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Five top playmakers in the NFL Draft

Five top playmakers in the NFL Draft

© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Alabama’s Henry Ruggs ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the Combine, one of the best wide receiver times ever. NFL teams want nothing more than to get a dynamic playmaker in the NFL Draft. Teams want that help on both sides of the ball — guys who get big sacks or blow up plays in the backfield are just as valuable as an explosive receiver or running back. 

The only prerequisite is making big plays at the NFL level.

Here are five college players expected to be drafted in the first round who are likely to do just that.

5. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

Let’s start with the simple fact that Ruggs ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That’s among the best wide receiver times ever. It’s obvious the Alabama receiver has elite, game-changing speed. It has led to some Tyreek Hill comparisons, and it’s no secret that Hill is one of the NFL’s elite playmakers. Ruggs does pretty much everything well, but that speed, more than anything else, makes him hard to contain. He has everything in place to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL.

a baseball player holding a football ball: Clemson's Isaiah Simmons won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker. © John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

4. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons can do it all on defense and might be the best athlete in the draft. A classic defensive playmaker, he has speed and length and the ability to counter running quarterbacks and blow up plays. It’s not exactly clear where Simmons profiles at the next level — he can play as a linebacker or even a defensive back very effectively — but there’s no disputing he has all the tools to be a dynamic weapon on defense in the NFL.

a group of people running on a baseball field: Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb averaged 21.4 yards per reception last season, better than any of his peers atop the draft board. © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb averaged 21.4 yards per reception last season, better than any of his peers atop the draft board.

3. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

If you want big plays, you’ll love Lamb. While he’s not the fastest receiver in this draft class, he’s a monster when it comes to yards after the catch. In 2019, the Oklahoma star averaged 21.4 yards per reception, better than any of his peers atop the draft board. He has great hands and can make defenders miss, and he looks to have the profile to be a big-play threat at the next level. That may make Lamb the first receiver off the board.

a baseball player holding a bat: Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is dangerous as a runner or passer. © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is dangerous as a runner or passer.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tagovailoa’s draft stock may be hindered by injury concerns, but as long as he’s healthy, there’s no better playmaking quarterback in the draft. Tagovailoa can do a bit of everything — he can run for big yardage, or he can beat teams with his arm. He’s the perfect modern quarterback in a league that is quickly coming to value versatility and mobility as much as anything else. It’s debatable whether Tagovailoa should rank as the best quarterback in this class, but he’s undoubtedly the most dynamic.

a football player kicking a football ball: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young sacks Northwestern QB Aidan Smith last season. © David Banks-USA TODAY Sports Ohio State defensive end Chase Young sacks Northwestern QB Aidan Smith last season.

1. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State 

One way  to be viewed as a playmaker is to blow up others’ plays. That’s what  Young is going to do a lot of at the NFL level. He’s an explosive pass  rusher who collected 16.5 sacks in 2019, and he has every opportunity to  become elite at the NFL level. He’s been heralded as one of the best  defensive line prospects in years, and he’ll be able to overwhelm some  NFL offensive linemen from day one. If Young isn’t posting elite sack  numbers in his career, it will be a disappointment. He has all the tools to do so.

Related slideshow: The 25 best game-ending plays in college football history (Provided by Yardbarker)

a group of baseball players that are standing in front of a crowd: Whether a field goal as time expires, an improbable Hail Mary pass or a stellar defensive stand or play, we can't get enough of fantastic finishes. Here's a look at our top 25 most memorable final college football plays (at least ones where only an extra point followed) of all time.


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