CBS Sports lists Top 20 college football players eligible for 2025 NFL Draft

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham01/29/24


With the college football season over for a few weeks and the NFL seasons functionally over — the Super Bowl is the only game left — things are moving rapidly to NFL Draft season. It’s also a good time to consider who might be atop draft boards this time next year.

CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli took a crack at coming up with the Top 20 draft-eligible players in college football in 2024. It includes a number of players who could’ve gone pro this year but chose to come back, plus a handful of rising juniors. All told, the list — which isn’t a ranking, per se — has nine offensive players and 11 defenders.

Check out the 20 players below, with 10 highlighted; five offense and five defense, each grouping in alphabetical order.

Carson Beck, QB, Georgia

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Beck would’ve been an intriguing 2024 NFL Draft prospect, had he come out for the draft. But with only one season starting in college under his belt, the Georgia quarterback returned for a second year running the offense.

Beck’s combination of command and calm in the pocket and downfield passing acumen showed up big in 2023. His challenge in 2024 will be to keep elevating his play with a remade pass catching group.

Luther Burden, WR, Missouri

Photo by Jay Biggerstaff | Getty Images

Burden, one of the top players from the 2022 signing class, is also one of the most dynamic offensive players in the sport. His ability to play inside and out and effectiveness at all three levels as a receiver stood as Missouri shined in 2023.

Burden will again headline the attack for a Tigers team that is looking to keep pushing ahead in a new-look SEC. And without star tailback Cody Schrader, Burden will become even more of a focal point.

Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas

Quinn Ewers
© Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ewers, like Beck, opted to come back for another year of school. But the 2024 season will be the third year under center for Ewers in Austin.

His biggest challenge in two seasons as the starter at Texas has been staying healthy, as Ewers has missed multiple games both seasons. If he can continue showing off his top-level arm while play 12-plus games, he could be the first quarterback taken in 2025.

Evan Stewart, WR, Oregon

Evan Stewart (Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Stewart had an interesting go of things at Texas A&M, originally signing as one of the headline pieces of the star-studded 2022 signing class. But as the Aggies struggled, so did he at times.

But the talent and ability Stewart flashed was undeniable and a chance to showcase in an explosive Oregon offense could drive his draft stock toward the top of the first round. He was a five-star recruit for good reason.

Cam Ward, QB, Miami

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Ward had actually declared for the 2024 NFL Draft but never signed an agent, keeping the door open to come back. And he did, transferring from Washington State to Miami in the process.

After beginning his career at Incarnate Word, Ward flashed immense playmaking upside and arm talent in Pullman. But his quest to be a first round pick sent him back to college for another season.

Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State

denzel burke-ohio state-ohio state football-buckeyes
(Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Burke is one of many Ohio State players who opted to pass on the 2024 NFL Draft to return to Columbus and chase a national championship. And if he repeats his efforts from 2023, Burke could easily be a first round pick.

Burke had nine passes defensed and an interception in 11 games played in 2023, plus a forced fumble and three tackles for loss. His all-around ability as a perimeter defender, on top of requisite coverage ability, will appeal to NFL franchises.

Barrett Carter, LB, Clemson

(Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports)

Carter was considered one of the top potential linebacker prospects in the 2024 draft class, and will evidently carry a similar distinction for the 2025 NFL Draft. What pops most with Carter is his next-level athleticism.

What Carter might lack in polish at the finer points of the position, he can make up for with explosiveness and sideline-to-sideline speed. He’s an intriguing talent to watch in 2024 as Clemson looks to contend for an ACC crown again.

Kenneth Grant, DL, Michigan


There are, quite simply, very few human beings on this planet as big as Grant with his movement abilities. The 6-foot-4, 350 pound defensive lineman is not only a gap-filler, but an effective pass rusher — he had the lone sack in the national championship game for Michigan — as well.

Plus, watch him chase down a running back in the open field. NFL teams have trended toward placing a premium on pocket-pushing, run-stuffing interior defensive linemen, and Grant could be that and more for a franchise.

Travis Hunter, DB, Colorado

Travis Hunter-Colorado Buffaloes-NIL-NIL deal
USA Today Network

The top player in the 2022 signing class for most, Hunter has been star turned playing for Deion Sanders at both Jackson State and Colorado. And though he plays both ways in college, he projects as a defensive back, likely a corner, in the NFL.

And with his twitchy athleticism, length and growing feel for the position, Hunter has all the tools to be a lockdown NFL defender. Plus he could very easily be a special teams weapon in the NFL for teams looking to extract the most out of him.

Danny Stutsman, LB, Oklahoma

Sooners LB Danny Stutsman
(Icon Sportswire / Getty Images)

Positional value might ding Stutsman come draft time (Carter too, for that matter), but Stutsman has been one of the best off-ball linebackers in college of late. He’s poised to lead the Sooners defense again in 2024 and a strong campaign could have him among the first linebackers drafted.

Stutsman has recorded more than 100 tackles each of the last two seasons and had 16 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2023. He also forced a pair of fumbles, recovered one and also had an interception that he took back for a touchdown.

Remaining top players for the 2025 NFL Draft (in alphabetical order)

Josh Conerly, OT, Oregon
Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State
Mason Graham, DL, Michigan
TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State
Donovan Jackson, OG, Ohio State
Will Johnson, CB, Michigan
Walter Nolen, DL, Ole Miss
Malaki Starks, S, Georgia
J.T. Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State
Jalon Walker, EDGE, Georgia

In the next 12 months, there will certainly be changes to this list — unexpected additions and disappointing drops. But it’s a safe bet a bulk of these 20 players will be top draft prospects in a years time.