- Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.
It’s NFL combine week, and drills kick off Thursday with the quarterbacks throwing passes to the tight ends and receivers. Below is my pre-combine Big Board for the 2020 NFL draft — my top 25 prospects overall as it stands right now — plus my list of the top 10 prospects at every position.
There have been quite a few changes since my last update, including several new prospects who have moved into the Big Board. I’ll update my rankings again after the combine, and by that time we’ll have seen all of the testing numbers and gotten a great feel for the class. Then we’ll hit free agency, which will sort out the needs for all 32 teams.
Let’s dig into another Big Board:
1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
HT: 6-foot-5 | WT: 265 | Previously: 1
Young, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, is a dominant pass-rusher whose 16.5 sacks broke the Buckeyes’ single-season record. He had a phenomenal season, and he is the clear top prospect in the class. Now, does that mean he’ll go No. 1? No, because we know how much teams value quarterbacks, and LSU’s Joe Burrow is the favorite to go to the Bengals. The NFL loves twitchy edge rushers who can get after quarterbacks, though, and that’s Young. He caught my eye as a true freshman in 2017, and he really came on in 2018, picking up the production with Nick Bosa sidelined; Young finished with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 total tackles for loss that season.
2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
HT: 6-foot-3 | WT: 215 | Previously: 2
Burrow’s final line in his Heisman-winning season: 60 touchdown passes with just six interceptions while completing 76.3% of his passes. Those are unreal numbers. Oh, and he led 15-0 LSU to a national title. I don’t think there’s any doubt now that Burrow has cemented his spot as the top quarterback in this draft. His improvement was one of the greatest stories of the season after he started 2019 as a fringe NFL prospect. With a great release, much better accuracy at all levels of the field and enough athleticism to maneuver the pocket to evade rushers, Burrow reminds me of Tony Romo. Coaches rave about his leadership and toughness too. And I’m not worried about his hand size.
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