I did a lot of cool things last year with the NFL Draft -- and it led to an FSWA award (shoutout to me) -- but my process this draft season was much better because I had more time now that I'm a full-timer here at Rotoworld. Compared to other draft analysts, it's fair to say I lean a lot more on analytics, but don't get it twisted: #TheTape has been grinded. Here are the things that I'm looking for at each position, which are ranked in order of importance to building a championship roster:
QB: production, accuracy, decision-making, mobility
CB: speed, agility, length, production allowed, ball skills
EDGE: speed/burst, agility, production, size
OT: pass-blocking, agility, size/strength, run-blocking, speed
Outside WR: production, separation at LOS, speed, ball skills
Slot WR: production, separation at LOS, agility, YAC
LB: speed, coverage skills, tackle production, agility
S: instincts, versatility, speed, tackling
DT: speed/burst, production, agility, size/strength
TE: speed, production, agility, size, run-blocking
IOL: pass-blocking, run-blocking, size/strength, agility, speed
RB: production, receiving ability, speed, agility, size, pass-blocking
And for all positions, I'm heavily weighing youth (great players usually declare early) and prospects who went to good programs (great players usually play on good teams). With that laid out, here are my 2020 NFL Draft rankings:
1st Round Grades
1. Joe Burrow - QB1
Burrow (6’3/221) became the consensus No. 1 overall prospect after setting the new FBS record for passing touchdowns (60) in his Heisman winning season at LSU. His accuracy, poise, and ability to read defenses led to the second-best completion percentage (76%) since at least 1956, and are traits that typically translate to the NFL. His arm strength is quite average for a first rounder pocket passer, but doesn’t limit him from making downfield and sideline passes. A former all-state high school basketball player, he was able to average 24.5 rushing yards per game as an underrated scrambler, although he does most of his damage within the pocket. As a 23-year-old rookie with elite mental makeup, Burrow should be considered as a Rookie of the Year favorite and potential decade-long NFL starter, likely for the Cincinnati Bengals.
2. Tua Tagovailoa - QB2
Two ankle surgeries and a dislocated hip likely cost Tagovailoa (6’0/217) the No. 1 overall pick, but post-Combine medical scans have been relatively positive, although a redshirt rookie season can’t be completely ruled out. When healthy, Tagovailoa is a very accurate and aggressive in-pocket passer. He finished second in Total QBR among FBS quarterbacks in each of his last two seasons, averaging 11.2 and 11.3 yards per attempt respectively. His arm talent also translates out of the pocket where he can throw on the move to all depths of the field. Alabama head coach Nick Saban used a lot of run-pass options to utilize Tagovailoa’s decision making and athletic ability, but his maneuverability and longevity are in doubt given those injuries. His 22-2 career record and off-the-field charm should be enough to get Tagovailoa off the board within the first handful of picks, but the potential rewards of that selection just may not be felt until 2021.
3. Chase Young - EDGE1
I’m not going to waste your time here. Young (6’5/264) had a 99th percentile Adjusted Production score and would’ve been an elite tester at the NFL Combine. He’s an absolute stud.
4. Jeffrey Okudah - CB1
Once again, I’m not going to waste your time here. Okudah (6’1/205) allowed 5.2 yards per target as a 20-year-old at Ohio State locked down Tee Higgins in the College Football Playoff, and showed 96th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism with 4.48 speed and a 41-inch vertical at the NFL Combine. Okudah could be a Pro Bowler as a rookie and an All-Pro within a few seasons. He’s an elite corner prospect.
5. Justin Herbert - QB3
Herbert (6’6/236) opted to stay at Oregon for all four seasons despite receiving top-five buzz ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. He ended his collegiate career with an 8.2 YPA average and 95:23 TD:INT ratio, largely because of his high-end arm strength. Arguably too reserved in college, Herbert’s traits are best-suited for a vertical-attacking passing offense, assuming he’s willing to take more deep shots. A gifted athlete with 4.68 speed, Herbert also has the ability to scramble for first downs when the pocket collapses and can handle a few designed runs per game, which increases his odds of panning out as a rookie starter and franchise quarterback. While his size, arm talent, and mobility are prototypical of a top-10 selection, he needs to improve upon his awareness and decision making to reach the upside of his physical tools.
6. Isaiah Simmons - LB1
Simmons (6’4/238) was a two-year starting hybrid specialist at Clemson who earned the 2019 Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. A three-star out of high school, Simmons added lean muscle mass to his track frame to become an 99th percentile athlete with 4.39 speed and a 39-inch vertical. He played snaps at linebacker, safety, and nickel corner in college and demonstrated a high-end ability to cover in space. Per PFF, he only allowed 5.6 yards per target in coverage while intercepting three passes. In the NFL, Simmons will be deployed as an elite coverage defender against tight ends and pass-catching backs with the athletic ability to work downhill against the run. He compares stylistically to a bigger and faster version of Derwin James as a versatile safety/linebacker hybrid.
7. Jedrick Wills - OT1
Wills (6’4/312) was a five-star recruit and two-year Alabama starter at right tackle, which is where he also played in high school. It’s unclear if NFL teams view him as a potential left tackle, but he did excel on the right side against SEC competition. As a true junior, he was a second-team AP All-American and was PFF’s No. 11 offensive tackle among 249 qualifiers with 500 snaps. Despite only being 21 years old, Wills arguably has the best technique in this stacked offensive tackle class, which explains how he’s only allowed 1 sack across 970 career pass-blocking snaps. On top of his on-field performance, Wills showcased 74th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the NFL Combine, which includes an 87th percentile 5.05-second 40-time and 97th percentile vertical jump. Overall, Wills profiles as a high-upside tackle prospect who has the technique to win in pass protection and the competitiveness and athleticism to open up rushing lanes.
8. Tristan Wirfs - OT2
Wirfs (6’5/320) was a state champion wrestler and two-time state champion shot putter in high school before he was a three-year Iowa starter at right tackle. He was the Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year and earned second-team AP All-American honors as a true junior, plus was PFF’s No. 4 offensive tackle among 249 FBS qualifiers with at least 500 snaps. Over the last 2 seasons, he has only allowed 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hits thanks to his sturdy base and quick feet. He’s rarely off balance in pass protection, staying planted against power rushers and sliding well against speed rushers. He’s also a mauler in the run game while remaining very disciplined, only compiling three penalties in all of 2019. At the NFL Combine, he showed 97th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, which included a 98th percentile 40-time of 4.85 seconds and 100th percentile vertical jump of 36.5 inches. A 21-year-old early declare, Wirfs’ profile has no major holes, making him a high-upside left or right tackle prospect with the floor of being a quality guard.
9. CeeDee Lamb - WR1
Lamb (6’2/198) is an elite producer with above average athleticism, instincts, and competitiveness, making him a potential top 10 receiver in the NFL. Last season, he averaged 15.1 yards per target -- easily the best in the class -- and finished inside the 99th percentile in my predictive adjusted production score, partially because he will barely be 21 years old on draft night. On tape, he wins at the line of scrimmage with quick feet, creates separation at the next level with his combination of speed and route running ability, and finishes off plays with in-air adjustments and yards after the catch. Per PFF, he averaged 11.0 yards after catch, the most among Combine invitees. In the NFL, Lamb will be utilized in the screen game and on vertical routes as an all-around WR1 despite being an average sized player with non-elite speed.
10. Mekhi Becton - OT3
Becton (6’7/364) was a three-year starter at Louisville with experience at both left and right tackle. Of the top four tackle prospects, Becton is the freakiest. He has the strength to pancake edge rushers in pass protection and is hard to beat around the edge with his 94th percentile arms. Becton’s motor matches his size and athleticism, too, making him a dangerous run blocker who can find defenders at the second level. Overall, he was PFF’s No. 18 offensive tackle among 249 FBS qualifiers with 500 snaps, and only allowed 1 sack and 3 quarterback hits as a junior. If he can quit overextending in pass protection, he will be among the best offensive tackles in the NFL. Simply put, few players in the league’s history have ran the forty in 5.10 seconds at 364 pounds. He arguably has the highest ceiling of the consensus top-4 tackles.
11. Derrick Brown - DT1
Brown (6’5/326) was a former top-10 high school recruit and productive multi-year starting defensive tackle at Auburn. He had at least 9.5 TFLs and 3.0 sacks in all three of his seasons as a starter and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after posting 11.5 TFLs and 4.0 sacks. His combination of burst and strength at the snap forced opponents into using double teams on Brown, who primarily lined up at nose tackle and three-technique in college. An interior disruptor and relentless finisher, he looked far more athletic on tape than what his 45th percentile Adjusted SPARQ score would indicate. Brown offers Pro Bowl upside at multiple positions across the defensive line and should be one of the better interior run stoppers immediately.
12. Jerry Jeudy - WR2
Jeudy (6’1/193) is a multi-year producer at Alabama with exceptional route running that allows him to win at all depths of the field, making him a probable WR1 in the NFL. Despite being very young and facing top-notch competition (not just in the SEC but for targets on his own team), he averaged at least 86 yards per game in back-to-back seasons, leading the FBS in 15+ yard receptions over that span. On tape, he creates separation with the best route running in the class and finishes plays with stop-start moves after the catch. An extremely polished receiver with just one very forgivable question mark (38th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism), Jeudy can be a high-end slot receiver or go-to target on the outside in the NFL.
13. Henry Ruggs - WR3
Ruggs (5'11/188) declared for the NFL Draft after a 46-746-7 junior season at Alabama. He operated as the No. 3 target in a stacked offense, which limited his career reception count to just 98 passes, but while he doesn’t check some production boxes, he did average 13.5 yards per target last season, the second-best mark in the draft class. On tape, he’s more than just a deep threat, showing Olympic-level burst after the catch on underneath targets. His route running is underrated as well, particularly on double moves, slants, ins, and shallow crossers. At the NFL Combine, he unsurprisingly showed 99th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, running the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds and reaching 42 inches in the vertical. Already coming off a highly-efficient season as a 20-year-old, Ruggs should only get better with more in-game reps, profiling as a matchup mismatch in Year 1 and potential WR1 later in his career as a prospect on the Will Fuller/Tyreek Hill spectrum.
14. Justin Jefferson - WR4
As a 20-year-old junior, Jefferson (6’1/202) compiled 111 receptions, 1,540 yards, and 18 touchdowns as a go-to target in the most prolific offense in college football history. Primarily a slot receiver at LSU, Jefferson wins with nuanced route running, steady hands, and yards after catch ability. Per PFF, 41% of his 2019 receiving yards came on ins, outs, and crosses, which are the routes he’ll run most often in the NFL, but he also occasionally won on vertical routes. In fact, he only trailed Jerry Jeudy in 15+ receptions over the last two seasons. At the NFL Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, which solidified him as a first-round prospect. Overall, Jefferson can be a reliable underneath target as a rookie and has WR1 upside within a couple of seasons, making him a high-floor and high-ceiling prospect.
15. Andrew Thomas - OT4
Thomas (6’5/315) was a five-star recruit and three-year starting tackle at Georgia. He was a Freshman All-American at right tackle and earned back-to-back first-team All-SEC honors as a sophomore and junior while playing left tackle. As a true junior in 2019, Thomas only allowed one sack and was PFF’s No. 3 offensive tackle among 249 FBS qualifiers with 500 snaps. He is very technical in pass protection but also has the ability to win with above-average athleticism and nastiness, which makes him a very strong run-blocker. At the NFL Combine, he showcased 71st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism with 97th percentile arms and 75th percentile burst. Despite only being 21 years old, Thomas profiles as a rookie year starter and potential Pro Bowl-level player who is equally good in the pass game as he is in the run game.
16. K’Lavon Chaisson - EDGE2
Chaisson (6’3/254) was a two-year starting outside linebacker and one-year team captain at LSU who earned first-team All-SEC honors as a redshirt sophomore last season. He made 60 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, and had 6.5 sacks despite being asked to drop into pass coverage 96 times. In the NFL, he’ll be a stand-up speed rusher who wins with elite bend and burst off the edge. Chaisson needs development in his technique, particularly with double moves, but he offers Pro Bowl upside, especially since he’ll only be 20 years old on draft night.
17. Patrick Queen - LB2
Queen (6’0/229) was a one-year starter at LSU who shined in the College Football Playoff as a speedy inside linebacker with high-end pass-coverage upside. Buried behind Devin White, Queen was a late-bloomer but flashed immediately as a plug-and-play starter. His 4.50 speed pops on tape while coming downhill against the run and in pass coverage against running backs. He made 85 combined tackles, 12 TFLs, and forced two turnovers, and more importantly only allowed 5.5 yards per target in coverage per PFF. Queen’s combination of natural instincts, 81st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism, and youth -- he’ll only be 20 years old on draft night -- make him a high-upside three-down linebacker in the NFL. His best football is ahead of him.
18. Javon Kinlaw - DT2
Kinlaw (6’5/324) went from a homeless upbringing to being a three-year starter at South Carolina. Constantly faced with double teams, his production was modest. He finished with just 15 solo tackles, 6.0 TFLs, and 6.0 sacks as a junior, but he blew up plays by moving linemen off the block on tape. His length, strength, and burst make him a potential interior disruptor in the NFL, both as a pass rusher and run defender. He was more reliant on his athleticism than his technique in college, so further development is needed for him to hit his Chris Jones-level ceiling. Kinlaw’s raw physical tools make him a first-rounder, but his overall profile is one of a boom-or-bust prospect.
1st-2nd Round Grades
19. Yetur Gross-Matos - EDGE3
Gross-Matos (6’5/266) was a two-year starting edge rusher at Penn State who earned first-team All-Big 10 honors as a junior by compiling 14.5 TFLs and 9.0 sacks. His 97th percentile arm length and first-step explosion allow him to get upfield in a hurry as a pass rusher from the edge or interior, but he needs more pass-rushing moves and raw strength to be more than an average starter in the NFL. An ascending early declare with solid college production, Gross-Matos figures to develop into a more all-around player at the next level, making him a potential quality three-down starter and passing game disruptor.
20. Cesar Ruiz - IOL1
Ruiz (6’3/307) was a three-year starting center at Michigan who earned second-team All-Big 10 honors as a true junior in 2019 by allowing zero sacks and just two quarterback hits per PFF. More athletic than most interior linemen, Ruiz wins with his first step and fluidity throughout the play. His patience and body control make him great in pass protection, but his 84th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism really pops as a run blocker, especially whenever asked to pull or find a defender at the second level. Only 20 years old, Ruiz has time to fix the few holes in his game to reach his Pro Bowl upside and is more than good enough to be a rookie-year starter in the meantime.
21. Xavier McKinney - S1
McKinney (6’0/201) was a two-year starter at Alabama who earned third-team AP All-American honors by making 95 tackles and forcing seven turnovers as a true junior. Nick Saban put him in the “Minkah Fitzpatrick” role where he split his snaps at box safety (285), free safety (271), and slot corner (227). He made a ton of impact plays from multiple alignments using his natural instincts, including as an occasional rusher off the edge. Also a noted leader in the secondary, McKinney’s lone weakness is his 8th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and 4.63 speed. With better testing, McKinney would have been a consensus top-15 prospect, but he still offers Pro Bowl upside given his intangibles, versatility, and instincts and could be an opening day starter.
22. C.J. Henderson - CB2
Henderson (6’1/204) was a three-year starter at Florida where he earned Freshman All-SEC in year one, second-team All-SEC in year two, and first-team All-SEC last year as a junior. Lengthy with 91st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and 4.39 speed, Henderson is at his best in press man coverage, but he needs to clean up the rest of his game to be a more all-around player. Perhaps due to effort, he was a below-average tackler and was average at playing the ball in the air, which led to a very high 10.5 YPT allowed last season. Arguably an under-performer relative to his elite traits, Henderson will need to get back on track to reach his CB1 ceiling. He has the potential to chase opposing WR1s on Sundays, and we saw that level of play in 2018. Note: Since my first round grade rankings last week, I've moved Johnson from CB3 to CB2.
23. Jaylon Johnson - CB3
Johnson (6’0/193) was a two-year starting outside corner at Utah who earned back-to-back All-PAC-12 honors as a true sophomore and junior. He had a lot of success early, primarily using press-man coverage. Per PFF, he only allowed 4.9 yards per target and a 44% catch rate in coverage as a 20-year-old. Johnson was a slightly below-average athlete with 4.50 speed at the NFL Combine, but he makes up for it with high-end awareness, intelligence, and competitiveness. More physical than his size would indicate, Johnson offers Day 1 starting ability and the upside to be a team’s CB1 with more development, especially in a pressure-heavy system where he can win within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Note: Since my first round grade rankings last week, I've moved Johnson from CB2 to CB3.
24. Grant Delpit - S2
Delpit (6’2/213) was a three-year starter and captain at LSU who earned first-team All-American honors as a sophomore and won the Jim Thorpe Award as a junior. He split his snaps between free safety (385), slot corner (316), and box safety (149), and figures to continue playing a versatile role at the next level. He was a downhill attacker against the run and instinctual as a coverage safety when healthy but was slowed by an ankle injury in 2019, which partially explains his horrendous tackling stats. A fiery competitor and leader on the field, Delpit offers Pro Bowl upside as an athletic, versatile safety if his tackling and injuries are cleaned up.
25. Kenneth Murray - LB3
Murray (6’2/241) was a three-year middle linebacker at Oklahoma who averaged 128.5 tackles over his last two seasons. His best trait is his 4.52 speed. He can get downhill in a hurry and deliver a pop against the run and is fast enough to be a rangy in coverage. Only 21 years old, Murray has room for development. He can be late on reads and misdiagnose running lanes, and he rarely was tasked with covering tight ends or running backs man-to-man. A leader off the field and a high-energy player on it, Murray has Day 1 starter athleticism and competitiveness, profiling as a productive tackler and average coverage middle linebacker in the NFL.
26. Jalen Hurts - QB4
Despite only losing two games as a true freshman and sophomore, Hurts (6’1/222) was unseated by Tua Tagovailoa as Alabama’s starting quarterback, which ultimately led to a transfer to Oklahoma. Under head coach Lincoln Riley, Hurts’ passing motion, comfortability, and efficiency took a massive leap in 2019. He led the nation in YPA (11.5) on non-play action passes, finished with PFF’s No. 4 overall grade, and was the Heisman runner-up to Joe Burrow. On tape, his accuracy is underrated -- he had the fourth-best completion percentage over expected season since 2011 -- but he must continue to improve his processing and willingness to stay inside the pocket. Luckily, he’s only 21 years old and is by all accounts very coachable. Even if those traits remain weaknesses, Hurts is a valuable runner. He led college football, including running backs, in red zone rushing touchdowns (17) last season and can have a short-yardage role as a backup quarterback. That may be selling him short, however. Hurts has starting-level upside with some development.
27. Denzel Mims - WR5
Mims (6’3/207) flew up draft boards after stringing together a productive 2019 season with strong showings at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. At Baylor, he broke out as a sophomore and set new career highs as a senior with a 66-1,040-12 receiving line. An 89th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete with 4.38 speed, Mims is at his best on vertical routes -- 29% of his receiving yards came on the go route per PFF -- where he makes acrobatic contested catches near the sideline. He flashed the ability to run a full route tree during the Senior Bowl but likely needs some rookie contract development in that area. The primary knock on his profile is that he was a 22-year-old non-declare. It’s just not enough to fade Mims as a borderline first round talent and potential WR1/2 in the NFL.
28. Tee Higgins - WR6
Higgins (6’4/216) is an efficient deep threat with a massive catch radius who profiles as an NFL team’s WR2. As a 20-year-old at Clemson last season, he caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaged the third-most yards per target (13.4) in the draft class, and came down with 15-of-23 deep targets for 565 yards per PFF. The combination of his size, physicality, and contested catch ability make him a mismatch for undersized corners, but he needs to improve as a route runner to reach his ceiling because he’s not a bursty prospect. At his Pro Day, he posted a 31-inch vertical and ran the forty in 4.54 seconds, which included a bottom 2nd percentile 10-yard split. Higgins doesn’t profile as a go-to target in the NFL because he needs a runway to build up to his top speed, but a Mike Williams-level role still makes him a worthwhile selection within the first 40 picks.
2nd Round Grades
29. Austin Jackson - OT5
Austin Jackson (6’5/322) was a two-year starting left tackle at USC who earned first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a true junior despite donating bone marrow to his sister less than two months before the season. His pass-blocking reps can be funky because his footwork is sloppy, but he has the length and quicks to mask some of those issues. His 89th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and age (20.7 years old) are reasons to be optimistic that he can develop into a quality starting left tackle in the NFL even if his 2019 tape didn’t scream Day 1 pick. Jackson may struggle in rookie starts while he develops, but he has a Pro Bowl ceiling.
30. A.J. Terrell - CB4
A.J. Terrell (6’1/195) was a five-star recruit and two-year starting outside corner at Clemson who earned first-team All-ACC honors as a true junior last season. He primarily played press man on the boundary where he was able to affect routes with his length and catch up to receivers with his 4.42 speed. Terrell got in some trouble, especially against LSU’s stud receivers, due to below-average agility and balance, but his overall body of work is still impressive. Only 21 years old, Terrell can develop into a CB2 role at the next level and should have moderate success against bigger receivers who won’t shake him as much at the line of scrimmage.
31. Trevon Diggs - CB5
Trevon Diggs (6’1/205) was a two-year starting outside corner at Alabama who earned second-team All-SEC honors as a 21-year-old senior. Long and very athletic, Diggs excelled in press-man coverage where he was physical at the line and had enough speed to make plays downfield. He only allowed 5.9 yards per target and a 42% completion percentage in coverage per PFF last season. Diggs’ physical traits and confidence make him a high-upside prospect, but he needs to be more mature, more disciplined, and a more willing tackler to reach his ceiling.
32. Kristian Fulton - CB6
Fulton (6’0/197) was a two-year starting outside corner at LSU who was suspended for the entire 2017 season for having a friend submit a urine sample on his behalf. As a 21-year-old senior, Fulton was PFF’s No. 9 coverage corner among 284 FBS qualifiers with 500 snaps after allowing 6.6 yards per target and a 45% completion percentage. On tape, he specializes in press man coverage where he can use his physicality and 69th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism to match most receivers step for step. His overaggressive play downfield worked in college, but he may be slightly exposed by more gifted and nuanced receivers in the NFL. Fulton projects as an average CB2 starter.
33. Brandon Aiyuk - WR7
Aiyuk (5'11/205) is a late-blooming playmaker as a receiver and returner with natural ability to win in space, making him a potential WR2 and return specialist in the NFL. After spending two years at junior college, he played behind N’Keal Harry as a junior before breaking out last season to the tune of 1,192 receiving yards. Per PFF, 70% of his yards came on three straight-line routes -- screens (26%), posts (25%), and go routes (19%). On tape, his arm length and creativity with the ball in his hands stand out. He averaged an elite 11.1 yards after the catch but will need to run a wider variety of routes to be more than a complimentary piece of an NFL offense. A 76th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athlete with 4.50 speed, Aiyuk should compete for a starting job as a rookie and has the traits to be a difference maker with more development. Note: Since I released my WR rankings two weeks ago, I’ve moved Aiyuk from WR11 to WR7.
34. Chase Claypool - WR8
Claypool (6’4/238) is a super-athletic receiver prospect who was a late-bloomer at Notre Dame after growing up in Canada as a basketball player. He needed a few years of development to get going, but he set career highs in receptions (66), yards (1,037), touchdowns (13), and market share (32%) as a senior and flew up draft boards at the NFL Combine with 4.42 speed and 40.5-inch ups. On tape, he was a very difficult tackle on underneath targets and showed a lot of body control on downfield shots for a player his size. In the NFL, Claypool will first be used as a mismatch on offense and will likely add value on special teams with his kick coverage experience, but given his background, it’s possible that he grows into a WR1 or WR2 role on his rookie contract. Few prospects in the class can match his ceiling. Note: Since I released my WR rankings two weeks ago, I’ve moved Claypool from WR7 to WR8.
35. Laviska Shenault - WR9
Shenault (6’1/227) is a powerful receiver with strong short-area explosion who battled injuries and questionable usage in college, making him a risky prospect with high-end upside. In 2018, he had the second most receptions per game (9.6) among FBS sophomores since at least 2000, but he was slowed down by injuries last season. Those setbacks, unfortunately, were brought on by his physical playing style and usage. Per PFF, only 25% of his targets traveled beyond 10 yards of the line of scrimmage with Colorado deploying him as a gadget player who even lined up as a Wildcat runner in goal line situations. At the next level, he will likely do most of his damage underneath as a human truck stick, but he has flashed the ability to win deep, too. It will take some development to make Shenault an all-around receiver, but his athleticism alone should make him a rookie year contributor if his health cooperates. Note: Since I released my WR rankings two weeks ago, I’ve moved Shenault from WR8 to WR9.
36. Michael Pittman - WR10
Pittman (6’4/223) helped his draft stock with a 101-1,275-11 senior season in USC’s air raid offense. A big body with 4.52 speed, Pittman primarily lined up outside on the left side for the Trojans and won on vertical routes -- PFF credits an absurd 36% of his receiving yards to go routes. On tape, he was physical throughout the route and came down with many contested catches, plus only dropped five of his 254 career targets. He was also effective underneath with underrated YAC ability because he’s a tough tackle given his size and competitiveness. His primary holes in his prospect profile are age-related, but I don’t trust USC coach Clay Helton with getting the most out of his players, so I’m largely ignoring them. Pittman is a high-floor starter on the perimeter with a Kenny Golladay-level ceiling. Note: Since I released my WR rankings two weeks ago, I’ve moved Pittman from WR9 to WR10.
37. K.J. Hamler - WR11
Hamler (5’9/178) is an unpolished and undersized playmaker with the potential to be a downfield mismatch as a young rookie. He compiled a 56-904-8 receiving line during his 20-year-old season last year while operating as Penn State’s big-play weapon, but a hamstring injury prevented him from competing at the NFL Combine where he would’ve run in the 4.3s. On tape, he won from the slot and out wide as a lid lifter and manufactured-touch weapon similar to Curtis Samuel or Ted Ginn. His petiteness does limit him in traffic, but his biggest issue was his hands -- he tied for the most drops (12) in the Power 5 per PFF. If that gets cleaned up, Hamler should earn a WR2 role on his rookie contract with some development. Note: Since I released my WR rankings two weeks ago, I’ve moved Hamler from WR10 to WR11.
38. A.J. Epenesa - EDGE4
Epenesa (6’5/275) was a five-star recruit and two-year starting defensive end at Iowa who earned second-team and first-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and junior. He fit the Hawkeyes brand as a physical, strong player with high-end production (14.5 TFLs, 11.5 sacks), but his juice is a major concern. He has 18th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism with 5.04 speed and a 32.5-inch vertical, so his technique and strength have to be elite to be an impact player in the NFL. Luckily they were both strengths in college. Epenesa won’t fit every system, but he should be a productive starter who can be a plus against the run even if he doesn’t have the burst of a double-digit sack artist.
39. Josh Uche - EDGE5
Uche (6’1/245) was a one-year starting outside linebacker at Michigan who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a redshirt junior after compiling 11.5 TFLs and 8.5 sacks. He only played on obvious passing downs (53% snap rate) and rushed the quarterback off the edge from a stand-up position. He didn’t show much coverage ability, but he did lead the draft class with a 23% pressure rate thanks to his high-end athleticism and chase. Uche can be a productive and valuable edge rusher in the NFL even if he is only subbed in on subpackages. He just may be more of a “cherry on top” weapon than a foundational piece to a defense.
40. Isaiah Wilson - OT6
Wilson (6’6/350) was a five-star recruit and two-year starting right tackle at Georgia who earned second-team AP All-American honors as a redshirt sophomore. On tape, his gigantic size stands out, particularly in pass protection. Despite scoring in the bottom 4th percentile in the short shuttle, he is hard to beat around the edge, and he’s far too strong to beat straight on. Further development with his technique against double moves is required, but he has traits to work with. He posted an 80th percentile broad jump and is a finisher in the run game. Wilson offers quality starter upside, especially since he will only be 21.2 years old on draft night.
41. Josh Jones - OT7
Jones (6’5/319) was a four-year starting left tackle at Houston who earned second-team All-AAC honors as a redshirt senior after allowing zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, and just two quarterback pressures in 2019. He simply didn’t lose many pass-blocking reps on tape, but he mostly faced non-NFL prospects and will be 23 years old as a rookie. He showcased 60th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism with 5.29 speed at the NFL Combine, which matches his on-field play. He was often used as a pulling tackle in the running game but never looked explosive. Jones has a nice all-around floor at tackle, particularly as a pass protector, but he lacks the ceiling of others in the class.
42. Lloyd Cushenberry - IOL2
Cushenberry (6’3/312) was a two-year starting center at LSU who earned second-team All-American honors as a redshirt junior. More importantly, he was named a team captain and the Tigers’ MVP. Cushenberry checks boxes physically, both in terms of size and athleticism. At the NFL Combine, he showcased 61st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism with 49th percentile speed. The offense put him in more one-on-one situations than most interior linemen because they were comfortable with his combination of strength, balance, and awareness. Cushenberry safely projects as an interior starter at center or guard but is mostly maxed out as a slightly older prospect with average athleticism.
43. Jalen Reagor - WR12
Reagor (5’11/206) was an inconsistent producer at TCU as an undersized but bursty deep threat with 4.47 speed. He broke out as an 18-year-old freshman (33-576-8) and ascended as a sophomore (72-1,061-9), but tanked last season (43-611-5), although subpar quarterback play can partially explain that and his low 6.9 yards per target average. On tape, Reagor is at his best on straight-line routes where he can get upfield and utilize his 42-inch vert. He has the body control to haul in contested catches, but it’s unclear if that skill set will translate to the NFL given his size. To reach his Brandin Cooks-level ceiling, Reagor needs to fine-tune his releases at the line of scrimmage to avoid getting overpowered. Until then, he’ll compete for WR2 or WR3 duties as a valuable low-volume deep threat.
44. Jordan Love - QB5
Love (6’4/224) fits the prototypical build of a first round quarterback -- big, throws with velocity, and can move around the pocket -- but he was very inconsistent at Utah State. He had a 32:6 TD:INT ratio as a sophomore, then regressed to 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season. A weaker supporting cast can explain some of his issues, but blame can be placed on his shoulders. He was 101st in PFF’s turnover-worthy play rate, 88th in Total QBR, and only rushed for 175 yards. Despite his struggles, quarterback coaches and scouts are still drawn to his ability to throw outside of structure and to all depths of the field. A polarizing prospect like Josh Allen, Love needs to rein in his wild side to be a franchise quarterback, and thus would greatly benefit from holding a veteran’s clipboard for his rookie season.
45. Terrell Lewis - EDGE6
Lewis (6’5/262) was a one-year starting edge rusher at Alabama who earned second-team All-SEC honors as a redshirt junior after coming off a torn ACL the year prior. He posted above-average pressure rates while playing outside linebacker, primarily as a stand-up attacker. His speed, bend off the edge, and competitiveness are his three best traits, but he currently lacks the pass-rush moves of a locked-in first-round player. He also has an extensive injury history, so he’ll need to be cleared by team doctors. The upside is there, however. Lewis has the physical traits of an impact player and is young enough (21) to be worth developing if healthy, making him a boom-or-bust early-round project.
46. Zack Baun - LB4
Baun (6’2/238) was a two-year starting outside linebacker at Wisconsin who earned second-team AP All-American honors as a redshirt senior after compiling 75 tackles, 19.5 TFLs, and 12.5 sacks. With the ability to bend the corner off the edge and run from sideline-to-sideline, Baun was deployed in a hybrid edge role in college. However, he will likely be utilized as an off-ball outside linebacker who can be sent on blitzes in the NFL given his size. On tape, he wins with his 60th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism and 4.65 speed, but he needs more technical refinement to be a truly impact player at the next level. Already 23 years old, Baun profiles as a rotational player early with quality starter upside.
47. Marlon Davidson - EDGE7
Davidson (6’3/303) was a four-year starting edge rusher at Auburn who earned second-team All-American honors as a senior after totaling 12.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks. He lined up as a stand-up edge rusher and put his hand in the dirt as an interior defensive lineman, but he currently doesn’t have the ideal body type for either position in the NFL. I’d like him to operate as an edge rusher, which will require a slimmer build, but others will push him into three-tech. His burst and 34th percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism would improve if he was lighter, and he already has the raw strength and hand moves to win with power against offensive tackles and tight ends. Davidson profiles as an average to low-end starting defensive end or three-tech in the NFL.
48. Ezra Cleveland - OT8
Cleveland (6’6/311) was a three-year starting left tackle at Boise State who earned back-to-back first-team All-MWC honors as a redshirt sophomore and junior. He showed 91st percentile Adjusted SPARQ athleticism at the NFL Combine and slides really well in pass protection, but he needs to get stronger to be an impact tackle in the NFL because his tall stance leaves him vulnerable to power rushers. Still, Cleveland’s mobility alone gives him a starting-level projection at tackle.