Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (2024)

  • Matt Miller

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    Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (1)

    Matt Miller

    NFL draft analyst

      Matt Miller is an NFL draft analyst for ESPN, providing in-depth scouting on the nation's top pro prospects. A Missouri native, Matt joined ESPN in 2022 and also contributes to SportsCenter, NFL Live and ESPN Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter via @nfldraftscout.
  • Jordan Reid

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    Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (2)

    Jordan Reid

    NFL draft analyst

      Jordan Reid is an NFL draft analyst for ESPN, providing in-depth scouting on the nation's top pro prospects. Jordan joined ESPN in 2021 and also contributes to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. He played quarterback at North Carolina Central University and then went on to coach there from 2014-18. You can follow Jordan on Twitter via @Jordan_Reid.

Jun 21, 2024, 07:00 AM ET

Even though the 2025 NFL draft is more than 10 months away, it is never too early to evaluate an upcoming class. That's what we did here, as ESPN draft experts Matt Miller and Jordan Reid picked their top five players at every position for next year.

But this isn't simply a bunch of top-five lists. Miller and Reid also named players whose ranking might be complicated by external factors (injuries, position changes, transfers) and players outside the top five at their positions who could be vaulted up the board in the months to come. Let's dig into the 2025 class, which is loaded at defensive tackle and on the edge. We'll start with the quarterbacks.

Note: Some prospects are listed under different positions for different analysts.

Jump to a position:
QB | RB | WR | TE
OT | G | C | Edge | DT
LB | CB | S

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (3)

Quarterback

Miller's top five

1. Carson Beck, Georgia
2. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
3. Quinn Ewers, Texas
4. Conner Weigman, Texas A&M
5. Riley Leonard, Notre Dame

Reid's top five

1. Carson Beck, Georgia
2. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
3. Quinn Ewers, Texas
4. Riley Leonard, Notre Dame
5. Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (4)

Toughest player to rank: Ewers. There are games -- and plays within those games -- where he looks like a future top overall pick, yet he'll look like a freshman in others. Last season's Oklahoma game is a great example. Ewers threw only six incomplete passes, but two of them were first-quarter interceptions, helping Oklahoma to take an early lead in a game Texas eventually lost 34-30. Finding more decision-making consistency in 2024 is paramount to his draft stock. -- Miller

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (5)

Player outside of the top five to watch: Garrett Nussmeier, LSU. Following in the footsteps of Jayden Daniels (the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 pick in the 2024 draft) won't be easy. Nussmeier saw action in only six games last season, with his lone start coming during the ReliaQuest Bowl against Wisconsin. Nussmeier showed immense potential in that game, completing 31 of 45 passes for 395 yards with three touchdown passes to one interception. -- Reid

Running back

Miller's top five

1. Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State
2. Donovan Edwards, Michigan
3. Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
4. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
5. Trevor Etienne, Georgia

Reid's top five

1. Ashton Jeanty, Boise State
2. Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
3. Quinshon Judkins, Ohio State
4. Trevor Etienne, Georgia
5. Omarion Hampton, North Carolina

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (6)

Toughest player to rank: Judkins. After being RB1 at Ole Miss the past two seasons, Judkins now moves to Ohio State, where he will split carries with another talented rusher in Henderson. Judkins' workload will be lighter in teaming up with Henderson, but will that benefit him and actually boost his stock for the upcoming draft? He has eclipsed 270 carries in back-to-back seasons. -- Reid

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (7)

Player outside of the top five to watch: Jaydn Ott, California. The 6-foot, 210-pound Ott is a balanced runner who broke out with 1,311 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 2023. He also added 72 receptions over the past two seasons. He doesn't flash elite run-away speed but has enough burst to be a factor in space. -- Miller

Wide receiver

Miller's top five

1. Luther Burden III, Missouri
2. Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona
3. Travis Hunter, Colorado
4. Evan Stewart, Oregon
5. Isaiah Bond, Texas

Reid's top five

1. Luther Burden III, Missouri
2. Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona
3. Travis Hunter, Colorado
4. Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State
5. Evan Stewart, Oregon

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (8)

Toughest player to rank: Hunter. His talent is readily apparent, but he is hard to rank because he has two standout positions. Scouts I've spoken to prefer him at receiver, where Hunter's speed and electric ability with the ball in his hands is best utilized, whereas at cornerback he would need to focus on technique more and rely less on winning with speed. -- Miller

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (9)play

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Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (10)

Player outside of the top five to watch: Deion Burks, Oklahoma. Burks is expected to be the go-to option after transferring from Purdue, where he caught 47 passes for 629 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023. He's a competitive and dynamic threat, and multiple scouts have mentioned Burks as a prospect who could rise and be among the first receivers drafted next spring. -- Reid

Tight end

Miller's top five

1. Colston Loveland, Michigan
2. Benjamin Yurosek, Georgia
3. Mitchell Evans, Notre Dame
4. Jalin Conyers, Texas Tech
5. Caden Prieskorn, Ole Miss

Reid's top five

1. Colston Loveland, Michigan
2. Tyler Warren, Penn State
3. Benjamin Yurosek, Georgia
4. Jake Briningstool, Clemson
5. Mitchell Evans, Notre Dame

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Toughest player to rank: Briningstool. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound junior is primarily a receiving threat and is inconsistent as a blocker. Briningstool's combination of hands and route-running ability make him a prospect to keep an eye on in a tight end class that lacks a Brock Bowers-type prospect but is overall deeper than the 2024 crop. -- Reid

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (12)

Player outside of the top five to watch: Luke Lachey, Iowa. The Hawkeyes have built an NFL pipeline at tight end, and Lachey is the next man up. The 6-foot-6, 253-pounder has the catch radius and agility to be a threat up the seam and enough movement ability to slide around pre-snap. He's also a finisher as a blocker in the run game. Lachey's 2023 season ended with a nasty ankle injury in Week 3, so all eyes will be on his health this season. -- Miller

Offensive tackle

Miller's top five

1. Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas
2. Will Campbell, LSU
3. Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona
4. Emery Jones Jr., LSU
5. Ajani Cornelius, Oregon

Reid's top five

1. Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas
2. Emery Jones Jr., LSU
3. Will Campbell, LSU
4. Anthony Belton, NC State
5. Josh Simmons, Ohio State

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Toughest player to rank: Savaiinaea. While eventual first-rounder Jordan Morgan stood out at left tackle for Arizona, Savaiinaea made a great impression on the right side as well. Savaiinaea's power and hand placement are impressive, with only one sack allowed last season. However, scouts I've spoken to think he's potentially a guard in the NFL due to limited lateral agility and movement. -- Miller

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Josh Conerly Jr., Oregon. The Ducks are stacked at tackle with Conerly and Cornelius, and scouts have raved about Conerly's potential. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound former top-50 recruit has all the ingredients necessary to have a breakout season. He allowed only one sack in 2023, his first year as a starter, but Conerly must get stronger and become more consistent in sustaining and finishing blocks in the run game to move up draft boards. -- Reid

Guard

Miller's top five

1. Tyler Booker, Alabama
2. Donovan Jackson, Ohio State
3. Tate Ratledge, Georgia
4. Joshua Gray, Oregon State
5. Clay Webb, Jacksonville State

Reid's top five

1. Tyler Booker, Alabama
2. Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona
3. Earnest Greene, Georgia
4. Tate Ratledge, Georgia
5. Donovan Jackson, Ohio State

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Toughest player to rank: Jackson. He boasts a wealth of experience, as he has started 26 consecutive games spanning three seasons with the Buckeyes. At 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, Jackson has requisite length and movement skills, but his inability to remain attached on blocks at the point of attack plagued him last season. With a more consistent 2024 season, he has potential to be a mid-to-late Day 2 pick. -- Reid

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Jaeden Roberts, Alabama. While we were all scouting Booker this year, his linemate is another player to keep an eye on. With eight starts last season, Roberts emerged as a solid starter at right guard thanks to his power and easy movement at 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds. And as evidenced by just three sacks allowed in 2023, he also showed potential as a pass-protector. -- Miller

Center

Miller's top five

1. Parker Brailsford, Alabama
2. Bryce Foster, Kansas
3. Logan Jones, Iowa
4. Jonah Monheim, USC
5. Jake Slaughter, Florida

Reid's top five

1. Clay Webb, Jacksonville State
2. Jared Wilson, Georgia
3. Bryce Foster, Kansas
4. Parker Brailsford, Alabama
5. Jake Slaughter, Florida

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Toughest player to rank: Brailsford. A transfer from Washington, Brailsford anchored the best offensive line in the nation last season, as the Huskies won the Joe Moore Award for outstanding line play. Heading to Alabama to follow head coach Kalen DeBoer will allow us to see if the undersized senior (6-foot-2, 275 pounds) can handle SEC defensive linemen. -- Miller

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Eli Cox, Kentucky. Cox was a staple on Kentucky's front last season, starting the first three games at guard before moving back to center. He is a tough and durable blocker at the point of attack, and his experience at all three interior line spots bodes well for the next level. The 6-foot-4, 311-pound Cox was more consistent at center, showcasing play strength and the ability to win quickly in short areas. -- Reid

Edge rusher

Miller's top five

1. James Pearce Jr., Tennessee
2. Harold Perkins Jr., LSU
3. Mykel Williams, Georgia
4. Abdul Carter, Penn State
5. JT Tuimoloau, Ohio State

Reid's top five

1. Mykel Williams, Georgia
2. James Pearce Jr., Tennessee
3. Abdul Carter, Penn State
4. Nic Scourton, Texas A&M
5. Patrick Payton, Florida State

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Toughest player to rank: Carter. After spending the first two years of his career at linebacker, Carter is expected to transition to edge rusher, where he has unquestionable first-round talent. Carter not only has unique explosiveness, but his bend and ability to find the ball are already among the best in the country. Moving to the edge is an adjustment that scouts will be monitoring closely. -- Reid

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Jack Sawyer, Ohio State. The Buckeyes' defensive line will be loaded (again) in 2024, and Sawyer has a chance to outshine Tuimoloau, his more well-known teammate. Sawyer's power and control in his movements easily stood out as elite traits during the Buckeyes' pro day prior to the 2024 draft. Coming off a 6.5-sack season last season, Sawyer seems primed to truly break out as a senior. -- Miller

Defensive tackle

Miller's top five

1. Mason Graham, Michigan
2. Deone Walker, Kentucky
3. Tyleik Williams, Ohio State
4. Kenneth Grant, Michigan
5. Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia

Reid's top five

1. Mason Graham, Michigan
2. Deone Walker, Kentucky
3. Kenneth Grant, Michigan
4. Tyleik Williams, Ohio State
5. DeMonte Capehart, Clemson

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Toughest player to rank: Walker. The Kentucky defensive tackle is huge (6-foot-6, 348 pounds) and reminds me of last year's Outland Award winner, T'Vondre Sweat, in many ways. Like Sweat, Walker has to prove he can handle stacking run gaps and getting after the quarterback. His 7.5 sacks last season showed potential, but he must do more to be this class' DT2. I'm projecting he will take that next step and emerge as an elite interior defender. -- Miller

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Walter Nolen, Ole Miss. The No. 1 player in the 2022 ESPN 300, Nolen was a bit hot and cold in two years at Texas A&M before transferring this offseason. With ability as a pass-rusher and spurts of disruption against the run, Nolen just needs to become more consistent. Moving to a defense where he should be schemed into more advantageous situations, Nolen could climb the rankings in a loaded interior defensive line class. -- Reid

Linebacker

Miller's top five

1. Barrett Carter, Clemson
2. Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma
3. Jalon Walker, Georgia
4. Deontae Lawson, Alabama
5. Jack Kiser, Notre Dame

Reid's top five

1. Harold Perkins Jr., LSU
2. Barrett Carter, Clemson
3. Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma
4. Deontae Lawson, Alabama
5. Lander Barton, Utah

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Toughest player to rank: Perkins. Is he an off-ball linebacker or an edge rusher? That will be the question for Perkins. I have Perkins (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) graded as an off-ball linebacker and see him transitioning best as a weakside player. He bounced back and forth between multiple positions in 2023 but was still productive, with a team-high 13 tackles for loss to go along with five sacks. He's expected to play middle linebacker in 2024. -- Reid

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Smael Mondon Jr., Georgia. We were discussing Mondon as a top-100 prospect this time last year, but he returned to school and should be one of the nation's best linebackers. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Mondon has excellent size and length, allowing him to be a three-down difference-maker who registered 42 tackles and three sacks last season. Improvement in pass coverage could make Mondon a top-five linebacker. -- Miller

Cornerback

Miller's top five

1. Will Johnson, Michigan
2. Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame
3. Travis Hunter, Colorado
4. Denzel Burke, Ohio State
5. Sebastian Castro, Iowa

Reid's top five

1. Will Johnson, Michigan
2. Travis Hunter, Colorado
3. Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame
4. Denzel Burke, Ohio State
5. Tacario Davis, Arizona

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Toughest player to rank: Castro. I mentioned Hunter's two-way status making him complicated to scout above, but Castro is also difficult to evaluate. A slot cornerback for the Hawkeyes, Castro is a fantastic player, with three interceptions and eight pass breakups last season. But Castro has only played inside, which makes him positionally limited. Slot corners have value but can get knocked in the draft process, which could happen to Castro. -- Miller

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Quincy Riley, Louisville. Many evaluators inside the league were surprised to see Riley return to college, as he was originally committed to participate in the pre-draft all-star game circuit. A sudden and quick player, Riley is a natural cover corner with endless competitive fire. His ability to turn and run with most receivers makes him a player to watch entering the season. -- Reid

Safety

Miller's top five

1. Malaki Starks, Georgia
2. Kevin Winston Jr., Penn State
3. Malachi Moore, Alabama
4. Rod Moore, Michigan
5. Xavier Nwankpa, Iowa

Reid's top five

1. Malaki Starks, Georgia
2. Kevin Winston Jr., Penn State
3. Malachi Moore, Alabama
4. Xavier Nwankpa, Iowa
5. Andrew Mukuba, Texas

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (27)

Toughest player to rank: Rod Moore. Moore is outside of my top five but only because he tore an ACL during Michigan's spring practices. He is one of the few true single-high free safety prospects in this year's class and was a player who many thought would be in the 2024 draft. Moore could return at some point this upcoming season, but the exact timeframe is uncertain, making for a very complicated evaluation. -- Reid

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Player outside of the top five to watch: Xavier Watts, Notre Dame. If production was all that mattered, Watts would be ranked very high, as he posted seven interceptions and earned All-America honors last season. But to make it at the next level, Watts must display better quickness and range. He's also a touch undersized at 5-foot-11, 198 pounds, but there's no questioning Watts' eye for the football. -- Miller

Laying out the 2025 NFL draft class: We picked the five best prospects at every position (2024)
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