Five top playmakers in the NFL Draft
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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