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The Kiper & McShay NFL draft guide to the college football season

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Defense tops Kiper's preseason Big Board (1:27)

Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down why DT Ed Oliver, DE Nick Bosa and DT Rashan Gary are the top three players on his 2019 preseason Big Board. (1:27)

Are you that football fan who watches college football games and is convinced you can pick out the future NFL players? Hey, join the club. Here's a little primer for the season on whom to be watching (and when). Does your NFL team need a QB, a pass-rusher, a running back?

Take a look. We'll hit those and many, many more ...

Kiper's Big Board | McShay's Top 32 | No. 1 pick candidates


1. The No. 1 prospect in this class is ...

McShay: As of today, it's Houston's Ed Oliver. I'm not saying he's Aaron Donald, but the traits look similar, with an explosive first step and the ability to knock a blocker backward, and he pursues in space like a guy 50 pounds lighter. He has 39 tackles for loss in two seasons. Look out.

Kiper: Don't forget about Nick Bosa. The Ohio State pass-rusher has the same grade as Oliver on my board. Bosa is the best edge rusher in this class, and Oliver is the best interior pass-rusher. By the way: The last defensive tackle to go No. 1 overall? Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson in 1994.

2. What's the one game I should watch to see Oliver's NFL potential?

Kiper: It's Houston at home against Tulsa on Thursday, Oct. 4. That's a prime-time game on ESPN. Here's why you should watch: Tulsa has two seniors along the interior who were named second-team all-conference last season -- center Chandler Miller and guard Tyler Bowling. Oliver is a game-wrecker, but he'll have his work cut out for him. Keep an eye on how quickly he gets off the ball. It's an elite first step.