The arrival of the College Football Playoff gives football fans a chance to not only watch the best teams in the country, but the best players as well. When everyone sits down to watch the LSU Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners battle in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, they will witness a plethora of NFL-caliber talent.
Saturday’s clash between Oklahoma and LSU will feature eight potential first-round selections. This game is loaded with talent and with a trip to the national championship on the line, you can bet we’ll be seeing the best from each team on Saturday.
This game will be the perfect chance for football fans to get a great look at some of the top prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s said that great talent comes out most when it’s challenged. We’ll see that put to the test in this incredible matchup between two outstanding teams.
Here are eight players to keep an eye on in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl who could become stars in the NFL.
Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU Tigers
Of course the player who won the Heisman Trophy in a record landslide should draw most of the attention. He’s the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2020 draft class and is perfect for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The senior’s rise from potential day-three prospect to likely No. 1 overall pick is unbelievable. Burrow showed glimpses in 2018, but this year it all came together in LSU’s spread offense and he looked flawless. He’s sound mechanically, progresses through his reads like an NFL veteran and brings the arm and athleticism combo that the NFL loves. Watching Burrow play quarterback is a treat and he’s in perfect position to end his collegiate career with a title.
CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver, Oklahoma Sooners
Lamb received plenty of recognition coming into the 2019 season as one of the best receivers in college football. It didn’t take long before it became clear that he could become one of the best at his position in the NFL, too.
Just watch Lamb on Saturday and you’ll understand why he often gets compared to DeAndre Hopkins. Lamb brings the size (6-foot-2), length and explosiveness from the moment he touches the football. Oh, those aren’t his best traits either.
The junior’s hands are outstanding and his understanding of how to track the football and create separation from cornerbacks is incredible. Lamb’s ability to do things like this, this and this makes him a top-five prospect.
K’Lavon Chaisson, edge rusher, LSU Tigers
Among the NFL’s top pass rushers, many of them entered the NFL as late first-round picks with raw tools then developed into stars. Chaisson offers the potential to be the next dominant edge rusher and football fans can see a glimpse of it against Oklahoma’s offensive line.
While the 6-foot-4 edge rusher hasn’t been extremely productive – 4.5 sacks this season – he is explosive off the edge with the length and quickness to fly past offensive tackles. He brings the fluidity to bend around the corner, finding different ways to slip past blockers. Ultimately, Chaisson just needs to spend a lot of time working on the basics of techniques and different moves with coaches. If he lands on the right team, we’re talking about a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Kenneth Murray, linebacker, Oklahoma Sooners
At a time when defensive coordinators are looking for linebackers with range to cover tight ends and cover the entire field, Murray’s eventual arrival to the NFL comes at the perfect time. He is asked to do more for Oklahoma’s defense, which has often struggled in recent years. But his talent is obvious.
Murray is the prototypical sideline-to-sideline linebacker with the ability to get to the football quickly when he diagnoses what’s happening. The 6-foot-2 linebacker’s athleticism jumps off the television and brings an intensity and motor to match it. He needs more experience and a willingness to really get in the thick of things is desired, but Murray’s athletic tools can help make him a great linebacker at the next level.
Kristian Fulton, cornerback, LSU Tigers
It’s almost unfair how good LSU’s secondary is. While Oklahoma’s receiving corps is outstanding, it will have its hands full against these cornerbacks. Specifically, the matchup between Lamb and Fulton will be incredible.
LSU’s senior cornerback is simply a shutdown player. While he only recorded one interception this season, it is largely because opposing quarterbacks threw near him 47 times. He brings the size, physicality and instincts that teams dream of from a cornerback. He might not be a turnover machine in the secondary, but all that matters is he erases top receivers. Oh, keep an eye on his teammate. Freshman corner Derek Stingley Jr. will be a top-five pick in a few years.
Creed Humphrey, center, Oklahoma Sooners
Offensive linemen rarely get much attention, especially interior linemen. While Humphrey deserves more recognition as a center, he’ll be happy just to play football and he might hear his name called by Roger Goodell come draft day, too.
He can bully defensive tackles with his strength, discipline and use of leverage on the inside. Teams want a mauler inside who can open up running lanes, communicate with the rest of the offensive line and keep the interior pocket clean for his quarterback. That’s what Humphrey does and he can continue to do it in the NFL, perhaps even with his current quarterback.
Grant Delpit, safety, LSU Tigers
While Delpit might no longer be considered a consensus top-10 prospect as he was before the season, NFL teams will still be lining up to draft LSU’s safety. When fans watch this defense on Saturday, keep an eye on No. 7.
He is a do-it-all safety that catches looks whenever he steps on the field. Delpit stands at 6-foot-3 with the athleticism and fluidity to cover deep with ease along with the instincts to diagnose throws and create turnovers. The junior can be moved around the field, even creating havoc in the backfield. As long as he stays healthy, Delpit will make an incredible impact in the NFL.
Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Oklahoma Sooners
The decision to leave Alabama and transfer to Oklahoma will go down as one of the best choices of Hurts’ life. We saw signs of development from him in 2018 with the Crimson Tide, but he unleashed his true potential with Lincoln Riley’s Sooners.
Hurts must still spend a lot of time improving his mechanics and advancing with his timing. His ability to read the defense and make progressions are both major question marks, too. When he doesn’t do it, ugly mistakes happen. Ultimately, Hurts is the ideal developmental quarterback and fans will see the good and bad that might make him a late first-round pick.