It doesn't matter how much you love football or scouting the NFL draft, there's always a sense of excitement when you file your final report of the season.
That was me as of this afternoon: 300 draft reports for the seventh consecutive year. It’s a mind-boggling sum when I think about it. Over 2,100 total reports and still every year there are a handful of players that slip through the cracks and drafted high.
There are dozens and dozens more who break out as undrafted free agents. It's part of the reason why I do what I do: for the thrill of the chase. One of my favorite times of year is in June when I can turn on a game and look at it with a fresh perspective.
Who stands out and why?
My other favorite time of the year? Right now. Draft season. And with all 300 of my player reports finally written for the final edition of the 2020 NFL Draft Prospectus, that will be released April 15, now is as good a time as any to look at this year's class by the numbers.
There are three position groups that boast 10 or more players in my top 100: EDGE defenders (12), cornerbacks (14) and wide receivers (15). That's nearly half of the first round committed to three positions. The depth of the receiver class is well established, and unless I'm hauling a top-three pass-catcher, I'm probably prompted not to go that direction early due to the boatload of potential rookie starters.
That luxury is less applicable to the corner group, thanks to the versatility of only a few corners in the top 100. There are press corners, off-man corners and nickel corners assorted throughout the top few groups; so if a team needs one role specifically, they can’t wait around to grab it.
The same can be said for the EDGE group, where there are hybrids, base ends and rush linebackers littered throughout the top of the class. The sweet spot for this positional class is on Day 2, however, as my rankings reflect only two true down linemen in the top 32 (Chase Young and Yetur Gross-Matos) and another two hybrid defenders (K'Lavon Chaisson and Zack Baun).
A special consolation prize belongs to the offensive tackle class, which saw nine prospects finish inside the top 100. There are also two more talents immediately outside the threshold, giving the tackles 11 prospects with third-round grades or higher.
Where is the top of this class most thin? The interior offensive line group boasts a total of seven players in the top 100, but three check in at Nos. 98-100. There are six tight ends that fall into my top 100, but three fail to crack the top 90.
The quarterback class certainly fell off as we got deeper into the process as well. My finalized rankings host six quarterbacks in the top 100 — three are ranked as top-12 talents while the other three rank 27th (Jordan Love), 66th (Jalen Hurts) and 70th (Jake Fromm). Teams looking for early starters will be hard-pressed to find one outside of the top-20 picks.
Depth and scarcity at the top of the draft is a note that we may see provide clues to how quick teams are to pull the trigger in the early portions or outside of the top-10 picks.
With plenty of bodies to go around at some positions, runs may start a little later than expected once this year's draft kicks off in just two weeks.