We are exactly one month away from the 2018 NFL Draft, so it’s a good time to release my second-to-last big board. I have added and will continue to add full scouting reports for as many prospects as I can, so just click the player to go to their full breakdown with strengths, weaknesses, NFL comparisons, and more. If you missed my updated positional rankings, you can check them out here.
Saquon Barkley will deservedly get a ton of praise leading up to the draft, and much of it will come from me. You can stick Barkley in any system and he will do everything at an elite level. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say he’s the best running back prospect I’ve ever seen, and his game should translate immediately to the NFL. Besides being a generational talent, the 20-year-old is a great person with legendary work ethic, which only solidifies him as the best prospect in recent memory.
The quarterback class will be intensely debated over the next few months, but while most people are talking about Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen as the best signal-caller in the 2018 crop, I like Josh Allen. The gunslinger out of Wyoming has an absolute cannon for a right arm to make long throws to the outside with ease, and more importantly, he can put touch on his passes at all levels. Arm strength isn’t at the top of the list for a quarterback, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be able to throw frozen ropes, especially for a guy like Allen that played in a pro-style offense and is also a strong leader, intelligent, and very mobile.
Anyone who watched the College Football Playoff saw Roquan Smith all over the field for the Bulldogs, as he racked up a combined 24 tackles, including several for a loss and at clutch moments. He’s been likened to plenty of great linebackers, but I think he’s most comparable to another former Georgia star in Thomas Davis. Neither is the biggest guy on the field, but they are able to quickly recognize plays and use their speed and underrated strength to make plays.
It’s not often that a guard is so well-regarded as a prospect, but Nelson was a breathing bulldozer for the Fighting Irish in 2017. Not only can the New Jersey native drive defensive lineman and linebackers into oblivion, but he is also extraordinary in pass protection thanks to his technique and awareness on the interior. Nelson is worth a premium selection in April.
I think Bradley Chubb is far and away the best edge defender in this year’s class. He has a great first step and top-end agility for a defensive player, which allowed him to record 23.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks as a senior despite constant double teams. He is also aggressive coming down the line against the run. I would be surprised if Chubb wasn’t a top-five pick.
Jaire Alexander missed most of the 2017 season with various injuries, but he remains a top prospect for me as most versatile cornerback in the draft. Louisville’s defense struggled when their star defender was out, as he can shut down opposing receivers, is an above-average tackler, and can turn defense into offense with phenomenal ball skills. Alexander forced three turnovers (two interceptions) in 2016 against Deshaun Watson.
Everyone knows how explosive Lamar Jackson and Saquon Barkley are at their respective positions, and Christian Kirk brings that same kind of upside at wide receiver. The Texas A&M star actually saw his yardage decrease in each of his three seasons at College Station, but his NFL outlook has never wavered. Kirk is just as likely to put a double move on a defender to get deep as he is to house a short pass for a touchdown, and his hands match his explosiveness.
Perhaps the most dangerous college football player of all-time, Lamar Jackson can absolutely play quarterback at the next level. He’s basically just as dynamic as Michael Vick, but bigger and much more advanced as a passer coming out of college. And even if his arm isn’t quite as strong as Vick’s was, Jackson still can flick it. Work needs to be done, but he will be a terror to opposing defenses if a coaching staff can slightly modify their offense to take advantage of his unique, game-breaking skillset.
Fitzpatrick played everywhere for Nick Saban’s defense, and the legendary head coach is such a fan of his versatile defensive back that teammates have joked that he’s “Coach Saban’s son.” I see him as more of a do-it-all safety than cornerback, but Fitzpatrick should be able to cover elite tight ends and slot receivers while racking up tackles in the box and out in in space.
The talent was evident with Darnold in two seasons as the starter for USC, as he throws with great anticipation, is very creative when the play breaks down, and certainly has the size and intangibles to be successful. However, he’s thrown for 22 interceptions in 27 starts, and many of them are simply head-scratching, especially for a top quarterback prospect. Darnold also fumbled far too often for the Trojans. My concern is that, similar to Jameis Winston coming out of Florida State, the turnovers come with the talent. The intangibles and natural ability might be enough to offset his flaws at the top of the draft, though.
Ward is a sticky cover corner with great quickness and long arms for his size at five-foot-ten. His length and explosiveness also makes him very good in zone coverage, and while he doesn’t have the ball skills that Jaire Alexander or Josh Jackson do in this year’s class with just two career interceptions at Ohio State, Ward is an aggressive and effective tackler.
Kam Chancellor has been a comparison often used for Derwin James, but James is faster, more versatile, and not quite as thumping (I mean that as a compliment to Chancellor). The Florida State standout is solid in man-to-man coverage and can come up from his safety spot to make plays off the edge and up the middle as a blitzer. He could be a game-wrecker at the next level.
A phenomenal performance at the Combine finally puts Gesicki in the first-round conversation for draft analysts that were sleeping on him, as he displayed his top-end athleticism in Indianapolis. Gesicki will be an elite red-zone threat in the NFL as a mismatch nightmare either in the slot or on the perimeter. Hopefully he ends up with a coach that can get the best out of him as a blocker, because he needs to improve there.
People in the media don’t seem to be very high on Kerryon Johnson, but I don’t see how he isn’t a Day 1 pick after what he did at Auburn. Johnson displays similar patience to Le’Veon Bell behind the line of scrimmage, and he looks like David Johnson with the ball in his hands as an effortless, long-striding runner that can easily shed arm tackles and make people miss in the open field. Also, he has good hands that will make him an effective receiver at the next level.
Speed at the linebacker position has become increasingly important in the NFL, and Tremaine Edmunds has plenty of it. Sized like an NBA wing, Edmunds has tremendous range when tracking down ball-carriers. He can also spy the quarterback and rush on either a straight blitz or delayed blitz with excellent closing burst. Also, Edmunds is still just 19-years-old.
It’s almost unfair that Vita Vea can move the way he does at six-foot-five, 340 pounds. The star defensive lineman is basically football’s version of “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones with the ability to do things that a monster human being probably shouldn’t be able to do, as Vea dominates against the run with both strength and quickness to plug running lanes or make the play himself. He should be able to thrive at any interior position in any defensive scheme at the next level.
Wynn was an exceptional left tackle for Georgia all year in 2017, and I would have liked him as a top-50 prospect had he been staying outside for the draft process. With the move inside, though, he is quickly rising. Wynn played guard early in his college career, and he has the ability to dominate in all schemes at the next level with strength, quickness, and the right mental makeup in the trenches.
Josh Jackson led the nation with eight interceptions (including two pick-sixes) as one of the breakout stars of the season, and he showed the anticipation and has the length to frustrate receivers and quarterbacks by jumping routes. At the Combine, Jackson didn’t alleviate any concerns about being tight-hipped, but he still profiles as a shutdown, boundary corner, especially in a cover-3 scheme.
Chubb was one of the big winners of the Combine in my opinion, as his 4.52 40-yard dash was outstanding for his size, and his 38.5-inch vertical jump was equally impressive. The tape showed he has the ability to get outside and surprise defenders by quickly accelerating to turn upfield, and the athletic testing backed that up. Chubb has come a long way from a devastating leg injury in 2015 that many thought would end his career.
It was obvious Payne was a unique athlete when he showed his skills as a pass-catcher for Alabama, but I was impressed by the slimmed-down version we saw of him in Indy a few weeks ago. Like Vita Vea, Payne is basically as versatile as it gets for a defensive lineman, and he will be a force against the run and potentially the pass for whatever team drafts him.
Carter has been a favorite of mine throughout the pre-draft process, and he might not be done rising. At the Combine, the former Georgia star ran a 4.50 at a rangy six-foot-six, 250 pounds, which is faster than former teammate and 2016 ninth-overall pick Leonard Floyd. Carter can do some of the same things that Floyd can, including drop back in coverage, which will only boost his value as a disruptive edge.
Ridley is the most polished wideout in this year’s class, and he’s similar to Minkah Fitzpatrick on the defensive side of that ball in that he will be able to do it all—take the top off the defense, make contested catches over the middle, pickup key first downs, and play either the X, Z, or slot. Despite a lack of big numbers at Alabama, Ridley is a smooth, all-around receiver who should become an instant contributor in the league. Teams should just know he is more of an on-the-ground receiver than a high-flyer.
Daniels has elite movement skills that could put him in high demand in today’s NFL as an athletic anchor to the offensive line. It also helps that he is battle-tested from playing in the Big Ten for a tough Iowa team, and he could even kick out a spot to guard for teams that already have a pivot in place. Daniels is probably a lock to be the first center off the board following Billy Price’s injury.
Connor Williams battled injuries in 2017 before declaring for the NFL Draft, but he showed enough in his sophomore season to be worth a first-round selection in April. Williams is a really good athlete for an offensive lineman, but he also has the power and size to be a franchise left tackle. He looked to separate some from his peers at the Combine.
For me, the interview process would be key when evaluating Baker Mayfield because I think the character concerns—both on and off the field—are real. On the field, Mayfield is extremely accurate and confident both in and out of the pocket. He also has a strong arm for his size and was able to put the ball on the money at Oklahoma. That said, he didn’t have to make many tight-window throws in college, and he might not be as dynamic out of the pocket against NFL defenders. I still have him as a mid-first-round prospect, but Mayfield is far from a sure thing.
Michel’s stock really jumped after an impressive College Football Playoff run where he was able to display his balance, quickness, vision, and speed for the Bulldogs. The senior averaged a career-high 7.9 yards per carry and scored 16 times on the ground as he split time with Nick Chubb, and despite only nine receptions in 2017, he has shown the ability to be an effective pass-catcher over his four years. If Michel can be a solid pass protector at the next level, he won’t need to leave the field.
Teams that miss out on Quenton Nelson could have a big, bad backup plan in mind with Will Hernandez. The bully guard was able to beat people up for UTEP over the past four years, and he’s also a solid athlete at nearly 350 pounds. Hernandez is also said to be extremely committed to the game, and you can’t have enough of those guys in a locker room.
Hurst turns 25-years-old in August, but the former minor league baseball player might be the most polished, all-around tight end in this year’s class. I’ve compared him to Greg Olsen, as I think he should develop into a crafty route runner that is also an above-average athlete and capable blocker.
Perhaps the most aggressive ball-carrier in this year’s draft, Derrius Guice could be considered early on Day 1 if a team falls in love with his physical running style. Guice has good balance at all levels and isn’t afraid to initiate contact with would-be tacklers. He isn’t the pass-catcher that others are in this class, but Guice is a tone-setter for not only the offense, but the entire team.
Rosen is a talented thrower who gets the most out of his arm with great mechanics and an on-time delivery, but he doesn’t have close to the arm strength and velocity that Sam Bradford has, which is a comparison some people have made based on his pure ability to sling it. Also, besides the apparent leadership and character concerns, Rosen’s durability is an issue, and he could really struggle if things aren’t perfect around him (i.e. he when needs to carry the offense).
A unique deep threat that was as productive and dangerous as any college wideout over the past three years, James Washington is actually built more like a running back than a receiver. Still, he has an NFL skillset, including the ability to get deep and track the ball when it’s in the air. Despite being a sub-six-footer, Washington plays bigger than his size and is able to shield off defenders to make plays.
Moore seems to be rising from mid-round prospect to arguably the top receiver in the draft, and his performance at the Combine only boosted his stock. He is a great competitor and big-time threat with the ball in his hands, but I think his basic skills as a receiver are clearly behind Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley. However, he has room to grow and can play inside or outside in the league.
53. DeShon Elliott | S | Texas
54. Marcell Ateman | WR | Oklahoma State
55. Kolton Miller | OT | UCLA
56. Frank Ragnow | G | Arkansas
57. Trenton Thompson | DL | Georgia
58. Austin Corbett | G | Nevada
59. Jeff Holland | EDGE | Auburn
60. Darius Leonard | LB | South Carolina State
61. Dorance Armstrong | EDGE | Kansas
62. Harold Landry | EDGE | Boston College
63. Marcus Allen | S | Penn State
64. Ronnie Harrison | S | Alabama
65. Mike White | QB | Western Kentucky
66. Sam Hubbard | EDGE | Ohio State
67. Leighton Vander Esch | LB | Boise State
68. Dallas Goedert | TE | South Dakota State
69. Tim Settle | DL | Virginia Tech
70. R.J. McIntosh | DL | Miami (FL)
71. Shaquem Griffin | LB | UCF
72. Simmie Cobbs | WR | Indiana
73. Levi Wallace | CB | Alabama
74. Quenton Meeks | CB | Stanford
75. D.J. Chark | WR | LSU
76. Brian O’Neill | OT | Pittsburgh
77. Donte Jackson | CB | LSU
78. Ian Thomas | TE | Indiana
79. Marquis Haynes | EDGE | Ole Miss
80. Harrison Phillips | DL | Stanford
81. DaeSean Hamilton | WR | Penn State
82. Carlton Davis | CB | Auburn
83. Terrell Edmunds | S | Virginia Tech
84. Luke Falk | QB | Washington State
85. Kemoko Turay | EDGE | Rutgers
86. Troy Fumagalli | TE | Wisconsin
87. Kalen Ballage | RB | Arizona State
88. Royce Freeman | RB | Oregon
89. Deon Cain | WR | Clemson
90. Tyrell Crosby | OT | Oregon
91. D.J. Reed | CB | Kansas State
92. Rashaad Penny | RB | San Diego State
93. Rod Taylor | G | Ole Miss
94. Armani Watts | S | Texas A&M
95. Braden Smith | G | Auburn
96. Dorian O’Daniel | LB | Clemson
97. Josey Jewell | LB | Iowa
98. Rasheem Green | EDGE | USC
99. Anthony Averett | CB | Alabama
100. Equanimeous St. Brown | WR | Notre Dame
101. Deontay Burnett | WR | USC
102. Mark Walton | RB | Miami (FL)
103. Geron Christian | OT | Louisville
104. Orlando Brown | OT | Oklahoma
105. Uchenna Nwosu | LB | USC
106. Chad Thomas | EDGE | Miami (FL)
107. Jerome Baker | LB | Ohio State
108. Dante Pettis | WR | Washington
109. J.T. Barrett | QB | Ohio State
110. Kyle Lauletta | QB | Richmond
111. Duke Ejiofor | EDGE | Wake Forest
112. Ethan Wolf | TE | Tennessee
113. Dakota Allen | LB | Texas Tech
114. Deadrin Senat | DL | South Florida
115. Jason Cabinda | LB | Penn State
116. Chris Worley | LB | Ohio State
117. Joseph Noteboom | OT | TCU
118. Duke Dawson | CB | Florida
119. Chris Herndon | TE | Miami (FL)
120. Kentavius Street | EDGE | NC State
121. Will Dissly | TE | Washington
122. Nick Nelson | CB | Wisconsin
123. Chandon Sullivan | CB | Georgia State
124. Oren Burks | LB | Vanderbilt
125. Tarvarus McFadden | CB | Florida State
126. Jamarco Jones | OT | Ohio State
127. Genard Avery | LB | Memphis
128. Troy Apke | S | Penn State
129. Jessie Bates III | S | Wake Forest
130. Lavon Coleman | RB | Washington
131. Justin Reid | S | Stanford
132. Kyle Hicks | RB | TCU
133. Mason Cole | C | Michigan
134. Auden Tate | WR | Florida States
135. Jordan Lasley | WR | UCLA
136. Jaylen Samuels | TE | NC State
137. Leon Jacobs | EDGE | Wisconsin
138. Holton Hill | CB | Texas
139. Michael Gallup | WR | Colorado
140. Christian Sam | LB | Arizona State
141. Josh Sweat | EDGE | Florida State
142. Derrick Nnadi | DL | Florida State
143. Desmond Harrison | OT | West Georgia
144. M.J. Stewart | CB | North Carolina
145. Christian Campbell | CB | Penn State
146. Martinas Rankin | OT | Mississippi State
147. Dre’Mont Jones | DL | Ohio State
148. Jordan Whitehead | S | Pittsburgh
149. Martez Ivey | G | Florida
150. Dalton Schultz | TE | Stanford
151. Tray Matthews | S | Auburn
152. Godwin Igwebuike | S | Northwestern
153. Tre’Quan Smith | WR | UCF
154. Kevin Tolliver | CB | LSU
155. DeAndre Goolsby | TE | Florida
156. Dontavius Russell | DL | Auburn
157. Josh Adams | RB | Notre Dame
158. Da’Shawn Hand | DL | Alabama
159. Chase Edmonds | RB | Fordham
160. Javon Wims | WR | Georgia
161. Brendan Mahon | G | Penn State
162. Justin Jones | DL | NC State
163. Scott Quessenberry | G | UCLA
164. Foley Fatukasi | DL | Connecticut
165. Mike McCray | LB | Michigan
166. Cedrick Wilson | WR | Boise State
167. Darrel Williams | RB | LSU
168. Brandon Parker | OT | North Carolina A&T
169. Greg Senat | OT | Wagner
170. Quin Blanding | S | Virginia
171. Brandon Facyson | CB | Virginia Tech
172. Davin Bellamy | EDGE | Georgia
173. Keke Coutee | WR | Texas Tech
174. J’Mon Moore | WR | Missouri
175. Kendrick Norton | DL | Miami (FL)
176. Tyquan Lewis | EDGE | Ohio State
177. Dylan Cantrell | WR | Texas Tech
178. Grant Haley | CB | Penn State
179. Rashaan Gaulden | CB | Tennessee
180. Ade Aruna | EDGE | Tulane
181. Bo Scarbrough | RB | Alabama
182. A.J. Cappa | OT | Humboldt State
183. Trey Quinn | WR | SMU
184. Jack Cichy | LB | Wisconsin
185. Ryan Nall | RB | Oregon State
186. Tegrau Scales | LB | Indiana
187. Kyzir White | S | West Virginia
188. Greg Stroman | CB | Virginia Tech
189. Parry Nickerson | CB | Tulane
190. Skai Moore | LB | South Carolina
191. Ray-Ray McCloud | WR | Clemson
192. Tony Brown | CB | Alabama
193. Brian Allen | C | Michigan State
194. Wyatt Teller | G | Virginia Tech
195. Breeland Speaks | DL | Ole Miss
196. Azeem Victor | LB | Washington
197. Cole Madison | G | Washington State
198. Coleman Shelton | C | Washington
199. Dee Delaney | CB | Miami (FL)
200. Akrum Wadley | RB | Iowa
201. Antonio Callaway | WR | Florida
202. Andre Smith | LB | North Carolina
203. Fred Warner | LB | BYU
204. John Kelly | RB | Tennessee
205. Will Clapp | G | LSU
206. Zaycoven Henderson | DL | Texas A&M
207. Dane Cruikshank | S | Arizona
208. John Atkins | DL | Georgia
209. Kameron Kelly | CB | San Diego State
210. Justin Jackson | RB | Northwestern
211. Kenny Young | LB | UCLA
212. Kahlil McKenzie | DL | Tennessee
213. Jalyn Holmes | DL | Ohio State
214. Ja’Von Rolland-Jones | EDGE | Arkansas State
215. Bradley Bozeman | G | Alabama
216. Justin Watson | WR | Penn
217. Ross Pierschbacher | G | Alabama
218. Sean Welsh | G | Iowa
219. Poona Ford | DL | Texas
220. Hercules Mata’afa | LB | Washington State
221. J.C. Jackson | CB | Maryland
222. Kyle Allen | QB | Houston
223. Roc Thomas | RB | Jacksonville State
224. Ike Boettger | OT | Iowa
225. Darius Jackson | EDGE | Jacksonville State
226. Justin Lawler | EDGE | SMU
227. Garret Dooley | EDGE | Wisconsin
228. Jaleel Scott | WR | New Mexico State
229. Taylor Hearn | G | Clemson
230. Isaac Yiadom | CB | Boston College
231. Stephen Roberts | S | Auburn
232. Peter Kalambayi | EDGE | Stanford
233. Matt DeLuca | LB | North Dakota State
234. Allen Lazard | WR | Iowa State
235. Byron Pringle | WR | Kansas State
236. Braxton Berrios | WR | Miami (FL)
237. Adam Breneman | TE | Massachusetts
238. Michael Joseph | CB | Dubuque
239. Jordan Thomas | CB | Oklahoma
240. Caleb Wilson | TE | UCLA
241. Robert Foster | WR | Alabama
242. Toby Weathersby | OT | LSU
243. David Bright | OT | Stanford
244. Trey Walker | S | Louisiana-Lafayette
245. K.C. McDermott | G | Miami (FL)
246. Tre Flowers | S | Oklahoma State
247. Sean Chandler | S | Temple
248. Darius Phillips | CB | Western Michigan
249. Ryan Izzo | TE | Florida State
250. Nick Gates | OT | Nebraska
251. Damon Webb | S | Ohio State
252. Jacob Pugh | LB | Florida State
252. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi | EDGE | Toledo
253. James Hearns | EDGE| Louisville
254. Will Richardson | G | NC State
255. Durham Smythe | TE | Notre Dame
256. Kurt Benkurt | QB | Virginia
257. Andrew Brown | DL | Virginia
258. Jarvion Franklin | RB | Western Michigan
259. Cam Phillips | WR | Virginia Tech
260. Kamryn Pettway | RB | Auburn
261. Bilal Nichols | DL | Delaware
262. Jordan Thomas | TE | Mississippi State
263. Jester Weah | WR | Pittsburgh
264. K.J. Malone | OT | LSU
265. Taron Johnson | CB | Weber State
266. Tyrone Crowder | G | Clemson
267. Matt Dickerson | DL | UCLA
268. Anthony Winbush | EDGE | Ball State
269. Taylor Stallworth | DL | South Carolina
270. Riley Ferguson | QB | Memphis
271. Matthew Thomas | LB | Florida State
272. Chase Litton | QB | Marshall
273. Justin Crawford | RB | West Virginia
274. Chris Warren | RB | Texas
275. Dimitri Flowers | RB | Oklahoma