The 2020 college football season figures to be like no other in history. For starters, only six of the 10 FBS conferences are playing football this fall. On top of that, many players have elected to opt-out of the season because of concerns about the ongoing pandemic. The result is that many of the NFL’s stars of tomorrow won’t be playing college football in 2020. But if you look closely, you’ll still be able to find some bonafide prospects. To help you out, here are some of the players who are virtual locks to be first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft who will be playing college football in 2020.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
If Lawrence opted-out of the season, he’d be a virtual lock to be the top overall pick in the 2021 Draft. However, he wants to play and lead Clemson to a second national title in three years. As a result, he could be the only top-5 pick to play college football this year.
In fact, according to most mock drafts, Lawrence could be one of two or three top-10 to suit up in college this season thanks to the Big Ten and Pac-12 re-scheduling for the spring and other top players opting-out of the 2020 season.
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Auburn fans, look away because you’re about to get a healthy dose of Alabama players. As usual, Nick Saban’s team is loaded with NFL talent, including Surtain.
The son of a longtime NFL cornerback is poised to follow in his father’s footsteps after starting at cornerback for Alabama in each of the past two seasons. Surtain will be the best player in the Crimson Tide secondary this year and will be tasked with shutting down some of the SEC’s best wide receivers.
Trey Smith, Tennessee
Smith has the kind of story that fans love watching unfold on draft night. He had blood clots in his lungs early in his career at Tennessee. Smith has not only returned to the field but he’s also blossomed into one of the best offensive linemen in the country.
He’ll look to lead the Tennessee offensive line this fall and looks like a lock to be a first-round pick next spring.
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Yes, another Alabama defensive player who looks like a first-round pick. Moses would have been a first-round pick this year if not for an ACL injury that forced him to miss the 2019 season.
However, he’s back with the Crimson Tide in 2020 and looks to continue the long lineage of Alabama linebackers in the NFL. If he proves himself to be healthy, Moses will be one of the best defensive players in the SEC and a first-round selection.
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
To be fair, Devonta Smith and Najee Harris also have a chance to be first-round picks next year, although Waddle is the safest bet to hear his name called early in the NFL Draft.
He might be the quickest wide receiver in college football this year and should make things a little easy for Mac Jones.
Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Physically, Cosmi is one of the most intimidating offensive linemen in college football. At 6’7’’, he looks the part and will be a first-round pick based on upside alone. He’s also deciding to play for the Longhorns this fall and help Texas compete for a Big 12 championship.