2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Bradley Chubb tops Prisco's board, Josh Allen top QB
Quarterbacks will dominate top portion of draft, but Bradley Chubb is the best player available
This is my final top-32 for the 2018 NFL Draft, which means it's the one you can hold me accountable for three years from now when we can truly grade this class.
Evaluating draft prospects is always tough to do, but it's even more so when there are four or five quarterbacks who are expected to be first-round picks -- and most going in the top-10.
Evaluating quarterbacks is the toughest thing to do in all of sports, projecting their college tape to the next level is a tough task. How will they translate to the NFL, where windows are tighter and reads much more complex?
What makes evaluating quarterbacks really tough to do is getting inside the quarterback's heads. Will they work when they get to the next level, first-guy in, last-guy-out stuff? Will they process the information? If not, they have no chance.
That's why so many quarterbacks bust. They have the talent. They lack the drive.
The great ones all have that want to be better, and do all they can to make it happen.
The bad ones usually love the trappings of being an NFL quarterback, but don't want do to the work that comes with it. With college offenses so different than the NFL offenses in a lot of ways – even simple things like taking snaps under center – it takes work to become a top-level quarterback.
"Some of the things that make elite offenses in college might not be the same on the pro level," Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said. "Whether operating under center, the schemes. It's such a difficult position. When you look at everything that position entails, from a mental standpoint, from a physical standpoint, it is arguably the most difficult position in all of sports. As a football coach, I have a lot of respect for the amount of information that spot takes."
My highest-ranked quarterback is Wyoming's Josh Allen, who checks in at No. 5 on my list. I love his upside, despite the constant bashing about his completion percentage and accuracy issues in college. Brett Favre struggled with accuracy issues in college and he turned out just fine.
After Allen, I have UCLA's Josh Rosen at No. 12, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield at No. 13 and USC's Sam Darnold at No. 14. That's because I think they are all ranked close. All three, by the way, will likely go in the top-10 along with Allen.
But let's be real: The odds are two of them will be busts. Which ones? That's the tough part, and it's why trying to evaluate quarterbacks is such a laborious task.
Here is my top-32 for the 2018 NFL Draft:
1. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
He isn't a pure speed rusher, but he's got all the tools to be an effective edge rusher. He plays with power and he can get around the edge. He reminds me of Julius Peppers.
2. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Might be the cleanest player in this draft. Scouts say to pencil him in as a 10-year Pro Bowl player who will be in the Hall. That's a bit much, but his tape is impressive.
3. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
He is an elite runner, who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. That makes him perfect for the way the game is played now. He will be a star runner, but position value drops him to this spot.
4. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
He is the best cover player in this draft, which puts him at a premium. He isn't big at 5-11, but he will be an outstanding lock-down cover player.
5. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
He is much more than just a big arm. The upside for him is outstanding. He is the best quarterback prospect in this draft. He has made big strides with his mechanics in the offseason.
6. Derwin James, S, Florida State
He is a game-changing safety who can play near the line or in coverage. He also can rush the passer as a blitzer.
7. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
I initially thought he might be too small to play in the middle. But after watching his tape, he is a force and big enough to handle it. He will be a dominant three-down linebacker.
8. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB-S, Alabama
The scouts I talked with think he should play safety, and I agree. He would be a great safety, but can also be a very good corner.
9. Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
He has the pass-rush tools to be a dominant player. He is raw, which is why taking him could be risky.
10. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
He can play off the ball or on the line if need be. He has the ability to run to the football and make plays. He will be a three-down player.
11. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
He is a power player at 335 pounds who can also use his quickness to push the pocket. He is much more athletic than you would expect from a man his size.
12. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
This kid has been compared to Luke Kuechly by some scouts. That's really high praise. I expect him off the board early.
13. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
He's a polished passer who looks to be NFL ready. He throws a nice football and he has a feel for the passing game. But there are concerns about his drive by some scouts.
14. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
I love the way he plays with a swagger. He is also an accurate passer with a good-enough arm to make all the throws. But is just a shade over 6-feet tall.
15. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
There are concerns with his motion and his turnovers in college, but he's worked on the motion and it appears improved. He could go first overall.
16. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
This is a player scouts love. I was concerned about his drive on every play, but after going back and watching the tape he plays hard all the time.
17. Kolton Miller, T, UCLA
Some scouts I respect told me to go back and watch his tape closely. I did, and I came away impressed. He still has some work to do, but he is the best tackle prospect in this class.
18. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Some scouts have compared him to J.J. Watt, but he isn't that explosive. He is a nice player who can play anywhere on a line.
19. Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
He had some impressive games against top-flight competition, which is what scouts love about him. There are some off-field concerns that could hurt him some.
20. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
He is the rising receiver in this draft. Teams love him. He got better as the season went along last year. That matters. He was taller (6-feet) than some teams expected. He's the best receiver in this draft.
21. James Daniels, C, Iowa
He is the best pure center in this draft. He is athletic and tough and he comes from a school where the linemen are taught the NFL way. Can also play guard.
22. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Some scouts and coaches love him, while others are concerned about his toughness. He is more quick than anything, which will make him appealing to receiver-needy teams. Is he a No. 1 receiver? Probably not, but he will be a good No. 2.
23. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
He will be a three-down linebacker who can play the run and the pass. He is a quick and can run to the football, which is a must in this era of wide-open football.
24. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
He looked like a pass-rush star in 2016, but tailed off last season because of injuries. He can play with his hand down or standing up.
25. Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
He looks the part and has had some really impressive games. But there were games – like against Miami – when he didn't look as good as expected. Even so, he will be a long-term starter in the league.
26. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
He has a great ability to play the ball in the air. He had eight picks last season. But he doesn't excel in straight man coverage. I think he will be a good Cover-3 corner.
27. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
He is a power player who scouts love. He will go higher than many expect. He won't ever be a great pass rusher, but he can be good enough to get 6-8 sacks a season.
28. Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
He will move inside from tackle to guard in the NFL. He is a shorter player at 6-3, which concerns some scouts. But he is a mauler in the run game.
29. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
He isn't getting a lot of pre-draft hype, but when you put on the tape you see one of the most complete receivers in this draft. He is a tough, physical kid who competes all the time. Scouts love him.
30. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
The word that scouts use to describe him is tough. He is nasty player who will move out players in the run game. He will need to improve in pass protection.
31. Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma
Forget his workouts. When he gets with a team, gets with a good weight coach and nutritionist, he will be fine. His long arms make it tough for pass rushers to get around him.
I know there are some off-field concerns, but he is an elite pass rusher. The team that gets him will be getting an explosive edge rusher if he can steer clear of trouble.
Just missed: Ronald Jones, RB, USC; Sony Michel, RB, Georgia; Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville; Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina; Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville; Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU; Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State; Derrius Guice, RB, LSU; Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan; Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M; Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado; Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State; Billy Price, C, Ohio State; and Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana.
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