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How does Big Ten decision impact Penn State’s NFL draft prospects?
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The quarterback remains the most important person on the field, perhaps even more so in a year where the Big Ten and Pac-12 won’t have fall football, and key college players are opting to skip the 2020 season to prepare for their NFL futures. Still, there will be football in the coming weeks, all with an eye to the 2021 NFL Draft next spring. A lot will change between now and April — both on and off the field — but we have eight months to sort out the particulars. For now, here are CBS Sports’ top 100 players, as voted on by NFL Draft analysts Chris Trapasso, Josh Edwards, NFL Draft editor R.J. White, and me.

Twelve months ago, Joe Burrow was nowhere to be found (our top 50 preseason list included Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Jordan Love and K.J. Costello) and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was our top prospect. Not surprisingly, the consensus No. 1 choice ahead of the 2020 season is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and a lot will have to happen for that to change. It doesn’t help Justin Fields or Trey Lance’s chances now that their respective seasons at Ohio State and North Dakota State have been postponed.

That said, Fields and Lance are first-round talents. Florida’s Kyle Trask, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy and Georgia’s Jamie Newman will all have a chance to improve their draft stock since the SEC and Big 12 are moving forward with their seasons.

Like a year ago, this wide receivers group is deep; it starts with LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, who has stated publicly that he has every intention of playing the 2020 season. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, Purdue’s Rondale Moore and Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt have all opted out to prepare for the draft, so what they put on tape in 2018 and 2019 is what NFL teams will have to lean on during the evaluation process. All three players have top-100 talent. Meanwhile, a year after producing Henry Ruggs III and Jeudy, Alabama could again have two first-rounders, this time in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

Last April, one running back went in Round 1 and five more went in Round 2. There may not be quite that much depth in this class but it’s still pretty good. It starts with Clemson’s Travis Etienne, who shocked a lot of people (us included) by returning to school, followed by Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks (who is reportedly opting out of the season), Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill, Ohio State’s Trey Sermon and Alabama’s Najee Harris.

The 2020 tight end class was underwhelming — on paper, anyway — but the ’21 group is an athletic one. It starts with Florida’s Kyle Pitts, but Miami’s Brevin Jordan and Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth have a chance to be special.

The offensive line is well represented too, and Oregon’s Penei Sewell is as complete a player as you’ll find in this class. North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz isn’t far behind and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi, Clemson’s Jackson Carman and Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele are poised to hear their names called early on draft weekend.

On defense, the conversation starts with Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, whose freakish athleticism and playmaking abilities make him an easy evaluation. Missouri’s Nick Bolton and Alabama’s Dylan Moses are also names to watch this fall.

Typically, edge rusher is considered one of the most important positions on the field, but this group isn’t particularly deep. Miami’s Gregory Rousseau, who has opted out for 2020, looks every bit the part — but he’s still learning the position (all while racking up 15.5 sacks in ’19). Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr., Michigan’s Kwity Paye, Penn State’s Jayson Oweh, Miami’s Quincy Roche and Duke’s Chris Rumph II all, to varying degrees, have similar stories — quick-twitch athletes with non-stop motors who are either still learning the position or are undersized.

There are some exciting prospects along the defensive line. Florida State’s Marvin Wilson is an obvious choice, but Alabama’s Christian Barmore is the player we’re most excited about; he was a part-time player in ’19 but he could have a Quinnen Williams-type breakout campaign. Pitt’s Jaylen Twyman and USC’s Jay Tufele have both opted out and both are top-100 talents.

In the secondary, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is our No. 1 cornerback and was better last season than teammate Trevon Diggs, a second-round pick of the Cowboys in the 2020 draft. Close behind Surtain: Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, who has opted out. Ohio State’s Shaun Wade, Oregon’s Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir and Washington’s Elijah Molden, Georgia’s Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes are all top-100 players too, though only Campbell and Stokes will have a 2020 season.

TCU has two of the best safeties in this class — Trevon Moehrig and Ar’Darius Washington, and Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen might be one of the most intriguing prospects in this class (he’s coming off a knee injury suffered during the ’19 season).

OK, let’s get to the full list.

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
3. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
4. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
5. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
6. Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
7. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
8. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
9. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
10. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
11. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
12. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
13. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
14. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
15. Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
16. Trey Smith, IOL, Tennessee
17. Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
18. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
19. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
20. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
21. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
22. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
23. Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
24. Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
25. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
26. Thomas Graham Jr., CB, Oregon
27. Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
28. Deonte Brown, IOL, Alabama
29. Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
30. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
31. Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson (*Ross had spinal surgery in June and won’t play in 2020)
32. Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
33. Chris Rumph II, EDGE, Duke
34. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
35. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
36. Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
37. Josh Myers, IOL, Ohio State
38. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
39. Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
40. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
41. Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
42. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
43. Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
44. Richard LeCounte III, S, Georgia
45. Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
46. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
47. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
48. Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
49. DJ Daniel, CB, Georgia
50. Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
51. Jay Tufele, IDL, USC
52. Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh
53. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
54. Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
55. Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
56. Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
57. Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
58. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
59. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
60. Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
61. Marvin Wilson, IDL, Florida State
62. Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE, Oregon State
63. Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
64. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
65. Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
66. Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
67. Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
68. Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
69. Tyler Shelvin, IDL, LSU
70. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
71. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
72. Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
73. Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
74. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
75. Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
76. Brant Kuithe, TE, Utah
77. Levi Onwuzurike, IDL, Washington
78. Osa Odighizuwa, EDGE, UCLA
79. Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
80. Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
81. Deommodore Lenoir, CB, Oregon
82. Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
83. Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU
84. Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
85. Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
86. Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
87. Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
88. Ed Ingram, IOL, LSU
89. Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State
90. Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State
91. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
92. Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
93. Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
94. Walker Little, OT, Stanford
95. Chatarius Atwell, WR, Louisville
96. Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
97. Joe Tryon, EDGE, Washington
98. Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC
99. Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
100. Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma

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