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2020 Big Board Top Five Positional Rankings: Pre Bowl Edition (Final)

Discussion in 'The Bill Nunn Draft Room' started by AskQuestionsLater, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

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    Apr 21, 2016
    Not too much longer until the official start of Bowl Season right?! Who would have thought that time would fly so fast though?! Seems like only yesterday at it was September and now, look at it; December is here! This also means that, on the collegiate front, there are many changes coming within the room among Front Officies everywhere in the NFL.



    To that end, today is the continuation of the Top Five Positional Rankings. Now, bear in mind that this is the final board rankings that will be available until after the events of the BCS National Championship match. For those of you just joining in on the read, if you missed part one, I will leave a link down below so that you can get caught up!


    Pre Bowl Rankings (Take One)


    Before we dive into to who made the cut, as always, a disclaimer;



    These written statements by the author do not reflect nor are shared opinions of members of TheSteelersFans Message Board, Staff Members and/or Site Administrator.




    Top Five By Position




    Quarterbacks:




    1.) Joe Burrow: Louisiana State University

    2.) Justin Herbert: University of Oregon

    3.) Tua Tagovailoa: University of Alabama

    4.) Jacob Eason: University of Washington

    5.) K.J. Costello: University of Stanford





    I could start by stating congratulations on his Heisman Trophy. I could also state that he is likely to go number one overall. However, none of that really matters. Joe Burrow has had the biggest improvement year that any college football player has had this season and arguably one of the best overall of all time. As I said, I could go on and on but putting on his tape against the likes of Auburn, Florida and Alabama are so much more beneficial. Justin Herbert and Tua collectively did not change my minds from the previous outing; hence why there is no change needed. Again, Herbert has the most powerful cannon in the draft but not possess the greatest arm talent. Tua has the most efficient passing capabilities of any passer in the draft but his durability concerns are very much real. More information will have to be given about that and that has to be soon regarding his decision.



    Onto the newcomers of the list in Jacob Eason and K.J. Costello. In terms of overall arm talent, Jacob Eason is unmatched in the class. While he does not possess an arm that is as powerful as Justin Herbert, Jacobs arm strength is still elite. This is also before accounting for his ball placement too. He truly can make every throw on the field and then some. The issue is confidence.... or overconfidence in Eason's case. He trusts his arm a bit too much for my liking and that causes him to land in just as much trouble as it is capable of getting out of it. Also, while Jacob is a good leader, he is not on the levels of the likes of Jake Fromm, Joe Burrow or even Jalen Hurts; something I find odd given his talent and athleticism. That said, Eason has immense potential but also has an immense risk. K.J. Costello on the other hand, has some serious tools one can work with. He has a great build, great arm strength, great accuracy, great ball placement, great athleticism, great footbal IQ and has shown great leadership. Sounds like he should be higher correct?! Well, here in lies the issue, discipline and structure. He needs to improve on both in the worst way as his ability to not just attempt to create plays off time but also out of the framework of the offense tends to get him into far more trouble than any of the aforementioned Quarterbacks in this top five. That said, adding all of the quality traits above and K.J. Costello is a good prospect to groom behind teams that might not have a proper heir in stone.




    Running Backs:



    1.) Jonathan Taylor: University of Wisconsin

    2.) J.K. Dobbins: Ohio State University

    3.) D'Andre Swift: University of Georgia

    4.) Travis Eitenne: University of Clemson

    5.) Chuba Hubbard: Oklahoma State University




    Much like the last time, unimpressed with this class. However, unlike the last time, there are major changes as there was a lot of developments that occured during Championship Week. To start out, Running Backs generally seperate themselevs from the pack here; more so in recent years than a while ago. That said, Johnathan Taylor is the new number one here. He is not the most athletic nor is he the strongest but he is "Steady Eddie" among the class. In addition, one aspect that seperates Taylor from any of his classmates is his instincts, situational awareness and ball carrier vision; traits alone that are worth a First Round grade. Not saying Taylor's instincts are special but they are really close to being so. I say really close because J.K. Dobbins is comparable to Taylor with the exception of his agility and quickness in space. Again, not fast here but very quick and agile. Jump cuts like his do not come often either. He does have some power but is not a true rusher who will live in between the tackles as others would make him out to be.



    D'Andre Swift was the best overall back in the class but slipped. What happened mind you?! His performances against teams in the Top 25. Normally I would not use this as a basis because there are many area's in which these comparisons can be subjective. However, against Top 25 teams, he has only one rushing touchdown compared to teams that are not in the Top 25. This is also not accouting that his YPC drops by over two points when facing Top 25 competition. Why is such a stat so important one may ask?! What is D'Andre Swift going to do against a league essentially made of a lot of Alabama's?!



    Rounding out the list, Travis Etienne is still, by far and away, the most explosive, quickest, most agile and fastest back in the entire draft class. Best when used in space and can be an asset as a receiving option. Keep in mind though he is purely an Offensive Weapon. Do not ask him to do anything else as he is built for all out attack. Chuba Hubbard also fits this category but operates a bit better in pass protection. The issue with him is that, he is also reliant on runs in space and does not possess the same type of game breaking speed or agility that Etienne has.




    Wide Receivers:




    1.) CeeDee Lamb: University of Oklahoma

    2.) Jerry Jeudy: University of Alabama

    3.) Henry Ruggs III: University of Alabama

    4.) Jalen Raegor: Texas Christian University

    5.) DeVonta Smith: University of Alabama



    A new number one appears!! This time in the form of CeeDee Lamb; the nightmare from the Big XII. Yes, yes, outside of TCU and Baylor (this year anyway), the Big XII does not produce much talent on the defensive side of the ball so it can be fair to point out that any Wide Receiver hailing from this conference have inflated production. While CeeDee's numbers are a bit inflated, that is not true about what he can do. His speed and explosiveness will not be confused with Jerry Jeudy; explosiveness the same. What he does better than anyone in the class though is track the ball. His ball focus skills are comparable to that of players like De'Andre Hopkins in the vein that they never lose sight nor focus on the ball. This is also accounting for his hands; again best in the class. Anything thrown to him will be caught. He is also great at catching the ball in a variety of situations; catching in traffic, contested catches, shoulder grabs, etc.



    Much like before, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III are the Lamborghini Adventador SVJ and Koenigsegg Agera RS of the class. One is the all around exceptional performer and the other has world class speed, explosivness and agility. However, much like these expensive cars, these high end receivers have some issues. For one, Jerry Jeudy is not as physical as one would want in a Number One Receiver. This is also before accounting the fact that opposing corners who have not just speed comparable to his but are physical will stymie him from developing his routes. Regarding the weaknesses of Henry Ruggs III, take everything I said about the physical limitations of Jeudy and multiply that by 2. A track frame is going to cause some concern regarding durability as all it will take is one good lick and he is out for an extended period of time. Outside of that though, he is way too reliant on his athletic abilities. Yes, he literally can out run anyone in the entire class but while speed does kill, it also wears down over time.



    Jalen Raegor is a tad bit behind Ruggs III in terms of speed but he is by far the most explosive offensive player in the class. In and out of breaks, getting to top speed, cuts, etc. Add his agility which is a tad bit better than Ruggs III and you have a bona fide playmaking receiver. The issue though stems from the lack of a full route trees. Curls, go routes, posts and slants. That is it. Sadly, that will not cut it in the NFL no matter how gifted you are. Now, DeVonta Smith might not have elite athletic ability but has elite hands and great ball tracking. His issue though stems from having only good not great physical gifts in addition to the issues outlined of Henry and Jerry.



    Tight Ends:



    1.) Brycen Hopkins: University of Purdue

    2 ) Hunter Bryant: University of Washington

    3.) Jared Pinkney: University of Vanderbilt

    4.) Colby Parkinson: University of Stanford

    5.) Albert Okwuegbunam: University of Missouri



    Much like the last time, no change. Unfortunately, the Tight End class this season lacks a standout performer and thus the above players are more so about fitting within an offensive scheme rather than transforming the offense based on their abilities. Brycen Hopkins is close but his athleticism does not allow him to be a game breaking player. Hunter Bryant has the athleticism but lacks the desired physical attributes. Jared Pinkney and Colby Parkinson are good but not great and Albert has the athleticism and physical dimensions but lacks the ability to run block and is too inconsistent.



    Offensive Tackles:



    1.) Andrew Thomas: University of Georgia

    2.) Tristian Wirfs: University of Iowa

    3.) Jedrick Willis: Univeristy of Alabama

    4.) Alex Leatherwood: University of Alabama

    5.) Lucas Niang: Texas Christian University




    Again, no change here. I know, I know, the lack of change definitely is obnoxious but sadly there really has not been any major developments at this time. Andrew Thomas vs. Tristan Wirfs will come down to a teams philosophy on what they desire in a player; technician with a high floor or a freak with high potential. Andrew Thomas though likely gets the nod among Draft War Rooms as he is a plug and play Left Tackle Day one. Tristan Wirfs is also one but his technical limiations will get him into some trouble. The rest of the list is more so risk vs reward. For example, Jedrick Willis has great techincal and fundemental discipline one would want from a quality tackle but lacks the elite finite points of the basics and fundementals in addition to his lack of elite level athletic ability. Alex Leatherwood has the opposite issue; high end athleticism but not elite athleticism to offset his issues in technics overall. Lucas Niang has elite level traits and athleticism but is woefully lacking in the fundementals and discipline of the position.



    Interior Offensive Lineman:



    1.) Tyler Biadasz: University of Wisconsin

    2.) Creed Humphrey: University of Oklahoma

    3.) Solomon Kindley: University of Georgia

    4.) Nick Harris: University of Washington

    5.) Trey Smith: University of Tennessee




    Creed and Tyler are definitely the best of the best of the Interior Offensive Lineman. Both will likely be selected in Round One. The issue now is will both be in the Top 20?! I know this much; Tyler is likely to go within the Top 20 for sure. Outside of some small athletic limiations, he is a surefire Top 15 player in this draft. There are not too many glaring issues about his abilities that one can pinpoint. Creed Humphrey would be in this discussion had the fundemental aspect of the game were at an elite level. The athleticism and physical traits are but the technics and discipline need work. Still, he is a Day O e starter in the NFL. Just don't expect him to fire out of the gates a la Travis Frederick.



    Kindley, Harris and Smith round out my list much like before. Once again, no major changes here. I wish I could move Trey Smith higher but Blood Clots are a major medical red flag. In all honesty, remove those medical issues and Trey Smith is by far and away the most versatile players in the draft and easily worth a Top 20 selection. Nick has freakish athleticism but is let down by is smaller stature. If he had longer arms, that stature would not be an issue. Suffice it say, this is not the case.




    Interior Defensive Lineman:




    1.) Derrick Brown: University of Auburn

    2.) Javon Kinlaw: Univeristy of South Carolina

    3.) Neville Gallimore: University of Oklahoma

    4.) Raekwon Davis: University of Alabama

    5.) Marvin Wilson: Florida State University



    Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw are still the two best among the defensive lineman. One is the all emcompassing freak with game changing ability and the other has game wrecking potential. That said, Brown wins out because there really is not any techinque he cannot play on the interior of the defensive line. Javon Kinlaw could be a 3 tech in a 4-3 but it is best to use him as a 5 tech in the 3-4. Nevermind being tailor made, he has the potential to the among the best overall in the class. However, there is one player that exceeds even him in this area; Neville Gallimore. Based on pure specific fit and scheme, Neville Gallimore is the best defensive lineman in the entire class and arguably the best overall player if using a scheme specific metric. A 4-3 defensive tackle by trade, Gallimore is already equipped for the job with some impressive physical ddimensions despite being only 6'2. His athleticism though is what stands out. Say hello to the most freakish defensive player in the draft named Neville Gallimore. Running a reported 40 time of 4.77 will definitely open up some eyes. His major issue though stems from consistency. If he can get that cleaned up, he will be among the very best in the NFL in short time.



    Intially I had Marvin Wilson ahead of Raekwon Davis. However, I could not help but notice how well Raekwon played down the stretch. Marvin is still the more versatile player but due to his injury in addition to some consistency woes that propped up before the fact, I have to move Raekwon ahead of him. Sure, Raekwon is a stout run defender; arguably the best among the interior defensive lineman. However, everything else for him is not up to snuff; pass rushing being the most notable here.



    EDGE Rushers:


    1.) Chase Young: Ohio State University

    2.) A.J. Epenesa: University of Iowa

    3.) Yetur Gross-Matos: Penn State University

    4.) K'Lavon Chaisson: Louisiana State University

    5.) Julian Okwara: University of Notre Dame



    Finally some change!! Major ones at that the same. Even before the B1G Championship, I did have some issues with Chase Young and the overall effort per snap. However, after dominating argubaly the best offensive line in the country, I think it is safe to say Chase Young put all those concerns to bed for good. By far and away the best EDGE player and the best player overall in the entire draft. I could go and on about how good he is but just pop in some games against the likes of Penn State, the first Matchup against Wisconsin and even Michigan. You will not be disappointed.



    Now, the rest of the top five for the EDGE position will likely be in flux until the upcoming week of draft day. To start out, yes, I still have A.J. as the second best overall. However, Yetur Gross could likely overtake Epenesa come the conclusion of the NFL Scouting Combine. Yes, A.J. has shown to be the far more game wrecking EDGE player of the two but Yetur has the potential to be one the same. Should Yetur test well, look for him to jump up in the rankings.



    Rounding out the list with the classic freakshows, both K'Lavon and Julian are likely to blow up the combine in a big way. How big remains to be seen. Of the two currently though, I like K'Lavon's ceiling better as he can turn his limitless potential into production more quickly than Okwara can. Furthermore, Okwara currently has a broken fibula. As such, it is unknown if or when Okwara will be able to participate at the Combine. That said, Okwara is still a Round One worthy EDGE player and can make an impact right away as a situational player to help augment his game.



    Linebackers:


    1.) ***Isaiah Simmons***: University of Clemson

    2.) Dylan Moses: University of Alabama

    3.) Kennith Murray: University of Oklahoma

    4.) Monty Rice: University of Georgia

    5.) Troy Dye: University of Oregon



    Once again, no change I am afraid. ACL Tear or not, Dylan Moses is a force of nature at the Middle Linebacker position. While he is not the athletic marvel like Isaiah Simmons even when he was healthy, Moses has the leadership and playmaking qualities to be the captain and alpha male of not just any defense but any locker room he steps foot into. Kennith Murray, Monty Rice and Troy Dye all remain unchanged in the rankings as none of the aforementioned have done enough to change my overall view of them.



    Cornerback:


    1.) Jeffery Okudah: Ohio State University

    2.) Kristian Fulton: Louisiana State University

    3.) Trevon Diggs: University of Alabama

    4.) Shaun Wade: Ohio State University

    5.) Paulson Abedo: University of Stanford



    Outside of the final two additions to the list, no change here. Jeffery Okudah is now likely a Top 5 selection barring some extreme performance collapse in the Fiesta Bowl. Kristian Fulton really cannot cement his case as the number one corner even if he somehow puts CeeDee Lamb on 24 lockdown. Trevon Diggs is a good corner but is not the complete package like Okudah and also is not on the level of discipline, techinque or fundmentals of the position like Kristian Fulton.



    As for Shaun Wade and Paulson Abedo, both of these players have unique skillsets but are worthy of being selected in the First Round. Shaun Wade's versatility among corners is by far and away the best in the entire class. Yes, Bryce Hall of Virgina can make a strong argument but Wade's athleticism is what helps him win out in the end here. Wade can be deployed in any defensive back position and do all the requirements of each very well. Just don't expect him to be elite in any of them. Paulson Abdeo just might be the most physical corner overall. Attacking opposing receivers or even in run support, Abedo's physicality will be most admired by teams looking for such a player. That said, it is the finer nuances of the position that Paulson really has to work on; footwork being chief among them. Should he do that, he can be a number one corner in the NFL in time.



    Safety:


    1.) *** Isaiah Simmons*** : University of Clemson

    2.) Xaiver Mckinney: University of Alabama

    3.) Grant Delpit: Louisiana State University

    4.) Antonie Winfield Jr.: University of Minnesota

    5.) Hamsah Nasirildeen: Florida State University



    Sadly and, again, no change here. Isaiah might be a linebacker to some but he is simply too physically and athletically gifted to be placed into any one position. He is a defensive weapon; deployable anywhere. Using him at any one spot would be a waste.


    Xaiver Mckinney has been great this season. Granted, he is not on the same level that his former teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick was but Mckinney is close for certain. The only major weakness for Mckinney is that he is not the same type of technician nor athlete Minkah was when covering opposing offensive players in man coverage. He also does not have the same level of leadership that Minkah did either. That said, that is okay for Xaiver Mckinney is the most well rounded safety in the entire class and arguably the most well rounded defensive player overall. He really does not make any major mistakes and any minor mistakes he does make, he corrects instantly.



    Grant Delpit is by far the most versatile player among defensive backs. That said, despite his rare versatility thanks to his play recognition and anticipation allowing him to be placed almost anywhere, his lack of elite athleticism, average man coverage skills and inconsistent tackling leave much to be desired. As I have said before and I will say again; never before have I seen a player like Grant Delpit fall so far from grace. While I do believe he is worthy of being a First Round pick, picking him in the Top 20 and nevermind Top 15 is a dangerous play.



    Antonie Winfield Jr. would supercede botb Delpit and Mckinney if he were taller. Sadly he is not so he remains in his currenr position. I will say this about Winfield Jr.; by far and away the best pure Free Safety player in the class. His play recognition, anticipation, instincts, football IQ, balltracking and ball skills exceed any other safety; even McKinney himself. The issue is, while he does have versatility, his best role is patrolling the deep end. Asking him to do anything elsw leaves him at a disadvantage due to his size and possibly limited athletic traits. He does possess legit 4.4 speed.... just not much else that I can see.


    Hamsah sadly had a leg injury but was playing really well all season. To make matters more frustrating, it is unknown what type of leg injury Hamsah has currently. It will be iinteresting to see if he is a go for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.




    That concludes this iteration of the list. More non changes than I wanted but there was not enough seperation among the candidates here. Some final takes though before we go.



    Final Notes:



    The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine will have more answers than questions as opposed to year's past. Players like Dylan Moses, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Yetur Gross Matos, Johnathan Taylor and Antonie Winfield Jr. will need good testing to cement and punch their tickets onto the Day one stage. Yes, these Bowl performances are critical but are not the end all be all for NFL teams. Other players like Chase Young, Jeffery Okudah and Joe Burrow on the other hand, will have to continue their dominant performances throughout the College Football Playoff.


    As such, the bowl games will have plenty of sub plots and storylines. The question now that needs to be asked, rather, that has always been asked, has never been how well will these players do. It has always been can the players end their college careers on a good note?! Time to find out.



    Some final notes for you guys!! Less detailed I know but there is not much to add onto given that these bowl games are likely the last collegiate games some of these players will play for their respective colleges. That said, all that awaits is the conclusion. Let us wrap this all up before we go!!



    Conclusion:



    Among the positions I do expect to change, EDGE, Offensive Tackle and Running Back top the list. Safety potentially could but I will be paying attention to how often Isaiah Simmons is used. Depending on his usage in the College Football Playoff, the rankings could change in a big way. Outside of the aforementioned positions likely changing, I do not forsee any other positional changes until after the events of the NFL Scouting Combine. It will be quite the treat and honestly, I have not been looking more forward to an NFL Scouting Combine since 2014. This one will be exciting for me for certain.




    That will do it for me everyone!! Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed!! I tried to get this out earlier but my server hit a snag and thus deleted all of my info. Had to redo all of the work from scratch I am afraid; hence the additional time. Apologizes for any inconvenience and thank you in advance for waiting!



    Now, before I conclude, I will reiterate; I will not be doing any more of these until after the conclusion of the 2019 BCS National Championship Game. There will simply be too much information to sort out between now and then. I do understand how frustrating this may seem to some of you but all I ask is patience. When the 2019 College Football Playoff's conclude, I will have another rankings up by then.




    Once again, thank you guys for reading!! Until we meet again in 2020, this AskQuestionsLater saying so long and take care!





    Go Steelers!! :herewego:
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
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