NFL News | Latest NFL Football News | NFL.com

Bucky Brooks' top 5 2020 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0

With 71 days to go until the 2020 NFL Draft (April 23-25 in Las Vegas) and just a couple weeks till the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 27-March 1 on NFL Network), here's my initial look at the top five prospects at each position.

QUARTERBACKS

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: LSU | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Oregon | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Utah State | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Washington | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The rapid ascension of Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and a handful of other young quarterbacks has caused a seismic shift in how coaches and scouts are evaluating the position. Instead of playing the waiting game with a young QB1, teams are creating offenses around their gunslingers and enabling them to play through their mistakes. Tagovailoa is the most talented QB1 in the class, with a game that makes him feel like a left-handed version of Drew Brees. Despite an injury history that could make some decision-makers pause, Tagovailoa's A+ arm talent, athleticism and intangibles make him an intriguing option as a franchise quarterback. Burrow is coming off the best season by a quarterback in college football history. He is a high-IQ playmaker with outstanding rhythm as a passer. He throws with superb touch, timing and anticipation. He also flashes impressive movement skills as a runner. Herbert is a bit of a polarizing prospect due to his exceptional physical tools but inconsistent production. However, he showed impressive poise and playmaking ability down the stretch and continued to dazzle in the Senior Bowl. If a team is willing to gamble on Herbert's upside, it could land a Pro Bowl-caliber QB1.

RUNNING BACKS

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: LSU | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Florida State | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Wisconsin | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

The devaluation of the position could prompt several teams to hold off on selecting a running back early, but the 2020 class is littered with exceptional talents possessing RB1 potential. Swift is the headliner, with an electric game that could make him a Day 1 starter. The Georgia standout is a three-down threat with a slippery running style and soft hands that make him a dangerous weapon in an offense designed to get the ball to him on the perimeter. Edwards-Helaire is an intriguing RB1 option as a physical runner with outstanding pass-catching skills. Although he might lack elite top-end speed, the LSU product has a well-rounded game. Akers is a wild-card playmaker with a combination of skills that are tailor-made for the NFL game. He is shifty and explosive with enough pop to thrive as a workhorse in a power-based offense.

WIDE RECEIVERS

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Colorado | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Clemson | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

The 2020 wide receiver class is loaded with premier talent. There are about 20 pass catchers with the potential to come off the board in the first three rounds, and history has shown us that future stars could hear their names called on Day 2 (see: Michael Thomas, Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown, to name a few). Jeudy is arguably the best route runner in the class, with an assortment of slick releases and crafty maneuvers that make him a tough matchup on the perimeter. As a strong pass catcher with outstanding ball skills and running ability, the Alabama standout could follow in the footsteps of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to become the next Crimson Tide receiver to shine in the NFL. Lamb is dominant on the perimeter with exceptional hands and ball skills. He routinely comes down with 50-50 throws and has a knack for putting the ball in the paint. Shenault is a dynamic playmaker with a game that could make him an ideal wing back in a throwback offense. He has the capacity to score from anywhere on the field on an assortment of Wildcat runs, reverses, screens and traditional catches on the perimeter.

TIGHT ENDS

School: Notre Dame | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Washington | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Florida Atlantic | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Dayton | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Vanderbilt | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The tight end position has become a marquee spot to house explosive offensive playmakers. The trend should continue with the 2020 class featuring a number of ultra-athletic pass catchers. Kmet is a big, physical tight end with a knack for working the seams. He expands the strike zone with his size and length, giving quarterbacks a dependable red-zone option to lean on in key situations. Harrison Bryant is a fluid athlete with outstanding versatility as a "flex" tight end. He works defenders over with his superb route-running skills, and his sticky hands could make him a natural chain mover in a spread offense. Trautman is a classic "Y" with the size, length and athleticism to give defenses problems. He has the capacity to own edge defenders in the run game while also flashing the athleticism and explosiveness to win as a playmaker in the passing game.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Georgia | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Louisville | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Houston | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

Teams looking for blind-side protectors are in luck, based on the depth and talent included in the 2020 class. Wills jumps to the front of the line as a dancing bear with light feet and quick hands. He checks all of the boxes as a rock-solid blocker on the ground and fortress in pass protection. Wirfs is a talented technician with great hands and feet. He easily seals the edge on outside runs while also displaying the athleticism, balance and body control to dominate defenders on climbs to the second level. Becton is an impressive, big-bodied athlete with outstanding balance and body control. He is an exceptional shadow boxer in pass pro, and also flashes a consistent game as a run blocker.

GUARDS/CENTERS

School: LSU | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Wisconsin | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Fresno State | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Temple | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Louisiana | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The interior blockers in the 2020 class skew heavily toward the center position at the top of the board. Teams looking for excellent communication at the pivot will find this class loaded with experienced traffic cops. Cushenberry is a tough, hard-nosed pivot with quick hands and outstanding balance. He consistently stalemates defensive tackles at the point of attack while showing good anticipation on short sets in pass protection. Biadasz is a rock-solid interior blocker with limited athleticism. He moves defenders off the ball in the running game, but lacks the balance and body control to be effective in space. Muti has flown under the radar during the early part of the pre-draft process, but he is an intriguing prospect with a combination of strength, power and athleticism that should make him a Day 1 starter. Plus, he has position flexibility and a nasty side that could add a dimension to a blue-collar offense.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

School: Auburn | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: South Carolina | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Missouri | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: TCU | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Texas A&M | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

NFL scouts hunting for disruptive interior defenders will have plenty of options to choose from in the 2020 class. Brown is an absolute beast on the interior with a combination of size, strength and explosiveness that makes him nearly impossible to neutralize at the point of attack. He throws blockers around like a bouncer at a nightclub, and his ferocity sets the tone for an edgy defense. Kinlaw's size and natural talents scream top-10 potential with evaluators searching for the next Chris Jones. Although the former South Carolina standout is capable of playing anywhere along a three-man front, he could be ideally suited to dominate as a three- or five-technique in a 3-4 scheme. Elliott has flown under the radar for most of the season, but scouts rave about his athleticism, initial quickness and hand skills. If a good coach can help him put it together, he could blossom into a star at the next level.

EDGE

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Penn State | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Alabama | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Boise State | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The 2020 class of edge defenders features a number of long, rangy pass rushers with explosiveness movement skills and refined technical ability. Young is a disruptive force with a combination of physical traits that could enable him to dominate the game as a Julius Peppers-like rusher off the edge. He racked up 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles as an unstoppable force in 12 games last season. Gross-Matos is a bit of a polarizing prospect, but he flashes traits that remind me of a young Jason Pierre-Paul. He's long, rangy and athletic with active hands and a high-revving motor. Weaver doesn't look the part, but he enters the league after finishing his three-year stint at Boise State as the career sack leader (34) in the Mountain West Conference.

LINEBACKERS

School: Clemson | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Wisconsin | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Oklahoma | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: LSU | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Appalachian State | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

The changing nature of the NFL has prompted coaches and scouts to seek out hybrids at the linebacker position. Whether they're inside linebackers with sneaky pass-rush skills or hit, run and cover linebackers with safety-like perimeter skills, evaluators are searching high and low for difference makers on the second level. Simmons is the Swiss Army Knife of linebacker prospects in the class. The former Clemson standout is one of the few defenders in the draft with the capacity to deliver game-changing plays as an edge rusher, slot defender or post safety. Baun is a rock-solid hybrid defender with a nice mix of blitz skills and coverage ability. He is not only an explosive pass rusher but also shows outstanding instincts, awareness and diagnostic skills in coverage. Davis-Gaither is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker with outstanding instincts and awareness. He's shown his versatility by tallying 6.5 sacks and 15 pass breakups over the past two seasons.

CORNERBACKS

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Alabama | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: LSU | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Florida | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Mississippi State | Year: Junior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The 2020 cornerback class is all about length, athleticism and explosiveness. Teams looking for cover guys to handle the basketball-star-like pass catchers should be able to find a six-footer at corner to match up on the perimeter. Okudah is an explosive athlete with a blue-collar game that makes him a worthy of consideration as a potential top-five pick. The Ohio State product has drawn comparisons to Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, but Okudah has more speed and athleticism. Diggs is a converted wide receiver with impressive length, athleticism and ball skills. He is a natural playmaker with an unrefined game that should improve quickly with more reps and experience on the island. Dantzler could see his value skyrocket up the charts when coaches and scouts closely examine his game. He is a long, lean corner with the length, instincts, athleticism and ball skills to thrive as a CB1.

SAFETIES

School: Alabama | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: LSU | Year: Junior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Cal | Year: Senior (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

School: Lenoir-Rhyne | Year: Senior

</content:power-ranking>

School: Minnesota | Year: Sophomore (RS)

</content:power-ranking>

The changing job description of safeties in the modern NFL has prompted coaches and scouts to search for deep-middle defenders with the speed, athleticism and toughness to play against the run or pass. McKinney is a box-area defender with a knack for finding the action as a "see ball, get ball" playmaker. He brings toughness, tackling and range as a projected strong safety. Delpit is an athletic middle-of-the-field defender with outstanding range and awareness. However, he has shown some inconsistencies as a tackler and there are questions that persist regarding his overall physicality/toughness. Dugger is a small-school standout with exceptional potential as a versatile secondary playmaker. He is an ultra-athletic playmaker with a diverse set of skills that could enable him to play multiple positions as a hybrid defensive back.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) makes a deep catch as Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Kyzir White (44) trails on the play during an NFL football game , Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif.

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.