The upcoming college football season is lurking right around the corner, and with that comes great debate regarding who are the best student-athletes. On Wednesday morning, those talks began heating up when longtime ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his pre-season “Big Board”. Sitting atop the rankings was none other than University of Alabama wide-receiver Jerry Jeudy.
The Crimson Tide’s game-changer beat out Ohio State defensive end Chase Young (2) and Louisiana State University safety Grant Delpit (3) for the top spot on the list. Joining him on that list is teammate and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (4). The duo seems destined to draw plenty of attention from opposing team’s defensive coordinators, and NFL scouts, as they lead Alabama’s high-octane offense.
Last season in 2018, Jeudy had a break-out sophomore campaign for the Tide. His stat line was incredible and reads: 68 Rec/1315 Yds/14 Tds/19.3 YPC. For his excellent contribution in Alabama’s run to the National Championship Game, he garnered honors as a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC performer, as well as winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award given annually to the nation’s best receiver.
On ESPN’s Get Up, Kiper Jr. compared Jeudy to former Indianapolis Colts’ receiver Marvin Harrison. Jeudy gains great separation coming in-and-out of his breaks and runs clean routes.
Combining those attributes with quick feet and deceptive speed, it’s easy to see why Kiper added, “Jerry Jeudy could’ve been a great prospect in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. He’s tremendous at running routes and setting up a corner. He’s complete. He’s NFL-ready. He’s a great, great football player. He’s been No. 1 on my board since early May and he’s going to remain there for awhile.”
With an impressive resume and comparisons to Harrison, most would presume that Jeudy is set to be the undisputed first overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft. However, Kiper is sure Jeudy will go in the first five picks and maintains that evidence suggests a quarterback is likely to go first overall.
Kiper elaborated on the theory during Get Up saying,“Now, if you’re doing a mock draft, 16 of the last 22 drafts, a quarterback’s gone No. 1. You have to go way back to ‘96 when Keyshawn (Johnson) went No. 1 to get a receiver, so it’s not probably going to be a wide receiver. Granted, it probably will be a quarterback, if history tells us that and will be consistent with that.”
Whether or not Jeudy defies conventional trends and winds up as the Draft’s top selection remains to be seen. Still, Alabama and Head Coach Nick Saban will torment the SEC defenses all season long with the dynamic duo of Jeudy and Tua. There will be plenty of highlight-reel connections between the two, and NFL scouts will pour over game film dissecting plays to decide which prospect should be selected first.