2020 NFL Draft Big Board: Can Jacob Eason crack first round?

NCAA Football, NFL Draft

This week’s fresh 2020 NFL Draft Big Board features a linebacker who’s had a fantastic year finding his way into the top 30 and a fifth quarterback joining the party.

The college football season has passed its halfway point and for some teams, only a handful of games are left on the schedule. That means there are only a few more chances for some players to show out for the coming 2020 NFL Draft.

That being the case, this board is nowhere near finished. There are plenty of players to go through once the season is over, plus all the fabulous events of the draft season to finalize and come up with a board that is NFL Draft ready.

But let’s not rush the college season along. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and there are going to be great games down the stretch where top prospects will shine.

Let’s take a look at where the board stands entering Week 9.

1. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Chase Young is already approaching the double-digit sack mark will one more game in October and all of November to go. After a big first quarter against Northwestern, the Wildcats ran away from him and switched it up to a quick passing game. Teams are already looking to scheme around him. It should be fascinating to watch him against Wisconsin.

2. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

It’s been an odd year statistically for Jeudy, who isn’t on pace to match his 1,315 yard season in 2018. He’s also dipped in his yards per reception by nearly seven yards. With Tua out for this week, it will be interesting to see how Jeudy performs.

3. Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Delpit played an excellent game against Florida, showing his range on the back end and his ability to get stops near the line of scrimmage. He gets another big game this week against Auburn to show out.

4. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

As far as blue chip offensive linemen go in the 2020 NFL Draft, Andrew Thomas is the top. He’s a very good pass protector that doesn’t allow much pressure on the quarterback. He goes about his business every week and continues to dominate.

5. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa’s durability concerns are likely to resurface after his ankle injury against Tennessee that will keep him out this week. He says he will be ready for LSU, which is a huge game for his 2020 NFL Draft stock. How he handles pressure and adversity in that game will be telling.

6. Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin

Wisconsin didn’t have a great day against Illinois on the ground, but most of that falls on the tackles. Biadasz was very good at the point of attack against the tough Illinois defensive tackles for most of the afternoon.

7. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

It was a solid performance for Lamb against West Virginia, getting 71 yards on just three catches. He already has 10 touchdowns on the season which is outstanding for him. Lamb is outstanding after the catch and in my opinion is pushing Jeudy for that top receiver title.

8. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

Derrick Brown has been extremely difficult to stop this season from the interior. He has just three sacks this season, but the pressure he generates, the way he affects running plays, and his ability to knock down passes make him a top 10 player.

9. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE , Iowa

A.J. Epenesa is sliding just a little bit right now, mostly cause we aren’t seeing much production.  However, you can’t look completely at that. He’s still the best edge rusher when it comes to play strength and hand usage.

10. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

There are analysts out there who have Wirfs higher than Thomas, and it’s understandable. Wirfs is a great athlete at the position, and he’s proven he can switch sides on the offensive line and play well.

11. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Another pretty good performance from Herbert against Washington in a big win for their Pac 12 title hopes. He still is inconsistent when dealing with pressure, which is something to continue to monitor down the stretch this season.

12. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Okudah continues to solidify himself as the top corner in the class. He is the smoothest in coverage and changing direction of anyone in this class. If he can continue to show he’s improved with his ball skills, he should be a top 10 pick in April.

13. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Ruggs has the size and speed to be a big problem in the NFL. He has 21 yards per catch so far this season and can win in a variety of ways. Will he be the producer this week with Tua out?

14. Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma

Creed Humphrey is having a solid season, but there are some questions with his game right now. No one doubts the physical, powerful nature of his game, but he needs to get better technically in rerouting defenders and sealing blocks to create openings.

15. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Fulton is the top senior corner right now. While he sometimes struggles down the field, Fulton succeeds in sticking with receivers right off the snap. Will he be tested this week by Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix?

16. Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

Javon Kinlaw continues to rise up the board in a big way. Kinlaw has five sacks this season and is right behind Derrick Brown in terms of disrupting plays from the interior. He’s doing it against great competition as well.

17. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons might be the most versatile player in this class with his speed and physical nature. Where will teams play him? Linebacker seems like the most likely fit, and he’s succeeding there right now for Clemson’s defense.

18. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

The running back race is still hot, but Swift is still number one right now. He’s averaging nearly seven yards per carry this season and has shown his ability to be successful in the passing game.

19. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

It was not a very good week for Taylor, who got stopped in his tracks a few times by the Illinois defense. He also had a couple bad drops. This week against Ohio State will be an even bigger test for Taylor. Can he make plays in space as a pass catcher?

20. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

People forget about Xavier McKinney because the Alabama defense isn’t as dominant this year. McKinney has excellent closing speed and doesn’t miss tackles near the line of scrimmage. His position won’t be valued as much, but he’s darn good at it.

21. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Diggs is a corner who should be getting more love by now. The ball skills and tracking ability are top-notch, and he knows the ins and outs of how to guard receivers and what to look for in coverage.

22. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

Don’t forget about Bryce Hall after his injury cost him the season. He might not get to participate in Mobile or at the combine, but he’s a big corner who teams will covet in April.

23. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

Adebo is another corner who could find himself in round one come April. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and at the catch point, two skills that make life difficult for receivers on the perimeter.

24. Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida

Zuniga’s first step on the edge and his versatility put him up there in the second group of edge prospects. If he can stay on the field and avoid further injury this season, teams will get a better feel for what he can bring to the table.

25. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Etienne dominated against Louisville, putting up 192 yards on the ground on just 14 carries. He’s still the most electric runner in the draft, but the receiving issues and fumbles will hurt him when teams dive deeper into the film.

26. Shane Lemieux, OL, Oregon

It’s hard to specifically watch the offensive line during a football game. When you go back to Oregon’s games, watch Shane Lemieux. He is very good in pass protection with good footwork and balance.

27. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Alex Leatherwood is slowly rising to the upper tier of offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft class. His footwork off the snap has vastly improved this season, and his hand usage keeps defenders off-balance.

28. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

The biggest riser of the week is Kenneth Murray, coming from outside the top 50 to the top 30. Murray has the speed and quickness that excites teams in this era. He looked great against Texas, diagnosing and closing on plays left and right.

29. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Shenault was heralded and got a ton of hype before the season started, but his 2019 season worries me. He doesn’t wow with speed or quick bursts as a receiver, and he has looked better as a runner this year when Colorado uses him that way. I have a lot of questions right now about Shenault.

30. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU

The tackle class looks pretty good at the top, and that includes TCU’s Lucas Niang. He’s great getting out in space and should test well athletically at the combine. Teams will jump at the chance to mold him into a great tackle.

31. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota

It’s great to see Tyler Johnson producing in Minnesota’s offense. He might be the second best route runner in the draft, showing the ability to separate with ease. He’s still fighting drops at times, but there’s so much to like with his game.

32. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

I’m still not giving up on Jordan Love, despite a so-so performance against Nevada. The tools are still there for him to be a great quarterback, and he may have to sit a year to develop and understand how to beat certain coverages, but I’m still all in.

33. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

Burrow played a great game against Florida, but he showed some signs of being human last week against Mississippi State. Pressure affected some throws last week, and he still needs to develop maneuvering in the pocket to avoid pressure and make pinpoint throws.

34. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama

Raekwon Davis is a very good athlete at defensive tackle, and that shows in his ability to work laterally and make plays in the backfield. His biggest issue is still getting a low enough pad level to move offensive linemen off-balance and collapse the pocket consistently.

35. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

Curtis Weaver may be the next Boise State defender to get a lot of love in draft circles. He has 9.5 sacks this season, right up there with Young. He can split gaps with his quickness and can win with power on the edge.

36. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

The tools are still there with Chaisson, and he’s getting back to where he was pre-injury, but he is dropping because if he doesn’t win with speed around the edge, he gets stopped in his tracks. Maybe he moves to play inside linebacker with his speed.

37. Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn

Wanogho has the power and balance to be a top tackle in this class, and he’s a little more refined than a couple others above him. However, he struggles to get out and defend speed rushers. If he lines up against Chaisson this week, he will be tested.

38. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

Dobbins continues to have a phenomenal year, and he is leading the second group of running backs. His speed in the open space and his balance and vision combo between the tackles make him a player who should declare after the season.

39. Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State

We don’t know if Marvin Wilson will suit up Saturday against Syracuse, but he’s had a very good season so far at defensive tackle. He has the violent hands and brute strength to get quick wins on the line.

40. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue

Brycen Hopkins is the top tight end right now in draft circles, and he gets a good matchup this week against Illinois where he can get back on track production wise. Hopkins is a big receiving threat with good hands and a good frame.

41. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Reagor had a slow start to the season, but found it against Iowa State a few weeks back. He gets Texas this week where he could make some noise with his speed in that banged up secondary.

42. Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma

Gallimore is an extremely athletic defensive tackle that doesn’t just win with that quickness. He has some pass rushing counters that he brings to table as well, and has been a force for the Oklahoma defense this season.

43. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

K.J. Hill doesn’t get a ton of targets because Ohio State spreads the ball around, but it’s hard to ignore how quickly he can separate from defenders, his speed down the field, and his strong hands.

44. Leki Fotu, DL, Utah

Utah hasn’t had the season that some thought they would, but Leki Fotu has had a very good year. He has 5.5 tackles for loss so far this season and is a disrupting presence up front on that defense.

45. Ashtyn Davis, S, California

Davis has just one pick so far this season, but he is making plays in other ways. He has four passes defenses and a couple of forced fumbles on the season. His range and playmaking ability on the back end should get plenty of attention.

46. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Leatherwood gets a lot of credit on the left side of the line, but Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills is having a good year as well. He gets out of his stance quick and is very physical. Willis can also get out in space and make plays to spring big plays.

47. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Hubbard already has 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season, leading the way among draft eligible backs. His power and speed combo is unmatched right now, and he could capitalize on this season’s success by jumping to the next level early.

48. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Will we see a lot of DeVonta Smith with Tua out? No idea, but Smith deserves to be in the top 50 based on his quickness and great hands. He wins in a variety of ways just like his teammates do.

49. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

Eason joins the party this week as the fifth quarterback on the board. He played very well against Oregon and nearly pulled off the upset. He has great arm talent and looks a lot better with his mechanics after sitting for a year at Washington.

50. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Gross-Matos takes a big drop becausehis game is still very raw where he tries to win with his physical gifts too often. He also hasn’t been producing because of that and is getting overshadowed by other players on that line.

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