2020 NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings

Welcome to Year 5 of the NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings! The more things change, the more things stay the same at the top. Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Florida are all still part of the top five. However, we are starting to see the on-the-field struggles for Florida State and Stanford catch up to them. Both have fallen outside the top 20 and could potentially drop out of the rankings altogether if things don’t get turned around.

I love doing these rankings every year because it shows you which schools are the best at preparing players for the NFL draft. Obviously, it should be taken into account that usually these schools are also the ones that excel in recruiting, but there is a lot more to it than that. Receiving the right exposure, playing in a specific system or especially competing against the best talent all play a role in shaping a prospects draft stock as well. This is not a predictive measurement of how well players from these schools will do in the pros. For high school prospects with dreams of playing on Sundays, these are the best programs to get you there.

Previous rankings: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016

The scoring system is as follows:
1st round-10 points
2nd round-7 points
3rd round-5 points
4th round-4 points
5th round- 3 points
6th round- 2 points
7th round- 1 points

Alabama Logo1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 315 points
Previous: 1 (281 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Quinnen Williams, 3rd Overall, 2019
This is just unbelievable. The Crimson Tide have led these rankings every single year I have made them. Their point total has reached a staggering 315, becoming the first school to eclipse the 300-mark. For the fourth straight year, Alabama had four players selected in the first round. That doesn’t include the countless players selected in the second round, third round and beyond. Ohio State closed the gap significantly, but ‘Bama is still the king.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 285 points
Previous: 2 (229 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Nick Bosa/Chase Young, 2nd Overall, 2019/2020
While Alabama is clearly the best football factory in the country, there is no question Ohio State belongs in the conversation. Ryan Day sent a huge batch of players to the NFL in 2020, including two players in the top three picks. And as if you haven’t heard already, Joe Burrow started his college career in Columbus as well. There is still a long ways to go to catch the Tide, but for the first time ever, it feels possible for the Buckeyes to take the top spot in the future.

Louisiana State University logo3. LSU Tigers- 202 points
Previous: 6 (132 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Joe Burrow, 1st Overall, 2020
This will go down as one of the greatest draft classes in NFL history. Five first-rounders and 14 players drafted in total, the latter of which was a record. Joe Burrow became just the second LSU player to go first overall in program history. I am a little skeptical that the Tigers will continue to dominate like this in the draft with so much turnover, but they became the only school other than Ohio State and Alabama to eclipse the 200-point threshold.

Clemson Logo4. Clemson Tigers- 171 points
Previous: 4 (158 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Clelin Ferrell, 4th Overall, 2019
Another team regularly producing NFL talent, it feels like Clemson is just ramping up for a special run in these rankings. The Tigers had two more first rounders this year from a draft class of seven players selected in total. Given the expectations surrounding the Tigers in 2020 and the continued pipeline of elite recruits, Clemson should be a regular in the top five and make a real run at climbing higher.

Florida logo.jpg5. Florida Gators- 161 points
Previous: 3 (166 points)
Highest Drafted Player- CJ Henderson, 9th overall, 2020
The on-field success is steadily building and the draft success is staying steady. Florida is consistently turning out players going in the first three rounds. With the Gators seemingly on the verge of breaking into college football elite, it would be a surprise to see them drop much further than this. If they could get a few more players going in the first round, they should solidify their spot in the top 5.

MichiganWolverines6. Michigan Wolverines- 144 points
Previous: 8 (127 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Devin Bush, 10th Overall, 2019
Jim Harbaugh might not be able to knock off Ohio State, but he is still ending boatloads of players to the NFL. For the second time in four years, Michigan saw its number of players drafted reach double digits. They have been a little streaky, with two years with just two players drafted in the past five drafts. While there are plenty of questions surrounding Harbaugh, he continues to prepare players for the next level.

Notre Dame Logo7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 136 points
Previous: 14 (110 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
Tied for the biggest riser in these rankings this season, it was a nice bounce back for the Fighting Irish. Even though they didn’t reach the College Football Playoff this season, Notre Dame still put together another really impressive draft class. With six players taken in the 2020 draft, including three in the first three rounds, the Irish continue to make waves. Brian Kelly continues to do a great job putting players in position to make the jump to the pros.

Oklahoma Logo8. Oklahoma Sooners- 133 points
Previous: 9 (125 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Baker Mayfield/Kyler Murray, 1st Overall, 2018/2019
With two more first-round picks, Oklahoma continues to rise up the rankings under Lincoln Riley. The Sooners seem to be on verge of becoming a football factory once again. However, after a three-year run of transfer quarterbacks either winning the Heisman or finishing as the runner up from OU, there is some uncertainty at the position. Now that won’t diminish any of the talent still existing elsewhere on this roster, but it could rob a number of players of the same big stage to showcase that talent.

Georgia Logo9. Georgia Bulldogs- 131 points
Previous: 10 (122 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Roquon Smith, 8th Overall, 2018
Another strong year for Georgia turned into another great draft class. What is impressive is that this class could have been even deeper if a few defensive stars had entered the draft and not returned to school. That sets up the Bulldogs well for continued success next year. I don’t expect them to leave the top 10 any time soon. Count on Kirby Smart to continue cultivating NFL talent.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg10. Washington Huskies- 110 points
Previous: 5 (140 points)
Highest Drafted Player- John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
After years of dominating the draft, the Huskies took a massive hit. Dropping 30 points of value is pretty steep. Washington only had two players selected in 2020 this was definitely a down year. It doesn’t help either that Jacob Eason was the first Husky taken this year in the fourth round. With a very small 2016 draft class, Washington should not fall much next year, but could be in danger in the future.

USC logo11. USC Trojans- 104 points
Previous: 13 (114 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Sam Darnold, 3rd Overall, 2018
This is not your grandfather’s or even your father’s USC. The Trojans have fallen from college football’s elite, but still seem capable of sending some top-tier talent to the NFL. Having two players drafted in the first 33 selection is a really nice start, but Austin Jackson and Michael Pittman ended up being the only Trojans taken. More depth would be nice going forward considering USC dropped points, but still moved up.

Auburn_Tigers_logo12. Auburn Tigers- 101 points
Previous: 19 (82 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Derrick Brown, 7th Overall, 2020
Derrick Brown and Noah Igbinoghene were Auburn’s first first-round selections since 2014. This class had depth beyond those two as well, which led to a nice jump up this list. The Tigers have not been at the same level as they were at the beginning of last decade, but these are the type of years that make you believe Auburn still has it when it comes to producing NFL prospects.

Penn_State_text_logo13. Penn State Nittany Lions- 100 points
Previous: 17 (93 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Saquon Barkley, 2nd Overall, 2018
Saquon Barkley still stands alone as the only Penn State player selected in the first round since 2010. However, a pair of second rounders and a few late-round selections still created a solid class. James Franklin is still a step behind Ohio State and Michigan, both on the field and in these rankings. Given that the Nittany Lions have clawed their way into the top 15, I think its fair to say they are trending in the right direction when it comes to preparing players for the next level.

UCLA logo.jpg14. UCLA Bruins- 98 points
Previous: 15 (100 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Josh Rosen, 10th Overall, 2018
The on-field product has been rocky so far in the Chip Kelly era, but Oregon became a pipeline to the NFL under his tutelage. The Bruins have been a constant in these rankings, even in some of their leaner years. If Kelly can put his stamp on the program, I have a feeling that will continue and we could possibly see UCLA climb back up the ranks.

Ole_Miss_Rebels_logo15. Ole Miss Rebels- 93 points
Previous: 15 (100 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Laremy Tunsil, 13th Overall, 2016
Trouble is on the horizon. While Ole Miss didn’t slide, this team is trending in the wrong direction. Not a single player from the program heard his name called in the 2020 draft. The Rebels produced a monster class in 2016, featuring three first-round picks. With this being the last year that class will be included in these rankings, I think it is fair to expect a huge drop off in the 2021 rankings. However, Lane Kiffin is in charge now and could very well turn this around. While a dip is coming, Kiffin is the type of recruiter that could have Ole Miss surging back soon after.

1000px-mississippi_state_bulldogs_logo.svg_16. Mississippi State Bulldogs- 91 points
Previous: 18 (86 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jeffery Simmons, 19th Overall, 2019
It might not be a star-studded group, but the 2020 draft class looks pretty solid for Mississippi State. On one side of things, the Bulldogs continue to send players to the NFL with consistency. However, there are a number of players who have slipped into the middle rounds of the draft that have had a lot of success. It begs questions about Mississippi State ability to elevate their player’s stock the same way other top programs have. It will be really interesting to see how this develops with Mike Leach taking over in Starkville.

Texas A&M logo17. Texas A&M Aggies- 90 points
Previous: 16 (95 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
Jimbo Fisher has yet to reach the same heights he hit at Florida State. He hasn’t quite hit the same level at producing NFL talent yet since taking over at Texas A&M either. However, we could see that change pretty soon. Fisher’s first full recruiting class will be draft eligible this year, which could see them start to climb in these rankings. They are a team to watch with interest over the next few seasons.

Utah_Utes_logo17. Utah Utes- 90 points
Previous: 20 (81 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Garrett Bolles, 20th Overall, 2017
For the third time in four years, Utah has filled the middle rounds of the NFL draft. 2018 was a bit of a dud, with only one player taken. Outside of that, the Utes have sent eight, five and now seven players respectively to league. Utah has been knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff. If they can break through, we could start to see a few of these players start to go in the big money rounds.

iowa_wordmark19. Iowa Hawkeyes – 86 points
Previous: 20 (81 points)
Highest Drafted Player- T.J. Hockenson, 8th Overall, 2019
When you think of old-school NFL factories, Iowa definitely comes to mind. While the Hawkeyes might not be the best, they certainly have a knack for sending at least a few players to the next level. Iowa has had at least three players taken in each of the past four drafts. Given that the team’s 2016 group consisted of just one seventh-round pick, there is plenty of potential for a rise in next year’s rankings with another good class.

Miami logo19. Miami Hurricanes- 86 points
Previous: 11 (117 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Artie Burns, 25th Overall, 2016
The U isn’t quite back yet. They are definitely getting close though. Miami had a respectable four players selected, but none went before the fourth round. With a few potential first-round prospects for 2021, the Hurricanes could be in line for a quick bounce back, but this has been a disappointing stretch for Miami’s NFL production.

Stanford Cardinal21. Stanford Cardinal- 85 points
Previous: 12 (116 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
When I started these rankings back in 2016, Stanford ranked seventh and was still riding the Andrew Luck years. While there have been a handful of top prospects to emerge since then, this has to be a disappointment to fall outside the top 20. The Cardinal had only two players selected in 2020, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. David Shaw has his work cut out for him to get Stanford back to national relevance and seeing more players take the next step in their football careers.

1000px-north_carolina_state_university_athletic_logo.svg_22. North Carolina State Wolfpack- 83 points
Previous: 22 (79 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Bradley Chubb, 5th Overall, 2018
It was a quiet year for the Wolfpack, but they are mostly surviving off a great 2018 draft class. They did have Garrett Bradbury go in the 2019 first round as well. Just two draft picks in 2020, one in the fifth and one in the seventh, isn’t too impressive though. It will be interesting to see which direction NC State is heading by next year.

Florida State Logo23. Florida State Seminoles- 80 points
Previous: 6 (132 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jalen Ramsey, 5th Overall, 2016
Talk about the bottom falling out. Florida State started out at No. 2 in these rankings back in 2016. The program has been a mess in recent years and it was only a matter of time before these rankings began to reflect that. With just a single player selected in 2020, the fall might not be over for the Seminoles.

1280px-TCU_Horned_Frogs_logo24. TCU Horned Frogs- 79 points
Previous: Not ranked (55 points)
Highest Draft Player- Jalen Reagor, 21st Overall, 2020
For the first time in school history, TCU had two players selected in the first round as both Jalen Reagor and Jeff Gladney heard their names called. This is also the first time the Horned Frogs have entered these rankings. With five draft picks in 2020 and at least three players selected in four of the past five drafts, TCU has potential to stick around. Hopefully, Gary Patterson is up to the task.

Wisconsin logo25. Wisconsin Badgers- 73 points
Previous: 25 (74 points)
Highest Drafted Player- T.J. Watt, 30th Overall, 2017
The Badgers had a solid if unspectacular 2020 draft class. They failed to land a player in the first round, but they did have four players come off the board and all before the sixth round. Wisconsin debuted in these rankings at 15 back in 2016 so dropping to the edge is definitely disappointing. That being said, you can count on a few Badgers being selected in the middle rounds of the draft just about every year like clockwork.

Others Receiving Votes: West Virginia (63 points), Boston College (56 points), Temple (56 points)

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

2020 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 100

Declaration are coming in fast and furious. Tua Tagovailoa finally ended the wait as he declared on Monday, which is why these are coming out on Tuesday morning. The wide receiver class still looks incredible, but has lost a good chunk of its depth. We are still waiting for a number of players to make their final decisions and this board will change dramatically for February following the Senior Bowl. For where we are though in early January, this is where my board stands.

Now to clarify, big boards are meant to focus on the talent and upside of these prospects, almost in a vacuum. For more of how they will sort themselves out at the next level in terms of fit and value, that can be found in my latest mock draft, a three rounder right after the NFL regular season ended.

Ohio State Logo1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
No one should be questioning this any more. Chase Young is a special talent who will immediately transform a franchise’s front seven. If not for the need at quarterback, I would expect him to be the top pick in the draft.

LSU Logo2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
It has been an incredible run for Joe Burrow. He has rocketed up draft boards. He was not in my top 25 in September and was No. 17 in late October. His performances against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Oklahoma show why he is an elite quarterback prospect.

Ohio State Logo3. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
There might not be a larger gap between the top player and the next best prospect at a position in this class than Jeff Okudah and every other corner. He mirrors receivers exceptionally well and closes so well on the ball. Okudah should be a shutdown corner at the next level.

Alabama Logo4. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
In terms of physical tools and positive traits, Jerry Jeudy has everything you could ask for. He has struggled with some drops this season, but his route running and athleticism is top notch. He should still be the first receiver off the board.

Clemson Logo5. Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Is he a safety? Is he a linebacker? Does it matter? Isaiah Simmons is a Swiss-army knife. In the right defense, he can be a game-wrecker. His versatility is second to none. His speed and instincts make him a good fit for just about any defense.

Oklahoma Logo6. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
This receiver class is incredible. CeeDee Lamb would be the top option in most draft classes and showed off once again against LSU. Even though Oklahoma got blown out, Lamb had a great game against a talented secondary.

iowa_wordmark7. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
It was a slow start to the year for A.J. Epenesa, but he finished playing some of the best football in the country. He has the size and technique to be a great 4-3 defensive end. I will need to go back to the film to figure out why he struggled out of the gate, but he destroyed USC’s Austin Jackson in the Holiday Bowl.

Georgia Logo8. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Andrew Thomas is still the top offensive tackle on my board, but the gap has closed considerably. He has prototypical size, and has shown solid power as a run blocker. I like him a lot as a pass blocker and he is certainly battle-tested after playing for three years in the SEC.

Alabama Logo9. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The reason the gap has closed on Andrew Thomas is because of the rise of Jedrick Wills. He played right tackle protecting Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside this season. He moves like an NFL tackle and should be able to contribute very early in his career.

Auburn_Tigers_logo10. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Looking at Derrick Brown, he is an incredibly talented player. However, his overall value at the NFL level is up for debate. He will lock down the middle against the run, but he does not disrupt the passing game quite as much. Given the direction the NFL is headed, that could cause him to slide a little bit.

Alabama Logo11. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
We finally know! Tua Tagovailoa prevents this from being an underwhelming quarterback class. His injury history makes him a riskier prospect than we figured entering the year, but his upside is still tremendous.

Alabama Logo12. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
I cannot wait to watch Henry Ruggs run the 40 at the NFL combine. It will just be fun. He is a speedster with great ball skills and the ideal frame to compete in the pros. Ruggs will fundamentally change just about any offense he lands in.

Wisconsin logo13. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
I am a bit higher on Tyler Biadasz than most, but that is because he is such a rock-solid prospect. He moves well, brings a level of toughness needed to play along the interior of the offensive line and understands blocking schemes.

Clemson Logo14. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Tee Higgins still has a great opportunity to bolster his draft stock. He will go up against some great defensive backs in the national title game. His size and body control make him a monster big-play threat.

iowa_wordmark15. Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
I am still undecided for where exactly Tristan Wirfs will fit in the NFL. He has the size and build of a guard, but he moves more like a tackle. He reminds me a lot of Brandon Scherff. He should be a good player, but he might be best-suited to play on the interior.

LSU Logo16. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Grant Delpit has the play style of an elite NFL safety. He just has missed a few plays this year. Physically, I think he will transition well, but he just needs to improve his tackling to warrant being a top-20 draft pick.

South Carolina logo17. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
There is no better interior pass rusher in this draft class than Javon Kinlaw. His numbers might not bear that out, but he moves so well for his size. Kinlaw constantly faced double teams as well and still managed to make an impact.

Georgia Logo18. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The hype has cooled on D’Andre Swift after a lackluster close to the season. Swift still checks all the boxes for a top-tier NFL running back. He has enough receiving work and a light enough college work load to make you feel good about his ability to contribute in all facets of the offense.

LSU Logo19. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
I know recency bias is a real thing, but it is hard not to be impressed with his most recent tape. Justin Jefferson separates well and understands how to be effective as a route runner. Barring a terrible game against Clemson, he should land in the first round.

LSU Logo20. Kristian Fulton, DB, LSU
Kristian Fulton tracks the ball well and has the size needed to compete in the NFL. He needs to work on his hand usage and continue working on his technique. The biggest knock on Fulton’s play this year is he might be the third-best player in his own secondary.

colorado_buffaloes_alternate_logo21. Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
There is not as much hype around Laviska Shenault Jr. as a lot of the other top receivers, but he should be in the same conversation. His athleticism and versatility make him a great option to work into any offense. His production took a hit, but he was dealing with injuries during the year.

Stanford Cardinal22. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Teams looking for a ball-hawking corner will be high on Paulson Adebo. He has the size and physicality to fit well into zone-heavy defenses. He closes well on the ball and shows the ball skills to make impact plays.

1280px-boise_state_22b22_logo.svg_23. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Curtis Weaver wraps up a great career at Boise State, finishing with 34 career sacks over his three years. He should be a situational pass rusher who can work his way into an every-down player before too long.

Ohio State Logo24. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
J.K. Dobbins took a big bump after his performance vs. Clemson, but he has been building toward this in the second half of the year. His speed and hard-nosed style should translate well. His production makes him very enticing.

Penn State logo25. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
In addition to being a great pass rusher, Yetur Gross-Matos is a high-motor, high-character prospect. His production speaks for itself. Those other intangibles make it easy to feel good about building your culture and improving your football team.

Florida logo26. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
There is a bit of a troubling trend among Florida corners headed to the NFL. Vernon Hargreaves, Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson have all failed to translate. That shouldn’t rule out CJ Henderson because each prospect is unique, but he will require some extra film study.

Alabama Logo27. Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Terrell Lewis projects as a great NFL pass rusher. He has the size, bend and speed to play as an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme. Lewis bounced back well after missing 2018 due to injury.

Oregon logo28. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Traits wise, Justin Herbert could be top of this class. He has the size, arm talent and mobility that fits the bill for a prototypical pro passer. His film tells a different story. He will be an interesting study in the pre-draft process.

Oklahoma Logo29. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
NFL teams are looking to add speed on defense more and more. That could push Kenneth Murray up a lot of draft boards. He made a lot of plays in a wide open conference. He has sideline-to-sideline linebacker potential.

Alabama Logo30. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
With his size and athleticism, Trevon Diggs has the tools to be a starting corner in the NFL. He got beat up a bit by JaMar Chase when Alabama played LSU, which just goes to show he still has a bit of refining to do.

Alabama Logo31. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Xavier McKinney brings brash confidence and proven playmaking ability to the table. He has the versatility to drop back in coverage or make plays around the line of scrimmage.

Oklahoma Logo32. Creed Humphrey, G, Oklahoma
Much like Tyler Biadasz, Creed Humphrey feels like a very safe pick. He will come in and play consistently from day one. He can lock up well in pass protection and is used to playing with mobile quarterbacks.

LSU Logo33. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
K’Lavon Chaisson is one of the most intriguing draft prospects this year. He plays extremely fast and can be disruptive as a pass rusher. He is a bit undersized though and struggles to set the edge against the run. He will start as a situational pass rusher. Teams will have to hope he can develop into more than that.

250px-tcu_horned_frogs_logo.svg_34. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
He is an aggressive receiver who plays much bigger than his size. Jalen Reagor did not put up the same kind of numbers in 2019, but that does not diminish the speed and toughness he brings to the position.

Notre Dame Logo35. Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Julian Okwara is another good fit to be a 4-3 defensive end who can rush the passer. He is not the most physically imposing, but he can use his quickness to set up opposing lineman well.

Notre Dame Logo36. Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
I will be honest, I haven’t done a ton of homework on Cole Kmet yet. He has the physical tools to be a great tight end in the NFL. He should be a bit more complete than his counterparts in this class.

Clemson Logo37. A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
After a solid showing in the College Football Playoff semifinal, A.J. Terrell should be sitting somewhere in the top 50 on a lot of draft boards. He has good technique in coverage, which serves him well downfield.

Wisconsin logo38. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
There are two big red flags with Jonathan Taylor: fumbling and longevity. He just wrapped up one of the great careers we have ever seen, but he also has close to 1,000 career touches. That could end up causing him to break down earlier at a particularly bruising position. He also finished with 18 career fumbles.

800px-virginia_cavaliers_wordmark39. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
I wish Bryce Hall hadn’t gotten hurt. I’m sure he does too, but I would have loved to see him play against Clemson and Florida to close the year. His impact on Virginia’s defense cannot be overstated. He was a true leader for that group.

USC logo40. Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Talk about being a quarterback’s safety blanket. Michael Pittman finished with the fourth-most catches in college football this season. He should be a solid possession receiver with the potential to make the occasional big play. I like his consistency.

300px-california_golden_bears_logo.svg_41. Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Cal finished the season on a high note by cruising past Illinois. Ashtyn Davis is drawing a lot of attention as well. His speed is great, as he is a member of the school’s track team. He will give a defensive coordinator a lot to work with when it comes to molding his game.

USC logo42. Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I had been leaning toward pushing Austin Jackson into the top 30 before the Holiday Bowl. He got worked over by A.J. Epenesa, but he also won a couple of those matchups. Those flashes show what Jackson can be with a bit more work on his hand placement and footwork.

Clemson Logo43. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Travis Etienne showed once again why he is one of the most explosive players in college football. He is a tough runner with a lot of heart. The concern is his vision. He struggles to find the hole sometimes, meaning he can strung out or get caught up with trying to hit a home run instead of taking what is available to him.

Ohio State Logo44. Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
In the right system, Malik Harrison can be a disruptive force. We saw that this year as Ohio State allowed him to attack downhill more often and utilized him as a playmaker. If he can improve on his reading of opposing offenses, he will be a very solid player.

MichiganWolverines45. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Coming out of an offense that had other solid receivers and that didn’t throw the ball a ton, Donovan Peoples-Jones’ numbers won’t pop out at you. He only 438 yards receiving this year, actually down from last year. His physical talent should lead to more production in the NFL.

Alabama Logo46. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Najee Harris might be the most complete back in this class. He is not elite at much, but he does a lot well. He can be elusive or powerful in his running style. He has great athleticism, but not game-breaking speed. He showed some pass-catching ability this year as well. He reminds me a bit of Chris Carson.

Oklahoma Logo47. Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
One of the more proven prospects in this range, Neville Gallimore will offer a steady interior presence who looks pro ready. His ceiling is not crazy high, but he has some craftiness to his pass rush style that should make him effective.

512px-oklahoma_state_university_athletics_logo_28four_colors29.svg_48. Chubba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
There might not be a player that meant more to his offense than Chuba Hubbard did to Oklahoma State. He led the country in rushes and yards this season. He has the top-end speed teams will love.

237px-arizona_state_sun_devils_baseball_logo.svg_49. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Capable of taking the top off defenses, Brandon Aiyuk could move up after the Senior Bowl and combine. He got overshadowed a lot because he was playing for a middling team, but the talent is there.

Wisconsin logo50. Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
Zack Baun definitely strikes me as a prospect that is scheme specific. He is smart and pretty refined. I think there might be some physical limitations to his game though, which could limit his upside.

Washington Huskies logo51. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
From an arm talent perspective, Jacob Eason is an NFL quarterback. Unfortunately, he seems to lack the mobility and possibly the poise to play the position. This was his first year starting in a new system, so maybe he can learn over time, but he struggled at points this season.

logo_of_university_of_houston_athletics52. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Down the line, Josh Jones could be a starting left tackle in the NFL. He is still a little raw despite being a fifth-year senior. If he can be brought up to speed, he should be able to hold his own and develop.

Alabama Logo53. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
With a massive frame, Raekwon Davis certainly stands out. He just never really made the jump many anticipated. He should still be a serviceable NFL player, but he might never be a star.

176px-purdue_boilermakers_logo.svg_54. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
In a weak tight end class, Brycen Hopkins had a real chance to be the top one taken until Cole Kmet announced he was leaving Notre Dame. Hopkins is a solid receiver with decent route-running savvy. He is not a blocker though, limiting his upside.

Auburn_Tigers_logo55. Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
There is something to work with in Prince Tega Wanogho. He looks like he understands his assignments well, picking up stunts. He fared decently well against good competition. He is not a mauler, but he is pretty technically sound.

Louisville logo56. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
One of the largest players in the draft, Mekhi Becton will likely get a look from some teams wanting a tackle project. Others could want to kick him inside given his size. You can’t coach length though, which is why teams will be interested in him.

Florida logo57. Jonathan Greenard, LB, Florida
Jonathan Greenard is shaping up to be a solid pass rusher. He finished the year with 9.5 sacks. It was a good sign after he sat out 2018 due to transfer rules. He proved himself in the SEC this year and should warrant Day 2 consideration.

202px-tennessee_volunteers_logo.svg_58. Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
After starting at left tackle in 2018, Trey Smith kicked inside and showed why he is a future NFL guard. He has raw power that he uses well. His medical past is a huge red flag with blood clots in his lungs costing him a lot of games during his career.

Penn State logo59. KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
I am not as high on the speedster from Penn State as others. KJ Hamler is very small at 5’9″, 176 pounds. He seems destined to be a slot receiver. That doesn’t mean he won’t be effective, but I think it limits his upside.

250px-tcu_horned_frogs_logo.svg_60. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
While the Big 12 might not feature the best defenses, there are a lot of high-flying offenses Jeff Gladney had to go up against. He understands the technique required to play outside corner, even if he can’t always make the necessary play.

Washington Huskies logo61. Nick Harris, OL, Washington
While he struggled at times in pass protection this year, Nick Harris has the footwork and size to translate well at the next level. He could help himself a lot in Mobile.

Oregon logo62. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Troy Dye would never be considered an NFL linebacker 10 years ago. As teams have opted for more speed on defense though, smaller linebackers have become more common. Dye likely needs to add a bit to his frame still to really sift though traffic and make plays, but he has a nose for the ball.

Washington Huskies logo63. Trey Adams, OT, Washington
From a size profile, Trey Adams looks like an NFL tackle. He shows good initial punch to stem bullrushes and navigates well in the run game. The biggest question is his ability to move in space and slide as a pass blocker. He is someone to watch in Mobile.

Ohio State Logo64. Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Damon Arnette made a good impression vs. Clemson with some solid play. He excels in press man coverage. If he shows out at the Senior Bowl, he could crack the top 50.

1000px-mississippi_state_bulldogs_logo.svg_65. Daryl Williams, OL, Mississippi State
With the size needed to play inside, there is some concern about Daryl Williams’ power. He offers some flexibility along the interior, but he will have to do some work in an NFL weight room to be ready for the next level.

Texas A&M logo66. Justin Mandubuike, DL, Texas A&M
With solid measurables and an SEC pedigree, Justin Mandubuike will be on scouts radars headed into the combine. He still has a ways to go with his technique and foundation, but those are things that can be fixed with good coaching.

Washington Huskies logo67. Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
After catching passes from Jacob Eason all year, Hunter Bryant could shoot up some draft boards if he puts up gaudy numbers in Indianapolis. He doesn’t have a ton of film because of some injuries that kept him out during his first two years.

Utah_Utes_logo68. Jaylon Johnson, DB, Utah
Jaylon Johnson will be a player to watch at the Senior Bowl. He has some work to do technique wise. Given time, he could develop into a good outside option.

250px-tcu_horned_frogs_logo.svg_69. Lucas Niang, OL, TCU
Projecting as a right tackle, Lucas Niang saw his season end early. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. He has the necessary power to play on the right side.

350px-utah_state_aggies_logo.svg_70. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
While many will have Jordan Love mocked in the first round, I have a round 3 grade on him currently. He had a pretty rough season at Utah State without a ton of proven talent around him. His decision making was particularly concerning.

MichiganWolverines71. Ben Bredeson, OL, Michigan
Ben Bredeson has the power to be a punishing blocker along the interior of the offensive line. Scouts will like his size and ability to set up blocks at the second level.

Miami logo72. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami
Playing as an off-ball linebacker, Shaquille Quarterman was around the ball a lot. He finished the year with 107 tackles. He could be a projectable starter down the line.

1000px-mississippi_state_bulldogs_logo.svg_73. Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
At 6’2″, Cameron Dantzler is well-position to climb up the board if he runs well at the combine. NFL teams love corners that have a mixture of size and speed.

Clemson Logo74. John Simpson, G, Clemson
If you want an interior lineman with lots of big game experience, John Simpson is your guy. He will start his third straight national championship game on Monday.

vanderbilt_commodores75. Jared Pickney, TE, Vanderbilt
Jared Pickney might not be the most polished receiving tight end in this class, but he brings some blocking to the table as well. He has the potential to be a well-rounded starting option.

800px-fresno_state_bulldogs_baseball_logo.svg_76. Netane Muti, OL, Fresno State
Long term potential is big for Netane Muti. He does not figure to be a day one starter, but could develop into a quality lineman with the right coaching.

Michigan State logo77. Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
At times, Kenny Willekes can wreck games. He seems like a solid situational rusher with a high floor and low ceiling.

202px-tennessee_volunteers_logo.svg_78. Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
With his ability to drop into coverage and rush the passer, Darrell Taylor should find himself on the field right away. He will have a long way to go as run defender though.

Georgia Logo79. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
No one player has slid more for me this year than Jake Fromm. He could be a great NFL quarterback in the right system surrounded by the right talent. He has an average arm, but good pocket presence. His athleticism leaves something to be desired as well.

Utah_Utes_logo80. Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
Considering how big Leki Fotu is, he is explosive off the line of scrimmage. If he can develop some consistency, he could end up being a steal.

Oregon logo81. Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
It is hard to say what Calvin Throckmorton’s best fit is at the next level. He the size to play outside, but seems to lack the footwork. He could kick inside, but he would have to refine his technique there. He offers a project with lots of upside.

Georgia Logo82. Monty Rice, LB, Georgia
From an athleticism and size standpoint, Monty Rice is NFL ready. He just needs to put it all together to really capitalize on all the raw talent.

Missouri logo83. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Albert Okwuegbunam was definitely underutilized at Missouri. Going from Drew Lock to Kelly Bryant at quarterback, his numbers declined a bit. His size and route running will make him more valuable at the next level.

202px-syracuse_orange_logo.svg_84. Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
After an up and down career at Syracuse, Alton Robinson feels like a bit of a boom or bust pick. He had 10 sacks in 2018, but dipped to just 4.5 in 2019. He has potential, but consistency could be his biggest weakness.

Oregon logo85. Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
Oregon had one of the best offensive lines in the country this year. Shane Lemieux played his part well. He is a polished blocker with limited athletic upside.

Clemson Logo86. K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
Great as a blitzer from the secondary, K’Von Wallace is a fun player for Brent Venables to use in his defense. He has enough versatility to find his way onto the field.

300px-california_golden_bears_logo.svg_87. Evan Weaver, LB, Cal
A tackling machine, Evan Weaver lead the nation in tackles this season. He obviously has a good nose for the football and produces well.

Utah_Utes_logo88. Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
With good speed off the edge, Bradlee Anae looks the part of a 3-4 stand up rusher. He is not crazy athletic, but he shows good burst to make some high-impact plays.

Florida State Logo89. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
Hamsah Nasirildeen is a bit taller than most safeties, but lighter than most linebackers. He could be an interesting box safety type at the next level in the right defense.

250px-ucf_knights_logo.svg_90. Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
Following a monster season, Gabriel Davis decided to leave early for the draft. He has good size and produced well this season. If he can post good times in the three-cone drill and 40-yard dash, he could push himself into the second round conversation with so many receivers returning to school.

Florida logo91. Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Injuries limited Jabari Zuniga to just five games this season. He has shown flashes of top-end pass rushing ability, but it is hard to know if he can be reliable.

Auburn_Tigers_logo92. Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
Marlon Davidson is a bit of a tweaner in the sense that he could be an end in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. He would probably need to bulk up a bit more in a 3-4, but still possesses the requisite strength. He has a lot to clean up technically.

Alabama Logo93. Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
Earning his way into playing time as a block shedder, Anfernee Jennings is not an explosive athlete. He understands how to use his size and strength to reach the quarterback though.

uconn_logo194. Matthew Peart, OT, UConn
Mostly untested, Matthew Peart is starting to catch the eye of NFL scouts with his size and traits. He is fairly raw and definitely needs a few years to develop.

Auburn_Tigers_logo95. Nick Coe, DL, Auburn
Surrounded by great talent on the defensive line at Auburn, Nick Coe has stood out as a solid run stopper. He did not register a sack in 2019, but should be a solid 3-4 defensive end.

minnesotagoldengophers96. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
The community is very split on him. Tyler Johnson had a phenomenal year at Minnesota, but did not receive a Senior Bowl invite. He has displayed above average route running with good enough hands to make the jump.

Baylor logo97. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
A great athlete, Denzel Mims posted some monster numbers down the stretch. He benefited from playing some bad Big 12 defenses, but his size and body control should see him translate well.

iowa_wordmark98. Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
Not as highly touted as his teammate Tristan Wirfs, Alaric Jackson is actually the one playing left tackle at Iowa. His massive frame could make him a projectable starter down the line.

Texas_Longhorns_logo99. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
With his speed and savvy, Devin Duvernay became Sam Ehlinger’s favorite target this season. He can operate out of the slot, but needs to improve his route running.

Oregon logo100. Jake Hansen, OL, Oregon
As the leader of this Oregon offensive line, Jake Hansen could be another Duck joining the pro ranks. He won’t blow you away with his game, but he holds up well in protection.

For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.

2019 NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings

For many college football players, the goal is to have success at school to earn a spot in the NFL. Most players who turn pro after college enter the league via the NFL Draft.

Somehow, this is already the fourth year of these NFL Pro Potential Power Rankings. The player pool being considered still dates back five years, meaning the 2014 class is no longer relevant to these rankings. There was a ton of movement this season, including two new teams in the top five and three new teams to the rankings overall.

The goal of these rankings is to quantify the results of the past few NFL drafts and track which schools succeed year over year at sending players to the next level. This is not meant to determine how well those players perform at the next level, as it is much harder to quantify what constitutes being a successful NFL player. This is still one of the most fun projects I have taken on since starting this site.

Previous rankings: 2018, 2017, 2016

The scoring system is as follows:
1st round-10 points
2nd round-7 points
3rd round-5 points
4th round-4 points
5th round- 3 points
6th round- 2 points
7th round- 1 points

Alabama Logo1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 281 points
Previous: 1 (263 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Amari Cooper, 4th Overall, 2015
Somehow, Alabama is actually stretching its lead at the top of these rankings. After sending another 11 prospects to the league, the most of any school, the Crimson Tide comfortable sits at the top of these rankings. It is ridiculous how far ahead of the pack Nick Saban is every year.

Ohio State Logo2. Ohio State Buckeyes- 229 points
Previous: 2 (232 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Nick Bosa, 2nd Overall, 2019
It was another solid draft class for Ohio State with Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins both going in the first round. The Buckeyes continued its trend of sending massive draft classes with 10 total prospects selected in 2019. Even with Ryan Day taking over for Urban Meyer, there is no chance Ohio State leaves the top two any time soon.

Florida logo.jpg3. Florida Gators- 166 points
Previous: 3 (163 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Dante Fowler Jr., 3rd Overall, 2015
Florida bounced back after an off year in 2018. The Gators 2019 class did not feature any first round picks, but saw a player selected in rounds two through five. Florida is going to need to land some first rounders in the future though if it wants to stay in the top 5.

Clemson Logo4. Clemson Tigers- 158 points
Previous: 6 (139 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Clelin Ferrell, 4th Overall, 2019
This is the type of draft we all knew Clemson was capable of having. With three first round draft picks, the Tigers roared into the top 5 and gave themselves a very good base to build on. Expect Dabo Swinney to continue sending top tier talent to the next level.

Washington Huskies logo.jpg5. Washington Huskies- 140 points
Previous: 11 (112 points)
Highest Drafted Player- John Ross, 9th Overall, 2017
It is time to start recognizing Washington as a top-tier producer of NFL draft picks. The Huskies have had at least one player drafted in the first round in four of the last five drafts. Kaleb McGary becomes the latest to join the group. What pushes Washington into this spot is its success in the second round, with three more second rounders coming in 2019.

Florida State Logo6. Florida State Seminoles- 132 points
Previous: 4 (160 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jameis Winston, 1st Overall, 2015
It should come as no surprise that Florida State is slipping in these rankings after another tough season in the ACC. The departure of Jimbo Fisher is not going to help matters at all. The Seminoles ranking is heavily tied to its 2015 draft class, which will drop out of consideration in next year’s rankings.

Louisiana State University logo6. LSU Tigers- 132 points
Previous: 5 (155 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Leonard Fournette, 4th Overall, 2017
LSU did produce a top-five pick in Devin White this season. However, White was one of just three Tigers drafted in 2019. While LSU will certainly stay in the rankings producing first round picks, it needs to fill in the gaps in later rounds.

MichiganWolverines8. Michigan Wolverines- 127 points
Previous: 14 (110 points)
Highest Drafted Player-
Michigan put together a solid class to build on the ridiculous class it produced in 2017. Devin Bush and Rashan Gary going in the first round headlined a five-man class. Considering the rate Jim Harbaugh attracts talent to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines should stay in the top 10.

Oklahoma Logo9. Oklahoma Sooners- 125 points
Previous: 18 (90 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Baker Mayfield / Kyler Murray, 1st Overall, 2018 / 2019
Meet the new college football powerhouse in these rankings. Oklahoma became the first school to ever produce two first overall picks at the same position in back-to-back years. Kyler Murray and Marquis “Hollywood” Brown lead a stacked class. The Sooners will continue to rise in the rankings with most of their points being tied to it’s two most recent draft classes.

Georgia Logo10. Georgia Bulldogs- 122 points
Previous: 16 (99 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Roquon Smith, 8th Overall, 2018
Considering Georgia’s success in recent college football seasons, it should come as no surprise Kirby Smart and company crack the top 10. Outside of a very quiet 2017 draft, the Bulldogs regularly send a half dozen players or more to the next level. This season was no exception.

Miami logo11. Miami Hurricanes- 117 points
Previous: 13 (111 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Ereck Flowers, 9th Overall, 2015
This was a quietly solid draft class for Miami. While the Canes did not produce any draft picks before Day 3 of the draft, five players were drafted on Saturday. Miami will certainly hope to land a couple players higher in the draft going forward, but these types of drafts will keep the Hurricanes from dropping out of the top 20.

Stanford Cardinal12. Stanford Cardinal- 116 points
Previous: 9 (115 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Solomon Thomas, 3rd Overall, 2017
Another solid if unspectacular draft class from Palo Alto sees the Cardinal drop from the top 10. Stanford is still very much in the mix, having a player drafted rounds two through six. As long as David Shaw sticks around, so, too, will Stanford in these rankings.

USC logo13. USC Trojans- 114 points
Previous: 10 (114 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Sam Darnold, 3rd Overall, 2018
USC definitely put up a much flashier draft class in 2018, featuring a top-five pick. With a pair of third rounders and a pair of fifth rounders, the Trojans might continue to find themselves outside the top 10. The struggles USC has had on the field reflect the lack of NFL ready talent coming out of Southern California right now.

Notre Dame Logo14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- 110 points
Previous: 8 (116 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Ronnie Stanley, 6th Overall, 2016
In the past, the this part of the rankings has had very small margins. This year is no different. While this looks like a massive drop for Notre Dame, producing an additional second round pick would have held the Irish at 11th instead of 14th. This class has good depth, with six players drafted overall. Considering the Irish regularly feature in the College Football Playoff, they should bounce back.

UCLA logo.jpg15. UCLA Bruins- 100 points
Previous: 7 (126 points)
Highest Drafted Player-
This was a really rough draft class for UCLA, who produced just one player. It was Mr. Irrelevant Caleb Wilson. One seventh round pick does not inspire confidence. A small 2015 draft class might prevent the Bruins from dropping too much next year, but their spot in these rankings will definitely be in question going forward.

Ole_Miss_Rebels_logo15. Ole Miss Rebels- 100 points
Previous: 21 (77 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Laremy Tunsil, 13th Overall, 2016
Ole Miss had a very underrated 2019 draft class. Three second round picks propel the Rebels to the top 15. Even with program turnover, being an SEC team in a good state to recruit should keep the NFL-level talent flowing.

Texas A&M logo16. Texas A&M Aggies- 95 points
Previous: 15 (102 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Myles Garrett, 1st Overall, 2017
The arrival of Jimbo Fisher should stabilize Texas A&M over the next few seasons. He built a juggernaut at Florida State and can likely take credit for a lot of their ensuing draft success. My assumption here is the Aggies will climb in the rankings while the Seminoles slowly slip.

Penn_State_text_logo17. Penn State Nittany Lions- 93 points
Previous: 19 (85 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Saquon Barkley, 2nd Overall, 2018
Another year, another season without a first round pick for Penn State. Saquon Barkley is the Nittany Lions’ only first round selection since 2010. This year, the impact was minimized as Penn State still had six players drafted, one in each round following the first.

1000px-mississippi_state_bulldogs_logo.svg_18. Mississippi State Bulldogs- 86 points
Previous: Unranked (52 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Jeffery Simmons, 19th Overall, 2019
Welcome to the rankings Mississippi State. A massive draft class featuring three first round selections vaults the Bulldogs into the top 20. It was only a matter of time considering the level of success players have had at the NFL level in recent years (Chris Jones, Dak Prescott, Preston Smith). Now teams are heading back to the well earlier and more often. Mississippi State is here to stay.

Auburn_Tigers_logo19. Auburn Tigers- 82 points
Previous: 17 (92 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Braden Smith, 37th Overall, 2018
Without a player drafted in the first two rounds, Auburn filled up the later rounds. Six total Tiger players heard there name called during draft weekend. Auburn remains one of the only teams in the rankings to not produce a first round pick in the past five years. The uncertainty surrounding Gus Malzahn’s future doesn’t help.

iowa_wordmark20. Iowa Hawkeyes – 81 points
Previous: 23 (67 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Branden Scherff, 5th Overall, 2015
Iowa became the first school to have two tight ends drafted in the first round ever. The Hawkeyes quietly produce a lot of NFL talent without usually being in the regular top-25 conversation. Outside of 2016, Iowa has produced multiple NFL draft picks every season.

Utah_Utes_logo20. Utah Utes- 81 points
Previous: 25 (66 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Garrett Bolles, 20th Overall, 2017
Once again, the Utes produced five mid and late round draft picks. Utah is becoming a traditional NFL factory after appearing in these rankings for three straight years. It is unlikely they climb much higher without starting to produce more top-end picks, but the Utes do more than enough to hang onto their spot.

1000px-north_carolina_state_university_athletic_logo.svg_22. North Carolina State Wolfpack- 79 points
Previous: Others Receiving Votes (62 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Bradley Chubb, 5th Overall, 2018
Name the school with the most quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters. If you guessed NC State, well done. Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson (transferred to Wisconsin), Mike Glennon, Jacoby Brissett and now Ryan Finley all have NFL homes. If you are a young quarterback prospect, this might be a good school for you to consider. Let’s not steal the thunder though of Garrett Bradberry, who became the Wolfpack’s second straight first round pick.

Louisville logo23. Louisville Cardinals- 77 points
Previous: 11 (112 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Sheldon Rankins, 12th Overall, 2016
So it turns out Louisville meteoric rise might have been a fluke. The Cardinals dip back down 12 spots, dropping 45 points, after not having a single player drafted this year. The bottom clearly fell out and Bobby Petrino’s firing does not help matters. Louisville could very well be on their way out of the rankings.

West Virginia logo24. West Virginia Mountaineers- 75 points
Previous: Others receiving votes (65 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Kevin White, 7th Overall, 2015
West Virginia continues to live on the fringes of the top 25. A strong regular season led to a reasonable draft class with two third and two fourth round picks. The Mountaineers had a much better draft class than a year ago, but will they be able to build on it with Dana Holgorsen bolting for Houston?

Wisconsin logo25. Wisconsin Badgers- 74 points
Previous: 20 (78 points)
Highest Drafted Player- Melvin Gordon, 15th Overall, 2015
Wisconsin continues to produce a smattering of NFL-caliber players every year. There is no doubt the Badgers have developed a few very successful players in recent years (Melvin Gordon, T.J. Watt, Ryan Ramczyk). However, even with this top tier of talent, Wisconsin continues to lag behind the elite powers in college football. Deeper draft classes in recent years have certainly helped and it is pretty safe to bet on the Badgers staying in the top 25.

Others Receiving Votes: Missouri (66 points), Michigan State (66 points), Oregon (61 points)

Note: All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

National Championship preview

It may be the first of many to come but this College Football Playoff has been exciting from the very beginning and is definitely an improvement to the old system. Now, we will see who wins the ultimate prize of a National Championship when Oregon clashes with Ohio States. The battle of the Ducks and the Bucks will be a heated one and I am here to break down what you need to know for the game.

This marks the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Ducks since 2009, when Ohio State defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl. In the previous eight meetings between these teams, Oregon has never managed to win a game. History is not going to matter too much in this matchup but it is definitely not in the Ducks’ favor. In that 2009 Rose Bowl loss, Oregon’s signal caller was Jeremiah Masoli, who ended up transferring to Ole Miss following the season. This year the Ducks have Heisman winner Marcus Mariota under center, which is certainly a major upgrade over Masoli. Mariota might not be the only reason the Ducks are in the title game but he is definitely a key component to this championship run. The Hawaiian-born quarterback has been nothing short of excellent this year amassing 4121 passing yards and 56 total touchdowns, 40 through the air, 15 on the ground and even 1 receiving. He has a quarterback rating of 184.3, ranking as one of the best single season marks in history. Mariota was also one of the best avoiding turnovers throwing only 3 interceptions on 408 attempts. That means that Mariota threw an interception on less than 1 percent of his throws. He accomplished all of this while completing a career high 68.6 percent of his passes as well. He will be the focal point of this Oregon squad.

Mariota struggled a bit more than we are used to seeing at the beginning of the Florida State game but settled down and had a stellar second half. It will be largely up to the Ohio State defense to keep the Buckeyes in this game. The offense can score, as we saw when it racked up 42 points against a top defense in Alabama on New Year’s Day, but the defense will need to keep Mariota and this high flying Duck’s attack in check. This group will be up to the task. The Buckeye’s secondary came up with three interceptions of Blake Sims last week and the defensive line limited the big plays from Bama’s tailback duo of Xavier Henry and T.J. Yeldon. This pass rush also registered 43 sacks on the season, which ranks ninth in FBS. This defense is explosive and can make Mariota uncomfortable. Ohio State is also the type of team that could really do a lot of damage to the Duck’s offense but not in the way you would think. The Buckeyes’ grounded out 281 yards rushing against the nation’s second best run defense in the Sugar Bowl. Oregon ranks all the way down at fiftieth in terms of run defense and that could spell trouble for the Ducks. If Ohio State can run the ball effectively with Ezekiel Elliot, they will not only wear out Oregon, they will also limit the number of chances Mariota gets to make plays on offense. Usually, Oregon’s fast paced offense has tired out defenses by the end of games, making it easy to score, but if the Ducks are getting fewer drives then Ohio State’s defense should be able to hold up for the entirety of the game. That should be Ohio States game plan going into this game: run the ball and keep the Heisman winning quarterback for the Ducks on the sideline. Elliot will be the center of the Buckeye’s attack, and if he gets rolling, it could spell the end for Oregon’s title hopes.

Oregon’s defense might have a slight edge though as they will get to face Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones in only his third career start. The Buckeye’s are rolling right now and changing quarterbacks for the second time this season has not seemed to affect them but Jones is still young and learning. The sophomore from Cleveland struggled against Alabama’s defense, particularly when the Buckeye’s were in passing downs. He completed only 51.4 percent of his passes and definitely seemed like he was not fully ready to handle throwing more than twice as many passes in the Sugar Bowl than he did in the Big Ten Championship game. Oregon’s pass rush is talented as well registering 36 sacks on the year. If Oregon can find a way to slow down the Ohio State running game and force the Buckeyes into third and long situations, we could see some the Buckeyes’ offense stalling quite a bit. I would not be surprised if the Ducks defense crowds the box and forces Jones to beat them using his arm. It is risky but the kid is still fairly young and is liable to make some costly mistakes.

The players might be on the field, but the coaches control the game. These two coaches come from very different backgrounds. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has two national titles to his name from his time with the Florida Gators. Mark Helfrich spent a few years as the offensive coordinator in Oregon following his time at Colorado as the offensive coordinator. Meyer has eight years of head coaching experience; Helfrich is just completing his second season as the lead man in Pacific Northwest. Both have been extremely successful in their respective coaching careers. Meyer and Helfrich are a combined 49-6 over the past two years. Neither one of them is going to back down and both know what this would mean to their respective programs. For Meyer, it would be validating that Ohio State is back and that the Big 10 can be a premier conference. For Helfrich, it will be the school’s first national title and completely pull Helfrich out of Chip Kelly’s shadow. These two are both great coaches and should have many more years of running top programs but only one will be the first ever college football playoff champion.

As for which of them it will be raising that trophy while soaked in Gatorade, it is a tough call. Oregon’s offense is second to none but the suspension of freshman wide receiver Darren Carrington is a big blow. He was a big play machine against Florida State accounting for 165 yards and two touchdowns. At the same time, Ohio State is still trying to find their way offensively with a quarterback in his third ever start on the biggest stage possible. The first half will be full of experimentation by both teams as we see what these coaches have cooked up over the past week and half for this game. I really like Ohio State’s chances in this game, but I cannot go against the Heisman winner in Mariota. He won the award for his continually incredible play and I think, in the end, he will be the difference maker. This game will absolutely be high scoring and Ohio State will be competitive but Oregon wins 47-38.