Tua ranks sixth (and second among the Tide) in Rang’s preseason Top 32 Big Board

Rob Rang

One does not need 20-20 vision to see that next spring’s NFL draft is going to be loaded with playmakers.

The conversation begins – as always – at the quarterback position where Oregon senior Justin Herbert and Alabama junior Tua Tagovailoa are the clear-cut leaders. Herbert’s more unique physical traits earn him the top spot on my board but Tagovailoa is also a legitimate No. 1 overall candidate even if he is not even the highest ranked prospect from the Crimson Tide.

That honor would fall to silky smooth reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy (No. 3 overall), who along with cornerback Trevor Diggs (No. 16) and massive defensive lineman Raekwon Davis (No. 19) give Alabama the most prospects on this list from a single team and, therefore, Nick Saban yet another great opportunity to compete for a national title.

The most unique aspect about this class could be the defensive backs with six making my initial Top 32 Big Board; only three cornerbacks and safeties were drafted in the first round last spring.

The Big Board is not a mock draft. No attention is paid to team needs. It is simply my personal ranking of the top 32 pro-eligible prospects in college football.

*Underclassmen are designated with an asterisk. Only players who will be three full years removed from their high school graduating class at the time of this spring’s draft are eligible.

1. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, 6-6, 233, 4.60 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 29 TDs/8 INTs, 3, 151 passing yards, 59.4%/166 rushing yards, 2 TDs

The Skinny: Herbert has everything scouts look for in a franchise quarterback and he will be operating behind college football’s most experienced offensive line.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CARDONAFAM29/status/1153018087790252037

2. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn, 6-4, 318, 4.90 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 48 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, 1 FF

The Skinny: As impressive on the field as off, Brown turned down an opportunity to be a top 10 pick a year ago.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/colecubelic/status/942957589545062400

3. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, 6-0, 192, 4.40 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 68 receptions for 1,315 yards (19.3 avg.) and 14 TDs

The Skinny: Of all the great receivers in Alabama’s storied history, perhaps none of them can match Jeudy’s elusiveness and breakaway speed.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/_SteveFrederick/status/1153004990207856646

4. Grant Delpit, S, LSU, 6-2, 205, 4.55 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 74 tackles, 9.5 for loss, five sacks, 9 passes defensed, one INT, one FF

The Skinny: Like his predecessor Jamal Adams, Delpit is a sheriff in the secondary with the instincts, speed and tackling critical for playing safety in today’s game.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/BradKelly17/status/1069734245738926081

5. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa, 6-4, 280, 4.80 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 37 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 4 FF

The Skinny: A more productive player than either of the Bosa Bros. to this point in his career, Epenesa may very overtake former Hawkeye defensive back Tom Knight (No. 9 overall in 1997) as the earliest drafted Iowa defender of the modern era.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/NFLDraftDoctor/status/1124032183528820737

6. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, 6-1, 218, 4.65 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 43 TDs/6 INTs, 3,966 passing yards, 69.0%/190 rushing yards, 5 TDs

The Skinny: The so-called “left-handed Russell Wilson” has the guts, accuracy and arm to warrant No. 1 overall consideration but needs to bounce back after sputtering in the postseason.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CBSSports/status/1066481096664051712

7. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia, 6-1, 200, 4.50 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 62 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, 21 passes defensed, 2 INTs, 2 FF

The Skinny: Quickness personified, Hall led the nation in passes broken up a year ago, demonstrating not only agility but terrific hand-eye coordination and the guts to enforce the run, as well. Hall may very well have been the first cornerback selected had he entered the 2019 draft.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/TheJoeMarino/status/1079072487474974722

8. Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson, 6-3, 235, 4.65 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 88 tackles, nine tackles for loss, two sacks, six passes defensed, 3 FFs, one INT

The Skinny: There isn’t a defensive coordinator on the planet who wouldn’t love to find a role for playmaker with Simmons’ unique blend of size, strength and speed.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/WhatsOnDraftNFL/status/1133867679687806976

9. Laviska Shenault, Jr., WR, Colorado, 6-2, 225, 4.55 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 86 receptions for 1,011 yards, (11.8 avg.) six TDs/17 rushes for 115 yards, 5 TDs

The Skinny: Sure, the PAC-12’s passing attacks bloat statistics but the exceptional talents – like Shenault, Jr. – make it look easy. Whether attacking deep or running the Wildcat, Shenault is a one-man wrecking crew.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/JBP_Official/status/1073019928884572161

10. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida, 6-0, 190, 4.45 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 38 tackles, five for loss, three sacks, 5 passes defensed, two INTs, two FFs

The Skinny: Physically reminiscent of former Florida star Joe Haden, Henderson is a true cover corner on the verge of superstardom.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CDonScouting/status/1139684200225763329

11. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, 6-5, 320, 5.20 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): Voted 2018 All-SEC First Team by league coaches at LT; started 15 at RT in 2017

The Skinny: Thomas took over for 2018 first round pick Isaiah Wynn at left tackle as a true sophomore and excelled in Georgia’s pro style offense. In a good year for offensive linemen, he may boast the best combination of pro readiness and still-untapped-potential.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/thorku/status/1133159111212916737

12. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas, 6-5, 220, 4.55 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 68 receptions for 985 yards (14.5 avg.), seven TDs

The Skinny: Johnson isn’t a speedster but his size, body control and reliable hands make him a future No. 1 target in the NFL.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/max_olson/status/1043637085444423680

13. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State, 6-5, 265, 4.65 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 33 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 5 passes defensed, one FF

The Skinny: Arguably the most gifted of a terrific young crop of Buckeyes, Young flashes a wicked combination of burst, bend and power to project as a future top five pick.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/ConnorJRogers/status/1069092831707435008

14. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa, 6-5, 320, 5.20 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): First true FR to start at OT in Ferentz era; Honorable Mention by coaches in 2018

The Skinny: In terms of sheer size and brutal power, Wirfs may be the best looking-offensive lineman in the country. His counterpart at left tackle, Alaric Jackson, is a future early round NFL draft choice, as well.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/BrandonThornNFL/status/1122237254553014272

15. Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Miami, 6-0, 235, 4.75 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 82 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, 2 passes defensed, one FF, one INT

The Skinny: Fellow sparkplugs Roquan Smith (Georgia) and Devin White (LSU) won the Butkus Award the past two seasons demonstrating the same kind of instincts, closing speed and grit Quarterman put on tape last year.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CARDONAFAM29/status/1155653822288732160

16. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama, 6-2, 200, 4.50 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 20 tackles, zero for loss, zero sacks, 6 passes defensed, one INT, one FF

The Skinny: The younger (but equally athletic) brother of the Minnesota Vikings’ star receiver, Diggs is simply the latest in Alabama’s pipeline.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/Draft_Brian/status/1144568963084488705

17. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin, 6-2, 318, 5.20 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): Consensus First Team All Big Ten; started the past 27 consecutive games at center

The Skinny: Learn how to pronounce it now (bee-AH-dish), as Biadasz just might be the best blocker in college football.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/Draft_Brian/status/1151888412623998977

18. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia, 5-09, 215, 4.45 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 163 rushes for 1,049 yards (6.4 avg.), 10 TDs/32 receptions for 297 yards (9.3 avg.), 3 TDs

The Skinny: In an above average class of running backs, Swift’s joystick-like elusiveness, naturally low center of gravity and proven hands out of the backfield lift him to the top of my rankings.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CBSSports/status/1058823096759541762

19. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama, 6-6, 309, 5.0 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 55 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks

The Skinny: Quite possibly the most imposing defensive lineman in college football, Davis was born a generation late, projecting best as a block-eating 3-4 defensive end – and not the “sackmaster” who will generate an early pick.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/MichaelKistNFL/status/904165596794892288

20. Leki Fotu, DT, Utah, 6-5, 330, 5.20 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 34 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one FF

The Skinny: Like the afore-mentioned Davis, Fotu won’t wow scouts with his burst or closing speed but his size and strength make him virtually immovable in the running game.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/975Hans/status/1054745960348172288

21. Brandon Jones, S, Texas, 6-0, 210, 4.55 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 70 tackles, 5.5 for loss, one pass defensed, one INT

The Skinny: Alert, athletic and reliable, Jones is a plug and play starting safety in the NFL – and quite possibly the Longhorns’ best defensive prospect since Kenny Vaccaro was selected 15th overall by New Orleans back in 2013.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/TampaBayTre/status/1138971209880748032

22. Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn, 6-6, 305, 4.85 (est.)

The Stats (2018): Started all 13 games at LT last year

The Skinny: A native of Nigeria who began his career on the defensive side of the ball, Wanogho is still learning the subtleties of the position but he is an exceptional athlete whose best football still lies ahead of him.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/JaredStanger/status/1036701884902387712

23. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU, 6-0, 192, 4.45 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 25 tackles, one for loss, nine passes defensed, one INT, one FF

The Skinny: Every bit as smooth in coverage as his former, more recognized teammate Greedy Williams but a much more consistent run enforcer.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/JonahTulsNFL/status/1073770131677949952

24. Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon, 6-5 318. 5.25 (est).

The Stats (2018): Only OL in FBS to start four different positions (LT, RT, RG, C); 38 consecutive starts

The Skinny: The best blocker on the nation’s most experienced offensive line (153 career starts!), Throckmorton is a Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none-type with good size, strength and agility. It is his toughness and dependability, however, that could get him drafted in the first round.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/ChrisTrapasso/status/1147539401452544000

25. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU, 5-11, 195, 4.35 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 72 receptions for 1,061 yards (14.7 avg.), 9 TDs/ 8 PR for 97 yards, 4 KR for 121 yards

The Skinny: A speedy playmaker in the mold of last year’s top-drafted wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Reagor might become a household name with a little more consistency from his quarterbacks.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX/status/1063856311756967936

26. Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah, 6-3, 265, 4.75 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 47 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three passes defensed, one FF

The Skinny: Arguably the most feared edge rusher in the PAC-12 the past two years running, Anae teams with Fotu (No. 18) to give the Utes the best 1-2 punch along the defensive line in the conference.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/Pac12Network/status/1153026104782815232

27. Trey Adams, OT, Washington, 6-8, 306, 5.10 (est.)

The Stats (2018): Fully cleared for 2019; missed 17 of past 28 games due to multiple injuries

The Skinny: When healthy, Adams has demonstrated rare agility and balance for a left tackle of his size, projecting well to the NFL. With the Huskies breaking in a new QB in 2019, there will be plenty of attention on Adams and his recovery from the back surgery that limited his 2018 season.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/MTScouting/status/1026315593333571585

28. Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M, 6-2, 304, 5.10 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 40 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, three FF, two passes defensed

The Skinny: A squatty, powerful player with an intriguing burst to close, some believe Madubuike is on the verge of a monster breakout season.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/Mr_JEngler/status/1152100594045181953

29. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri, 6-5, 255, 4.65 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 43 receptions for 466 yards (10.8 avg.), six TDs

The Skinny: A massive seam threat in the Jimmy Graham mold, Okwuegbunam is a redzone mismatch who needs to play up to his size more often to earn the top 20 consideration his massive frame and soft hands warrant.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/JDec89/status/1047675398551687168

30. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson, 5-10, 215, 4.40 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 204 rushes for 1,658 yards (8.1 avg.), 24 TDs/ 12 rec. for 78 yards (6.5 avg.), two TDs

The Skinny: The 2020 running back class looks loaded with the backs likely to sneak into the top 32 possessing either the soft hands to attack as a receiver, elite straight-line speed or – as in the case of Etienne – both. In an era of air backs, Etienne might be the best of this class for that role.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/ClemsonEditz_/status/909257730493435904

31. Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida, 6-4, 257, 4.70 (est.)

The Stats (2018): 45 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks

The Skinny: In terms of sheer explosiveness – both power and speed – Zuniga flashed as much on tape last year as any of the edge rushers on this list not named Epenesa. To move up the board, Zuniga must show more consistency in 2019.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/Cover_1_/status/1125192292434948097

32. Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford, 6-6, 245, 4.75 (est.)*

The Stats (2018): 29 receptions for 485 yards (16.7 avg.), seven TDs

The Skinny: The Stanford experiment at tight end continues to produce NFL-ready stars. Fortunately, Parkinson is taller and more agile than some of the Cardinal’s recent submissions, projecting as a seam and redzone mismatch.

The Tape: https://twitter.com/devywarehouse/status/1061458231116087296