Written By Jason Feiner
1. Baker Mayfield
2. Josh Allen
3. Sam Darnold
4. Josh Rosen
5. Lamar Jackson
My number one quarterback stays put; Baker Mayfield has yet to prove his doubters right. In reality, he has crushed every opportunity set before him. With the best workout at the combine and a stunner in pre-draft interviews, Mayfield may surprise everyone with how high he goes in the draft. Rumblings have surfaced, as the draft gets closer don’t be surprised if Baker is the first player taken Thursday night.
Josh Allen is a prototypical quarterback with one of the strongest arms to come out of the collegiate level in years. He possesses the athleticism that rivals that of Carson Wentz, with a ceiling that goes for miles. He may be the number 1 pick in the draft, and if so, it would be well warranted. Allen has his issues, but if he has the opportunity to sit, he may reach that ceiling.
Sam Darnold is the other player rumored to go number 1 to Cleveland. He is a big-bodied quarterback with a strong arm and loads of potential if he can lower his turnover ratio; he has a chance to be the next great quarterback.
Josh Rosen has his flaws, and his attitude is at the forefront, but his mechanics and footwork combined with his arm talent make him arguably the most pro ready quarterback in this class. He is rumored to be falling in this draft, and it makes me think that there is more to his story than team fit and attitude. He has potential, but when on the field, he struggles when playing from under center, and gets flustered when pressured. I haven’t bought into Rosen yet, and I am not sure if some of the other teams have either.
Lamar Jackson is an intriguing prospect. He is the most electric playmaker in the class, and a potential game breaker. If he can learn to step into his throws and develop better mechanics, he could be a dangerous weapon in an NFL offense, especially if he has the opportunity to play out of the RPO offense (Run Pass Option). Expect Lamar to go between the 12–23rd pick. This draft is looking to be a heavy night of trades.
1. Saquon Barkley
2. Derrius Guice
3. Sony Michel
4. Ronald Jones
5. Nick Chubb
Barkley is said to be the best back to come out in years. He contributes in each phase of the game, and has the ability to dominate at any point. He is the best back in this class, and like his NFL comparison and reigning offensive player of the year, Todd Gurley, he has been described as a speed back in a power back’s body. Barkley crushed the combine and may have the most infectious personality in the draft (competition may be Shaquem Griffin). Barkley has a chance to wreak havoc on a league that has been spoiled with top talent throughout the past three years.
Derrius Guice is an absolute monster. He looks for contact and drives through defenders like a knife cutting butter. He possesses the speed to be a dominant force in the second and third levels, and the hammer mentality to force his way through the line in short yardage and goal line situations. Guice has the power and speed to be dominant in all three levels.
Sony Michel is a jack-of-all-trades, and all though he doesn’t possess immense speed, make no mistake that he can’t break off long runs. He rarely was caught from behind and possesses the talent to be a three down back right away. If he didn’t attend Georgia, Michel would have been a three down workhorse throughout his career.
Ronald Jones is an electric scat back, who has been compared to a young Jamal Charles. He is an explosive runner with a dangerous ability in the open field. I know they don’t have a glaring need, but a 1–2 punch with Kareem Hunt in Kansas City’s backfield would be an intriguing marriage. Andy Reid, who unlocked Charles’ potential throughout his tenure with the Chiefs, could do the same for the young USC product.
Nick Chubb squeaked his way into my top five, as he demolished the combine, his pro-day and each individual workout and interview he underwent. The entire Blitzalytics team believes he may have been struggling with an injury that caused the drop off in production, and he has finally gotten back to full health. He ran an impressive 4.53 forty-yard dash at the combine, faster than most expected while lifting an impressive 29 reps on the bench. Chubb is a versatile back with the talent to be a three down back right away.
1. Christian Kirk
2. Courtland Sutton
3. Calvin Ridley
4. Deon Cain
5. DJ Moore
The toughest player in this draft and a stud in all three phases of the game, Christian Kirk is an explosive playmaker that can immediately improve the quality of the passing game for any team he goes to. Kirk is an explosive receiver with an in depth knowledge of the route tree and impressive body control. He is an excellent route runner with the versatility to play wide or in the slot, and contributes in the return game. He will fight for every inch and bring leadership to the locker room. Kirk may have his limitations on the outside considering his height, but he showed, repeatedly, that he can dominate all over the field.
Courtland Sutton is a big-bodied athletic playmaker, with a high ceiling. Sutton has the speed to beat defenders deep and the size and strength to beat them to the point of attack. He is a deadly red-zone threat with the talent to reel in contested balls across the middle of the field. Sutton lit up the combine and outplayed my former number 2 receiver, Calvin Ridley.
Calvin Ridley took a small tumble down my board, but he is too much of an elite talent to fall more than one spot. He is fatal in the open field while possessing home-run speed to beat corners deep consistently. Although he didn’t show it at the combine, Ridley is the premiere route runner in this class. He knows how to manipulate the field and utilize his speed and agility to gain separation in tight coverage. Ridley may be the first receiver off the board, as many believe along with his route running ability, he is the premiere receiver in the class.
Deon Cain is a classic Clemson receiver with an excellent combination of size, speed, and athleticism. Cain is a smooth route runner with an elite understanding of coverages. He is a dangerous deep threat with great versatility to work all over the field. He needs to work on his concentration and hooking the ball in rather than running before he gains possession, but he has the potential to take receiver 1 duties early in his career.
D.J. Moore doesn’t possess the length and height teams typically look for in an outside receiver and may need to move to a full-time slot role; however, he has an immense athletic ability and an excellent ability in open space to handle those duties. He is a fast and quick player with an outstanding release. He will need to work on his route running ability, but his potential to become the next great slot receiver is real.
1. Hayden Hurst
2. Dallas Goedert
3. Mike Gesicki
4. Ian Thomas
5. Mark Andrews
Hayden Hurst’s age may deter teams from drafting him early; he will be turning 25 before the season begins. Although he may be older than most rookies, Hurst is a polished tight end with the ability to play on all three downs as a dangerous receiving threat and as an in-line blocker. He is a grown man and will not be getting any stronger or develop much more physically, but his football intelligence and playing talent has room for improvement. Hurst may surprise many with his talent early in his career.
Dallas Goedert is a great athlete with the talent to play all over the field. He is a dangerous pass catcher with the ability to shield defenders from the ball in tight coverage. His highlight reel is loaded with spectacular one-handed receptions, and he has the potential to increase the production in the passing game right away. He is a willing blocker with the ability to shield defenders from making plays on the back; however, he seemed bigger and slower throughout his 2017 campaign compared to his earlier collegiate years. Goedert is a dark horse in this class.
Mike Gesicki exploded onto the scene with an impressive showing at the 2018 combine. He is an elite athlete with the ability to run routes all over the field. He will be an immediate contributor in an NFL passing offense, but he is a liability in the run game. If he is picked, it will be solely based on his upside as a receiver and because of his athleticism. He has a chance to be the first tight end off the board.
Ian Thomas is a raw prospect with limited production throughout his collegiate career. He has a high ceiling as a pass catcher and has the ability to be a solid in-line blocker. The more he was exposed to blocking the more consistent he became in the run game.
Mark Andrews had the opportunity to catch passes from Heisman winner, Baker Mayfield. He is a big man with average athletic ability, but he knows how to manipulate his body to shield defenders from the ball. He is a good route runner and is a dominant run blocker. He has the potential to be a solid run blocker early in his career and contribute as a consistent force in the red-zone.
1. Mike McGlinchey
2. Kolton Miller
3. Orlando Brown
4. Brian O’Neil
5. Conner Williams
Mike McGlinchey is the most pro-ready offensive tackle prospect in this draft. He was productive throughout his collegiate career at Notre Dame and worked along the entire offensive line. McGlinchey was moved to left tackle this past season, but he may have to work out of the right side in the NFL. McGlinchey is reliable in pass protection and a mauler in the run game. He will certainly make a team better on the right side of the line from the first snap of the 2018 NFL season.
Kolton Miller is a mountain of a man standing at 6’9” and weighing 310 pounds. Teams don’t generally like a slim lineman, but Miller is a true road grader. He is a powerful lineman with impressive athleticism. He is raw in pass pro, but he has the athleticism and talent to be a starter on the blind side at the next level.
Orlando Brown took a bad fall on a lot of pre-draft boards after his combine performance. It was so horrendous that he was almost beaten in the Simulcam by Rich Eisen during the Run-Rich-Run Campaign. His performance and attitude had some teams and scouts questioning his love for the game. Aside from his numbers during his individual workouts (which he improved in every category during his pro-day), Brown had impressive length and quick feet. He isn’t much of an athlete, but his strides and length make him tough to move around and exploit. He has an impressive combination of size, strength, and power to own the line of scrimmage as an edge blocker. Brown has the potential to be an elite tackle on either side at the next level.
Brian O’Neil is a long athletic tackle prospect with the ability to dominate in a zone running scheme. O’Neil will need to develop more strength and technique at the point of attack, but his elite athleticism will make him a load to handle on the edge of the offensive line. O’Neil could become a high caliber left tackle down the road.
Conner Williams may end up being better than every tackle prospect listed above; however, I project him as a guard at the next level. He isn’t very long and his strength would be better utilized on the inside against stronger defensive linemen. He is an athletic prospect with outstanding power. He has pro-bowl potential on the inside of an offensive line with tackle experience.
1. Quenton Nelson
2. Isaiah Wynn
3. Will Hernandez
4. Billy Price
5. James Daniels
Quenton Nelson may be the best interior lineman to come out of the collegiate level in a decade. He is a mauler in the run game, and an anchor in the passing. His technique is polished and his ability to bully defensive lineman at the point of attack is legitimate. He has All-Pro potential early in his career. If Nelson fizzles out of the league, there is no such thing as a can’t miss prospect.
Isaiah Wynn is a versatile offensive lineman who has experience playing in every spot along the o-line. He may be one of the biggest steals of the draft and will become a staple on the left side of the offensive line. If he can fully recover from his surgically repaired labrum, Wynn has the potential to be a star on the interior line of an NFL organization.
Will Hernandez is a true road grader, as his stunning 37 bench press reps lead all offensive linemen. He is built like a brick house and rarely was beaten regardless of the competition level. He is stronger and bigger than other defensive linemen and is deadly when faced with the bull rush. Hernandez will need to develop his technique, but his athleticism, length and power make him a mismatch on the interior.
Billy Price is the number 1 ranked center in this draft class. His partially torn pectoral muscle was one of the most disappointing injuries to occur in the pre-draft process. He was expected to destroy the combine by showing off his athleticism and power in the workouts and on-field drills. Billy Price has experience throughout the interior line, and could easily slide to guard if a team values his ability with an established center already on the roster. Price is an explosive player with impressive strength to fend off defensive lineman at the next level.
James Daniels is slightly undersized and has trouble with bigger and physical defenders, but he has elite athleticism and is a technical machine. He will be more effective in a zone-blocking scheme, as his footwork and explosion give him leverage against his opponents. He will become an effective starter as a center at the next level.
1. Bradley Chubb
2. Marcus Davenport
3. Harold Landry
4. Sam Hubbard
5. Arden Key
If this weren’t a quarterback heavy draft, Bradley Chubb would be at the top of most draft boards. He is a physical freak that mimics the same image captured by last year’s first overall selection, Myles Garrett. Chubb is the best overall player in this draft class and has the potential to be a dominant double-digit sack artist at the next level.
Marcus Davenport’s speed, athleticism, and length made him a nightmare for opposing tackles, and he continuously grew throughout his career at UTSA. Davenport is a hybrid edge rusher, capable of playing with his hand in the dirt or as a stand-up rusher. He consistently showed his elite athleticism, displaying elite quickness in his lateral slides in order to close out running lanes down the line of scrimmage. He is aggressive in the run game and never hesitates to unload on a ball carrier. With a better fit coming as a 4–3 defensive end, Davenport’s draft range falls between 10 (Raiders) and 25 (Titans). Expect him to be an impact player at the next level.
Harold Landry will make his living as a 3–4 outside linebacker rushing the passer. Throughout his career at Boston College, Landry consistently utilized his speed and strength off the line to wreak havoc in the backfield. Although he lacks prototypical size, his explosiveness, speed, and flexibility give him immense potential as an edge rusher. By improving his hand usage and leverage, Landry has the potential to be an impact player earlier rather than later in his career.
Sam Hubbard is a do-it-all athlete with a high motor that will take him to plays most defensive players would give up on. Although he doesn’t dominate in one specific area, he is a solid pass rusher who can defend the run effectively on the outside. If you’re looking for an explosive pass rusher who will get to the quarterback every time, Hubbard may not be your guy; however, if you want a three down defensive end with a high motor and great instincts Hubbard fits the bill.
Arden Key Could be the highest risk reward player in the 2018 NFL Draft. He will serve as a 3–4 outside linebacker, as he is an undersized edge rusher with impressive explosion and quickness. Key has off-field issues and has struggled with inconsistency throughout his collegiate career. He was once thought to be a high first round talent but has fallen to a day 2. A team will certainly bite on his upside and athletic ability, but Key is far from a sure thing.
1. Vita Vea
2. Da’Ron Payne
3. Maurice Hurst
4. Taven Bryan
5. Harrison Phillips
Vita Vea has an outstanding combination of size, strength and speed that NFL teams salivate over when looking for an interior lineman on the defensive side of the ball. Vea displayed immense strength by recording 41 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Combine while running an impressive 5.1-second forty-yard dash at a hefty 347 pounds. He is a physical freak that will be a disruptive force along the defensive line of any team that drafts him. Expect Vea to be the first interior defensive lineman taken on Thursday night.
Da’Ron Payne is a talented prospect that will instantly improve the front seven of an NFL defense. He is a fierce run stuffer with an ability to act as an anchor when double-teamed. His strength and size will make him the centerpiece of a 3–4 defense, where he can utilize his size, power, and athleticism in the center of the front seven.
Maurice Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition in similar proportion to Nick Fairly who had to retire from the league, this past year. Hurst is a monster up front with the ability to stand as an anchor in the run game and be a dominant interior pass rusher. His initial burst and explosion separates him from the other tackle prospects, but his health remains a question mark. He is a game changer and if he is cleared to play, Hurst has a chance to be the most dominant interior lineman of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team who decides to roll the dice with Hurst may find themselves a pro-bowler on day 2.
Taven Bryan possesses one of the highest ceilings in the draft. He has a lot of talent that he has yet to tap into, as he is a raw athletic defender with potential to develop technically as a dominant interior defender. He is undersized and doesn’t show the necessary strength to be an anchor in the run game, but his athleticism will allow him to succeed as a three down defensive tackle.
Harrison Phillips has been a consistent presence in Stanford’s front seven his entire collegiate career. He is one of the most productive players in the class, as he has a knack for finding the football and making plays on the ball carrier. He is tough in run support and has enough athletic ability to get after the quarterback. He possesses all the right tools to succeed at the next level while filling gaps in the defensive line. He will make a team very happy near the mid-late portion of the second round.
1. Tremaine Edmunds
2. Roquan Smith
3. Rashan Evans
4. Leighton Vander Esch
5. Lorenzo Carter
Tremaine Edmunds is an absolute stud. He has the ability to stuff the run and defend the pass against big tight ends and runners out of the backfield. Edmunds possesses excellent sideline-to-sideline speed, tackling ability and the ferocity teams need in their linebacker corps, Edmunds is the ideal linebacker that could lead a defense as its play caller. He has a prototypical build for the position standing at 6’5”, weighing 251 pounds with the speed to move to any part of the field quickly (4.54 second 40). At only 19 years old, Edmunds has a long and bright career ahead of him.
Roquan Smith showed tremendous growth as a leader in Georgia’s system. He is a pure sideline-to-sideline linebacker with the quickness and instincts to close in run support, immediately. He is an explosive player, with the ability to rush the quarterback from anywhere on the field and cover tight ends and backs with ease. He is undersized, but his athleticism and explosion will provide the foundation for him to flourish.
Rashaan Evans was a true playmaker in the coveted Alabama defense. The Tide’s linebacker is an athletic prospect with the lateral quickness necessary to fill gaps stuffing the run or bending around the edge to pressure the quarterback. He is an effective pass rusher with ability, speed and quickness to play in all areas of the field. His initial burst allows him to win against blockers when coming off the line or in a delayed blitz. His athleticism and toughness present him with the necessary ability in coverage coordinators want in athletic linebackers. He is undersized but will be an explosive addition to any team that pulls the trigger on the Bama product.
Leighton Vander Esch is a tackling machine with prototypical size for the linebacker position. With his speed and lateral quickness to avoid the blocker, Vander Esch can make plays on the ball carrier utilizing plus technique and wrapping up the runner to bring them to the ground. Excelling in zone coverage, he keeps everything in front him and has plus instincts to survey the field. Vander Esch is a raw prospect with a lot of room for growth, but the scheme he is drafted into will determine how far he goes in the NFL.
1. Denzel Ward
2. Josh Jackson
3. Jaire Alexander
4. Carlton Davis
5. Isaiah Oliver
Denzel Ward Is a quick twitch athlete with plus athleticism. His elite speed and quickness give him the recovery ability to mirror opposing receivers throughout their route. He is an outstanding cover corner with the ability to match up against bigger receivers utilizing his athleticism. He is an undersized defender weighing in at 183 pounds, but don’t let that fool you. Ward is a fierce defender with loads of power. He relishes in contact and has the power to unload on receivers and ball carriers. He is one of the best athletes in this class, and is almost certain to be the first corner off the board. Expect Ward to be a top 10 pick.
Josh Jackson’s ball skills are deadly to opposing quarterbacks. He has the ability to utilize his length and play the ball in the air with excellent technique and great positioning. Jackson can be stiff out of his backpedal, but he is an outstanding cover corner who secured an impressive 8 interceptions through the 2017 campaign. Although he needs to work on his technique and urgency in run support, he will be a lethal weapon in the passing game, particularly in man coverage.
Jaire Alexander is an instinctive corner with the talent to anticipate and read throws utilizing his closing burst and quickness. He is a plus athlete with a quick twitch ability to mirror defenders, while possessing excellent ball skills. His durability is a major concern as he enters the NFL; his play was uneven due to a sprained knee he suffered mid-season. His slender build adds to the concerns, but when healthy, he has the potential to become starting corner at the next level. Alexander is a tough and athletic player, but may be better suited for the slot at the next level.
Carlton Davis is a big-bodied physical corner that excels in press coverage. He is strong and athletic with the length to play the ball in the air and a desire for contact. He has question marks revolving around his hands as he has recorded double-digit pass breakups over each of the past three seasons, but only 4 collegiate interceptions and 1 coming in 2017. He also gets grabby at the point of attack and was flagged for pass interference, at a team-high of six times. Davis is one of my favorite prospects in this draft, as his physicality and drive is well warranted. If he is drafted into the right system his potential is sky high.
Isaiah Oliver possesses an outstanding combination of size, speed, and length, traits often coveted for cornerbacks. He is a raw prospect with holes in his coverage ability, but his intensity and urgency combined with his athleticism make him an intriguing draft prospect. Oliver has a high ceiling as a press corner in bump and run coverage; however, he will need to develop throughout his rookie year and may benefit from the nickel role early on.
1. Minkah Fitzpatrick
2. Derwin James
3. Justin Reid
4. Ronnie Harrison
5. Jessie Bates III
Minkah Fitzpatrick is a tough player who has the ability to turn his intensity up to its max until the game is over. He is an outstanding athlete with the combination of size, instincts, quickness, speed, and power necessary to be a dominant force at the next level. He is a decisive playmaker with the versatility and flexibility to play in multiple sub-packages and be productive in each area of the field. Fitzpatrick has the talent to be a Swiss-army-knife in an NFL scheme. Utilizing his versatility, desire and leadership ability, Fitzpatrick could be an influencer early in his career.
Derwin James is a true leader who can command a locker room. He has incredible athletic ability, and his versatility make him a dangerous weapon for any defensive coordinator. Possessing an impressive blend of size, speed, and power the All-ACC safety has all the desired traits that make a perennial pro-bowler. Rumblings started days before the draft, and his potential to go in the top 10 of the draft is real. Expect the versatile safety to go anywhere from the 7th overall pick to the 18th. James has the ability, charisma, and potential to be an unstoppable force at the next level, but in order to reach his ceiling, he will need to grow and learn as a player.
Justin Reid is an extremely athletic prospect with excellent lateral quickness and exceptional change of direction. With the speed and talent to play sideline-to-sideline, Reid can make plays in each area of the field. Reid has an urgency in the run game and has displayed the ability to be an aggressive run defender. However, he needs to work on his technique and take better pursuit angles while closing on the ball carrier. With his speed and athleticism, Reid can play the deep safety role with outstanding efficiency and effectiveness. He has the ability to play all over the field and in the slot possessing the talent to mirror defenders and break on balls in zone. He should get an opportunity to play early while possessing pro-bowl potential. Expect the Stanford safety to come off the board early on day 2. Justin Reid has the capability to be a consistent presence in an NFL secondary for years to come.
Ronnie Harrison has been a regular force on Alabama’s prestigious defense since his true freshman season. He has a deadly combination of size, speed and instincts to thrive in both safety roles with his natural ability better served as a strong safety playing in the box and closer to the line. Harrison’s downhill approach and his urgency to help in the run game will make him a dangerous strong safety at the next level. If he can improve in coverage, Harrison has pro-bowl potential early in his career.
Jessie Bates III is a dynamic athlete who displays impressive fluidity for a deep safety, possessing smooth hips and quick feet. His excellent speed presents him with the ability to close gaps and assist over the top. Although he didn’t wow anyone with his 4.5 second forty time, Bates possesses good game speed frequently displaying the ability to run with the receiver. The Wake Forest product can read the quarterback’s eyes and react diagnosing the play and disrupting the passing lane. He is a lanky defender and will need to add weight and play strength, as his reckless playing style prompts injury concerns. He needs to learn to play with better discipline in deep coverage responsibilities, as he is often tempted to jump the route, but when he misses, the field opens up for the ball carrier. He is a willing tackler but has displayed an inability to finish and will need to develop better technique as a tackler. Bates has excellent potential as a deep safety, but he will need to develop each part of his game at the next level. Expect Bates to be taken on day 2 in the NFL Draft.