1. QB Joe Burrow, LSU
After struggling to earn a starting job for Ohio State, Burrow made the jump to LSU in 2018. His play that season was below par, which led to a low completion rate (57.8) and only 16 passing TDs over 13 games. He finished with 2,894 yards passing with some value as a runner (128/399/7) while minimizing the damage in his mistakes throwing the ball (five INTs).
His rags to riches story in 2019 ended with a Heisman Trophy and a national title. Last year Burrow lit the college world on fire at the quarterback positions. His completion rate (76.3) was off the charts great, which led to 5,671 passing yards and an astounding 60 passing TDs and only six interceptions. Burrow chipped in 368 yards on the ground on 115 carries (3.2 yards per rush) and five more touchdowns.
The LSU passing game was helped dramatically by the emergence of WR Ja’Marr Chase (84/1780/20) and WR Justin Jefferson (111/1540/18).
Burrow brings to the table a deceiving arm while relying more on touch and feel over the short areas of the field. When asked to fire into tight quarters or add gas to his deep passes, his arm plays up. I get more of a Peyton Manning feel to his throws and reads while having the ability to make running plays off run/pass options.
His pre-snap reads gain an edge while showing the ability to look off the deep safety. If a play breaks down, Burrow keeps his head up with the talent to make big plays on the run.
At the next level, his passing window will shorten, and his desire to float balls into a crowded area will have less chance of success.
Burrow seemed to speed up his game as the level of his competition improved. His pocket presence graded well.
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals (1.1)
READ MORE: Which Player Gets Drafted First Overall?
2. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Over the last decade, the Crimson Tide has been a powerhouse in college football after the arrival of head coach Nick Saban. Tagovailoa stepped into a great situation in a split role in his freshman season. He came off the bench in the National Championship game in 2017 to lead Alabama to the title. In that game, Tagovailoa went 14-for-24 for 166 yards and three TDs while more than doubling his previous passing opportunity in any game college.
In 2018, Saban handed him the keys to the starting quarterback job. Tagovailoa went 14-0 before losing to Clemson in the championship game. On the year, he passed for 3,996 yards with 43 passing TDs and six INTs while adding some value in the run game (57/190/5). His completion rate (69.0) was elite while gaining 11.2 yards per pass attempt.
Last year Tagovailoa was on a higher path after nine games (2,840 passing yards with 33 TDs and three INTs), but his season ended in mid-November with a significant hip injury and a broken nose. In Week 8 of the season, he passed for 418 yards with four TDs and one Int against LSU, but Joe Burrow (393/3) won the game 46-41.
Tagovailoa should be ready for training camp this summer while being drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
His movements in the pocket under duress have a kamikaze feel at times, which may lead to some bad hits at the next level. Tagovailoa shows much more upside as a runner if asked to do so. When given a clean pocket and length to his passing window, his feel, accuracy, and velocity look top-notch. Tagovailoa makes good reads with the arm to stick a ball into tight coverage. He’ll be dangerous inside the ten-yard line with his legs while being expected to extend drives in the run game. Tagovailoa throws the ball well on the move.
In the pros, he’ll need to work harder on scoring drives while not having the luxury of having the edge in offensive talent.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins (1.5)
READ MORE: Who Will Be the Second QB Off the Board?
3. QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Hurts had one of the more interesting quarterback careers in college football. He earned the starting role for Alabama early in 2016, which led to 2,780 passing yards with 23 TDs and 9 INTs. His success on the ground (191/954/13) helped the Crimson Tide go 14-1 with a loss to Clemson in the national championship game.
The following season Hurts saw most of the quarterback action during the regular season. Still, Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench to steal the show in win over Georgia in the championship game and eventually the starting job in 2018.
Between 2017 and 2018, Hurts passed for 2,846 yards with 25 TDs and three INTs. He also ran for 1,022 yards and ten touchdowns on 190 carries.
After a transfer to Oklahoma, he went 12-2 with his best success throwing the ball (3,851 yards with 32 TDs and eight INTs), leading to a 69.7 percent completion rate. The Sooners worked him hard as well in the run game (233/1298/20).
There’s a lot to like here while not his proper due by scouts. His movements in the pocket as a runner have similarities to Deshaun Watson while also having Daunte Culpepper feel.
Hurts went 38-4 in his college career while playing for two top programs. He plays with a physical style with the ability to drive the ball deep downfield with velocity with a flick of the wrist. His run reads are exceptional at times, especially in the red zone.
His next step in his development is a better pocket presence as far as commitment to the pass. His shortfall in this area is coachable, as well as teaching him to make quick, accurate throws over the short areas of the field.
Without a doubt, Hurts could help the right team win in 2020, and I project him as a top-three quarterback in this class. The NFL game for the QB position is changing, and he has plenty of upside as a passer as well.
Prediction: New England Patriots (1.23)
READ MORE: When Will Jalen Hurts Be Selected?
4. QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
The Ducks gave Herbert playing time at QB in four different seasons. After taking over as the starting QB in 2016, he missed five games the following season with a broken collarbone. Over the last two seasons, Hebert started 27 games. His best year came in 2019 (3,471 passing yards and 36 combined TDs).
READ MORE: Is Justin Herbert a top ten pick?
Over his first three seasons, Herbert showed more value as a runner (58/161/2, 44/183/5, and 71/166/2). Last year he gained only 50 yards on the ground on 58 carries, but he did score four TDs.
Overall, his arm is NFL ready. Herbert looks to drive the ball downfield with velocity and accuracy. His next step is growth in his touch in the red zone while improving his decision making against better zone defenses.
Herbert is a better runner than I first envisioned. He breaks pocket with acceleration and power, which will help score TDs in close and extend drives.
Over his final three games in his senior year, Herbert passed for fewer than 200 yards in each contest (174, 193, and 138) with one combined passing touchdown.
I don’t view him as a franchise QB out of the gate.
Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers (2.5)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top RB Prospect Rankings
5. QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Based on 2019, Love doesn’t belong in the top college QB conversation. He passed for 3,402 yards with 20 TDs, but 17 of his throws ended up in the hands of his opponents. Love also rushed for 175 yards on 81 carries while failing to score on the ground. Rumor is he could go to New England.
His stock was trending up after his sophomore season (3,567 passing yards and 39 combined TDs). Love saw his yards per pass attempt fall from 8.6 to 7.2 in 2019.
Love comes to the NFL with size (6’4” and 225 lbs.) and a strong arm. He’ll make easy deep throws with a flick of his wrist. At times, he has a looker feel as he waits for a player to break open. I expect him to have success if given time to throw and surrounded by talented receivers. His decision making and reads need improvement while owning some concern with his accuracy.
I don’t like the way he slides in the pocket on some rollout passes, leading to a longer transition time to unload the ball. Love will struggle to break free from a tight pocket under pressure while lacking the release to get the ball out quickly and on time.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (3.38)
6. QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
My first thought when doing some research on Fromm was that he had a lot in common with Tom Brady. His slow-footed style makes him a pure pocket passer, but his arm doesn’t have the zip required to match the top talent in the NFL. Fromm minimizes the damage in interceptions by showing the ability to get the ball out quickly when a play breaks down to avoid sacks. He has been a winner his whole career with a tendency to rise in big games. His draft stock appears to be slipping.
Fromm grades well in reading defense with a willingness to stand tall when needing a player to break free downfield. His pre-snap reads allow him to find the best option in coverage, creating a quick release after his drop back from the center.
Over three seasons at Georgia, Fromm went 36-7, highlighted by his play in his freshman season (13-2 with a loss in the national championship game). He passed for 8,236 yards with 78 TDs and 18 INTs with no value as a runner (134/40/3). His passing total rose slightly every year (2,615, 2,761, 2,860) while playing in a run-heavy offense. Fromm had his best completion rate (67.4) and the highest number of touchdowns (30) in 2018.
Heading into this year's draft, his value will take a hit due to a string of five straight games with weakness in his completion rate (44.8, 46.4, 47.8, 48.3, and 47.6) over his final six starts. On the positive side over this stretch, Fromm delivered five wins with 13 TDs and two INTs.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons (4.13)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top WR Prospect Rankings
7. QB Jacob Eason, Washington
After a mediocre rookie campaign at Georgia (2,430 passing yards and 16 TDs over 13 games), Eason missed 2017 with a left injury in Week 1. He transferred to Washington in 2018, leading to a lost season. Mel Kiper is a big fan.
In his first and only year behind center for Washington, he passed for 3,132 yards and 23 TDs.
Eason is a slow-footed pocket passer with questionable upside when under duress. His ticket to success is his right arm while needing to improve his drop back, reads, and decision making.
Defenses will attack him with the blitz, which closes his edge with his big arm. If given time to throw, Eason will challenge defenses at the second and third levels. He has no value with his legs.
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts (4.16)
8. QB Nate Stanley, Iowa
Over the last three seasons at Iowa, Stanley passed for 8,235 yards with 68 TDs and 23 INTs while owning some concern with his accuracy (58.3 percent in his college career). In 2019, his touchdown total (16) slipped well below his previous two years (26 and 26) while only delivering one game with over 300 yards.
His best asset is his NFL arm with also owning the prototypical build (6’4” and 235 Lbs.) targeted by many teams at the next level. Stanley has plenty of work to do in reading defenses and adding more touch to his passes to help make more plays in the short passing game. He’ll struggle when facing pressure from the outside.
His game projects better for a team with receiving talent while needing time to develop. He started many of his plays out of the shotgun, which helped extend his passing window. At set up when getting ready to throw paired with his size, Stanley looked like a Ben Roethlisberger while lacking the career resume at college and Roethlisberger’s intangibles.
Prediction: Tampa Bay (4.33)
9. QB Jake Luton, Oregon State
Before 2019, Luton didn't have much of a resume between Idaho and Oregon State. He passed for 2,913 yards with 17 TDs and 12 INTs over this span. Last year his game looked much improved, leading to career highs in passing yards (2,714) and touchdowns (28). His best stat was his low number of interceptions (3) over 358 pass attempts. He met with the Texans at the NFL Combine. And the Patriots.
He ran a play-action type offense that had success running the ball (408/1884/21). Luton threw the ball with velocity while having the extra zip if needed to drive the ball in tight coverage. His mechanics played up with showcasing vision and the ability to get the ball where his receivers could gain extra yards after the catch. Luton trusted his wideouts enough to give them 50/50 chances downfield.
His next step is his growth in lengthening his progressions to help move the deep safety in what will be tightly contested deep passes. Luton likes to make pre-snap reads and get the ball out quickly, but this plan takes a step back in value in the NFL as teams are better as disguising their coverage. He’’ climb the pocket if needed with some success when asked to make rollout type plays.
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars (5.19)
10. QB James Morgan, Florida International
Morgan had a chance to play quarterback over four different seasons in college, but only once did he flash any intrigue (2018 at FIU – 2,727 passing yards with 27 TDs and seven INTs). Over 42 career games, he passed for 8,654 yards with 65 TDs and 34 INTs. His completion rate (57.2) was a liability in every season except one (65.3). He is a fast-riser among QB prospects. Really fast. Seriously.
Last year he played through a knee issue, which hurt overall production. Morgan is big QB (6’4” and 230 lbs.) with a live arm. He wants to drive the ball to his receivers, but his mechanics need work to improve his accuracy. Morgan has a long motion while holding the ball at waist level at times, which will lead to many fumbles at the next level. He doesn’t read defenses well and his rhythm, feel, and touch in the short passing game needs plenty of work.
Only a late draft flier for a team willing to bet on his arm, not his overall foundation skill set.
Prediction: Green Bay (7.28)
1. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
While playing in a great system at Ohio State, Dobbins looked elite in his freshman year (1,538 combined yards with eight TDs and 22 catches on 216 touches while seeing about 55 percent of the running back opportunity.
His game regressed in 2018 (1,316 combined yards with 12 TDs and 26 catches). Mike Weber (172/954/5) outplayed Dobbins on many days.
Last year Dobbins regained his bounce in his step, which led to a high volume opportunity (301/2003/21 plus 23 catches for 247 yards and two TDs).
Strength is a big part of his success. Dobbins brings a fighter’s mentality to the run game. His mission is to drive the ball forward with quickness, vision, and against the grain cuts. He’ll take a hit and lose his balance, but Dobbins finds a way to stay upright on many plays while offering a stiff arm. He missed the combine due to injury and now he won't be able to show off during a pro day due to COVID-19.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins (Round 1, Pick 26)
READ MORE: Which Player Gets Drafted First Overall?
2. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Taylor comes to the NFL with an edge in size (5’10” and 225 lbs.) and speed (4.39 forty yard dash). His game is built of running up the middle in tight quarters. I see a better version of Jordan Howard while needing to develop as a pass-catcher. Taylor has the vision and quickness to turn a relatively small run into a big gainer. His speed also allows him to make plays on the outside.
Over three seasons at Wisconsin, he gained 6,174 rushing yards with 555 touchdowns and 42 catches on 968 touches. Taylor had success each year on the ground (2017 – 299/1977/13, 2018 – 307/2194/16, and 2019 – 320/2003/21) while flashing at times in the passing game (26/252/5) last season.
His one strike is his battle with fumbles in his career while showing more fight at the end of inside runs when facing early contact.
A team in need of an early-down back with scoring ability should target Taylor in this year’s draft.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (Round 2, Pick 17)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top QB Prospect Rankings
3. D'Andre Swift, Georgia
As the lead rusher for Georgia over the last two seasons, Swift ran for 2,267 yards on 359 carries with 17 rushing touchdowns. He also picked up 56 catches for 513 yards and four more TDs. His season ended with only three carries for 15 yards over his final two contests.
Even with a productive resume in 2018, he failed to rush for over 75 yards in ten of his 14 games while working almost in a 50/50 split role with Elijah Holyfield. Swift flashed his explosiveness over a two-game stretch in early November (33/342/3 plus seven catches for 61 yards). He only had one game with over 20 touches.
Last year Swift played well in Week 1 (16/147) while earning a full load midseason over a five-game stretch (647 combined yards, five TDs, and 11 catches on 114 touches). His best success came against Kentucky (21/179/2).
He missed time with a left shoulder issue last year while battling a groin issue in 2018.
Swift runs with vision and a feel for daylight. His top gear hurts him over the long field while needing to improve his value in short-yardage situations when faced with multiple big bodies. He earns his edge accelerating out of short chopping steps in tight quarters thanks to his ability to get to a full stride quickly. Swift projects well as a receiver, but he'll have to prove his worth in pass projections.
I don’t view him as a workhorse lead running back at the next level until he improves his durability.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons (Round 2, Pick 23)
4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
After an unimpressive sophomore campaign at LSU (146/658/7 with 11 catches for 96 yards), Edwards-Helaire broke out in 2019. He gained 1,867 yards with 17 TDs and 55 catches on 270 touches. His growth came after Joe Burrow emerged as an elite passer.
Over the first five games in 2019, Edwards-Helaire rushed for 360 yards, and five TDs on 65 carries with some success in the passing game (10/59). His stats blossomed over a four-game stretch (814 combined yards with nine touchdowns and 27 catches on 92 touches) starting in late October. Edwards-Helaire had his highlight game against Arkansas (253 combined yards with three TDs and seven catches).
He’s an undersized back (5’7” and 205 lbs.) with NFL RB par speed (4.6 forty yard dash). Edwards-Helaire needs to get stronger, which may limit his initial value in pass protection. His running style offers patience with quickness over the short areas of the field. He’ll make quick cuts to create space while having the wiggle to make defenders miss at the second level of the defense.
Edward-Helaire proved to be durable when asked to carry a heavy workload. His value in the passing game should lead to more touches in his rookie season.
The trick for an NFL team is gauging his value within their expected offense. More of a complementary player to a good offense than a running back to build a franchise around.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Round 3, Pick 12)
5. Cam Akers, Florida State
At this year’s combine, Akers graded well in speed (4.47 forty yard dash) and the bench press (20 reps of 225 lbs.). His short-area quickness isn’t ideal. His free-flowing style works well in space while showing the vision to add yards at the second level of the defense if given open field to make plays. Akers will break free in space with a feel for scoring in close.
Over three seasons at FSU, Akers gained 3,361 combined yards with 34 touchdowns and 69 catches on 655 touches. His highlight season came in 2019 (1,369 combined yards with 18 TDs and 30 catches).
He’ll make plays in the passing game, but his pass protection skills may be below par even with strength as an asset.
His path to running back came via the quarterback position, which helps his play-making ability. He projects as a Day 2 selection.
Prediction: Las Vegas Raiders (Round 3, Pick 16)
6. Zack Moss, Utah
Moss flashed upside in 2017 when he gained 1,416 combined yards with 10 TDs and 29 catches on 243 touches. The following season he shined again on early downs (179/1096/11) while losing value in the passing game (8/50/1). His season ended after nine games due to a right knee injury that required surgery. In 2019, Moss regained his previous form while delivering a special season (1,804 combined yards with 17 TDs and 28 catches on 263 touches).
Strength and power are his calling cards while ranking below the top running backs in the NFL in speed (4.65 forty yard dash) and quickness. After the snap, his first instinct is to find the open field while allowing a play to develop. Moss slides to running lanes with a plan to step on the gas at the first sign of daylight. He lacks home-run speed while offering the ability to break tackles.
Moss has three-down potential while projecting well in pass protection. The key here is the medical reports with his knee injury.
7. A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Dillon comes to the NFL with a full back’s body (6’0” and 245 lbs.) and speed (4.53 forty yard dash). His game is all about power. When asked to run up the middle, he drifts and weaves rather than driving and accelerating after the snap if faced with tight quarters. Dillion needs almost two full strides to hit top speed in the open field. If given daylight, his game plays well while gaining more yards after breaking arm tackles.
Dillon has a strong lower half of his body with minimal upside in the passing game.
He shined in his freshman season (300/1589/14) while losing some value in 2018 (1,149 combined yards with 10 TDs and eight catches on 235 touches). Dillon matched his early success (318/1685/14) in the run game last season while adding a few catches (13/195/1).
Thunder running back that makes sense for an NFL team that already has a high-volume, pass-catching back on the roster. He would fit well with a team like the Chargers or the Giants should they choose to give Saquon Barkley a break around the goal-line and short yardage situations.
8. Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
At first glance, Evans jumps off the rookie running back rankings due to his combination of speed (4.41 forty yard dash) and strength (20 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine). He comes to the NFL undersized (5’10” and 205 lbs.).
Evans attacks quickly after the snap with the idea of making big plays. His movements in space will threaten every level of the defense. He’ll break tackles with the moves and quickness to beat defenders to the hole. Evans needs to improve as an inside runner. I expect him to hold his own in pass protection while having the upside feel in the passing game.
In 2018, he worked more as a change-of-pace back (179/1187/7), which led to 6.6 yards per rush and minimal chances in the passing game (12/87/1). Last year Evans developed into a lead runner with value on three downs (1,678 combined yards with 23 touchdowns and 21 catches on 276 touches). His best game came in Week 2 against Charlotte (19/234/3).
Evans should be an excellent value running back in this year’s draft. He's even drawing some post-combine buzz.
9. Eno Benjamin, Arizona
In his sophomore season, Benjamin looked to be an upside option at running back. He gained 1,905 combined yards with 18 TDs and 35 catches on 335 touches. Last year he had a plodding feel on early downs (253/1093/10 – 4.3 yards per rush) while maintaining his value in the passing game (42/347/2).
Benjamin can’t match Darrynton Evans in speed (4.57 forty yards dash) or strength (12 reps in the bench press). He does show more power than expected. His running style appears to be ragged in tight quarters, which leads to some flat-footed motions trying to create misses when the net result is minimal extra yards. At the next level, this approach will lead to some hard hits and possible fumbles.
I sense a hot and cold type player with his best value coming in the passing game early in his career. Benjamin may be challenged early in his career in pass protection.
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top TE Prospect Rankings
10. Anthony McFarland, Maryland
Injuries have been a problem for the development of McFarland early in his career. He missed almost two years (one in high school and one in college) with a broken leg. Last year his production (114/614/8 and 17 catches for 126 yards and one TD) was less than expected due to a battle with a high ankle issue.
In 2018, McFarland lit up Indiana for 210 yards on 29 carries in early November. The following week, his stock soared after drilling Ohio State for 298 yards and two TDs on 21 rushes. In that game, he had runs of 52, 75, and 81 yards. Even with his success, McFarland only gained 1,034 rushing yards on 131 carries. Almost half of his success (50/508/2) came in his two best contests. He did gain 6.5 yards per rush on his other 81 chances.
His speed (4.44 forty yard dash) and quickness separate him from the field. McFarland has a Chris Johnson style of running in the open space. His only gear to full throttle is electric if given room to clear the line of scrimmage. He looks to have some fight and the moves to make defenders miss.
11. Ke’shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
Vaughn worked his way into plenty of touches (842 combined yards with six TDs and 16 catches on 173 touches) in his freshman season at Illinois, but he fell out of favor the following year (390 combined yards with three touchdowns and nine catches). After a transfer Vanderbilt and sitting out a season, Vaughn had two productive seasons on the ground (157/1244/12 and 198/1028/9) while adding value in the passing game (41 combined catches for 440 yards and three TDs). He gained 7.9 yards per rush in 2018 but slipped to 5.2 yards per carry last year while playing in a weaker offense.
His game is built on power while offering league average running back speed (4.51). Vaughn does have sneaky acceleration if given an open field on long runs. He comes to the NFL at 5’10” and 215 lbs.
Vaughn will break tackles with enough vision and quickness to make plays on the outside. His leg drive is an asset, which also helps him in pass protection. He’ll run with patience while struggling to climb out of tight quarters unless his win comes from strength. Vaughn should work best over the short areas of the field while being helped by better blocking options in front of him. His game does have some upside as a receiver.
12. Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Kelley had two productive seasons at UCLA (225/1243/12 and 229/1060/12) with his best value coming in the passing game (27/193) in 2018. His path in college started at the University of California at Davis.
His career at UCLA began as a walk-on player with minimal value in his first two games (6/20 and 5/7). Kelley rushed for over 100 yards over his next four contests while ending the year with a touchdown in each of his final eight games, highlighted by a monster showing vs. rival USC (40/289/2).
Last year he had four games with over 100 yards rushing (27/127/1, 18/176/1, 34/164/4, and 23/126/2) but also had multiple games (6) with fewer than 80 yards on the ground.
Both his speed (4.49) and strength (23 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine) grade well. Also, he added some more bulk in 2019 (5’11” and 212 lbs.).
Kelley looks good inside the five-yard line and in short-yardage situations where he has a willingness to drop and drive to create yards in tight quarters. He runs with power with the ability to break tackles against trash in close quarters. Kelley projects as a north/south runner, but I see more dimensions to his game. He offers some head and shoulder fakes when breaking in space while not losing all of his momentum. His hands grade well, and I expect him to make plays in the passing game.
Over the last two years, Kelley didn’t play for a good team (7-17). In the right situation with 15 touches a game in the NFL, I expect him to outperform his draft value.
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top WR Prospect Rankings
13. Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
After flashing upside in his freshman season (819 combined yards with seven TDs and 15 catches on 148 touches), Dowdle wandered his way through his through the next three years (295 rushes for 1,403 yards with ten TDs plus 47 catches for 428 yards and two TDs).
He missed four games in 2016 with a battle with a hernia issue that required surgery, a broken leg in 2017, and a couple of games last year with a knee issue.
Dowdle comes to the NFL with just below RB average speed (4.54 forth yard dash) with decent size (5”11” and 215 lbs.). He runs some patience while using his eyes to feel the right spot to turn up the jets. When in the open field, Dowdle shows the ability to make defenders miss either with fight or wiggle. His vision plays up while owning change of direction value.
His downside comes from his injury past. He can be careless with the football at the second and third levels of the defense. He also lacks that next gear when running over the long field. Dowdle also has issues with his foundation skill and fire when asked to work in pass protection.
14. La’mical Perine, Florida
Perine has the feel of running back that will take the yards given to him, but his feet don’t have the change of direction value needed to create a winning starting edge in the NFL. His best move may be a slight jump-cut through the line of scrimmage where his acceleration has value over a short area. Perine runs with patience and some power, but his game takes a clear step back when faced with no running room and forced to make yards with his quickness from a standstill.
He works hard with fight in his game. Perine has looker feel in pass protection while thinking rather than knowing where to go to pick up the free-running blitzer. This shortfall looks coachable, and more experience in these situations will help his growth.
Over four seasons at Florida, he gained 3,159 combined yards with 30 touches and 72 catches on 565 touches. His best value running the ball came in 2018 (134/826/7)) while setting career highs in catches (40), receiving yards (262), and receiving TDs (5) last year.
His speed (4.62 forty) is below par while showing plenty of strength (22 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine).
15. Deejay Dallas, Miami (FLA)
Dallas is a player looking to find his identity in the game of football. In high school, he played quarterback with the idea of becoming a wide receiver in college. Miami moved him to running back, where his game does show some upside and explosiveness (5.8 yards per rush and 11.3 yards per catch).
In 2018, Dallas battled some fumbles (four over 119 touches) while coming in over his best play weight. He finished with 702 combined yards with six TDs and ten catches. Last season Dallas missed time with an elbow injury while making some progress in his production (833 combined yards with ten TDs and 14 catches on 129 touches).
At 5’10” and 215 lbs., he has a big back feel thanks to some strength in his upper body to help break tackles. Dallas will surprise in traffic while still having plenty of work to do to learn the subtleties to become a top running back. His vision is a work in progress, and he does have underlying gifts to develop even further.
Dallas has a chance to add value to an NFL team on special teams. In 2018, he returned 17 kickoffs for 367 yards and 11 punts for 191 yards and one touchdown.
His next step is adding patience to his running style while learning how to read blocks better.
1. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Over three seasons at Oklahoma, Lamb caught 173 passes for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns while averaging 19.0 yards per catch. He improved every year, highlighted by his success in 2019 (62/1327/14). Over the last two seasons, he returned 41 punts as well for 397 yards.
His speed (4.5 forty yard dash) and strength (11 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine) fell short of the top wide receivers in this year’s class. Lamb may struggle against press coverage, but his feel for space and patience will create many wins at the line of scrimmage if tested. He plays with a variance in play speed, helping his ability to get open when the ball is in the air. This style of play adds value to his game at the goal line.
Lamb has excellent hands while showing explosiveness in the open field. His route running needs some work, which I’m sure he’ll add to his bag of tricks at the next level. Even though he needs to add more bulk and strength, Lamb will break tackles with an uncanny feel to set up defenders in the open field.
Some may view him as a one-dimensional speed threat, but the depth of his game and skill set will reach a much higher level. I’m thinking of a smaller version of Randy Moss in the deep passing game with the foundation of an Antonio Brown in the open field.
Prediction: New York Jets (1.11)
2. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Jeudy worked more as a traditional receiver in 2019, where he relied on his route running to get open. Many of his catches were in the flat or coming back to the quarterback, which led to less explosiveness after the catch. When able to secure passes going forward, his speed and acceleration become more disruptive. Jeudy doesn’t have the same explosiveness when caught flat-footed with the ball trying to make defenders miss.
His release projects well while having the speed (4.45 forty yard dash) to test a defender deep. Jeudy needs to add some bulk (6-foot-1 and 195 pounds) to help combat physical corners. He also grades lower than expected with his short-area quickness.
Over his last two seasons at Alabama, Jeudy caught 145 passes for 2,479 yards and 24 TDs over 28 games. The Tide used him as more of a big-play wide receiver in 2018 (68/1315/14) than last year (77/1163/10).
Prediction: Oakland (1.12)
READ MORE: Which Player Gets Drafted First Overall?
3. Tee Higgins, Clemson
Higgins has been a great talent at every level of his career. He glides past defenders and has the height (6-foot-4) to win most jump balls against lesser competition. His natural edge at most stops may have restricted some of his development as a route runner.
Based on overall gifts, Higgins ranks among the best in the game, coming into the NFL in 2020. His success at the next level comes down to how much greatness he wants to achieve, which requires hard work. I’d like to see more fire off his release in press coverage with the desire to win every pass pattern out of the break. Without an improvement in the subtle movements of the game within his pass routes, Higgins won’t reach his expected potential (elite WR1).
Over the last two seasons at Clemson, he finished with similar outputs (59/936/12 and 59/1167/13) while playing for a top college team.
Prediction: Denver Broncos (1.15)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top QB Prospect Rankings
4. Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Ruggs brings elite speed (4.27 forty) to the passing game, but he only had 98 catches for 1,716 yards and 24 TDs over four seasons. He did score a touchdown once every four times he touched the ball.
In 2018, Ruggs worked his way up the depth chart as the WR2. He hauled in 46 receptions in Alabama’s offense, but he had to compete with WR Jaylen Waddle (45/848/7), TE Irv Smith (44/710/7), and WR Devonta Smith (42/693/6) for targets. Last year Ruggs slipped to WR3 (40/746/7) with his best success coming in Week 3 (6/122/1) and Week 4 (4/148/2). WR Devonta Smith (68/1256/14) pushed his way past him on the depth chart while WR Jerry Jeudy (77/1163/10) regressed slightly.
His lack of resume will push him down draft boards, but there is no questioning Ruggs’ talent. His hands will be assets while proving to be a player that can be used at all levels of the offense. Ruggs will be viable on bubble screens, slants, and deep end cuts where his speed creates impact plays. He’ll break tackles and yards after the catch. Alabama used his speed on quick-hitting plays as well at the goal line.
Ruggs is slightly undersized (5”11” and 188 lbs.), which will hurt him against press coverage out of the gate. His rhythm and route running will create plenty of chances at the next level.
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings (1.25)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top TE Prospect Rankings
5. Justin Jefferson, LSU
The rise of Joe Burrow was a big win for Jefferson in 2019. Over his 15 games in a national championship season, he caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs, highlighted by his dominating performance in his 14th game against Oklahoma (14/227/4). The previous year he also led LSU in wide receiver production (54/875/6), but the team’s offense was mediocre at best.
At the NFL combine, Jefferson ran a 4.43 forty yard dash, but he didn’t participate in many of the other drills testing strength and quickness.
His game showed a significant edge when getting a defender in trail positions, where Jefferson showed the ability to make late adjustments to secure tightly contested ball. At the goal line, he had value in 2019 on the outside on fades, plus the feel to work the middle of the deep zone on crossing patterns.
Jefferson showed growth last season after a switch to the slot. His quickness in that role can’t match some of the best WRs in the NFL, as he still needs some work on his route running ability. If asked to play outside, he’ll take a hit in value when working the deep areas of the field. Jefferson plays with vision while showcasing sneaky speed in the open field.
Prediction: Detroit Lions (2.3)
6. Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
The wide receiver with size (6’2” and 220 lbs.) in this year’s draft is Shenault. He played at the highest level in 2018 (1,126 combined yards with 11 TDs and 86 catches) over nine games while missing time with toe and shoulder injuries that both required surgery. Last year his production in the passing game (56/764/4) had a sharp decline, though he did maintain some value as a runner (23/161/2). Shenault's rushing yards came on direct snaps. In March, he had surgery to repair a core issue.
Shenault has the physical look of a Larry Fitzgerald or DeAndre Hopkins while owning similar hands. He can’t match the two elite wide receivers in his route running or resume. His speed (4.58 forty) works for his build while owning an edge in strength. Shenault plays with plenty of heart and fight, but his need for punishing contact does invite injury risk.
His next step is developing his release while working on his timing and motions within the route tree. Tempting player for sure as some of his skill set and traits can’t be taught.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (2.21)
7. K.J. Hamler, Penn State
Despite being undersized (5’9” and 178 lbs.), Hamler does play with strength (15 reps in the NFL combined bench press). His electric speed and quickness will threaten a defense every time he gets the ball in space. Hamler has a slot feel, but his game is all about challenging defenders with his legs. Once he gets the ball in his hands, the next move is hitting the gas while having the talent and vision to create.
Over two seasons at Penn State, Hamler caught 98 passes for 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns while also receiving some chances on the ground (17/87/1). His best success came in four games (4/115/2, 6/108/1, 6/108/2, and 7/119) in 2019.
To become a better asset at the NFL level, Hamler needs to prove he can win against physical cornerbacks in press and tight coverage. His hands can let him down at times while losing some value if asked to work the middle of the field with his back to the end zone and a safety setting his target on him.
Hamler looks viable as a WR3 in the right offense where his game works the best on quick-hitting plays, deep passes, and misdirection opportunities.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins (2.24)
8. Michael Pittman, USC
Injuries (ankle and shoulder) cost Pittman playing time in his sophomore (23/404/2) and junior (41/758/6) seasons at USC. When given a chance to shine while being healthy in 2019, he delivered a stud wide receiver season (101/1275/11). He broke through in Week 4 (10/232/1) against Utah while ending November with three exceptional games (13/146, 11/180/1, and 13/104/1).
For his size (6’4” and 225 lbs.), Pittman offers an excellent combination of speed (4.52 forty) and quickness. He does need to get stronger (13 reps in the bench press), which will help him against physical cornerbacks.
He runs excellent routes and will fight to win with his body when asked to get open in the middle of the field. Pittman is a hand’s catcher that will have success on 50-50 jump ball opportunities. Defenses will struggle to cover him with one-on-one coverage on the outside.
There’s a lot to like here, and I expect him to be drafted higher than his scouting ranking. I would fight for him on draft day as I expect him to develop into a complete player with a 100/1300/10 skill set.
His best fit in 2020 might be with the Chiefs based on supporting cast, and explosiveness from that the quarterback position.
Prediction: Kansas City (2.31)
9. Jalen Reagor, Texas Christian
For an NFL team looking for a deep threat and return man, Reagor may be the go-to guy in the mid-rounds of this year’s draft.
Even with some questions with his initial quickness and change of direction value coming back to the line of scrimmage, Reagor has the talent to make big plays at the next level. His speed (4.47 forty) is deceiving, and he does play with strength (17 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine).
TCU used him on fades at the goal line, but his burst off the line didn’t look special in close. He will win his fair share of jump balls in the end zone. Reagor shines the most with the ball in his hands when seeing daylight. His acceleration through the second level of the defense is impressive when given space to make plays. He’ll challenge defenses in the deep passing game.
His college career started with 33 catches for 576 yards and eight TDs as a freshman in 2017. The following year he led the team in receiver production (72/1061/9) despite playing with three different lower-tier options at quarterback. Texas Christian struggled to throw the ball in 2019 (53.4 percent completion rate), which led to Reagor turning in a below-par season (43/611/5).
Overall, there is work to do to become a complete wide receiver while having plenty of talent. Some of Reagor’s development was restricted by the structure of his team last year.
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts (3.11)
READ MORE: 2020 NFL Draft: Top RB Prospect Rankings
10. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
After struggling to define his role in his first season at Arizona State (33/474/3), Aiyuk developed into a big-play wide receiver last year (65/1192/8). He dominated in five different contests (4/140/1, 9/122/1, 7/196/3, 10/173/1, and 7/161/1) with four of those games coming at home. His career started at Sierra College, where Aiyuk had his most success in 2017 (60/960/14).
My first thought when watching his highlights was that Aiyuk would be an excellent fit for the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
Off the break, he’ll create an edge on slants while also showcasing the wheels to make plays in the deep passing game. His route running projects well while having open field ability. Aiyuk does need to get stronger to help his release when pressed at the line of scrimmage. I expect his best success to come over the first twenty yards past the line of scrimmage when going forward. Aiyuk needs to improve on his breaks to the sidelines and moving back to the quarterback.
His speed (4.5 forty) isn’t elite for the wide receiver position.
Prediction: New England Patriots (3.23)
11. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
Over four seasons at South Carolina, Edwards caught 234 balls for 3,045 yards and 22 TDs. His best season in catches (71) came in 2019, yards in 2018 (846), and TDs (7) in 2018. He missed his last two contests last year and suffered a broken foot before the NFL combine.
Edwards should be an intriguing wide receiver at the next level. His size (6’3” and 210 lbs.) paired with his strength and speed should rank him much higher on the WR prospect list.
He has the feel of a big, physical wide receiver in the NFL with the route running and release to win over the short areas of the field. Edwards has the wheels to get on top of some cornerbacks in the deep passing game. His hands should improve with more chances at the next level while already owning the ability to snatch tough passes in traffic. He’ll make some spectacular catches with one hand.
Edwards can bounce off defenders or beat them with his speed. He’ll win in space in many one-on-one matchups while also showing some value as an open-field runner.
I expect his ceiling in the NFL to be higher than his college resume.
Prediction: Houston Texans (3.26)
12. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Over each season at Notre Dame, Claypool added more value to his resume, highlighted by his success in 2019 (66/1037/13). He finished his college career with 150 catches for 2,159 yards and 19 TDs. Last year his best value came in three contests (8/118, 7/117/4, and 7/146/1) while ending his career with a touchdown in each of his final five games (nine total TDs over this span).
Claypool has exceptional speed (4.42 forty yard dash) for his size (6’4” and 238 lbs.) while also grading well in strength (19 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine).
I don't expect him to outwork any defenders over the short areas of the field due to questionable explosiveness out of complex routes. His release will be an issue as well when facing physical defenders in press coverage. Claypool is going to present a problem on slants, crossing patterns, and down the seam where his straight-line speed is an edge if given a step or two ahead of coverage. Notre Dame used him on many fades as the goal line, but his footwork and ability to make plays will be slowed down if challenged earlier in his release or by adding a second defender to his side of the field.
His blocking skills grade well, and his overall game may transition to a tight end type option in the NFL with the addition of some more bulk. A creative NFL coach with a deep receiving core will be able to get him in favorable matchups vs. linebackers and safeties, where his skill set has a more significant edge.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens (3.42)
13. Denzel Mims, Baylor
Mims is another wide receiver with size (6’3” and 205 lbs.) and speed (4.38 forty). He labored through the 20-yard shuttle (4.43) but showed explosiveness in the three cone-drill (6.66).
Over the last three seasons at Baylor, Mims caught 182 passes for 2,901 yards and 28 touchdowns with his best success coming in his sophomore (61/1087/8) and senior (66/1020/12) years.
At the goal line in fade or jump ball options, Mims had the feel of a battler with some outcomes almost looking like a war of contact. He needs to be cleaner out of his breaks to create a better rhythm with his quarterback. Mims can make tough catches, but he doesn't have that natural snatch the ball with his hands at the high point feel. A slight bobble will be an incompletion most of the time in the pros.
Mims will have an edge for sure in the deep passing game where he has the wheels to win over the long field and separate after the catch. His rhythm in space showed more explosiveness on slants and fast-moving routes.
Overall, he needs to clean up his route running while showing more fight to his game. His release could be an issue when pressed over the short areas of the field where his speed has less value.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (4.21)
14. Van Jefferson, Florida
Jefferson failed to deliver an impact season in his four years at Florida and Mississippi (175/2159/16). He caught 49 passes in 2016 and 2019 with the best value in yards (657) coming last year. Over his final 12 games, Jefferson caught 12 touchdowns.
Coming into the NFL, Jefferson gets high marks in his route running and understanding how to create space out of his breaks. He does not have the speed or explosiveness to be trusted as a consistent deep outside threat. His best value will come working over the short areas of the field, but I don’t see the quickness of a Julian Edelman type receiver out of the slot. Jefferson will make plays in tight coverage, but his lack of top-end speed does allow a defender to sit on some of his moves.
His father (Shawn Jefferson) is a long time NFL player who now works for the New York Jets. Jefferson knows the game and works hard. An NFL team will find a role for him as possession type wide receiver with a chance at 50 to 60 catches for about 650 yards and short TDs.
Prediction: New York Jets (4.13)
15. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty
From a size (6’4” and 225 lbs.) and strength (22 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine) perspective, Gandy-Golden looks ready for the NFL.
His change of direction quickness hurts him when asked to work the short areas of the field or on comeback routes. Gandy-Golden does show a better release than expected with the ability to create after the snap when moving forward. He’ll threaten to score in the red zone with the ability to high ball contested catches.
Before 2019, drops were a problem, which may work back into the equation just by playing with a quarterback with more zip on his passes.
Even with an edge in build, Gandy-Golden may struggle to make plays over the middle of the field when faced with tight coverage and a looming safety coming hard at him.
Overall, he needs more overall development his foundation route running, but his game did show growth in 2019. Over his two seasons at Liberty, Gandy-Golden caught 150 passes for 2,433 yards and twenty touchdowns with his best success coming last year (79/1396/10).
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars (4.34)
1. TE Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
Bryant has experience at offensive tackle, which is a big win for his blocking ability. Despite needing to add some bulk, he grades well as a blocking option due to his career path and foundation skill set. His most significant issue in this area will come when faced with straight on power rushers.
Over the past three seasons at Florida Atlantic, Bryant's game improved each year (32/408/5, 45/662/4, and 65/1004/7). Last year Bryant had one impact showing (10/182/1) while ending the year with six touchdowns in four games.
In college, his team ran a spread offense, which led to him getting a free release outside the hash marks on many plays. He showed a feel for soft zones and the ability to beat his man downfield, especially with no help over the top. At the next level, Bryant will need to work harder to get open due to the superior talent on the defensive side of the ball.
On the positive side, he understood play development. This allowed him to get open on delays or set passing plays designed for him. Bryant can win jump balls, and he will bounce off defenders at times in the open field, helping his value after the catch.
Overall, his speed (4.73) is about average for an NFL tight end. He does need to get stronger (13 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine). Bryant runs good routes with an excellent feel for the game. I expect him to do his pre-game prep while striving to become a better player.
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts (3.11)
2. TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
Heading into college, Kmet had top prospect pedigree for the tight end position. However, he had minimal chances over his first two years with the Fighting Irish (2/14 and 15/162). His game pushed to an attractive NFL level over 10 games (43/515/6) in 2019. Kmet missed the last two contests of the season with a broken collarbone.
Kmet does have some flaws coming out of college. His release, his ability to fight off pressed blocks, and initial quickness invites some questions surrounding his three-down value. When given a free run to the second level of the defense, his game looks much better. Kmet will be a vertical threat with the speed (4.7 forty yard dash) to hit on long plays down the seam.
An NFL team will look to get him space with motion before the snap to help gain an earlier edge in pass patterns. At the goal line, Kmet will invite more scoring upside on delays or misdirection plays when he’s overlooked as a top scoring threat. Ideally, I'd like to see him land on a team where he would be the fourth option in the passing game until he develops the rest of his game.
I expect him to get stronger and add more bulk, which will increase his value in both run and pass blocking. As of now, Kmet shows some foundation skills to have value as a blocker. He needs more fire or sense of urgency off the snap while developing the foresight to anticipate where to locate his first target on the move when blocking.
His route running needs work and there are some questions about his hands when he is under fire. To be a stud tight end in the NFL, a player needs to own the short areas of the field. Kmet does not have that club in his bag at this point in his career.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills (3.22)
3. TE Devin Asiasi, UCLA
Asiasi is another tight end with a minimal resume before 2019. Over his first two seasons at UCLA, he caught only six passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Last year Asiasi finished with 44 catches for 641 yards and four TDs while gaining momentum over his final three contests (5/72, 5/141/1, and 8/99).
His speed (4.73 forty yard dash) is about the same as Harrison Bryant. However, Asiasi has showed more strength (16 reps in the bench press). Asiasi comes in at 6’3” and 255 pounds.
Last year he was more mobile after weighing in at almost 280 pounds earlier in his career. Asiasi looked nimble in 2019 with the talent to make plays at all three levels of the defense. His best value appears to be when moving forward with the ability to sit down against zone coverage. Asiasi does lose some value when asked to work back to the ball out of breaks over the short areas of the field. His hands should be assets, and he offers deceiving speed and quickness downfield.
Asiasi grades as a neutral option in the blocking game, which will improve with better foundation skills.
Prediction: Green Bay Packers (4.30)
4. TE Hunter Bryant, Washington
Bryant comes to the NFL with a big wide receiver feel, which was highlighted by him wearing the number one on his jersey at Washington. He came into the NFL Combine measuring at 6’2” and 248 pounds. Bryant has no problem showing off his immense strength (23 reps in the bench press).
After a couple of quiet seasons (22/331/1 and 11/238/1) at Washington, his game blossomed when the team upgraded at quarterback to Jacob Easton. Bryant posted two games with over 100 yards receiving (5/115/1 and 6/105/2) in 2019, leading to 52 catches for 825 yards and three touchdowns. Over his final four contests, he had a floor of five catches in each game (22/273/2).
Bryant did miss some time due to knee issues over the previous two seasons.
Based on the ability to make plays at the second and third levels of the defense, he’ll be an attractive option for the right offense in the NFL. Bryant will be a matchup problem against linebackers and safeties when challenging the deep parts of the field. His route running takes a hit when asked to change directions toward the ball or facing traffic in space. Bryant has good hands and some open-field running ability.
Blocking will be an issue on early downs in the run game. He will need to improve his technique in order to be an effective blocker. Bryant struggles at times against press coverage. His route running isn’t where it needs to be to create separation over the short areas of the field.
Prediction: Jacksonville (4.31)
5. TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
Over the last two seasons at Stanford, Parkinson picked up 77 combined catches for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns. His game improved in 2019 (48/589), but he posted only one touchdown compared to seven the previous year on 29 catches.
He wins the battle among tight ends this year as far as height (6’7”) but trails the top options in speed (4.77 forty yard dash) and quickness.
Parkinson has the look of a jump ball specialist in one-on-one coverage, especially in the red zone. His release and route running look viable, but I don’t see much damage after the catch unless he breaks a tackle or slips free after a defender blew his assignment. Parkinson offers strong hands and the ability to catch the ball at the high point.
I don’t expect him to develop in the blocking game unless he commits to getting stronger, adding more bulk, and improving his foundation skill set. At the same time, this change in his frame may lower some of his value and explosiveness in the overall passing game.
Parkinson is an up and down player who will have matchup value at the goal line in the right system early in his career.
Prediction: Washington (4.2)
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