When it comes to the pool of prospects available in the 2020 NFL Draft, which position groups are the most loaded? Which are the thinnest? The answers, at least according to this draft evaluator, are below. But first, a few quick notes on my criteria for this hierarchy ...
In assessing each position group, I identified star-caliber players, future-starter talent and overall depth. And in general, I concentrated on the players most likely to go in Rounds 1 through 5.
Alright, let's get to it!
1) Wide receiver
Since 2005, there have been four drafts with six receivers taken in the first round. That number could be matched this year. This is an extraordinary WR class. In fact, former NFL scout and current NFL Network draftnik Daniel Jeremiah has said this is the deepest group of receivers he's ever evaluated. I don't doubt it. We could see 12 to 14 receivers go inside the first 70 picks. And the hits will keep coming deep into the draft, as a variety of potential WR3/WR4 prospects with solid upside will still be available in the fifth round.
2) Offensive tackle
Like receiver, this particular position will play a prominent role in the draft's opening night, with four no-doubt first-rounders and some other names that could be called within the first 32 picks. Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton are the two best, in my opinion, but Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs are instant starters, as well. Josh Jones, Austin Jackson, Ezra Cleveland and Isaiah Wilson are in a group that should go anywhere from the mid-20s to pick No. 40. Overall, there is a greater supply of potential future starters in this season's draft than in the last several years.
3) Interior defensive line
While Isaiah Simmons is the flashiest of the group, Zack Baun, Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray are all potential first-rounders who could end up making a mark in the league fairly quickly. Fortunately for linebacker-needy teams, there is a second wave of players who might be available from pick Nos. 60 through 100 and could offer future starting value. There should be an average number of backups to be found in Rounds 4 through 6.
5) Running back
Last year's draft was light on running back talent -- especially over the first two rounds -- but we should see a bounce-back for the position this time around. There may be some slight variance from team to team in regards to the top prospects in this draft, but D'Andre Swift feels like the most likely first-rounder. Then there's a high-end crop of RBs with immediate starting potential, including J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers and Jonathan Taylor. And more good news! There will be quality players with running-back-by-committee or future-starter ability in the middle rounds, as well.
Jeff Okudah is the top dog at cornerback, with C.J. Henderson following behind him -- and then it falls off. While I like the top two, I have just six total cornerbacks graded as first- or second-round talents this season. The position usually gets pushed up the board by need, so look for players to be overdrafted in the second and third rounds. There could, however, be some value in Rounds 4 and 5.
7) Edge defender
Outside of Chase Young, "volatile" would be the best word to describe this year's group of edge defenders. K'Lavon Chaisson and Yetur Gross-Matos may offer the most upside beyond Young, though there is an intriguing group of boom-or-bust pass rushers who have traits but need additional fine-tuning before they will be ready for steady NFL production (SEE: Terrell Lewis, Josh Uche, Jabari Zuniga and Julian Okwara). Teams will be unlikely to find value picks or steals in Day 3 this year.
There are four first-rounders in this draft, with Joe Burrow as the clear-cut top choice. Tua Tagovailoa has the most complete body of work, but durability could be a lingering concern. Justin Herbert and Jordan Love have traits and talent but lower floors for first-round quarterbacks. Outside of the first round, Jacob Eason is flashy but inconsistent, while Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm may be viewed as just average game managers at best. Finding quality backups will be tough once we get past the aforementioned quarterbacks.
The 2011 draft was the last time we saw a first round pass without a single safety coming off the board, but some NFL evaluators see that same possibility in this year's proceedings. This position is light on star potential, quantity of future starters and overall depth. Explosive, small-school safeties Jeremy Chinn and Kyle Dugger are being mentioned with Xavier McKinney and Antoine Winfield Jr. as the most likely top-50 selections. Beyond the top six or seven safeties, we could see a grab bag of average-backup to low-end-starter prospects.
10) Tight end
Most I've spoken with have Cole Kmet as the best true tight end, with variance in how they stack the rest of their top five, but we may see just three TEs taken within the first three rounds. Average starters to good backups will be available in Rounds 4 and 5, but it's not a deep group in general. It's worth noting that some teams view Notre Dame's Chase Claypool as a mismatch tight end who will go before any of the names listed here.
11) Interior offensive line
Welcome to the weakest area of the 2020 draft. This group could be bolstered a bit, depending on whether or not teams see tackles like Josh Jones and Robert Hunt as guards, but the fact remains that center and guard are an overall weakness of this class. Cesar Ruiz and Lloyd Cushenberry could step into early starting roles at center as Day 2 picks, but teams looking for guard play might wait until the third or fourth round before they even consider making a selection.