Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for an incredible season in 2019. However, with the 2019-2020 Super Bowl finally in the past, it is finally the best time of year for football fans: the offseason has begun league-wide, and by far the largest priority for teams in the offseason is building a stronger roster through free agency and the NFL Draft, the latter being by far the most important part of the offseason.
Sometimes seasons are won and lost even before the beginning of September, and the 49ers’ resurgence to the top of the league just this season has reaffirmed that notion. Thus, evaluating the top prospects in this class is a priority for all teams, but especially teams who just suffered through terrible seasons. Thus, ranking the top 5 prospects in this class is definitely important, and that’s what this article will do.
#5: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The hero journey of all hero journeys. Burrow is coming off the greatest college football season of all time, and is very deserving of his current draft stock as the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. He is the closest thing to a perfect prospect, he has an elite deep ball along with fantastic mobility, he reads the field well even though he didn’t have to at LSU, and he is the ultimate it-factor. The Bengals will be very happy with their selection, as this is the quarterback of a generation.
#4: Jedrick Wills Jr, OT, Alabama
Wills is also very similar to Burrow, because he is the prototypical right tackle who can protect any starting quarterback for generation. He is particularly nasty through the whistle, and has fantastic feet for his massive size. Expect Wills to go somewhere in the top 10, because a right tackle like him is very difficult to find, even in a deep offensive line class like this one. He’ll be a franchise cornerstone for years, and probably has one of the highest probabilities in this class to blossom. He is for sure a can’t miss.
#3: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Think about Thomas like a much more explosive Isaiah Wynn. Wynn was very polished at both tackle and guard coming out of Georgia, but Thomas is bigger, more athletic, and way stronger. Especially considering Wynn’s injury history the last two seasons, Thomas is also a much much much better prospect. He is essentially Wills but more athletic and is a much better fit at left tackle than right tackle, even though he can play both ways. Bottom line, Thomas is a tad more elite than Wills, and will most certainly be taken in the top 5.
#2: Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
If Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ career could be embodied by 1 single player, that player would be Isaiah Simmons to a T. Even though Venables has coached former first-round picks like Clelin Ferrell, Shaq Lawson, Dexter Lawrence, and Christian Wilkins, never has he had a chess piece like Isaiah Simmons.
Simmons is the human embodiment of a FREAK. He can run a 4.3 40, has the speed to play sideline to sideline as both a linebacker and a free safety, and can shut down receivers in the nickel as well. Oh, and he’s a linebacker who weighs 230 pounds. Just a thought there. Simmons raced teammate Travis Etienne Jr, a 200 pound running back, and it ended up being a tie.
Athletes like Simmons are once-in-a-millenium talents, and with how great of a tackler Simmons is, he’s the perfect hybrid linebacker who can also play nickel and deep safety. Think about a combination of Eddie Jackson and Derwin James but 15 pounds heavier. There is no excuse for teams to pass on this kid if he falls past Detroit at 3. Don’t think about it; it doesn’t matter, so for God’s sake, just take him.
#1: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The once-in-a-generation pass rusher is the best prospect in this class. Young is simply an incredible prospect, and like Simmons, there is no excuse to pass on him unless a team needs a quarterback. He is so talented to the point where he rivals former pass rush prospects such as Myles Garrett, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Jadeveon Clowney. The emergence of the Bosa brothers are good signs that Young will make just as much of a splash in the NFL.
Young is as technically refined as the Bosas, and as freakishly athletic as Garrett. He is the perfect defensive end prospect, and he is a franchise-changing player for whichever defense he gets drafted to (most probably the Washington Redskins). He’s a gem, no other way to put it.