2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Jeff Okudah No. 1 heading into October, edging out Ohio State teammate
Ohio State owns the top two spots, and seven receivers are in the first Top 32 of the season
Even with many new faces in key roles, Ohio State is undefeated, and, to date, they Buckeyes have been as impressive as any team in the country.
Two holdovers from last year's group that won the Rose Bowl, Jeff Okudah and Chase Young, have been absolutely outstanding to begin the 2019 season. They have the size, athleticism, and refined skills to be top-five selections in the 2020 Draft.
Also, you'll notice the strength of the receiver class below.
Here's my first 2020 NFL Draft Big Board of the season.
1. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Okudah looks like the twitchiest cornerback in college football, and he's listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. With him, think a larger version of Denzel Ward. Okudah also has plus ball skills. He's accumulated three pass breakups and three picks in Ohio State's first five games. I've yet to notice a clear-cut weakness to his game.
2. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
These two teammates have nearly identical grades right now. Like many other recent edge rushers from Ohio State, Young is a wizard with his hands and decently explosive and bendy for someone of his size.
3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tagovailoa has gotten off to another ridiculous start, yet it's difficult evaluate him because he hasn't been asked to do much individually in Alabama's unfairly loaded offense. He's accurate, knows how to move around in the pocket, can scramble if needed but lacks a big arm and is good, not great down the field.
4. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The college football gods have given us the prototypical modern day linebacker prospect in Simmons, a hybrid safety with a gargantuan tackling radius, solid coverage skills, and Derwin James type athleticism. He's everywhere.
5. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Kinlaw is a street fighter on the interior of the Gamecocks defensive line. He has long, incredibly powerful arms that shock offensive linemen, and his get-off is impressive for a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder. Play him anywhere. He'll wreak havoc.
6. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
There's not a coverage that makes Fulton uncomfortable, and he quickly recognizes when the pass is being thrown his way then reacts properly. He has ideal size for a perimeter corner too.
7. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
After not putting much on Herbert's plate in the loss to Auburn, the Oregon coaching staff has freed the super-talented quarterback over the past month. He's fresh off an impressive showing on the road against Stanford and gets a stingy California secondary at home this week.
8. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Thomas moves like he's 20 pounds lighter than he is, and there's astonishing pop in his hands. At times, he can get pushed off balance by counter moves, yet his mirroring skills and power are very impressive. He's far and away the best left tackle in college football.
9. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Although he's not even the fastest player on his team, Jeudy has scary speed, violent cutting ability, and the ball skills to make catches well outside his frame. His body is kind of spindly, but that's really the only knock on him.
10. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Higgins is a squeaky clean, big-bodied wideout who doesn't just dominate in contested-catch situations due to his incredibly strong hands. He's smooth and technically sound off the line of scrimmage and has plus long speed. Oh, and his body control is elite.
11. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Hall is a tall, ultra-long yet still explosive cornerback with a high motor. He's constantly a part of the run defense, and it's a scary proposition throwing his way because of his awareness and length.
12. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Wirfs isn't going to be mistaken for Walter Jones, yet his movements are darn good for a mauler of his size. He repeatedly wins the strength battle on the outside, and his kick slide isn't sluggish.
13. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I keep going back to Lamb as one of the most complete players in the country. It's hard to find a flaw in his profile as a prospect.
14. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Fromm isn't on the same level athletically as Herbert or even Tagovailoa. That's fine. The pluses of his game come from his experience. He gets through his progressions quickly, always takes what the defense gives him, and while his delivery isn't the quickest, he has a deceptively strong arm.
15. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Gallimore slimmed down this offseason, and it's paid off early in the 2019 campaign. The power is still there, but his first step is unreal.
16. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Ruggs is a touchdown waiting to happen. He's arguably the fastest player I've ever scouted with pads on, can cut laterally with ease, and has solid hands.
17. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Running back in my first round? Yep. Taylor isn't as explosive with jump cuts as Saquon Barkley was but has elite vision, impressive subtle juking ability, and blazing speed. And he's a big back who's a load to bring to the turf.
18. Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska
All Jackson has done to start 2019 is knock down nine passes in five games, and he has an interception. He's a huge corner at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. His click-and-close speed is respectable, and he's decently smooth when changing directions. Jackson's length is his greatest strength.
19. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I'm getting Orlando Brown vibes with Becton, a mammoth left tackle with rare athleticism for the position. Do not try a bull rush against this man. Speed rushers might get the best of him, but the arc he creates with his immense length makes it nearly impossible to tightly turn the corner against him.
20. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Shenault's dealing with another injury but has a fun collection of yards-after-catch ability, acceleration, and size for the receiver spot.
21. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Epenesa is an enormous edge rusher who, somehow, has the ability to dip around the corner. His hand use and power are solid albeit unspectacular, however, he wins with his sheer length and athleticism often.
22. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit moves differently than other safety prospects and is a tenacious downhill striker. He's better against the run than he is in coverage, which is why he's a little lower on my board than the consensus.
23. Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE, Wake Forest
Basham is a low-center-of-gravity rusher with a high motor, nice repertoire of pass-rushing moves, and good power. He has decent bend but can win outside with his first step or with quick crossover/swim to the inside.
24. Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
At first glance, Wilson looks like a space-eating nose tackle. Then you see him play, and you realize how athletically gifted he is. Beyond his twitchiness at his size, Wilson is a master with his hands and plenty powerful.
25. Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
The Syracuse product from Texas has 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble to begin the year and boasts a lot of speed around the edge, a counter move to the inside, and non-stop hustle. If he was a little bendier at the top of his rush, he'd be higher in these rankings.
26. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Reagor is held back by his quarterback play, but he's had a few games now with very minimal production. In terms of burst, long speed, and hip/ankle fluidity, Reagor is the draft-eligible receiver defenders should least want to see in space.
27. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Yep, Alabama safety in Round 1. Clockwork. McKinney is a rangy, high-intensity safety prospect with impressive range and outstanding tackling skills.
28. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Weaver looks heavier than he did in 2018, which has helped his power but limited him athletically to a certain degree early in the season. Then again, he can tightly wrap the corner and knows how to use his hands.
29. Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Back from injury, Lewis has lived up to the hype initially. He's lengthy, tremendous on stunts, and can wrap the edge.
30. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a tall, imposing, physical cornerback who's already intercepted two passes this season.
31. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
The arrow is pointing up for Gross-Matos, an athletic specimen with long arms and an advancing pass-rush move repertoire.
32. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Wallace will get knocked for not running a full route tree, but he has blazing speed and has proven to possess excellent ball-tracking ability early in the 2019 season.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn; Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State; Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama; D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia; Ty Johnson, WR, Minnesota; Ashtyn Davis, S, California; K'Lavon Chassion, EDGE; LSU, C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida.
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