The new law being discussed amongst the NCAA could result in the release of a new NCAA video game, opening an interesting discussion of who would be the cover athlete, as well as the ratings of the top-rated prospects.
Today, Tuesday the 29th of October, the NCAA recently voted on changing its rule to allow college athletes to earn a profit off of their name, image, and likeness. It’s to be noted that the rule has not yet gone into effect and is currently being discussed how the rule will be implemented.
Almost instantly the fans of college football took to social media to announce their excitement:
As you can see, it’s more than just the casual fan that’s getting hyped about a potential NCAA football game. The most recent release of an NCAA game came in 2013 (NCAA Football 14) and people still play to this day (yes, people still have PS3s and Xbox 360s to play NCAA).
With the rule still needing to be amended, it could take some time before we get to actually play a new NCAA game. However, it does raise an interesting question as to who would be on the cover, as well as what some of the better prospects would be rated had the game come out this year.
Here we’ll take a look at the highest-rated prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft if they were to be included, as well as discuss their argument to be on the cover. This follows the guidelines of the most recent game: one 99 overall, and four 97 overalls.
(This list only features players who are prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft.)
Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State: 99 Overall
Is this even honestly up for debate? After his dominant performance against Wisconsin where he racked up 4 sacks, Young has entered himself into the Heisman conversation.
He’s currently the best player in college football and he “should” win the Heisman, but likely won’t due to the fact that it’s now a quarterback award. With that in mind, gracing the cover of NCAA 21 wouldn’t be too bad of a consolation prize.
He is the ideal size for the next level (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and has the best first step in college football. His blend of size and speed makes it nearly impossible for opposing tackles to keep up around the corner.
If Young can put up video game numbers in real life, just imagine what he could do if he was in an actual video game.
Jeffrey Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State: 97 Overall
Another potential Ohio State player?
I know, that can’t be fair, and it isn’t, but it’s been quite obvious through the first half of the season with how dominant Ohio State has been. Especially on defense and Okudah has been a big part of that.
If you’re looking for a lockdown corner, Okudah is your guy. He has elite footwork and the long speed to keep up with just about any receiver lined up opposite the line-of-scrimmage. Not only is Okudah phenomenal in coverage, but he’s great against the run as well.
Being one of the better athletes in his class, Okudah could even perhaps double as a return man and if you like to get really creative, you could even throw him on the offensive side of the ball.
He could be overlooked because of his teammate Young, but he’s nearly as worthy of being the cover athlete as Young. Okudah is sticky in coverage and has the most potential to be a shutdown corner at the next level.
Joe Burrow, Quarterback, LSU: 97 Overall
Let me be clear, Burrow did not start the season at a 97 (more like a 74), but one cannot overlook the strides he had made from last season. Thanks to in-game updates, Burrow would have likely seen his rating skyrocket just like his draft stock.
His ability to read defenses pre-snap and feel pressure would give him, arguably, the best awareness in the game. He isn’t the most mobile quarterback, but he’d be sufficient enough to allow to run the read-option.
His just above average arm strength is keeping him from being 99 overall, but accuracy and ball placement would give you an opportunity to have the best passing offense in the game.
To date, we have never seen a player rise to grace the way Burrow has and he has captivated the college football world and his story. He went from undraftable to a potential top 5 pick and would be the perfect candidate for the over.
D’Andre Swift, Running back, Georgia: 97 Overall
D’Andre Swift is the “human joystick” so it’s only right that he’s one of the highest-rated players. Swift isn’t the most productive back in college, but he is certainly one of the most talented at his position.
Not only is Swift dangerous in the run game, but he can kill you out of the backfield as well. He would be an absolute chess piece that you could line-up at slot and allow him to eat in space on bubble screens or perhaps put him outside and let him take a slant to the house.
Swift may not get the production at Georgia, but you can bet he’s getting at least 400 touches a season if I’m behind the controller.
He may not win the Heisman in real life, but you can bet he’s winning a lot of Heismans in dynasty mode.
Swift doesn’t get the attention he deserves because of his lack of production, but he would likely be one of the most used players in this game because of his skill-set. Plenty of running backs have graced the cover in the past, and Swift would certainly be discussed by the game’s decision-makers.
Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver, Alabama: 97 Overall
This list wouldn’t be complete without Jerry Jeudy. Similar to Swift, Jeudy can put the moves on defenders, constantly putting them on his highlight reel.
If there were ever a case to give out a “100” rating in the game it would be for Jeudy’s route running. With Jeudy on the outside, you may not even need another receiver because of his ability to create space and separation downfield.
In fact, you may be able to get away with just throwing it deep to Jeudy every time, with his combination of speed and route running he would easily be open 1-out-of-4 times.
Heading into the 2019 season, Jeudy was being hyped up as the potential number one overall pick and is currently has the 6th best odds at OddShark. A wide receiver hasn’t gone number one overall since 1997, just being in the conversation is an honor and should give him a shot at the cover as well.
Honorable Mention Prospects
Andrew Thomas, Left Tackle, Georgia: 97 overall
Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker, Clemson: 96 overall
Ceedee Lamb, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma: 96 overall