NFL News | Latest NFL Football News | NFL.com

Next Gen Stats

2020 NFL Draft: CeeDee Lamb among seven can't-miss prospects

When the numbers match the film, run to the podium.

But how do you blend these two scouting tools into a single metric? Well, that's what we set out to do with the Next Gen Stats draft score.

By combining NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah's mock draft 3.0 and the results of the Next Gen Stats NFL Draft Model that we debuted in February, we developed an overall draft score for the top players in the 2020 class.

After churning out the data, we found only seven prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft class own an overall draft score of 90 or higher and are projected by Jeremiah to be a first-round pick. These seven can't-miss prospects stood out on tape and scored in the top 5 percent of players in the NGS model.

(NOTE: We do not currently have a model to predict pro success for offensive linemen, so we cannot score the six linemen in Daniel Jeremiah's mock draft 3.0. Players who did not participate in drills at the NFL Scouting Combine are given an estimated athleticism score based on their size and projected time in the 40-yard dash.)

RANK
1
Chase Young
EDGE

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 2 (Redskins)
Production Score: 97
Athleticism Score: 96 (estimated)
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 97

Out of Jeremiah's 32 projected first-round picks, no prospect has a higher overall draft score than Young. His elite combination of production and athleticism gives him one of the best analytics-based resumes among edge rushers in recent memory. Young is one of just three edge rushers over the last five years to enter the draft with a production and athleticism score of 95 or higher. The others -- Myles Garrett (97 production, 99 athleticism) and Josh Allen (99 production, 98 athleticism) -- made the Pro Bowl within their first two years in the NFL. Young's 16.5 sacks last season led the FBS and set a new single-season school record. Young, who elected not to participate in drills at the scouting combine, has an estimated athleticism score of 96 based on a projected 4.57 40-time at 264 pounds.

RANK
2
CeeDee Lamb
WR

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 11 (Jets)
Production Score: 94
Athleticism Score: 94
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 96

In Jeremiah's latest mock draft, he has a run on receivers after the top 10, with Lamb (11th, to the Jets), Jerry Jeudy (12th, to the Raiders) and Henry Ruggs III (13th, to the 49ers) going in consecutive order. Whether the trio will be selected in that sequence is far from certain, though the NGS Draft Model does predict Lamb will be the top wide receiver in this year's class, based on a strong combine workout (94 athleticism score) and an exceptional college career (94 production score). Lamb leaves Oklahoma ranked second in school history in receiving touchdowns (32) and third in receiving yards (3,292), finishing with 800-plus yards and seven-plus touchdowns in each of his three seasons. Since 2003, there have been just nine receivers to enter the draft with a 90-plus production score and a 90-plus athleticism score: Calvin Johnson, Amari CooperBrandin CooksWill FullerAlshon JefferyCurtis SamuelChris GodwinJohn Ross and Lamb.

RANK
T-3
Joe Burrow
QB

School: LSU | Year: Senior (RS)
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 1 overall (Bengals)
Production Score: 99
Athleticism Score: 87 (estimated)
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 95

Jeremiah expects the Bengals to make Burrow the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Next Gen Stats Draft Model supports that selection. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback enters the draft with a 99 production score, driven by record-breaking numbers last season in several performance metrics that best predict pro success, including passing touchdowns (60, an FBS record) and completion percentage (76.3%, the highest mark of any QB invited to the combine in 16 years). Since 2016, just three other quarterbacks have entered the draft with a 99 production score: Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. While Burrow elected not to participate in drills at the scouting combine, the NGS model generates an estimated athleticism score of 87 based on a projected 4.76 40-time at 221 pounds, which would rank behind only Justin Herbert (96) and Jalen Hurts (95) among the 2020 QB prospects.

RANK
T-3
Isaiah Simmons
LB

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 10 (Browns)
Production Score: 92
Athleticism Score: 99
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 95

There may not be a more versatile player in the 2020 draft class than Clemson hybrid linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons. At 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, Simmons ran a 4.39 40 and jumped 11 feet in the broad jump at the combine, becoming the first player since 2003 with a sub-4.4 40 and broad jump of 11 feet or more while weighing 230-plus pounds. Whether you put Simmons' combine numbers in the linebacker model or the safety model, Simmons earns a 99 athleticism score. Based on his size, athleticism and college production, the best pro comparison we can find dating back to the 2003 draft is Chargers safety Derwin James -- only Simmons weighs 23 more pounds and ran .08 seconds faster in the 40.

RANK
T-3
Tua Tagovailoa
QB

School: Alabama | Year: Junior
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 6 (Chargers)
Production Score: 99
Athleticism Score: 87 (estimated)
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 95

Perhaps the most compelling storyline entering the 2020 NFL Draft is where Tua Tagovailoa will be selected and by which team. Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip last November against Mississippi State that derailed his 2019 season and kept him from participating at the scouting combine. Will a team like the Dolphins or Chargers still take him within the first six picks? Alabama's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (87), Tua joins Joe Burrow as two of only five quarterbacks to earn a max 99 production score since 2016 (others: Dak PrescottPatrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield). Tua's estimated athleticism score of 87 is based on a 4.64 40 at 217 pounds.

RANK
T-6
Justin Herbert
QB

School: Oregon | Year: Senior
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 5 (Dolphins)
Production Score: 82
Athleticism Score: 96
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 90

In Jeremiah's latest mock draft, he projects the Dolphins will select quarterback Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. While Tagovailoa has a higher overall score (95) than Herbert (90), the NGS model does not factor in injury history, which could have a major impact on where these two QBs land on April 23. The Oregon product's elite size (6-foot-6, 236 pounds) and athleticism (4.68 40, 35.5-inch vertical jump), paired with consistent college production (95 career passing TDs, 10,541 career passing yards) puts him squarely in the mix to be selected in the top 10. Herbert's size-athleticism profile (236 pounds, 96 athleticism score) compares similarly to Bills quarterback Josh Allen (237 pounds, 98 athleticism score). His 96 athleticism score is the best among the 2020 quarterback class.

RANK
T-6
Jerry Jeudy
WR

School: Alabama | Year: Junior
DJ's Projected Pick: No. 12 (Raiders)
Production Score: 94
Athleticism Score: 75
OVERALL DRAFT SCORE: 90

Tied with CeeDee Lamb atop the NGS production score rankings among 2020 receiver prospects, Jeudy was one of the most productive Alabama receivers in school history. He finished with 1,150-plus receiving yards and 10-plus TDs in each of the last two seasons, and his 26 career receiving touchdowns rank 2nd in school history behind only Amari Cooper (31). At the combine, the 6-foot-1, 193-pounder ran a 4.45 40 and posted a 35-inch vertical, nearly identical to Bills receiver Stefon Diggs (6-foot, 195 pounds, 4.46 40-time, 35-inch vertical). Jeudy's 75 athleticism score, while above average, ranks fourth among NFL.com analytics expert Cynthia Frelund's top five receivers, behind Justin Jefferson (86), CeeDee Lamb (94) and Jeudy's Alabama teammate, Henry Ruggs III (99).

Follow Mike Band on Twitter @MBandNFL.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.