unanimous All-America hopes to be a first-rounder just like his father, former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield Sr. Winfield has unteachable instincts and playmaking ability. His one knock is size, at 5-9 and 203 pounds. still grades him as a starter within his first two seasons as a pro.

Tyler Johnson, WR

Draft projection: Fourth or fifth round

Comment: With a historically deep bench of wide receivers available in this draft, Johnson’s place is a little vague. The Gophers’ record holder for receiving yards and touchdowns certainly has the film to make him an attractive pick. But his speed has always been a question mark, especially after he chose not to run the 40-yard dash at the combine and then couldn’t at the canceled pro day. grades the north Minneapolis native as a special teams or backup player.

Carter Coughlin, LB

Draft projection: Fifth or sixth round

Comment: Coughlin is moving back to his original outside linebacker position after taking on the edge rusher role for the Gophers. Being a tweener could hurt him, but he can establish himself as a special teams contributor. has him as an end-of-roster or practice-squad player.

Kamal Martin, LB

Draft projection: Seventh round

Comment: Martin endured an injury-plagued senior season and has spent time regaining full fitness. He attracted scouts’ attention early last season, but questions about his health have likely cooled those pursuits. grades him as a priority free agent.

Rodney Smith, RB

Projection: Undrafted free agent

Comment: He set the Gophers’ record for all-purpose yards and had a resurgent 1,000-yard final season coming back from a torn ACL. But his health will still cause pause. Not having a chance to show his stuff at the combine or a pro day was an unfortunate blow.

Sam Renner, DT

Projection: Undrafted free agent

Comment: Off the radar before his senior season, the walk-on-turned-starter suddenly had game broadcasters calling out his NFL potential. He’s still relatively unknown and slightly undersized at 275 pounds, but some team likely will give him a chance.

The rest

Other NFL hopeful Gophers who would have participated in pro day: RB Shannon Brooks, LB Thomas Barber, CB Chris Williamson, DE Winston DeLattiboudere and DE Tai’yon Devers.