Sunday, May 19, 2024
spot_img

Early position grades for the 2025 NFL Draft: Down year for QBs, WRs stand out, No. 1 contenders at EDGE, CB

The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books. In many ways it was historic, with six quarterbacks going off the board in the first 12 picks — the fastest we’ve ever seen. 

Watching the run on quarterbacks made me think NFL teams had already done their due diligence on the 2025 class of draft-eligible quarterbacks, which is not as good. And that gave me the idea to project way-too-early positional grades for the 2025 NFL Draft

As a devourer of college football film (I ranked my top 100 players two weeks ago for CBSSports.com), I absolutely love putting my name on early projections a year out. This complements my way-too-early mock draft

Quarterback: C+

There’s no Caleb Williams or even Bryce Young in this class. It’s a pretty deep group, but we’ll have to see this fall if any player emerges as a top-end, franchise-level quarterback. Fourteen quarterbacks made my ranking of the top 100 players in college football and I have fifteen others on my watch list. The overall consensus is Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders, TexasQuinn Ewers and Georgia’s Carson Beck are likely to be the first three off the board but all of them have lots of questions to be answered this season. I’m not sleeping on Alabama’s Jalen Milroe, either, and actually have him as the second quarterback selected in 2025. His skillset as a runner gives him the potential for a Jayden Daniels-type leap this fall, plus he’ll be coached up by Kalen DeBoer, who turned Michael Penix Jr. from damaged goods to top-10 pick. 

Nobody would have had Bo Nix as a Round 1 pick a year ago, which means there’s a huge opportunity this fall for guys like Miami’s Cameron Ward, LSU’s Garrett Nussmeier and Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart to crash the conversation

Running Back: A-

Solid year for some top-end backs who could find their way into the first round. I’ve got 12 backs on my top 100; three of them won’t be draft-eligible in 2025. Ohio State’s Quinshon Judkins has a really good shot of going in the first round. Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon and Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson are expected to  go high as well. Cal’s Jaydn Ott is a sleeper who scouts will fall in love with. Lots of quality backs round out the class. It’s a much better group of running backs than the 2024 draft class, but there’s not a Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs here.

Wide Receiver: A 

This position is loaded with talent every year. The 2025 draft won’t be any different. If you’re looking for a game-breaking, future No. 1 guy, you are in luck. There are 17 receivers in my top 100 and 15 are draft-eligible. Missouri’s Luther Burden, Arizona’s Tetairoa McMillan, Texas’ Isaiah Bond, Oregon’s Evan Stewart and Ole Miss’ Tre Harris headline the class.

Tight End: B 

You don’t just grow Brock Bowerses on trees, you know.  There may not be any first rounders in this group, but a few profile as really good Day 2 picks. I’ve got five guys in my top 100 headlined by Michigan’s Colston Loveland, LSU’s Mason Taylor, Ole Miss’ Caden Prieskorn and Iowa’s Luke Lachey

Offensive Line: B 

Big drop off-in talent from the 2024 NFL class to next year’s group but still some gems. I’ve got 10 offensive linemen in my top 100, only one underclassmen, headlined by LSU’S Will Campbell and Texas’ Kelvin Banks. They’ll be top-15 picks next year. Oregon’s Josh Connerly Jr and LSU’s Emery Jones are two other guys to keep an eye on as well. Alabama’s Tyler Booker will be the highest-rated interior lineman. 

EDGE: A 

The edge class has the potential to be a really strong group and could possibly have the No. 1 pick in Tennessee’s James Pearce Jr., depending on how the top quarterbacks perform. 

I have 17 edge players in my top 100 and expect to see some movement once the season gets going on who can separate and dominate. There are likely two or three of these guys who will eventually become interior players at the next level. Penn State’s Abdul Carter, FSU’s Patrick Payton, Ohio State’s Jack Sawyer and Texas A&M’s Nic Scourton headline the edge class and I could see up to four edge players go in the first round.

Texas A&M’s Cashius Howell is one of the most unique prospects I’ve watched with ridiculous twitch and get off.K eep an eye on him early on to see if he can translate at the next level of competition. 

Defensive Tackle: A

This is a strong group overall and one of the better defensive tackle classes I’ve seen in years. I’ve got 11 in my top 100, one underclassman. Expect to see multiple first-rounders including Michigan’s Mason Graham, Ole Miss’ Walter Nolen and Oregon’s Jamaree Caldwell as the early favorites followed by Kentucky’s Deone Walker and Michigan’s Kenneth Grant. The latter two are large bodies that can stuff the line of scrimmage and play ball. 

I love this group and feel bad leaving somebody out, because it’s a terrific year. 

Box Linebacker: C 

Not the strongest group of box linebackers, so you’ll have to take one early if you need one. There are four dudes worth watching: Clemson’s Barrett Carter, Iowa’s Jay Higgins and Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman. LSU’s Harold Perkins could be the best of the bunch but I’ll wait to pass judgment until I see if he has embraced his role in the box. If not, then Perkins would join a strong edge class. Those four ‘backers all made the top 100 and are expected to be impact players this season. 

Cornerback: A- 

Only six corners made the top 100 but some serious quality over quantity led by Colorado’s Travis Hunter, my No. 1 player in the country. Hunter is someone who could be in the mix for the first pick in the draft in 2025. Maybe the Panthers get the first pick again and turn Hunter into their next Chris Gamble — but actually let him play receiver some, too.

Michigan’s Will Johnson, Notre Dame‘s Benjamin Morrison and Wisconsin‘s Ricardo Hallman would be headliners in any other class. They are ballhawks with high ceilings. 

Safety: C- 

Meh. Four safeties made my top 100 list of the best players in college football, including one underclassman. Georgia’s Malaki Starks, Alabama’s Malachi Moore and Notre Dame’s Xavier Watts round out the draftable center fielders. Starks may be the only one worth taking in the first round. The 2026 draft will be better as Ohio State’s Caleb Downs profiles as a top-10 pick. 

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles

Newsletter

Subscribe to stay updated.