Since the conclusion of the college football season I have watched, scouted, and evaluated over 150 draft prospects in preparation for this upcoming NFL weekend. The 2018 NFL Draft is literally right around the corner, and with that my final rankings are complete.
I have finalized my complete offensive and defensive position rankings, but first we take a look at my top 50 prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft class.
1. Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame OG
While separating much of this class was tough to do, the clear number one player in this draft to me is Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson. Nelson is both a powerful run blocker and an agile and smooth pass protector. He excels as a puller, and has quick enough feet to reach defenders at the next level. I don't see many problems at all with Nelson's game, and he deserves to be a top 10 pick.
2. Bradley Chubb, NC State EDGE
After Nelson things get a little tighter, but NC State's Bradley Chubb is number 2 on my board. When you combine his college production with his athletic and pass rushing traits, Chubb deserves consideration from the New York Giants as the number two overall pick. Chubb is a powerful, balanced, and controlled pass rusher who should make an impact right from his rookie year.
3. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB
I have some issues with Saquon Barkley's vision and decision making at the line of scrimmage at times, but he is clearly a special prospect. Barkley can bring immediate explosion to any offense, with the ability to make an impact both on the ground and in the passing game.
4. Roquan Smith, Georgia LB
Roquan Smith is an incredibly athletic linebacker that will be a day one starter at WILL in the NFL. Some have expressed concerns over his size, but I see Smith as one of the easier linebacker evaluations I've ever done. He's really good, don't mess this one up.
5. Harold Landry, Boston College EDGE
Harold Landry being in my top five may be the first surprise of the board, but I see him much closer to Bradley Chubb than most seem to. Landry's traits, production, and overall pass rushing ability are undeniable. And if he can remain healthy and reach his potential, he can be the best edge rusher in this class.
6. Derwin James, Florida State Safety
Derwin James is a bit of a tweener by NFL standards, but I see him as an athletic box safety who can make his impact felt all over the field. Whether rushing the passer, defending the run, or covering tight ends over the middle Derwin James will be a valuable defender in the NFL.
7. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB
Minkah Fitzpatrick has dropped a few spots on my board since January, but he is still worthy of a top 10 pick. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback, but I'm rolling with Nick Saban's plan in terms of where to start him at the next level.
8. Isaiah Wynn, Georgia OL
Outside of Quenton Nelson, Isaiah Wynn is the top offensive lineman in the 2018 draft class. With his ability and play style, I see no reason why Isaiah Wynn can't be a plug-and-play prospect at either guard or tackle. Wynn was the best offensive lineman on the best rushing offense in the country last year, and for Cowboys' fans sake I hope that is true again this season.
9. Josh Rosen, UCLA QB
Josh Rosen has faced some heat over “character concerns” during this draft process, but he is clearly QB1 on my board. Rosen has been billed as “the guy” since high school, and he has yet to disappoint. If you need a QB at the top of the draft, I'd look right at Josh Rosen.
10. Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB
The third DB in my top 10, Ohio State's Denzel Ward, also deserves consideration at the top of the first round. Ward is a sticky cover corner who plays with toughness and physicality. Though a bit undersized, Ward is the best true cornerback in this class.
11. Maurice Hurst, Michigan DL
Maurice Hurst has reportedly been falling down draft boards, probably due to medical concerns raised at the combine, but he is the best 3-technique in this class. Hurst's get-off, hands, quickness, and awareness make him a terror on the inside.
12. Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR
Despite what many considered a disappointing combine performance, Calvin Ridley remains WR1 on my board. Ridley is a ready-made Z receiver at the next level, and is able to separate despite the concerns about his athleticism.
13. James Daniels, Iowa OL
If you draft James Daniels, you're getting a starting interior offensive lineman from day one. Daniels is excellent on reach blocks and is agile enough to get to the second level and seal off linebackers. I think Daniels fits best in a zone blocking scheme, but he can start at center or guard just about anywhere.
14. Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech LB
Tremaine Edmunds is a straight-up athletic freak. He isn't the football player that Roquan Smith is yet, but Edmunds clearly has the necessary traits to become a very good linebacker in the NFL.
15. Vita Vea, Washington DL
Vita Vea's traits are rather incredible as well. Possessing excellent movement skills and agility for a man his size, Vea has the chance to be an excellent player if he can become more consistent and control his technique a bit better.
16. Sam Darnold, USC QB
Sam Darnold has moved up to QB2 on my board, despite the concerns I still have over his interceptions. Darnold can certainly improve his decision making, but he has the chance to be really good with the right development.
17. DJ Moore, Maryland WR
DJ Moore clocks in at WR2 on my board, and deservedly so. Moore's route running ability, speed, and instincts as a route runner make him a first round prospect in this draft class. Though a bit undersized, I'd be more than happy snagging Moore 19th overall.
18. Jaire Alexander, Louisville CB
Jaire Alexander isn't CB1 on my board, but he is certainly my “favorite” cornerback in this class. Alexander plays with an attitude and toughness that will help your defense from day one.
19. Derrius Guice, LSU RB
Some have argued that Derrius Guice is actually the best running back in this class, and while I disagree, I do see where they're coming from. Guice was arguably the best back at LSU even while Leonard Fournette was there, and he has the chance to be a high-value pick at the end of the first round.
20. Da'Ron Payne, Alabama DL
The 20th prospect on my board is iDL3, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne. Payne fits exactly what the Cowboys tend to look for in defensive linemen, but his inconsistencies in production are a cause for concern.