The college football season has moved beyond its halfway point and a clearer picture is forming of the draft landscape of 2019. It was known that this was an overcrowded class for defensive linemen, but a players from every position have emerged this year as potential draft studs.
Justin Herbert, Oregon: After three years of really solid quarterback classes, Justin Herbert stands out in a weak crop. The 6’6”, junior is athletic, big armed and accurate. As he assuages fears about NFL readiness and durability, he will be the surefire number one quarterback by the spring. (Unless he stays in Eugene.)
David Montgomery, Iowa State: This running back class isn’t getting near the preseason buzz, but there are some diamonds in the rough. David Montgomery is finding his rhythm and making big plays every week. If he keeps it up, he’ll cement himself as the top back this year.
Benny Snell, Kentucky: Where other running backs have fallen off, Snell has taken over as one of the most exciting players in college football on a week to week basis. He is an absolute load to tackle and is a tough, grinding back that NFL teams will love as a two down option.
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State: N’Keal Harry has lived up to preseason buzz with an impressive junior year. The massive wide receiver is good at the catch point and incredibly slippery with the ball in his hands.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford: One of this year’s risers, Arcega-Whiteside has been the catalyst for Stanford on offense. Arcega-Whiteside has nine touchdowns on only 37 catches and makes big play after big play with defenders around him.
Noah Fant, Iowa: Fant is the complete package at tight end. He has size, athleticism, receiving ability and shown willingness to block in the run game. With six touchdowns so far this season he is putting those tools to use.
Jonah Williams, Alabama: The Rolling Tide star has been on NFL radars since his freshman year and he hasn’t disappointed as a draft eligible junior. Williams has been a key factor in Alabama’s all around offensive explosiveness this year; both as a pass protector and a run blocker.
Greg Little, Ole Miss: Greg Little has been a major cornerstone of the Ole Miss offense this season. The man betrays his last name with his massive frame and long arms, both coming in handy when he mauls defenders as a pass protector.
Beau Benschawel, Wisconsin: Wisconsin has a lot of studs on their offensive line but Beau Benschawel manages to stand out. He is a phenomenal run blocker who plays with a nasty streak and can bring his size and well rounded blocking game to the NFL in a heartbeat.
Chris Lindstrom, Boston College: Boston College’s run game success wouldn’t be as successful as it is without Chris Lindstrom paving the way.The senior has experience all over the offensive line but has found a home inside this year. At 6’4”, 305 pounds; guard makes a lot more sense than tackle.
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin: One of the other NFL caliber Badgers, Tyler Biadasz is an all around stud at the center position. Not only is he a nasty run blocker, he is a very sound pass protector.
Ed Oliver, Houston: Ed Oliver has been the star of the 2019 draft class since his freshman year of college. This year Oliver has done nothing to shake the faith in him as an elite prospect. Oliver is a clearly elite run defender and has improved mightily on his pass rushing consistency this year compared to his freshman and sophomore years.
Quinnen Williams, Alabama: After being a rotational player last year, Quinnen Williams has burst onto the scene with a dominant season starting for the Crimson Tide. Williams has been a solid run defender while being a force on passing downs. Only a redshirt sophomore, it will be interesting if he decides to go pro after a year of terrorizing college quarterbacks.
Nick Bosa, Ohio State: Bosa made a controversial decision to leave his team to get healthy and ready for the draft. While this has drawn ire from some, it is a smart move by a future top three pick looking to secure his payday instead of risking getting hurt. Bosa is as dominant as his brother was before him at OSU and might be an even better athlete. That is a scary prospect.
Josh Allen, Kentucky: Josh Allen is following up his great 2017 season with an even better showing this year. The Wildcat pass rusher is a do it all defender who is incredibly efficient finding quarterbacks and is a stout run defender. For 3-4 teams, Allen looks like the perfect fit at outside linebacker for them.
Devin White, LSU: White has been outstanding for the Tigers this season. He is a physical, hard hitting quarterback of the defense who can make an impact defending the run, the pass or as a blitzer. Hard to argue with that every down effectiveness.
Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame: After last year, few thought of Te’Von Coney as a guy with NFL stardom in his future. However, the Fighting Irish defender has improved his pass coverage ability massively and that, paired with sound run defense, will get a lot of NFL teams very excited.
Devin Bush, Michigan: Devin Bush is the new age linebacker. Undersized, but plays the game like a cruise missile. Bush is all speed and physicality. This makes him a lot to handle on passing downs in coverage and when he goes after the passer.
Greedy Williams, LSU: Greedy Williams is having the season everyone expected him to. The redshirt sophomore is rarely tested in coverage; but has picked off two passes and broken up another four when offenses do try him. The 6’2” defender is the NFL prototype at cornerback and him leaving early would be a surprise to no one.
Deandre Baker, Georgia: Baker has taken his game to another level this season. The senior cornerback is impossible to pass on considering he has two picks and eight pass breakups on only a handful of targets. Baker’s decision to stay in school another year might prove smart when he ends up a first rounder in the spring.
Deionte Thompson, Alabama: Few players have risen this year like Deionte Thompson. Alabama’s junior safety is one of the best coverage players in the country, period. Also, the 6’2” safety has shown willingness as a run defender as well. That is a well balanced game for NFL teams to gawk at.
Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State: Also out of the SEC is safety Johnathan Abram. The six foot, 215 pound senior has been the Bulldogs’ tackling machine and his physicality is an important factor in their defense. Hard to argue with that type of impact for a strong safety.