Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
You could argue this should be Chase Young, but Jerry Jeudy is about as slam dunk of a pick as it gets. He has the physical tools to play like Odell Beckham Jr. There is some aspect of his game that reminds me of Marvin Harrison. He plays faster than his raw speed will indicate and demonstrates incredible route-running ability. I don’t expect him to go first overall because of the position value, but he is the best pro prospect in this draft.
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
I can almost guarantee you Jeudy and Chase Young will be the top two prospects all the way through the draft. Unlike Jeudy, there is some possibility Young goes first overall based on his positional value. He is an excellent pass rusher, but he also does a nice job against the run. He excels at setting the edge and checks every box when it comes to physical skill. I’ve seen comparisons to Von Miller, and that is probably not far off.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
He is not going to be for everyone. Much like Kyler Murray a year ago, Tua Tagovailoa lacks the size of the prototypical NFL quarterback. However, his poise, touch and accuracy make him an NFL-ready passer who has athletic upside. He won’t be Patrick Mahomes, launching the ball 50-plus yards down field or firing in bullet passes, but he can run an offense efficiently and effectively. The thing to like most about him? Eight interceptions in 580 career passes so far. His decision making is impeccable and possibly even the best in the class.
A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Despite not being a traditional college football power, Iowa produces NFL-ready talent every season. A.J. Epenesa is no exception. He has gotten off to a slower start this year, but he fits the mold of a great NFL defensive lineman. He is not an elite athlete, but Epenesa has good power and discipline. He uses his hands well to keep offensive linemen from locking him up. He forces a ton of fumbles as well. He needs to pick up the production though this year.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
He might not be as prolific at the college level as some of the other backs in this class, but he is the polished and versatile. DeAndre Swift is a complete back with good hands, above average vision and tons of college production. He spent the last two seasons splitting time with Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Elijah Holyfield. Now, he gets the chance to be the feature back and he has taken it well. He is more elusive than fast, but he has enough speed to break off big plays. Swift features heavily in the passing game and does not have a ton of mileage on his legs either after splitting time throughout his college career.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The more I watch Jeffrey Okudah, the more impressed I am by his skill. He just looks so natural as a lockdown corner. He is a great tackler in space and excels in bump-and-run coverage. Okudah will sometimes end up running the route for the receiver because his hips are so fluid and he has great eye discipline. He can be a little aggressive at times, which makes him susceptible to double moves, but he seems to have enough relative speed to make up for it in most cases. If he runs well at the combine, we could be talking about a top-five pick.
Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
I know I am definitely higher on him than a lot of other people, but I have been really impressed with Jake Fromm. He goes up against great competition all the time and does an excellent job leading his team. He is a field general who commands the offense, he has NFL-caliber arm strength and he seems to be improving his accuracy. He might not be as flashy as some of the other quarterbacks in this class, but he feels like a rock solid prospect with a long pro career ahead of him.
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Jerry Jeudy is head and shoulders above everyone else in this class, and it is a very good receiver class. Tee Higgins is the best of the rest. He has an incredible catch radius, very reliable hands and runs his routes well. In my opinion, he has saved Trevor Lawrence’s rocky start from going completely off the rails. Higgins regularly wins jump balls and adjusts to make catches. The biggest knock is the lack of speed, but he feels a lot like fellow former Clemson receiver Mike Williams, just without the injury history.
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
If you are looking for the next great LSU defensive back, Grant Delpit is it. He is cut from the same cloth as Jamaal Adams, but excels more down field than in the opponents backfield. He is excellent at diagnosing plays and shows great closing speed. Deplit looks very comfortable in coverage as well. The concern that keeps cropping up on film is his tackling. He arrives at the right place at the right time, but doesn’t always complete the play. Tackling isn’t the most important skill needed as a versatile safety, but one he will need to work on to be worth a top-10 pick.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Had CeeDee Lamb come out last year, he probably would have been the top receiver off the board, ahead of teammate Marquis Brown. Instead, he comes out in a great receiver class and drops to WR3, which is impressive, because he is still the 10th player on my board. He runs really well and is not afraid to go across the middle. He shows excellent ability to make big plays after the catch and fights for extra yardage. He is not as dominant as Tee Higgins in the red zone, but he is much better at creating separation and giving a quarterback a nice window to hit.
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Now in his third year of facing future NFL talent playing in the SEC, Andrew Thomas is finally draft eligible and should be the first offensive lineman off the board. He is an excellent pass blocker with solid footwork. He does not get bullied too often and knows how to handle speed rushers. He is not one of those road grading linemen in the running game, but he understands how to seal the block to create a running lane. He has already faced Julian Okwara this year and fared well. He will get plenty more chances to show why he is the top tackle prospect this year.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
There is not a more accomplished running back through his first two years in college football history than Jonathan Taylor. He has been a bellcow at Wisconsin posting over 2,000 yards from scrimmage each of the past two seasons. After signs early in his career that fumbling would be an issue, he has worked to cut down on them. Already this season, Taylor is showing his development as a receiver, with more catches through four games than he had in either of his previous two seasons. One major concern is the number of touches he has had in his college career. Durability has never been an issue, but he already has 690 carries in his college career. That starts to take a toll eventually.
Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Derrick Brown is an athletic space-eater. He uses his hands well to attack offensive linemen and also disrupt passing lanes for opposing quarterbacks. Brown is surrounded by other future NFL talent on the Auburn defensive line, but he stands out as the best of them. He won’t be the type of pass rusher we’ve seen Aaron Donald turn into, but he can collapse a pocket very quickly with his interior pressure. He isn’t very agile or quick, playing as more of a nose tackle type, but he has enough speed to chase down the quarterback.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
I know I made this comment about CeeDee Lamb, but in another draft, Travis Etienne would probably be the first player at his position to come off the board. He is an incredibly elusive runner who does a good job of keeping his legs churning for extra yards. He has game-breaking speed and can stop on a dime to make a defender miss. He also contributes consistently in the passing game, as he already has 10 catches this season. He finished seventh in the Heisman voting last year, which just goes to show the value he has for that Clemson team.
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
If there is someone in this class that could work their way into the top 10 with an impressive combine, that is Yetur Gross-Matos in my mind. He has shown great ability as a pass rusher over the past two years at Penn State. Gross-Matos has heavy hands that allow him to fight through blocks and turn linemen to close down openings. He is disruptive in the run game as well, shooting into the backfield to blow up plays. I expect him to work best as a down lineman in a 4-3 defense. If he can find a way to reach double-digit sacks this season, he could hear his name called very early come April.
Laviska Sheault Jr., WR, Colorado
Heading into the season, I had very high expectations for Laviska Shenault Jr. He hasn’t quite lived up to them yet, but his raw talent should see him go in the first round regardless. He excels at beating receivers off the line and making plays downfield, which is impressive for a 6’2″, 220-pound receiver. He is almost like a running back after the catch, showing good vision and power with the ball in his hands. Colorado likes to use him as a wildcat quarterback sometimes, just to get the ball in his hands. He has had some minor injuries that have kept him off the field at times this year, but his tape is very impressive.
Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Heading into the year, Walker Little was an exciting prospect who had to answer a couple questions about technique and agility. He never really got a chance to, suffering a season-ending knee injury in the season opener against Northwestern. Little has some solid tape from a year ago and has a massive frame that projects well to the next level. He is not as polished as Andrew Thomas, but he has a lot of upside. On the bright side for Little, the injury happened so early in the year that he may be able to do some drills by the time the combine rolls around to sure up his draft stock.
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Henry Ruggs might be the best playmaker in all of college football. He is electric with the ball in his hands and there is already buzz about him potentially running a sub 4.3 40-yard dash at the combine. He can get lost in the shuffle with so many great receivers playing alongside him at Alabama, but he is who the Tide turns to when they need a big play. His hands are fine and there is definitely some injury concern with him. His status is up in the air for Bama’s next game against Texas A&M after suffering a leg injury. Creating separation won’t be a problem for Ruggs who could be a fine toy for offensive coordinators to deploy.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
When it comes to Justin Herbert, the arm talent is there, but the more I watch him, the less sure I am about the rest of his game. He seems to fade a bit when Oregon faces top-tier opponents and has some small technical things he needs to clean up that affect his accuracy. While he probably has better physical tools than Tua Tagovailoa or Jake Fromm, he is not there on the mental side of things. He will need a bit of work before he is ready to be a starter in the NFL. With the right coaching though, he could be a Pro Bowl passer one day.
Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Wisconsin, much like Iowa, does an excellent job of producing players ready to make the jump to the next level. Tyler Biadasz is definitely the top interior line prospect at the point in the draft process. He gets off the line well and does a really nice job finishing blocks. He has the power to run over smaller lineman and almost never gets pushed back thanks to a strong base and good technique.
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
I did say Iowa does a good job of producing NFL talent right? Tristan Wrifs is looking like one of the top tackle prospects in the upcoming draft, with a big frame and lots of experience playing in the Big 10. What holds him back from being higher up on this list is he plays right tackle instead of left. Now, Wirfs does have the size to slide over, but he is better as a run blocker than as a pass blocke and one of the biggest knocks has been his foot speed. He has the potential to be a plug and play type pick on the right side for a team looking for line help.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
As a converted safety, Isaiah Simmons is better in coverage than your average outside linebacker. He is fast and a good tackler in space. He shows a good ability to wreck havoc in the backfield as well either as a blitzing pass rusher or against the run. As the tight end position continues to evolve, the need for teams to find players capable of covering them. Simmons should be able to do that and then some.
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
And here starts the run on cornerbacks. I will admit I haven’t really made a full determination on the order of these next three players. It feels very close to me between them all. CJ Henderson has had moments of brilliance at Florida, but has battled through injuries this year. He has good size for an NFL corner. I want to see him on the field later this year matching up with the top talent to see if he can prove his worth.
Kristian Fulton, DB, LSU
Much of what I said about Henderson applies to Kristian Fulton as well. He has faced great competition and shown flashes of potential. He thankfully hasn’t had the same injuries has Henderson, but I still want to see him prove himself late in the year.
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Teams have already picked up on the fact that throwing at Bryce Hall is a bad idea. He headlines an impressive Virginia defense fresh off a solid showing against Notre Dame. The secondary held Ian Book to just 165 yards passing and played better than that scoreline would indicate. With good size and speed, Hall has the physical tools to make an early impact at the next level.