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2020 Top Five Positional Rankings: Pre Senior Bowl Edition

Discussion in 'The Bill Nunn Draft Room' started by AskQuestionsLater, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016
    Welcome back everyone! AskQuestionsLater here, bringing you another installment of the Top Five Positional Rankings. This time, we are now focusing on the players who have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. As such, some players will be omitted from this list only because they have returned to school. With that said, let us not waste any more time and begin.

    For those of you who were not available to read the Final Pre Bowl Take of the Top Positional Rankings Guide, I will have a link below!

    Final Take before Bowl Week

    Before we do begin though and, 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:


    1.) Joe Burrow: Louisiana State University

    2.) Tua Tagovailoa: University of Alabama

    3.) Justin Herbert: University of Oregon

    4.) Jacob Eason: University of Washington

    5.) Jake Fromm: Unversity of Georgia

    Unfortunately folks, there is not much movement from the Final Take before Bowl Weel with the omission of K.J. Costello as he has decided to return to school. That said, there is not too much that I can add onto this list above. That said though, just because there has been no movement of this list does not mean these QBs will be selected in said order. For one, I do believe that Tua is likely to slip given his hip condition. It is still largely an unknown as to how he will perform after the recovery process. As for everyone else?! Much of what I stated still applies; Joe is the most ready among all the QBs, Jacob Eason possess not just the most powerful arm but also the most arm talent and Justin Herbert yields the greatest potential of any QB. Where Jake Fromm comes into this equation is that he contains the best decision making of any QB. Yes, Tua has the best accuracy and Football IQ of any QB but I like how more capable Jake Fromm was in terms of processing just a bit more than Tua was.

    Running Backs:

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

    2.) Johnathan Taylor: University of Wisconsin

    3.) D'Andre Swift: University of Georgia

    4.) Cam Akers: Florida State University

    5.) Zach Moss: University of Utah

    First big change of the Running Backs. Chuba Hubbard and Travis Etienne returning to school brought forth the likes of our newcomers in Cam Akers and Zach Moss. Before I get into the newcomers, I wanted to talk about the switch between J.K. Dobbins and Johnathan Taylor. The main difference between these two does not come down to physical characteristics alone. Yes, J.K. Dobbins is the more quicker of the two and Taylor does have a greater explosive step at the hole but those attributes alone would not be enough. The key difference here is wear and tear; 796 vs 968. Yes, approaching 800 touches is still very high but approaching 1,000 is even worse. I worry a lot more about the durability of Taylor than I do of Dobbins in the long run as Running Backs have a very short shelf life already.

    Now, getting onto the newcomers on the list, let's start with Cam Akers. Among the 2020 Running Backs, say hello to the most physically gifted of them all. Athleticism is important for the Running Back position and Cam has that apsect covered in spades. What he needs to cover more though are the finer points of running the football. To start, he is not as quick to burst into the hole as consistently as one would like. Pad level when engaging a would be tackler is another. His biggest improvement will have to come in pass protection. While his physical dimensions will aid him in improving this, consistent reps are a must as he is still learning this. However, once he gets this down, he will be on the fast track to be a good three down back. As for Zach Moss, take everything I said both negative and positive about Cam Akers and reverse them. Moss' instincts, pass protection and Football IQ are among the best, if not arguably the best of any Running Back in the class. The issue stems from his limited athleticism. He is more so a utility back than he would be an actual three down one due to his limited physical abilities. That said, considering the NFL now is more welcoming to a Running Back by commitee approach, Moss' value increases because of it.

    Wide Receivers:

    1.) Jerry Jeudy: University of Alabama

    2.) CeeDee Lamb: University of Oklahoma

    3.) Henry Ruggs III: University of Alabama

    4.) Laviska Shenault Jr.: University of Colorado

    5.) Tee Higgins: University of Clemson

    Much like the Running Backs, change is at the top. That said, unlike the Running Backs I want to start with the newcomers first. Now, this 2020 Wide Receiving Class features a lot of freak show players. Among the freakiest though is Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. Take everything you liked about JuJu Smith Schuster and turbo chare it. That is essentially who Shenault Jr is. One would think that, given such immense athletic abilities, he should be in the top three. Here in lies the main issue; lack of production. Granted, Steven Montez did not do much to help this but even when the opportunities presented themselves, Laviksa did not make much of them... when healthy anyway. A Turf Toe is bad enough but adding a Torn Labrum compounds these issues; having these injuries in back to back seasons doubly so and no less. Despite such concerns, Laviska is definitely a Wide Receiver worth taking as he does have True No.1 Traits that a team would want. Now, as for Tee Higgins, turn up the agression of a N'Keal Harry up to 11 when contesting catches and YAC and that is who you have. That said, unlike N'Keal Harry, for whatever reason, Tee Higgins did not operate the middle of the field or even was used in short range routes. Given his body type and aggression, one would assume that Tee would be quite efficient in this area. The biggest issue with Tee stems from the lack of Football IQ with the Route Tree. There are not many posts, option and in routes to his game. Only go routes and the occasional slants. That said, that has to improve as he definitely has True Number One potential. For that matter, said reason is why Jalen Reagor was omitted from the list. While he is argubaly the most electrifying player not just among receivers but the entire draft, he is more raw than even Tee Higgins is. Combined with the classical case of Big XII Defenses, or lack thereof, and one has to wonder how inflated Raegor's production really is.

    Now, time to answer why Jerry Jeudy finally reclaimed the top spot over CeeDee Lamb. While CeeDee will produce far more YAC and possess greater athleticism, Jerry's advanced knowledge of not just the Route Tree but also the Offense is what propels him forth. Both have exceptional ball tracking capabilities as well as natural hands. However, Jerry's ability to not just use any Route in an NFL Playbook but have an advanced understanding of it is what assists him as this allows his other physical gifts to take over, his seperation within five yards being his biggest trump card. Should he find any minute opening within a defensive back, he is gone. This same level of advanced understanding is also what CeeDee has to obtain to ascend to the next level as he has all the pre-requisites to be a Pro Bowl NFL Receiver. He just needs some fine tuning. Regarding Henry Ruggs III... I could say more but imagine Tyreek Hill without the major off the field issues. He is a true field streching machine. Any team that gets him will have full operation of an entire NFL Field so long as their QB can use said field.

    Tight Ends:

    1.) Brycen Hopkins: University of Purdue

    2.) Cole Kmet: University of Notre Dame

    3.) Hunter Bryant: University of Washington

    4.) Thaddeus Moss: Louisiana State University

    5.) Jared Pinkney: University of Vanderbilt

    Byrcen Hopkins is still the undisputed king of an otherwise disappointing class. I would not be surprised to see him gone at either the end of Day One to the early stages of Day Two. Not the most efficient blocker but he does possess better understanding of it than someone like Albert Okwuegbunam and can improve in short time due to his high Football IQ. Among the Tight Ends in this class, he is a Day One plug and play starter. Cole Kmet is not just a newcomer but the clear cut number two. Everything I said about Brycen applies to Cole although Cole is not as refined as Brycen is and is still very much in development as a blocker. Passable overall but not stout. Unlike the first two, Hunter Bryant possess the best athleticism of any Tight End in the class overall. Not only that, he is arguably the best Receiving Tight End in the class as well. The issue stems from a lack of height and blocking. The height aspect is not so much an issue in the receiving game as it would be in the ground game as 3-4 Rush Linebackers or 4-3 Defensive Ends will salivate at the chance to go up against him. It is not the lack of desire either as he is very willing and does give it his all when asked to block. The issue is that, he simply is far too raw and underdeveloped in this area.

    Now, a newcomer in Thaddeus Moss has entered the 2020 Draft. In all honesty, I have only been watching his tape as of recently over the weekned; namely his games against Auburn, Alabama and Florida. That said, I did come away impressed with what I saw, his performance against Auburn doubly so. Keep in mind that I state Auburn because, outside his Championship performance against Clemson, was his most complete performance of the year; both blocking and receiving. While he has the tools to be an all around Tight End, consistency will be paramount as there was not enough of that even in his breakout season at LSU. Now, Jared Pinkey becomes the man who drops in placement due to the arrival of both Cole Kmet and Thaddeus Moss as both players have superior capabilities or qualities than Jared does. Cole is the far more complete Tight End than Jared and Thaddeus possess greater athleticism.

    Offensive Tackles:

    1.) Andrew Thomas: University of Georgia

    2.) Tristan Wirfs: University of Iowa

    3.) Jedrick Willis: University of Alabama

    4.) Mekhi Becton: University of Louisville

    5.) Austin Jackson: University of Southern California

    Again, no major changes here for the top three. Andrew and Tristan are Day One impact players at Offensive Tackle. Jedrick Willis is bettet suited as a Right Tackle but does have enough lateral agility to be a Left Tackle albeit not as stout. The newcomers on this list are more about potential and talent than being plug ins. To start, Mekhi Becton is a mammoth of a man; 6'7 and 345 to boot. That said, leverage is oddly enough not an issue despite his size. In addition, his overall agility and lateral explosiveness is bested only by Tristan Wirfs in the class as he is effortless in his side to side movements. Add his natural power and mauling demeanour and one would think he is a plug and play prospect as well. The issue though lies in the lack of fundementals for him. To start, while speed rushers are no issue, him lunging forward almost always keys in to the opposing rusher what type of play it is. Hand placement is also an issue as he has a tendency to aim high at times. This is not problematic but it is still something that needs fixing. When it comes to facing power rushers, while he is able to absorb the recoil of the initial strike very well, he does not appear to have a counter strategy after the opposing power rusher moves into his next attack plan. From there, al Becton does is mainly rely on athleticism and, to credit, has won more than he has lost. That said, if he wants to be a true Franchise Left Tackle, these fundamental woes have to be corrected as they happen too consistently on tape.

    Regarding Austin Jackson, he is more of a highly athletic player than he is a tackle. However, he is best deployed in pass protection and in a zone blocking scheme where he can get his motor running without exposing him too much. Why it is important he goes to a zone blocking scheme is that power rushers will have a field day with him. A.J. Epenesa can attest to this as he made Austin look helpless in the Holiday Bowl. Again, he has number one Left Tackle physical gifts but he really needs to be brought along. Inserting him right away could be disastrous for him.

    Interior Offensive Line:

    1.) Tyler Biadasz: University of Wisconsin

    2.) Creed Humphrey: University of Oklahoma

    3.) Solomon Kindley: University of Georgia

    4.) Ben Bredeson: University of Michigan

    5.) Nick Harris: University of Washington

    Here, much like the Final Take before Bowl Week, almost no change. Much of what I stated about Biadasz, Humphrey and Kindley still apply here and said order will continue to be so until further notice. What I have changed here is the position between Nick Harris and one of my favorite selections for the Steelers in newcomer Ben Bredeson from Michigan. While Nick Harris does possess superior athleticism than Ben, Ben's superior overall strength, power and discipline proved to be the deciding factor on moving Ben up in the rankings.

    Interior Defensive Lineman:

    1.) Derrick Brown: University if Auburn

    2.) Javon Kinlaw: University of South Carolina

    3.) Neville Gallimore: University of Oklahoma

    4.) Raekwon Davis: University of Alabama

    5.) Justin Madibuke: Texas A&M University

    Much like the Interior Offensive Lineman, there is not much to say about their defensive counterparts. If it has not been already decided, Derrick Brown is the best Interior Defensive Lineman by a landslide and arguably the best Interior Defensive Lineman to come out in the past three to five seasons depending on one's take. Javon Kinlaw and Neville Gallimore are pure machines engineered for 4-3 3 Tech destruction and carnage and Raekwon Davis is the immovable 5 Tech who has the potential to even play Nose Tackle due to his legendary leverage not seen on such a man since DeForest Buckner. Our newest member in Justin Madibuke has some impressive chops as an attacking 4-3 3 Tech Tackle as well as be an attacking 5 tech 3-4 Defensive End. The issue with him stems from a need to improve his overall leverage whem engaged in run defense.

    EDGE Rushers:

    1.) Chase Young: Ohio State University

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

    3.) K'Lavon Chaisson: Louisiana State University

    4.) Yetur Gross Matos: Pennsylvania State University

    5.) Terrell Lewis: University of Alabama

    Barring extreme circumstances, Chase Young and A.J. Epenesa will be to this draft whar Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett was back in 2017. Chase is a physically gifted freak but is a step below the Jadeveon Clowney/Myles Garrett territory and A.J. Epenesa is more so akin to DeForest Buckner than actually Derek Barnett although being a 4-3 Power Rush End is something he can easily do. That said, Chase Young was born to be a 4-3 Defensive End whereas A.J. Epenesa was born to seek and destroy as a 3-4 5 Tech or function as a 4-3 3 Tech built on penetration and disruption. Beyond these two though, some movement in the rankings. To start, while I like Yetur's motor and run stuffing capabilities, K'Lavon Chaisson's ceiling and potential are tied with Chase Young, Tristan Wirfs and Isaiah Simmons as being limitless. There really is no major limitation athletically I can think of when describing Chaisson and LSU thought much of the same aspect; even playing him in spot coverage or dropping him in coverage all together. That said, the reason he does not supercede A.J. though is that he is way too raw in comparison. Sure, he has a great initial attack plan but his rush stalls out after that as he does not have a suitable follow up. Coaching will play a big role here as his talents are simply too massive to ignore. Much like Chaisson but a step below, Yetur is a power rush 4-3 Defensive End who's motor runs hot. That said, while he did have a good 2019, he is still slow to process information in comparison to K'Lavon and does not possess nearly as much athletic ability to overcome this. That said, Yetur is definitely a Day One pick for sure. Speaking of Day One picks, had he stayed healthy, it is possible we would be looking at Terrell Lewis a bit differently as he does have the skills, athleticism and capabilities to be a terror off the edge in little time. The issue is that injuries have robbed him of showcasing all of his talents on the field and therefore lost considerable playing time. While it is likely he also will be a Day One selection, be forewarned that Terrell's medical history is something to watch.


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

    2.) Kennith Murray: University of Oklahoma

    3.) Patrick Queen: Louisiana State University

    4.) Malik Harrison: Ohio State University

    5.) Troy Dye: University of Oregon

    Much like last time with him, nothing more I can say about Isaiah Simmons. He will become the NFL's answer to QBs like Lamar Jackson and Tight Ends like Travis Kelce without question as Isaiah Simmons is a "Halo Player" and positioning himself into a single role colossally diminishes his destructive capabilities. Regarding the rest of the Linebacking Class, I will not go into as much depth with Kennith Murray or Troy Dye as those players have been covered already in the previous write up. In short, Kennith Murray is a processing machine with good sideline to sideline speed and hits at the force of a truck while Troy Dye was genetically engineered to be as athletic as possible but in need of some serious refinement. Now, two newcomers I would like to focus on are Patrick Queen from LSU and Malik Harrison from OSU.

    Let's start with Patrick Queen. While Jacob Phillips will perform well at the combine, look for Patrick Queen to blow up the Combine all together. Take everything that you liked about Devin White but turbocharge his agility and quickness. That is what Patrick Queen is. However, unlike Devin White, Patrick Queen only has one full season of starting experience. With so little knowledge of the game considering he came out of High School as a Running Back, it is difficult to place him higher than third. That said, he did showcase serious improvement after his sophomore season but he still has some things to learn; namely how to use his overall strength better in situations where he is tasked to engage lineman approaching the second level.

    Now, onto Malik Harrison. This season, things have finally began to click for Malik as he was much improved in his instincts and reading his keys. Add his natural athleticism when going downhill and he is a run stuffing machine. When it comes to covergae though.... he has a lot to work on. Shedding some weight should help as he is currently 245lbs. but he does have the correct technique when going into coverage. The main issue is that his foot quickness and change of direction are just okay.


    1.) Jeffery Okudah: Ohio State University

    2.) Kristian Fulton: Louisiana State University

    3.) Trevon Diggs: University of Alabama

    4.) C.J. Henderson: University of Florida

    5.) Jeff Gladney: Texas Christian University

    I know I am going to sound like a broken record player but there is zero change for the top three; Okudah doubly so. He is a Day One Impact Player and will instantly help any NFL Secondary in dire need of a playmaker. Kristian Fulton does not have the overall athleticism that Okudah does but is just as equipped to handle any duties that come his way as an NFL Corner; Trevon Diggs the same. The most interesting aspect of this list, yet again, stems from the newcomers. C.J. Henderson and Jeff GGladney benefit from Shaun Wade returning to school. As such, these two players receive a boost. That said, both carry different forms of baggage.

    For C.J. Henderson, he really does not like to tackle. I mean... this is even worse than Greedy Williams levels. It is not that the effort is not there but the desire remains the issue. Outside of that though, outside of Jeffery Okudah, have fun finding another complete corner in terms of coverage because he is argubaly the best cover corner overall despite his frame.

    As for Jeff Gladney, even including Jeffery Okudah and Trevon Diggs, outside of possibly Troy Pride Jr. from Notre Dame, no other corner is faster than Gladney is. Keep in mind that, among the Big XII Schools, TCU actually plays defense and has been recently producing NFL Players who are SPARQ Heroes. Jeff is likely to be next in line. Nevermind his athleticism though, his overall speed and athleticism allows him to function in just about any coverage although starting him at zone would be more benefical as his explosiveness, agility, quickness and speed will allow him to see the field quicker. So, with such abilities, why is Jeff Gladney so low?! Simple, lack in discipline and technique. Granted, due to his physical gifts, Gladney did not even have to rely on the more finite points as much but that will be a major point of emphasis when he steps into the pros.


    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.) Ashtyn Davis: University of California-Berkeley

    Again, not discussing the likes of Isaiah Simmons as I have said enough. Same goes for Xaiver Mckinney and Grant Delpit. Barring some serious updates, Mckinney and Delpit are locked in; as is Antonie Winfield Jr. Tape measurement or otherwise, Antonie Winfield possess the best single high, deep centerfielding capabilities of any Safety in the draft. Man is simply a playmaker in the back end and can provide quality run support as well.

    The newcomer in Ashtyn Davis is a bit of an interesting study. He is capable of playing both roles but is suited to playing a Free Safety. He can play Single High but that is more due to his instincts than his athleticism; limited mind you. In short?! Ashytn Davis is a steady presence in the backend that can perform multiple roles but lacks the athleticism to truly be a difference maker and is more of a complementary piece.

    Okay everyone! That concludes this iteration of the Positional Rankings!! A big notice though before we go will be explained soon!

    Final Notes:

    Now, before I start, I do would like to apologize in advance as the promised Mock Draft will not be out until Friday Evening. Unfortunately, after saving the final touches on the piece, an error code showed up and corrupted the file. In addition, some internal issues with the family have been going on so I did not complete the draft in time. Once again, I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and will work hard so that this occurance will not happen again!

    Now, regarding the changes to the positional rankings, much of the players did not change as much as I thought they would when starting this. The only major changes were the usual case of players returning school. As such, other players are going to have their position stock raised artificially because of it. However, this is not to say that those who made it in were not worthy; Ben Bredeson and Patrick Queen being the two prime examples here.

    The major aspect now waiting comes from Senior Week. I look forward to what Justin Herbert and Jordan Love showcase at the Senior Bowl. Depending on how well they perform can impact not just the positional rankings but the 2020 Big Board in a big way.


    While top flight talents have returned to school, still plenty to be excited about for this upcoming class. 2020 definitely has some positions rich of depth and talent that should help others within the same position get pushed down. While higher end talents of lesser deep positions will have their draft stock inflated, all this will do is increase the chances of a team obtaining a good player but at a potentially great value.

    So, with that said, this concludes the Pre Senior Bowl edition of the Top Five Positional Rankings! Once again, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Hopefully next time brings some new changes as we approach the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine!

    Until we meet again, this is AskQuestionsLater saying so long and take care!

    Go Steelers!! :steelflag:
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Hawaii 5-0

    Hawaii 5-0 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2019
    8 players to watch for the Steelers at the 2020 Senior Bowl

    Curt Popejoy


    This week, the entirety of the NFL world – teams and media alike – will descend on Mobile, Alabama for the biggest college all-star game of the offseason: the Reese’s Senior Bowl. This is the premier event for top draft prospects to show what they can do in a practice setting run by NFL coaches. In terms of the NFL draft evaluation process, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.

    Without a first-round pick, it is vital for the Pittsburgh Steelers to properly evaluate the prospects to be sure they don’t miss on that all-important second-round pick. Here are eight players for the Steelers to watch this week in Mobile:

    to read rest of article:


  3. Thigpen82

    Thigpen82 Bitter optimist

    Oct 17, 2011
    A bit late in catching up on this, but thanks for the research in this post man. For someone like me who doesn’t really follow CFB it’s really useful.
  4. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016

    No problem man! Thank you for reading! Very much appreciated!!

    Remember though, First Mock Draft drops tonight!! Stay tuned!
  5. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016

    Creed Humphrey went back to school. Cannot believe I missed this! Sorry everyone!!

    Will update within the next Top Five.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020

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