The college football regular season is complete. LSU QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy. LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma have been selected for the College Football Playoff. So we’ve got a lot of evidence to dig through now on the 2020 draft class.
With that in mind, I figured the time was right to put together a top 10 big board—both for my own educational purposes and as entertainment for the rest of you who love lists.
1. Ohio State DE Chase Young | Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 265 pounds
All-Planet. Heisman finalist. Generational prospect. Easy, right?
2. Auburn DT Derrick Brown | Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 318 pounds
Brown would’ve been a top-15 pick last year. He came back and won SEC Defensive Player of the Year. A super-sized, game-wrecking force.
3. Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah | Height: 6' 1" | Weight: 200 pounds
Okudah had top-10 overall potential coming into the year, but he needed to be more consistent.
4. LSU QB Joe Burrow | Height: 6' 1" | Weight: 216 pounds
5. Georgia OT Andrew Thomas | Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 320 pounds
Probably the first tackle off the board, but it’s not a sure thing. Much will ride on the pre-draft process for a competitive position group.
6. Clemson S/LB Isaiah Simmons | Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 229 pounds
Maybe my favorite prospect, in that he’s an athletic freak who you’d need to find a home for. The safety/backer/rusher can do a bunch.
7. South Carolina DL Javon Kinlaw | Height: 6' 6" | Weight: 310 pounds
Another SEC lineman who stayed when he could’ve gone and has dominated as a senior. Though several scouts raised potential red flags about possible character issues.
8. Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy | Height: 6' 1" | Weight: 192 pounds
He’s the presumptive choice to be the first receiver taken, but I’m not so sure it’s going to happen that way for the Calvin Ridley playalike anymore.
9. Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs | Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 322 pounds
Wirfs is the fourth in a cluster of four tackles at the top. He’s a solid product of an offensive line factory who compares to Titans RT Jack Conklin.
10. LSU S Grant Delpit | Height: 6' 3" | Weight: 203 pounds
He was a consensus top-five pick coming into the season and was considered every bit the prospect Jamal Adams was in 2017. But he’s had a very up-and-down fall.
And now, a few notes culled from calls with execs…
• No one has much of an issue with Burrow as the top quarterback, and some felt he should be as high as No. 2 overall on this list, which is in part a reflection of the makeup of the draft class. Young is clearly No. 1. Brown is a solid No. 2. And from there, it depends on who you talk to.
• I had two execs tell me to put Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa on this top 10 list, and a couple others say the same for Oregon’s Justin Herbert. For different reasons (Injuries/durability for Tua, inconsistency for Herbert), the assessments on each of those two will vary.
• The offensive tackle position will be interesting; lots of teams need line help, and it’s getting increasingly hard to find it. Like we said earlier, there are four tackles in the mix to go in the top half of the first round, with Thomas and Wirfs joined by USC’s Austin Jackson and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills.
• It feels like teams have cooled some on Jeudy, in part because of his size, and in part because there’s quality receiver depth in the first round. Both Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb were mentioned to me as players with a good shot at going in front of Jeudy.
• Everyone loved Delpit coming into the season, and he’s slid some with inconsistent play this fall—in particular, his tackling. In fact, there are some execs who told me this week they believe Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, by virtue of his man cover skills, could challenge Delpit to be the first safety taken.
• Before the season, Georgia’s D’Andre Swift was the tailback mentioned in this territory. Month later, it was Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor who came up. I don’t think either will go in the first 10 picks. But both have a shot to go in the first round.
We’ll see a bunch of these players during bowl season, then it’s on to the all-star games. It will be an interesting few months ahead…
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