(Reuters) – Here are the players widely expected to be selected with the first five picks of the NFL Draft on Thursday:
JOE BURROW, QUARTERBACK
The nation’s most efficient passer led Louisiana State University to a national title in the 2019 season, during which he won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious award, in a record-breaking landslide.
Burrow, who left Ohio State as a graduate transfer after the 2017 season, is fresh off one of the best seasons in college football history as he led the country in passing yards (5,671), total offense (6,039 yards), completion percentage (76.3) and set an NCAA record with 60 touchdown passes in 15 starts.
CHASE YOUNG, DEFENSIVE END
A unique blend of size, speed and power positions Young, who some experts believe is the most talented overall player in the draft, to be a defensive cornerstone for years to come for whichever team drafts him.
In 2019 Young had one of the most dominant defensive seasons in the history of college football as he led the nation with 16-1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles in 12 starts for Ohio State University.
JEFF OKUDAH, CORNERBACK
Seen as an immediate difference-maker and future All-Pro, the pass defender from Ohio State University has both the size to guard bigger players and the speed to check deep threats.
Only three cornerbacks in NFL history have been drafted in the top three but Okudah strengthened his claim to join that group after a 2019 season in which he was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QUARTERBACK
A dual-threat quarterback with a winning background and explosive production, Tagovailoa came off the bench to lead the University of Alabama on a come-from-behind victory in the national championship game as a freshman in the 2017 season.
Tagovailoa took over the starting role the following season and in 2019 completed 71.4% of his passes for 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in nine games before his year was cut short by a hip injury that required surgery in November.
ISAIAH SIMMONS, LINEBACKER
Viewed by many as the most versatile defensive player in this year’s draft, Simmons has been a key player for Clemson University for three years.
Simmons, who led the team in tackles for their 2018 national championship season, is a hybrid talent with rare length, speed and versatility able to handle zone or man coverage from a variety of spots on the field, which allows defensive coordinators to disguise blitz packages.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford)