The NFL draft is finally here.
The Baltimore Sun has already previewed the top players in this year’s class most likely to be available at the Ravens’ positions of need (interior offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, edge rusher and inside linebacker). Now, after weeks of film review, statistical analysis and research, here are our top 65 prospects. If you didn’t know by now, it’s a good year to need a wide receiver.
The list is not intended to predict where players will be drafted, but rather reflects their ranking in this year’s class based on potential, production and positional value.
Note: Prospects who play a position of need are marked with an asterisk (*).
1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (QB 1)
Burrow has superstar potential with his innate pocket presence and deadly accuracy. But his average arm strength and one season of elite production in college raise some concerns.
2. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (QB 2)
If it weren’t for Tagovailoa’s durability concerns ― he suffered a hip injury and ankle sprains in college, and reportedly has had wrist problems, too ― there’d be a serious debate over which quarterback should go No. 1. His quick release, accuracy and ability to manipulate coverages set him apart.
3. Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young (EDGE 1)*
The draft’s biggest “sure thing,” Young is expected to play at an All-Pro level immediately with his combination of size, strength, speed and explosiveness.
4. Clemson linebacker-safety Isaiah Simmons (S 1)
A versatile chess piece who can cover, blitz and stop the run, Simmons has a ceiling limited only by how his defensive coordinator decides to use him.
5. Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah (CB 1)
Like his Buckeyes teammate Young, Okudah has an extremely high floor because of his athleticism and instincts. His competitive attitude would do wonders for a team in need of a defensive overhaul.
6. Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. (OT 1)
Draftniks are split on which tackle is the best, but Wills’ combination of power, quickness and aggressiveness, as well as his awareness in picking up stunts and blitzes, give him a slight edge over his more athletic counterparts.
7. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (WR 1)*
One of the most polished route runners to enter the NFL in recent memory, Jeudy is elusive enough to separate from defenders and fast enough to make them miss after the catch. Drops are the only concern.
8. Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (WR 2)*
Lamb has the size, speed and toughness every team craves from its top wideout. He’s not as polished as Jeudy, but he’s more explosive. How he handles NFL-caliber corners is the question.
9. Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (OT 2)
An athletic marvel, Wirfs has quick feet, a devastating punch to handle pass rushers and the power to clear lanes in the running game. But his NFL future might be at guard.
10. Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown (DL 1)
Brown has rare athleticism and quickness for a 6-foot-5, 326-pound human, but he has room for improvement as a pass rusher from the interior.
11. Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (OT 3)
At 6-7 and 364 pounds, Becton became the heaviest player to run a sub-5.2-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine since 2006. He has the potential to be a dominant lineman if he can become more consistent.
12. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas (OT 4)
Thomas is a dominant run blocker, and he’s strong enough to make up for some of his struggles as a pass protector. Becoming more balanced is key to his viability as a long-term starter.
13. South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw (DL 2)*
While Kinlaw isn’t the run-stuffing dynamo Brown is, he has more upside as a pass rusher. At 6-5 and a lean 324 pounds, he has the size and strength to be a disruptive force if he can hone his technique.
14. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (WR 3)*
You’re going to hear a lot about Ruggs’ game-breaking speed. He’ll be a matchup nightmare anywhere he lines up, but he still needs to develop as a route runner and against press coverage.
15. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson (CB 2)
Henderson has the athleticism and speed to stick in a receiver’s hip pocket, but his ball skills and tackling issues need to be cleaned up.
16. LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson (EDGE 2)*
Chaisson is brimming with potential because of his athleticism and speed, but a lack of college production (9½ career sacks) and refinement in his game make him a raw prospect.
17. LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (LB 1)*
Call him undersized (6-0, 229), but Queen, just 20 years old, has the sideline-to-sideline speed, instincts and coverage ability to make an instant impact in the middle of the defense.
18. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (WR 4)*
With his polish as a route runner and ability to make catches in traffic, especially as a slot receiver, Jefferson can be a quarterback’s best friend. He just might need some time to adjust to more rugged press coverage.
19. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney (S 2)
McKinney’s ability to play in the slot, at free safety and around the box is what defenses are looking for. His range is limited by a lack of top-end speed, and he can get taken advantage of by bigger receivers, but his awareness and instincts are NFL-ready.
20. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love (QB 3)
Perhaps the draft’s most polarizing prospect, Love has throws that will make your jaw drop and others that leave you scratching your head. He’s raw, and his decision-making is a concern (17 interceptions as a senior), but his talent is worth taking a chance on.
21. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (QB 4)
With his big arm, the 6-6 Herbert certainly looks the part of an NFL quarterback. But even after three years as a starter, he’s still inconsistent. He has the tools to be an above-average starter in the right system.
22. Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa (EDGE 3)*
Epenesa doesn’t have the speed to put offensive tackles on their heels, but he’s a master technician. When he’s winning with his strong hands, he can dominate as a run defender and wreak havoc as a versatile pass rusher.
23. Wisconsin edge rusher Zack Baun (EDGE 4)*
Baun is a jack-of-all-trades prospect: accomplished pass rusher, stout run defender (especially given his size) and experienced cover man. A team that takes him in the first round will bet on him mastering at least one phase.
24. TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney (CB 3)
Gladney doesn’t have prototypical size, and it occasionally shows in coverage against bigger receivers. But he sticks to everyone, plays with good awareness and closes on balls in a blink.
25. Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones (OT 5)
Jones is not especially refined for a potential first-round tackle, but his potential is as enormous as he is. His technique in pass protection is lacking, but he’s a more-than-capable athlete who’s already made great strides.
26. Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson (DL 3)*
Opinions vary on Davidson’s best fit in the NFL. Is it on the edge, where he starred in college, or inside, where his pass rush impressed at the Senior Bowl? Wherever he ends up, he should be a strong run defender.
27. Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos (EDGE 5)*
Gross-Matos doesn’t have much diversity in his pass rush, and he hasn’t come close to unlocking his power potential. He was still one of the Big Ten Conference’s better edge rushers last year. That’s a scary thought.
28. Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray (LB 2)*
Murray’s character is unimpeachable. His elite athleticism and size jump off highlight reels. But to succeed in the NFL, he’ll have to be dependable in coverage, something he’s struggled with.
29. Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson (CB 4)
Johnson wants to bully wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, and when his physical style’s effective, he can dominate. It’s when he can’t win in press coverage that he gets in trouble.
30. TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor (WR 5)*
Ignore Reagor’s admittedly inconsistent 2019 film; none of the quarterbacks throwing to him will start for an NFL team anytime soon. He’s an open-field dynamo, slippery route runner and potential special teams weapon.
31. Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (WR 6)*
After taking a back seat to N’Keal Harry in 2018, Aiyuk was an ultra-productive receiver and kick returner in only his second Division I season. If he can handle press coverage at the next level, he has star potential.
32. Michigan center Cesar Ruiz (IOL 1)*
Ruiz is the best interior offensive line prospect in the class and, at just 20 years old, one of the youngest. With his athleticism and awareness, he has the makings of a future star at center, where he started in 2018 and 2019.
33. Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (RB 1)
Strong and slippery, Swift is a talented runner, averaging over 6 yards per carry in each of his three college seasons. He distinguishes himself as a receiver, where he has uncommon route-running ability.
34. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (WR 7)*
Higgins has the ball skills, size and long speed to remain a downfield threat in the NFL. He’ll struggle if he can’t win at the line of scrimmage against physical corners or expand his route tree.
35. Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims (WR 8)*
Mims’ standout Senior Bowl and combine performances sent his stock skyrocketing. He’s big and fast, but he needs to show he’s more versatile and sure-handed than his college tape suggests.
36. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell (CB 5)
Terrell has the length, versatility and deep speed that teams covet at the position. His poor showing in the College Football Playoff final exposed some shortcomings, including his physicality.
37. LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton (CB 6)
Fulton was one of college football’s toughest matchups last season, and few receivers wanted a piece of him in press coverage. Those coverage skills did not translate to interceptions and deflections, though. He’s a below-average tackler, too.
38. USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson (OT 6)
Jackson, who won’t turn 21 until May, is an impressive-looking ball of clay. He struggled against the NFL-bound pass rushers he faced last season, but with his length and athleticism, there’s Pro Bowl potential.
39. USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (WR 9)*
Pittman needed a little more time than most top receivers to break out, but he’s developed into a downfield threat who does seemingly everything well. Ball security is never a problem, and neither are the intermediate routes some taller receivers struggle with.
40. Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore (DL 4)*
It’s easy to look at Gallimore’s destructive hands and absurd athletic numbers and predict that his best football is ahead of him. It’s also fair to look at his college statistics and wonder why he hasn’t been more productive.
41. Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR 10)*
Shenault’s injury history is about the only thing keeping him from widespread first-round consideration. Even without refined route-running skills, Shenault has the speed to run by defenders and the power to bowl them over.
42. Texas A&M defensive lineman Justin Madubuike (DL 5)*
Madubuike’s power and leverage should carry over to the NFL; he seemed to knock back every guard or center he encountered. He’s athletic enough to win in close quarters, too. His quickness off the snap and pass-rush skill set are the big question marks.
43. TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock (DL 6)*
As a pass rusher, Blacklock is agile and strong enough to take on both towering tackles and sturdily built centers. But he’s less than two years removed from a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, and his overall production, especially in run defense, has never stood out.
44. Alabama edge rusher Terrell Lewis (EDGE 6)*
From his burst off the edge to his impressive frame to his ability in space, Lewis looks like a pro. His limited track record and worrisome injury history are good reminders that his NFL future might be a boom-or-bust proposition.
45. LSU safety Grant Delpit (S 3)
Delpit has the athleticism and the range to be a ball-hawking safety, but tackling became a major problem last season as he battled through injuries. His versatility and instincts should make him a starter.
46. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (RB 2)
Ironically, Taylor’s incredibly productive college career might end up being a red flag, as he’s already put plenty of mileage on his young legs. Though he dealt with some fumbling problems and isn’t much of a pass-catching threat, Taylor has the strength, speed and patience to be an effective three-down running back.
47. Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (S 4)
Described by many as a “heat-seeking missile,” the son of the former Minnesota Vikings star has the instincts and football IQ to be a playmaker in the secondary and against the run. His size (5-9, 203) and durability concerns might push him further down draft boards than he deserves.
48. LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry III (IOL 2)*
Cushenberry has the size and strength to wall off pass rushers, but his lack of quickness limits his range as a run blocker. He’s powerful enough to get the job done and has the intangibles teams look for, earning the coveted No. 18 jersey (worn as a patch) at LSU.
49. Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson (OT 7)
At 6-6 and 350 pounds, Wilson has the athleticism and length to be a cornerstone tackle. But he’s still a work in progress, needing to clean up some of his footwork and hand-placement fundamentals.
50. California safety Ashtyn Davis (S 5)
A former track star, Davis has the speed and playmaking chops to be a stud safety. He can be overaggressive and is still inexperienced, but his athletic traits give him sky-high potential.
51. Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger (S 6)
Dugger was among the most explosive athletes at the combine, helping put the Division II product firmly on the NFL map. While he relies more on his reaction speed than his instincts at this point, Dugger has the athletic profile to be a scheme-diverse playmaker.
52. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins (RB 3)
Not only does Dobbins have the size, speed and vision to be an effective ball carrier, but he also showed skill as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s not explosive, but he’s dependable and can make defenders miss in space.
53. Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn (S 7)
Like Davis and Dugger, Chinn has the athletic traits to be a versatile weapon on defense. With his range and ability to mix it up around the line of scrimmage, he’s the kind of linebacker-safety hybrid more NFL teams are looking for.
54. LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB 4)
Perhaps overlooked in a top-heavy running back class, Edwards-Helaire is an instinctive and elusive playmaker who does some of his best work in the passing game. He needs to clean up his pass protection, but he’s the kind of productive, dependable player who can line up anywhere on offense.
55. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs (CB 7)
Diggs’ size and athleticism will get him drafted higher than this ranking suggests, but he’s still a bit undisciplined and vulnerable against speedy receivers. He’ll need to improve as a tackler, too.
56. Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland (OT 8)
Cleveland’s athleticism and balance help mitigate his lack of strength and explosiveness. He can stay in front of pass rushers with his patience and quick feet, but he’ll need to bulk up to be a consistent starter.
57. Notre Dame edge rusher Julian Okwara (EDGE 7)*
Okwara tantalizes with his speed and ability to drop back in coverage, but he struggles to hold up against the run and needs to develop a more disciplined plan of attack as an edge rusher.
58. Michigan edge rusher Josh Uche (EDGE 8)*
The undersized Uche has the highest pressure rate among draft-eligible edge rushers (26.1%), but there are big questions concerning his potential defensive fit. His immediate future is as a situational pass rusher, but he can grow into a versatile linebacker.
59. Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette (CB 8)
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Arnette’s aggressiveness could lead to too many penalties, but he’s athletic enough to stick to receivers and isn’t afraid to throw his body around in run support.
60. Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet (TE 1)
Though Kmet needs to improve as a route runner and blocker, his size (6-6, 262 pounds) and athleticism leave him with room to grow into a dangerous receiving threat.
61. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (QB 5)
There are plenty of knocks against Hurts as a passer, from his tendency to hold the ball too long, to his struggles against pressure, to his lack of vision and anticipation. But as an athlete and a competitor, Hurts offers intriguing potential for a creative offensive coordinator.
62. Missouri defensive lineman Jordan Elliott (DL 7)*
Elliott is a scheme-diverse talent with the athleticism and length to be a backfield disruptor, but his average motor and inconsistent run defense might cause him to drop.
63. Fresno State guard Netane Muti (IOL 3)*
Muti is a bulldozer when healthy, but he played just 19 games over four years because of Achilles tendon and shoulder injuries. Questions about his footwork and lateral movement, on top of the medical concerns, will scare teams away.
64. Louisiana-Lafayette guard Robert Hunt (IOL 4)*
After starting two years at left guard and two at right tackle, Hunt has promising versatility and a powerful frame that made him a road-grading run blocker. His offseason groin surgery is a potential concern, as well as his inconsistent footwork, but Hunt moves well for his size and is an aggressive competitor.
65. Ohio State linebacker Mailk Harrison (LB 3)*
Harrison uses his size and speed to attack as a downhill defender, though his eagerness often leaves him susceptible to play-action and misdirection. He needs to improve in coverage, but he can make an immediate impact as a run-stopping linebacker.