1. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State. Dominant athletic traits that have been put to very good use as a pass rusher who can win with speed or power. Off-the-charts technique vs. 1-on-1 blocking. Powerful tackler with exceptional 1-2 step closing burst to the ball. He’s a better overall player coming out of Ohio State than either Bosa brother was, and both of them have been instant standouts in the NFL. Handily the best overall defensive prospect since Myles Garrett went No. 1 overall in 2017.
2. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State. Outstanding instincts and IQ in man coverage. Has the length and speed to check the boxes for any team. Incredible technique with his feet, nearly flawless. Quick change of direction, excellent ball skills. Should be an instant high-end starter and legit “island” corner right away. Only minor concerns about tackling and an older shoulder injury.
3. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama. Standout playmaking talent from a pro-friendly offense loaded with receiving talent. Jeudy lacks elite athletic traits other than his open-field speed, but his technique and ability to win in so many different ways mitigate his average size and agility metrics. Great catch radius for his size, tough through contact. Has some Larry Fitzgerald-like savvy to his game and that’s his ceiling.
4. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa. Athletic freakshow of a right tackle and he understands how to use his superior athleticism in functional football ways. Plays with power and tenacity. Excellent hand/shoulder strength and coordination befitting his wrestling background. Will overset in his pass protect stance and doesn’t have great length or recovery quickness, which probably relegates him to being an RT only. He’ll be a damn good one right away.
5. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU. Exploded from late-round prospect to No. 1 overall pick with one of the greatest seasons in CFB history. Son of a defensive coach who almost never gets fooled by coverages and quickly IDs the right target. Compact, crisp delivery and phenomenal touch and placement on short and intermediate throws. Doesn’t have the rocket-launcher arm but he can attack downfield. Has the “it” factor with peers and teammates that commands great respect and he handles it maturely. Biggest worry is a regression back to 2018, where he wasn’t as strident or accurate. There’s a lot of Andrew Luck to Burrow, including the gutty mobility.
6. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia. Early in September, I had an NFC South scout who saw Thomas play in person tell me “he’s the next Jason Peters.” Thomas flashed that periodic domination but got lazy in his technique and lower-body movement at times. Has the size, power, jolting punch and tenacity in the run game that all do echo Peters. High bust risk but his ceiling is perennial All-Pro.
7. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama. Blazing outside speed and instant acceleration that few DBs can come close to matching. Better route-runner than generally advertised in terms of spacing his steps and using his body, not just relying on speed. My sports radio pitch for Ruggs: imagine if Will Fuller was durable and could reliably catch the ball. Offenses that feature the vertical passing game are going to covet him as WR1.
8. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina. Rising star who showed off better conditioning and technique in his senior season. Has dominant strength at the point of attack. Violent jab and quick, diverse follow-up moves give him a signature way to win. Hungry player with nonstop motor. Needs to sink his hips and bend his knees more consistently and be more under control when he’s chasing a play. Best interior pass rusher at 3/4T in class and local fans will love his personality and compelling life path.
9. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama. College right tackle but he projects better to left tackle in the NFL despite lacking great length or upper-body strength. His core and lower-body strength and coordination are incredible. Very polished footwork in his pass sets, balanced and quick to adjust. I worry about how Wills invites defenders to hit his chest and then he parries them instead of locking in, but he’s really good at how he does it. Great movement as a seek-and-destroy run blocker. If Wills learns to sustain blocks instead of hit-and-run, he’ll live on All-Pro teams.
10. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa. Power-to-speed pass rusher who sets a very prominent edge. Long, strong arms and the best shoulder torque usage in class vs. the run. Brings a similar approach and body type that J.J. Watt did as a prospect, though Watt was a twitchier athlete. Best fit is at strongside end in a 3-man front that can also play the heavy end in a 4-man front, a la Trey Flowers.
11. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson. Incredible athletic specimen who blew up the Combine with a legendary workout. His game tape is darn impressive too, lining up all over the place for a very good Tigers defense. Finding one role for him in the NFL could be a challenge, as he’s too big to be a safety for most defenses no matter how fast/agile he is. Ideally he’s a Tampa-2 MLB a la Brian Urlacher, except nobody plays that scheme anymore. Could be a superstar but there is very real bust potential that is not acknowledged widely enough if he can’t find one role to hang his hat upon.
12. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn. High-grade tank of an interior pocket collapsing DT. Ideal build for playing in multiple fronts. Good first step and excellent at using his hands to shed. Absolutely annihilates linemen who don’t play with good leverage. Anticipates the run path almost preternaturally. Doesn’t have the agility or speed to be a premium pass rusher in the NFL, but his willingness and adeptness at soaking up blocks make Brown a premier facilitator.
13. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU. A lot of high-end potential but it’s not all present just yet for the pass-rush specialist. He didn’t play HS football and missed a season at LSU with a torn ACL, so the rawness and lack of experience shows. So does the power, speed and passion when it clicks for him, and it clicked quite a bit in 2019. Would love to see him go a team that doesn’t need 10-plus sacks from him right away. High risk/reward as a prospect.
14. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville. Nasty mountain of a man with surprising spryness for a 364-pound behemoth. Very strong initial punch and it’s over for the defender when he locks out his arms. His 7-ft. wingspan is a mixed blessing, and quicker EDGEs will give him issues unless he shortens/quickens his punch. As long as he keeps his weight under control and his knee flexibility remains intact, Becton should be Pro Bowl-caliber for power-oriented teams, a little less so for zone-blocking schemes.
15. Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin. More like Joe Schobert than T.J. Watt in the progression of Badger rush OLBs, Baun has range and diagnostic instincts that belie someone who has only played defense for three years. He wins as a pass rusher with quickness and footwork and that should translate better to the NFL in terms of coverage and playing in space. I wish he were a little bigger/stronger but Baun has an excellent fight/size of dog ratio.
16. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama. If Tagovailoa had a clean bill of health he’d be no lower than fourth on this list, but his lengthy injury history and small stature–he’s Johnny Manziel-sized–are major drawbacks. His film is full of pinpoint accuracy, good rhythm and timing in a pro-style offense and a killer instinct in big situations. His medicals scare the bejeezus out of me, but you’ll never hear me say Tua isn’t a great quarterback prospect otherwise.
17. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State. Complete package of a back who proved he can handle a heavy workload. Great balance through contact, my favorite trait for a runner. Accelerates quickly and wastes no time getting through the hole, but he’s not impatient on stretches and zone runs. Pass protection and receiving both improved in 2019. Not the most creative or flashy but he didn’t need to be for a loaded Buckeye offense.
18. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota. Oddly under the radar given his pedigree and wildly impactful 2019 season for the Golden Gophers. Like his father, a great open-field tackler who plays much bigger than his listed size. Smart, quick, powerful. Outstanding ball skills and anticipation in coverage. He’s got a laundry list of injury concerns that keep him from being a top-10 talent for me. The skills are all there if he can stay on the field.
19. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor. Big target who has good-not-great playing speed but augments it by using his strength and his long gait to separate. Improved his hands and toughness on contested catches as a senior. Best WR in class at coming back to the QB by design, really breaks the stem back beautifully. Not the most wiggle or nuance to his routes. Reminds me of a slightly smaller Kenny Golladay. He’s an ascending talent and proved the high ceiling is there during Senior Bowl week
20. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU. Incredibly fast feet and twitched-up energy in a hyper-confident cover man. Lacks great size (he’s 5-10/191) and elite top-end speed, but it’s rare to see anyone get more than a half-step on Gladney down the field. Mentally tough playmaker who is difficult to play against, matches routes well in both zone and man coverage. Willing tackler for his size. Biggest worry is playing outside against big receivers that can also run. Love the dawg in him and his game a la Darius Slay.
21. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
22. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
23. Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
24. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
25. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado. Another player who would be ranked higher with a clean bill of health, Shenault on the field is a cross between Anquan Boldin and DeAndre Hopkins. Tough as nails, sure-handed, savvy, great catch radius, exceptional blocking. Athletically he’s more Boldin and that lowers his ceiling, as do the numerous injuries he’s played through.
26. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
27. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
28. K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
29. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
30. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
31. Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
32. Lloyd Cushenberry, IOL, LSU
33. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
34. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
35. Josh Jones, OT, Houston. The Jones who dominated in Mobile during the Senior Bowl is a top-20 talent. The Jones who frequently looked uncoordinated and technically raw for the Cougars is a 4th-round talent. Betting on the upside and the late-blooming angle with the hard-working Jones.
36. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
37. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
38. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
39. A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
40. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
41. Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
42. Josh Uche, LB, Michigan
43. Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
44. Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
45. Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn. A track star who plays more like a bodybuilder at CB, Igbinoghene is another player where I’m gambling high on the upside and growth potential. Switched from WR at Auburn and it makes sense watching him play the ball. Very physical, very strong, still raw technically and mentally in man coverage. Give him a learning year and he’s got potential to be a very good starter at outside CB. Insurance comes as an elite return specialist.
46. Michael Pittman, WR, USC
47. Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
48. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
49. Robert Hunt, IOL, Louisiana
50. Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
51. Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
52. Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
53. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
54. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
55. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU. Electrifying athlete who is occasionally an outstanding wide receiver, though his battles with drops and a small catch radius are limiting. Best PR/KR prospect in the draft and he can be used on jet sweeps, bubble/tunnel screens and light up defenses too.
56. Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
57. Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
58. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
59. Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
60. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
61. Zack Moss, RB, Utah
62. Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
63. Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
64. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
65. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU. All-purpose threat who soared to prominence during LSU’s title run. Uneven results before that. Easy to see why some teams wanted him to work out at WR at the Combine, as his receiving skills are fantastic. Lacks burst and long speed, but CEH maximizes what’s blocked and makes high-aimed or arm tackles look foolish.
66. Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
67. Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
68. Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
69. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
70. Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
71. Matthew Peart, OT, UConn
72. Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
73. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
74. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
75. Ashtyn Davis, S, California. Impressive speed and range in coverage, and Davis can be a dynamic presence when he’s dialed in. Hit-and-miss as a tackler and needs to diagnose plays quicker, but he has shown he can be great in coverage when his initial role is clear. Much like Will Harris in 2019, he might be better at corner than safety if a team is willing to give him a redshirt year.
76. Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
77. Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
78. Kenny Willekes, LB, Michigan State
79. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
80. Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
81. Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
82. David Woodward, LB, Utah State
83. Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M
84. D.J. Wonnum, EDGE, South Carolina
85. James Morgan, QB, Florida Atlantic. If Morgan ever becomes the sum of all his parts, a team is getting a middle-round steal. Arm strength, downfield accuracy, pocket movement, confidence are all top shelf, but they don’t all display at the same time all the time. Fun player to root for, maddeningly inconsistent to trust.
86. Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
87. Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
88. Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
89. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
90. Shane Lemieux, IOL, Oregon
91. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
92. Ben Bartch, OT, St. John
93. Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
94. Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
95. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas. Ready-made slot receiver who improved his all-around game as a senior. Doesn’t do anything special other than reliably making the first guy miss when he catches the ball on the run, but there aren’t any real holes to Duvernay’s game. Could play in the NFL for a long time as a reliable, low-maintenance slot.
96. James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
97. Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
98. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
99. Raequan Williams, DT, Michigan State
100. Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
101. Myles Bryant, CB, Washington
102. Antonio Gandy-Goldman, WR, Liberty
103. Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse