2020 NFL Draft: Ranking each position group in this year's class


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May 14, 2002
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2020 NFL Draft: Ranking each position group in this year's class

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In assessing each position group, I identified star-caliber players, future-starter talent and overall depth. And in general, I concentrated on the players most likely to go in Rounds 1 through 5.

1) Wide receiver

Since 2005, there have been four drafts with six receivers taken in the first round. That number could be matched this year. This is an extraordinary WR class. In fact, former NFL scout and current NFL Network draftnik Daniel Jeremiah has said this is the deepest group of receivers he's ever evaluated. I don't doubt it. We could see 12 to 14 receivers go inside the first 70 picks. And the hits will keep coming deep into the draft, as a variety of potential WR3/WR4 prospects with solid upside will still be available in the fifth round.

2) Offensive tackle

Like receiver, this particular position will play a prominent role in the draft's opening night, with four no-doubt first-rounders and some other names that could be called within the first 32 picks. Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton are the two best, in my opinion, but Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs are instant starters, as well. Josh Jones, Austin Jackson, Ezra Cleveland and Isaiah Wilson are in a group that should go anywhere from the mid-20s to pick No. 40. Overall, there is a greater supply of potential future starters in this season's draft than in the last several years.

3) Interior defensive line

This group was loaded last season, with six going in the first round. This time around, Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw are the only two with star potential. Still, there is a decent amount of future starters to be found on Day 2 of the draft, with above-average depth available on Day 3.

4) Linebacker

While Isaiah Simmons is the flashiest of the group, Zack Baun, Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray are all potential first-rounders who could end up making a mark in the league fairly quickly. Fortunately for linebacker-needy teams, there is a second wave of players who might be available from pick Nos. 60 through 100 and could offer future starting value. There should be an average number of backups to be found in Rounds 4 through 6.

5) Running back

Last year's draft was light on running back talent -- especially over the first two rounds -- but we should see a bounce-back for the position this time around. There may be some slight variance from team to team in regards to the top prospects in this draft, but D'Andre Swift feels like the most likely first-rounder. Then there's a high-end crop of RBs with immediate starting potential, including J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers and Jonathan Taylor. And more good news! There will be quality players with running-back-by-committee or future-starter ability in the middle rounds, as well.

6) Cornerback

Jeff Okudah is the top dog at cornerback, with C.J. Henderson following behind him -- and then it falls off. While I like the top two, I have just six total cornerbacks graded as first- or second-round talents this season. The position usually gets pushed up the board by need, so look for players to be overdrafted in the second and third rounds. There could, however, be some value in Rounds 4 and 5.

7) Edge defender

Outside of Chase Young, "volatile" would be the best word to describe this year's group of edge defenders. K'Lavon Chaisson and Yetur Gross-Matos may offer the most upside beyond Young, though there is an intriguing group of boom-or-bust pass rushers who have traits but need additional fine-tuning before they will be ready for steady NFL production (SEE: Terrell Lewis, Josh Uche, Jabari Zuniga and Julian Okwara). Teams will be unlikely to find value picks or steals in Day 3 this year.

8) Quarterback

9) Safety

10) Tight end

Most I've spoken with have Cole Kmet as the best true tight end, with variance in how they stack the rest of their top five, but we may see just three TEs taken within the first three rounds. Average starters to good backups will be available in Rounds 4 and 5, but it's not a deep group in general. It's worth noting that some teams view Notre Dame's Chase Claypool as a mismatch tight end who will go before any of the names listed here.

11) Interior offensive line

Welcome to the weakest area of the 2020 draft. This group could be bolstered a bit, depending on whether or not teams see tackles like Josh Jones and Robert Hunt as guards, but the fact remains that center and guard are an overall weakness of this class. Cesar Ruiz and Lloyd Cushenberry could step into early starting roles at center as Day 2 picks, but teams looking for guard play might wait until the third or fourth round before they even consider making a selection.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.


Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2014
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I would probably flip Int Dline and CB. I know he has them at second to last, but the TE class this year is the worst position group I can remember. There shouldn’t be one drafted before LATE second round and that’s still reaching as far as I’m concerned.