The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, and the football world has already moved on to the 2025 cycle. CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson has already released his early 2025 Mock Draft, and his peers have participated in similar exercises as they start to build out their big board for next year. 

Of course, that also sets the stage for the teams that NFL Draft experts will follow the most on Saturdays this fall. Championships in college football are not won or lost based on how many top NFL Draft picks you have on the roster, but assembling that kind of talent is a starting point for entry in the title contention discussion. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the teams we are highlighting below are ones likely to be competing for conference titles and spots in the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff bracket. That’s not the case for every team, but certainly for the ones that have the most players getting recognition as a top pick in next year’s NFL Draft. 

Ohio State 

Notable prospects: CB Denzel Burke, EDGE JT Tuimoloau, WR Emeka Egbuka, EDGE Jack Sawyer, RB Quinshon Judkins, DL Tyleik Williams, OL Donovan Jackson, RB TreVeyon Henderson 

As we wrote in the NFL Draft Winners and Losers over the weekend, Ohio State had a 2024 NFL Draft that cut two ways. On one hand, four picks marked a drop-off in production after having at least six players drafted every year since 2016. The Buckeyes were nowhere close to their usual status as one of the most prolific draft pick producers, and you could consider that a rough year. But the other side of that is the handful of players who could have gone pro in 2024 but elected to come back to Columbus and lead what is going to be one of the most talent-heavy teams in the sport. If those players had gone pro, we would have seen Ohio State flirt with double-digit picks, but instead they’re going to be loaded up to make 2025 a banner year for Buckeyes in the draft. 


Notable prospects: CB Will Johnson, DL Mason Graham, TE Colston Loveland, DL Kenneth Grant, EDGE Derrick Moore, RB Donovan Edwards, DB Rod Moore 

After leading all schools in picks this year, it looks like the Wolverines will again be sending key pieces from last season’s national championship run to the early rounds of the 2025 NFL Draft. Graham might have been the top defensive lineman taken if he was available in the 2024 Draft, and the combination of he and Grant is only going to continue to bring attention to their ability to excel at the next level. Unlike rival Ohio State, the recruiting profiles of this group isn’t necessarily at the top of the sport — though most were four-star prospects — but the player development in Ann Arbor has been able to close that gap so that the Wolverines are winning on the field and competing player-for-player in NFL Draft picks. 


Notable prospects: QB Carson Beck, DB Malaki Starks, EDGE Mykel Williams, OL Earnest Greene, LB Smael Mondon, DL Nazir Stackhouse, OL Tate Ratledge, WR Dom Lovett 

I know this will come as a shock to see Georgia carrying a lot of NFL Draft picks on the roster, but we are once again looking at a Bulldogs team that could flirt with double-digit picks in 2025. And the balance of this group is great, with at least one notable NFL Draft prospect from every position group. Because of the way Kirby Smart recruits, there’s rarely an obvious weakness on a Georgia roster, but this kind of talent balance helps illuminate why experts seem fairly certain on the Bulldogs’ starting the season as the No. 1 team in the country in 2024. Beck, Starks and Williams could all be the first player taken at their position in the 2025 NFL Draft, and they’ll be joined by the annual collection of Georgia lineman and defenders who seem to get drafted every season. 


Notable prospects: OL Kelvin Banks, QB Quinn Ewers, WR Isaiah Bond, EDGE Trey Moore, EDGE Alfred Collins, OL DJ Campbell 

This is where we see Steve Sarkisian’s roster building pay off. Banks and Campbell were the highest-rated players in his 2022 recruiting class, and those efforts were part of a larger effort during his first years to establish a dominance along both lines of scrimmage. Bond and Moore, meanwhile, were picked up through the transfer portal to help address immediate needs. That blend of high school recruiting and player development with savvy portal additions is the recipe for success in the modern game, and Sark is doing it about as well as anyone in the country.  

Texas A&M

Notable prospects: EDGE Nic Scourton, DL Shemar Turner, OL Reuben Fatheree, WR Noah Thomas, QB Conner Weigman 

Mike Elko inherited a Texas A&M program that has been recruiting at a high level while falling short of expectations on the field, so it’s not as though talent is going to be an issue for the Aggies. The key here is that while they have seen some transfer portal exits for those blue-chip recruits since the coaching change from Jimbo Fisher, Elko and his staff have also reached into the portal to pick up NFL-caliber talent to restock the shelves. Scourton was one of the big wins in the portal, and pairing him with Turner is going to make Texas A&M’s defensive front a must-see for any NFL scout. Fatheree and Thomas are both physically gifted and have a chance to play their way up draft boards this fall, as does Weigman, who has flashed high-end talent but struggled to stay healthy.


Notable prospects: OL Will Campbell, LB Harold Perkins, OT Emery Jones, QB Garrett Nussmeier, WR Kyren Lacy

LSU could challenge Ohio State, Michigan and Georgia for their first-round pick count thanks in part to two elite tackles in Campbell and Jones, as well as one of the fastest football players (at any position) in the draft in Perkins. The conversation around Perkins has much more to do with how to best utilize his talent and tools. While he’s been moved around the defense throughout his career, any NFL team would love the problem of figuring out what to do with such a gifted player. And while Nussmeier might not win the Heisman Trophy, he could see a Jayden Daniels-like ascension on the draft boards once scouts finally see his arm talent in action against quality opponents this fall.


Notable prospects: QB Shedeur Sanders, CB Travis Hunter, WR Jimmy Horn Jr. 

Colorado could find itself standing alongside programs like Ohio State, Georgia and Michigan in having multiple first-round picks, but the Buffaloes don’t have quite the depth of future pros you’ll find at other schools on this list who project more in later rounds. Sanders is slotted as the No. 1 overall pick in Ryan Wilson’s 2025 Mock Draft, with Hunter falling right behind him at No. 2. Having difference-makers like that at the top of the roster gives Colorado a chance to win every Saturday, but there aren’t a lot of obvious Day 3 NFL Draft types. For balance, we’ve included one player who might fit that bill — Horn — as a wide receiver who could rise in the rankings with his play on the field this fall. Horn also is a special teams threat with legitimate track speed, and as the offense pivots with coaching staff changes, there could be a spot for him to emerge. 

Penn State 

Notable prospects: LB Abdul Carter, EDGE Dani Dennis-Sutton, RB Nick Singleton, DB Kevin Winston, QB Drew Allar

The NFL Draft is another place where we are seeing the consistency of Penn State’s talent level pay off, with multiple early-round picks nearly every single season in recent years. Carter and Dennis-Sutton are projected to be next in that line, but what will be interesting to track is whether Allar will join the quarterbacks at the top of the draft class by the end of the season. Allar exited high school with a first-round NFL Draft projection and comparisons to Josh Allen thanks to his size (6-foot-5, 241 pounds) and tools. But Penn State’s passing attack hasn’t been nearly as lethal as what, for example, fellow 2025 NFL Draft class quarterback Quinn Ewers can do with the skill players at Texas. The 2024 season with a new offensive coordinator marks a big opportunity for Allar to return to deliver play that has evaluators sliding him back up into that first-round conversation.  

Notre Dame 

Notable prospects: CB Benjamin Morrison, DL Howard Cross, TE Mitchell Evans, QB Riley Leonard, DB Xavier Watts 

Morrison and Watts have each appeared to be among the best at their position during the last two years, so the fact they are still in college football is great news for Notre Dame in 2024 and extremely disappointing for their opponents. They’re joined in this group by a surefire pick on the defensive line in Cross and an extremely intriguing quarterback in Leonard, who arrives from Duke through the transfer portal. Leonard is an extremely gifted athlete who has been a late bloomer as a football player, and while his stats rarely wow you, the playmaking ability is undeniable. If he can take steps forward in Notre Dame’s offense this year, he could be another player to see a late surge in the draft discussion.

Ole Miss 

Notable prospects: EDGE Princely Umanmielen, DL Walter Nolen, QB Jaxson Dart, WR Tre Harris, WR Juice Wells

Lane Kiffin was one of the first to claim the title of the “Portal King,” and this group certainly highlights how Ole Miss has used the modern tools of roster building to load up with future NFL talent. All five of these players were portal additions at one point or another, with Umanmielen (Florida), Nolen (Texas A&M) and Wells (South Carolina) being the latest examples of Kiffin and his staff shopping opponents’ rosters to find their new starters. Umanmielen and Nolen seem certain to get early round consideration, while Dart and the wide receivers could be later-round selections, but this is a program that’s all-in on 2024 and will therefore be among the top producers in NFL Draft picks come 2025.


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