News & Analysis

2020 NFL Draft: Top-five players at each offensive position entering College Football Week 13

We updated our top-100 draft board last week. Now it’s time to dive a little deeper into individual position rankings. These top-fives are all loaded with underclassmen, so it will be interesting to see how they shake out by the early declaration deadline in a couple months.

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Quarterback

1. Joe Burrow, LSU

Burrow is completing 77.2% of his attempts this season on non-screens. The best figure we’ve ever seen for a single season in that stat was from Gardner Minshew at 69.1% last year. And Minshew’s average depth of target on those throws was nearly three yards shorter than Burrow’s (7.5 vs 10.2). Burrow doing things we’ve never seen.

2. Tua Tagovailoa*, Alabama

The asterisk is necessary, but given a clean bill of health, Tagovailoa is still worthy of a top-five pick. He earned a 91.2 passing grade for his career and showed poise and pocket presence well beyond his years.

3. Justin Herbert, Oregon

Put a big red circle on your calendars for the Pac-12 title game. Our biggest criticism has been Herbert’s play against legit defenses in big games, and Utah’s defense has been chewing up Pac-12 quarterbacks all year. Herbert has been hot down the stretch, though, with a 91.3 passing grade over his last five games.

4. Jake Fromm, Georgia

Fromm has been the opposite of Herbert down the stretch this season. Over his last five games, Fromm has only earned a 73.0 passing grade with an adjusted completion percentage of only 64.3. SEC defenses have exposed his inability to push the ball down the field consistently.

5. Jacob Eason, Washington

Eason’s performance under pressure in the Utah game was cover-your-eyes bad. He went 4-of-18 for 24 yards when faced with pressure for a 29.3 passing grade. Even with the best arm talent after Justin Herbert in the class, Eason’s 41.0 passing grade under pressure should be a huge point of concern for evaluators.

Running Back

1. Travis Etienne, Clemson

Etienne is doing absurd things this year at the running back position. He’s broken 70 tackles on 153 attempts and is averaging 5.74 yards after contact per attempt. Those numbers are out of this world. His 0.46 broken tackles per attempt would be the best mark we’ve ever seen in a single season by a ways.

2. D’Andre Swift, Georgia

Swift earns his ranking via his receiving chops, where he has 66 career catches and only three drops. At 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, he has ideal every-down back type potential in the NFL. He’s broken 34 tackles on 165 attempts so far this season.

3. Zack Moss, Utah

While Etienne has the highest single-season we’ve ever seen currently in terms of broken tackles per carry, Moss’ 0.39 figure would rank second. He’s a complete running back who can shake you in the hole just as easily as run you over.

4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Taylor is an exceptional zone runner who can hit home runs in addition to churning yards between the tackles. He’s gone over 1,300 yards after contact as both a freshman and sophomore. While he’s been featured more as a receiver this year than ever before, drops are still an issue with six on 39 catchable targets in his career.

5. Demetric Felton, UCLA

A new inclusion into our top-five rankings, Felton isn’t even the full-time back at UCLA. He’s a slot/running back hybrid who will fit in perfectly in modern passing offense. His 484 receiving yards lead all college backs, and he has 14 broken tackles on 41 catches.

Wide Receiver

1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

The production hasn’t been off the charts and his six drops are a career-high, but Jeudy is still getting open and breaking tackles at an elite level. He’s broken 13 tackles on 64 catches this season.

2. Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma

Lamb has taken his game to another level as the focal point of the Oklahoma offense. He’s leading the country in yards per route run at 4.44. The difference between him and the next closest draft-eligible receiver (DeVonta Smith, 3.75) is the same as the difference between second and 15th place.

3. Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

Shenault is special with the ball in his hands, but Colorado has just struggled to get the ball to him. He’s broken 42 tackles on 132 catches over the past two seasons and averaged over 7.5 yards after the catch.

4. Henry Ruggs, Alabama

With only 618 yards on the season so far and a career-high 729 yards last year, it’s worth questioning if Ruggs will come back to Alabama to be ‘the guy’ next season. We’re not as concerned with those raw totals as he’s been exceptional when targeted. For his career, Ruggs’ targets have resulted in a 153.3 passer rating.

5. Tee Higgins, Clemson

Higgins has been superb in contested-catch situations this season, going 7-for-11. He’s also been incredibly efficient with 32 of his 40 catches going for first downs. While his 799 yards don’t sound like much, he’s got the third-highest yards per route run average in the draft class (3.65).

Tight End

1. Hunter Bryant, Washington

Bryant will never be a value add as an inline blocker. That’s ok, it’s 2019. He’s a tweener that could pass for a receiver if need be. He’s got 647 yards on 41 catches and broken eight tackles on the season.

2. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt

After a dominant 2018 that saw him haul in 50 passes for 770 yards and seven touchdowns, Pinkney has not been nearly as featured this season. He hasn’t caught a ball in Vanderbilt’s last three games and has only 15 catches for 157 yards on the season. It’s not like the talent went away, but that lack of production has dropped him down a bit in our eyes.

3. Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

O’Grady’s on-field talent is undeniable, as he broke 13 tackles on 63 catches over the past two seasons. Off the field, though, is where we have serious questions. He left Arkansas after their loss to Alabama and had been suspended multiple times in his career.

4. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue

Hopkins may very well test out in Indy as the most athletic tight end in the class, but we have serious concerns about his ability to simply catch the ball in the NFL. He has 19 drops on 133 career catchable passes for a 14.3% drop rate.

5. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri

Okwuegbunam has been excellent in the red zone for the Tigers over the course of his career with 23 touchdowns over the past three seasons. He’s been a limited route runner, though, and dropped four of his 30 catchable passes this season.

Offensive Tackle

1. Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Thomas’ 93.1 overall grade is the highest among draft-eligible Power 5 offensive linemen. If it holds up, it will be the highest grade we’ve seen from a tackle prospect since 2015. He’s faced no slouches, either, in terms of pass-rushers. He shut down the talented duos from both Notre Dame and Florida.

2. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Wirfs has taken his game to another level here of late in Big Ten play. He hasn’t allowed a pressure since Iowa’s Week 7 loss to Penn State and shut down the likes of Zack Baun and Carter Coughlin in their matchups. We love that with his dominant physical profile, we’ve seen a marked improvement in his grading in his three years as a starter.

3. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

Leatherwood has made the transition from right guard last year to left tackle this year better than we could have ever imagined. He’s much more of a tackle than a guard with easy agility and mirror ability. He’s allowed only nine pressures this season on 344 pass-blocking snaps with most of those coming on blown stunts or blitz pickups and not in traditional one-on-one losses.

4. Josh Jones, Houston

Jones has the highest grade of any draft-eligible lineman so far this season with an 89.2 pass blocking and 92.7 run-blocking grade. If that holds, he’ll have the highest single-season grade group of any Group of 5 tackle we’ve seen. He possesses quick feet and exceptional hands in pass pro that have allowed all of four pressures this season.

5. Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

Whether it’s firing forward or backward off the line of scrimmage, Wills' explosiveness pops off the tape immediately. He’s not nearly as polished as the guys ahead of him on this list, but the leap we’ve seen him take from last year to this year is massive. His 10 big-time blocks this season are the most of any draft-eligible tackle in the country.

Interior Offensive Line

1. Netane Muti, Fresno State

Muti’s talent is undeniable, but he’s now had back-to-back seasons shortened due to injury. On 193 pass-blocking snaps over that span between tackle and guard, Muti has allowed only three pressures.

2. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

After a slow start to the season, Biadasz has once again been dominating Big Ten competition. He’s been a top-five graded center in the country every single year of his college career.

3. Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

We not only love Humphrey’s advanced pass protection ability as a redshirt sophomore where he’s allowed only five pressures all year long, but we also love that at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, he has the size to play anywhere on the interior.

4. Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

A four-year starter for the Ducks, Throckmorton has one of the most impressive grading profiles we’ve ever seen from an offensive lineman. His overall grade has improved every single year from 72.4 as a freshman to 85.5 so far this season. He’s also played 3,396 snaps with at least one snap at every position along the offensive line and 300+ snaps at left tackle, right guard, and right tackle.

5. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky

Stenberg gets protected a bit in Kentucky’s run-heavy offense, but he’s still only allowed one lone pressure on 261 pass-blocking snaps this season. He’s been described as the ‘SEC’s most disliked player’ and will be an offensive line coach's dream in the NFL.

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