2018 NFL Draft Big Board
Last Updated: December 7th
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
The flashes of play this year, paired with the Rose Bowl last year will be enough to convince most decision makers that they can make him a franchise QB with the right coaching. Add to that excellent character and maturity beyond his years, he simply looks and acts the part of a star QB at the next level.
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
This year’s draft doesn’t have the amount of elite edge rushers as last, but Chubb is the cream of the crop. A relentless pass rusher, Chubb takes the top spot of defensive ends because of his consistent tape and skillset that shows very little weakness in any particular part of his game.
Arden Key, DE, LSU
Probably the most gifted of all of the edge rushers in the draft, Key is just starting to come back into his prime form. He has the potential to even grab the top spot in the draft if he can keep that trajectory going throughout the draft process, as he is a physical specimen.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
A well coached and versatile defensive back, Fitzpatrick is as close to the prototype of what NFL defenses are looking for as any player in the draft.
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Even though he was caught in a nightmare year for the Seminoles, James fought hard throughout the year, and teams game planned to stay away from him. Safeties that can effectively range centerfield, cover tight ends and running backs, maintain their gaps in the running game and blitz are prized possessions in the draft.
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen will be able to play from day one in the draft, and has received NFL type coaching at UCLA. Some injury problems as well as looming talk about his football character and strong opinions that he shares in clumsy ways sometimes probably keep him from the vying for the top spot, and could fall behind Allen in the pecking order of QB’s.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The most physically gifted of the QB prospects, Allen could see his stock rise during the draft process. After losing several key pieces of his offense to the NFL, which simply doesn’t happen at Wyoming too often, Allen should shine when all prospects are on equal footing during the off season evaluation process.
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Guards like Nelson don’t come around too often, and he is an all but a lock to be a top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL draft. A road grader that is also a gifted pass protector, Nelson will be a key piece of a team’s offensive line much in the same way that Zack Martin has been for the Cowboys.
Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
A sideline to sideline wrecking machine, Smith will soon be on most mock draft’s top 15. The heart of an excellent Georgia defense, he can play in any scheme and be the captain of an NFL defense.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
After a stellar first part of the season Barkley fell back to earth as the schedule got tougher and teams put more and more resources to stop him. Barkley can do it all, and will be especially valuable to teams that like their running backs being active in the passing game.
Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Still coming back from an injury, Williams has put together enough tape to validate being one of, if not the top offensive tackle taken off the board. Last year’s best offensive tackles were best suited as right tackles, but Williams is the first of several offensive linemen that should go in the first round best suited for the blindside.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
What could have seemed like a flash in the pan performance got continually backed up, making evaluators go back and watch more tape on Jackson. With ideal size and speed, and excellent hands and vision, Jackson will be in the conversation as the top defensive back to be taken in the draft.
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
It sounds strange to say, but if Vea were 30 pounds lighter he might go even higher in the draft. An enormous defensive tackle, before the snap you would think that he is your out of the box, 2 gap, run-stuffing nose tackle. However, even with his nose-tackle size, he has one gap skills and can move.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
There is such a crowded field of wide receivers coming out each year, with the continued popularity of the spread, that many teams just wait until mid or later rounds to draft them. True “X” receivers come out only ever few years, but there has started to be a trend of finding that superb athlete that can run smooth routes, always getting open, and impossible to bring down in the secondary. Ridley looks like that type of receiver.
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The dynamic duo of McGlinchey and Nelson started to favor Nelson as the season wore on, but McGlinchey is still a rare talent at the position. NFL teams want dependable tackles, and that is just what McGlinchey is, along with having the versatility and experience playing on either side of the line.
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Clemson is loaded with talent every year, but if you watch Clemson play this fall, Wilkins is the player that most stands out. He is a nightmare for offensive lines to handle, and always seems to be around the ball… as a defensive tackle. Defensive linemen that can move around and play any position effectively are a big problem for offensive coordinators.
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice is finally healthy and has been dominating opponents, pushing him into the argument as the top running back in the draft. That might have sounded crazy at the beginning of the year when Barkley was the best player in the country, but if you put on tape of Guice later in the year, nobody was better.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Lost in the QB race among the top three prospect has been Mason Rudolph. Being a Big 12 QB, and losing his matchup against Mayfield might have given the perception that he isn’t worthy of a first round pick, but watching his tape objectively tells a different story. Rudolph could slip in the draft and end up being a day 2 or even day 3 steal.
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Oliver is perhaps the most athletic of any secondary player in this draft, and he is not limited to just being a physical freak. He should be one of the players to shine during the draft process, but has plenty of excellent tape to put him solidly in the first round.
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Scouts are going to salivate over the size and athleticism of the gigantic Brown, and he is another of a very good crop of left tackle prospects coming out this year.
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
Landry will be described as scheme-versatile, but he is just too good of a prospect as a 3-4 OLB that is going wreak havoc on the edge, while still being able to cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. He might find a place as a pass rush specialist in a 4-3, but it seems like a little bit of a waste of his talents, and would be better used as a defender that never comes off of the field.
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Could there be a hidden “X” receiver in this draft that no one is talking about? Possibly that player is Courtland Sutton, who is big, fast and strong, and might rocket up draft boards now that the college football regular season has concluded and the next stage of the draft process has begun.
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
How good is Mo Hurst is a question that will be asked often during the draft season. He played with three future NFL players and saw limited time, and now has played a year as the man, but might have been slightly outshined by future first rounder Rashan Gary. The production is there this year, and he will have the entirety of the draft process to show his skillset.
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The next great defensive back to come out of Urban Meyer’s OSU teams, Ward is extremely technique sound, and ready to play in the NFL from day one. Teams stayed away from him for the most part, but he still will have to hear about his lack of INT’s. A little undersized, but a very willing and able tackler, he is one of the safer picks at the top of the draft.
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
There hasn’t been a better route runner to come out of college football than Dante Pettis in a long time. A wide receiver that can run such crisp routes, bursting out of breaks will play much faster than times he puts down during the combine. Pettis also is an excellent return man and as close to a can’t miss WR prospect in this draft as you can expect from the process.
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