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Big Blue View consensus positional rankings: Offensive edition

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The next step on the road to our big board

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Camping World Kickoff - Alabama v Louisville Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The draft process rolls on, and here at Big Blue View we’re working to put together our annual Big Board in advance of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Earlier in the year, InvictusXI and I took the first step in the process and gave each other our Top-5 rankings at each position and shared our reactions with the BBV community.

Now we’re taking the next step with Invictus, Joe DeLeone, Nick Falato and I all hopping on a chat together to hash out a consensus ranking for each offensive position. We were planning on doing Top 10’s at each position, but once we got started we had to call audibles at a couple positions.

While these are each influenced by our own film study, we also can’t help but look at these prospects with an eye toward the New York Giants and their needs.

The next step will be to present our defensive rankings, and then we’ll start putting them together in our two-axis Big Board.

Quarterbacks

  1. Joe Burrow (LSU)
  2. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
  3. Justin Herbert (Oregon)
  4. Jordan Love (Utah State)
  5. Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
  6. Jake Fromm (Georgia)
  7. Jacob Eason (Washington)
  8. Anthony Gordon (Washington State)
  9. James Morgan (Florida International)
  10. Nate Stanley (Iowa)

Offensive Tackles

  1. Jedrick Wills (Alabama)
  2. Andrew Thomas (Georgia)/Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
  3. Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
  4. Lucas Niang (TCU)
  5. Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn)
  6. Josh Jones (Houston)
  7. Ezra Cleveland (Boise State)
  8. Matt Peart (UConn)
  9. Austin Jackson (USC)
  10. Saadhiq Charles (LSU)
  11. Jack Driscoll (Auburn)
  12. Isaiah Wilson (Georgia)
  13. Hakeem Adeniji (Kansas)
  14. Calvin Throckmorton (Oregon)

Chris: This probably proved to be our most interesting debate of the evening. We ultimately settled on Wills due to his combination of polish coming out of college, upside, and ceiling. None of the Big 4 tackles are perfectly clean prospects and we all have concerns with each of them. We also had to compromise and rank Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs equally. The two player’s strengths and weaknesses dovetail too well to separate them. Once we put our final Big Board together, the four will all be put in the same tier.

Nick: Love the fact that we put Wills at 1. He is the cleanest of the Big 4. Wirfs and Becton have a ton of upside; Wirfs struggles with some strength at the point of attack and he’s not as clean with pass setting. Love his upside and his athletic ability, but it’s just not clean right now. Becton played in a more unconventional offense for Louisville and there are technique flaws that are overcompensated with superior strength and length. As for Thomas, he is my three, behind Wills and Wirfs. I love Thomas’ power, length, how UGA trusted him on an island, but there are concerns with heavy feet and hand placement. I also feel Niang has a lot of upside; played most of 2019 injured until he left with season ending hip surgery, but his 2018 film is solid. If the Giants go Simmons at 4, then Niang would be a welcomed selection at 36, with Jones being a more developmental/high upside selection, and Auburn’s Prince Tega-Wanogho being another solid player who could be a long-term answer at tackle.

Invictus: Offensive tackle was an absolutely interesting discussion. If there is one player that I would step up and fight for, it would be Andrew Thomas. I personally have Thomas and Wills tied as my top tackles, so it was easy having Wills as the consensus top player. But after that, it took a bit of discussion. I can certainly understand the intrigue with Tristan Wirfs. He’s an insane athlete, and he has some pretty beautiful looking feet (cheers, Rex Ryan), but I’ve watched three games of his: Michigan, Penn State, and Minnesota. He has processing mistakes; look no further than Penn State who ABUSED him on stunts. I also think he’s on the ground quite a bit. It’s concerning for a 3 year starter in a Kirk Ferentz coached OL. Andrew Thomas has been nothing if not steady, with phenomenal measurements and is perhaps the best run blocker in the draft. I think he’s an overall more polished player that may not have the upside of Wirfs, but doesn’t have the floor either. When it comes to protecting Daniel Jones, I don’t look for risks.

Joe: Organizing this year’s top offensive tackles was one of the more difficult exercises for evaluating this year’s prospects. As you could tell by our shared ranking for Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, it is very difficult to separate the top four tackles. All pose very intriguing upside but are far from perfectly clean prospects. With a re-occurring league wide need for top tier offensive line talent, all four are a lock to go in the top 15 picks.

Interior Offensive Line

  1. Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
  2. Lloyd Cushenberry III (C, LSU)
  3. Matt Hennessy (C, Temple)
  4. Tyler Biadasz (C, Wisconsin)
  5. Nick Harris (C, Washington)
  6. Jonah Jackson (G, Ohio State)
  7. Robert Hunt (G, Louisiana Lafayette)
  8. Ben Bredeson (G, Michigan)
  9. Ben Bartch (G, St. John (Mn))
  10. Netane Muti (G, Fresno State)

Chris: We didn’t set out to break this up into centers and guards, but it just worked out that the top five interior linemen in this class are all centers. Netane Muti of Fresno State would probably be higher on this list, maybe sixth, if he were more consistently healthy. But while he’s too good to leave off, someone who has only played 5 games in the last two years is a definite risk. Interestingly, three of our top 5 guards — Robert Hunt, Ben Bartch, and Muti — are all tackle converts. I think that says something about this crop of guards.

Joe: What really stuck out when discussing the interior offensive line class is how center heavy it is. It’s rare to have five centers stacked at the top before any guards, which truly illustrates the strength of the center class. 2020 is the perfect opportunity to draft a potential starter to plug in the middle of your offensive line on Day 2.

Wide Receiver

  1. Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
  2. CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
  3. Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
  4. Justin Jefferson (LSU)
  5. Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado)
  6. Denzel Mims (Baylor)
  7. Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State)
  8. K.J. Hamler (Penn State)
  9. Jalen Reagor (TCU)
  10. Tee Higgins (Clemson)
  11. Michael Pittman Jr. (USC)
  12. Bryan Edwards (South Carolina)
  13. Van Jefferson (Florida)
  14. Chase Claypool (Notre Dame)
  15. Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michign)
  16. Collin Johnson (Texas)
  17. Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty)
  18. Tyler Johnson (Minnesota)
  19. Quintez Cephus (Wisconsin)
  20. James Proche (SMU)

Chris: We planned on limiting ourselves to just 15 receivers. But there are just so many good ones in this class.

Nick: Exactly what Chris just wrote; 10 wasn’t enough and I could argue that 15 isn’t enough in this stout 2020 wide receiver class. In my opinion, things get very interesting after the big three. I feel there’s an argument for Shenault’s explosiveness and play-making ability to overtake that number 4 spot, but Jefferson’s big slot role is hard to overlook. The sheer fact that Michael Pittman Jr. is ranked outside the top 10 is a testament to the depth here. I’m a huge Pittman Jr. fan, and Chase Claypool’s upside is ridiculous as well. This class of receivers could be historic when it’s all said and done.

Running Back

  1. D’Andre Swift (Georgia)
  2. J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State)
  3. Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
  4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU)
  5. Cam Akers (Florida State)
  6. Zack Moss (Utah)
  7. Antonio Gibson (Memphis)
  8. Eno Benjamin (Arizona State)
  9. Lamical Perine (Florida)
  10. A.J. Dillon (Boston College)

Invictus: Running back was a fun discussion. I think the top 3, in some order, for all of us was Swift, Dobbins, and Taylor. Most concurred on CEH as well. After that, it was a pick ‘em. Cam Akers has his fans. I will bang the table for Zack Moss. When scouting running backs, there’s two things that I really, really look for: Vision and contact balance. Vision is exceptionally difficult to scout, and I make mistakes trying to tease that out. But contact balance is easy to see and it’s super important. The fluidity and contact balance that Moss has reminds me of David Wilson. He doesn’t have the speed or acceleration of Wilson, but that balance is really, really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moss went late Day 2, early Day 3.

Tight End

  1. Cole Kmet (Notre Dame)
  2. Adam Trautman (Dayton)
  3. Hunter Bryant (Washington)
  4. Brycen Hopkins (Purdue)
  5. Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

Chris: As strong as the receiver class is, that’s how weak the tight end class is. In fact the initial plan was to borrow five slots from the tight end rankings and add them to wide receiver, but we just kept going on WR. Likewise, this tight end class isn’t really strong enough to justify going all the way to 10.

Joe: There’s a strong likelihood no tight ends are taken until the second round due to the weakness in the group. While there’s not a clear cut standout amongst the group, there is still a ton of potential from some names on this list. Dayton’s Adam Trautman caught my eye way back at the beginning of the FCS season with his statistical dominance in the red zone. Trautman’s ability to post up and make contested, rebound-like catches makes him an intriguing option. Maybe if he wasn’t coming from the Pioneer League, we’d be talking about him higher.