2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Chubb dominates FSU, jumps back into top 20
The NC State defensive end dominated the Seminoles and looks like a first-round pick.
Bradley Chubb looked like a man against boys at times in 2016 -- en route to 21 tackles for loss and 10 sacks -- and he was a souped-up version of that player against Florida State on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolfpack captain was essentially unblockable in NC State's upset victory. And really, Chubb checks all the boxes. He's 6-feet-4 and 275 pounds with long, powerful arms and a continuously humming motor.
While I'm not totally set on this hybrid comparison just yet, he reminds me a lot of mix between Ezekiel Ansah and Chandler Jones.
Here's the updated top 20 prospect rankings following Week 4 in college football:
1. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Rudolph hit his first speed bump of the season at the hands of a fast TCU defense. The big plays were still there though. He connected with James Washington for an 86-yard touchdown early in the game and made a handful of pinpoint accurate throws at the intermediate level. Rudolph doesn't have as tight of a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot as he did a week ago, but he's still at the top of my prospect list. Each week he's displayed many nuances of playing the quarterback position that translate to the NFL level: pocket drifting, keeping his head downfield when pressured, accurately throwing to his second and third reads, that kind of stuff.
2. Orlando Brown Jr., OT, Oklahoma
Brown Jr. rockets up to the No. 2 spot -- from No. 12 a week ago -- because he's been consistently dominant for a solid month now. According to Pro Football Focus, the Oklahoma left tackle has only allowed one quarterback pressure on 124 pass plays thus far in the 2017 season. Also, he currently owns PFF's highest run-block grade among all offensive linemen in the country.
3. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
Another game, another explosive play from Washington. He now has touchdowns of 66 yards, 77 yards, and 86 yards this season. Last year he had two 82-yard scores and a 91-yard touchdown. The guy is the Giancarlo Stanton of college football; the home run is always imminent. Beyond that astounding big-play ability, Washington has routinely demonstrated reliable hands on high throws and awesome body control.
4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
Fitzpatrick was quiet for a few games because he was simply shutting down the wideouts he was covering. Against Vanderbilt he defended two passes in the Crimson Tide's enormous but not surprising 59-0 victory. With his size, athleticism, and playmaking skills, Fitzpatrick will be one of the first defensive backs taken in the 2018 draft.
5. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I'm a firm believer that teams should wait on running backs in this day and age, and that quality ball-carries can be found well beyond the first round. Despite that philosophy, I have Barkey here. He's been that excellent. Ezekiel Elliott was the best running back prospect I've ever scouted, but Barkley might just ultimately be better mostly due to his impeccable receiving talent. Barkley's 211 yards rushing and 78 receiving yards on 12 receptions on the road against Iowa was a ridiculous performance.
Key had a quality debut against Mississippi State but was held in check against Syracuse on Saturday. That doesn't mean the 6-foot-6 monster should drop too far on this list. He still projects wonderfully to the NFL as a three-down defensive end who can dispatch offensive linemen and close on the quarterback with immense speed.
7. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Nelson helped pave the way for 182 yards on 40 carries (4.8 YPA) in Notre Dame's convincing win over Michigan State on Saturday. Also, quarterback Brandon Wimbush was only sacked one time. This may seem too easy of a comparison, but Nelson seems a lot like former Golden Domer Zack Martin with more power.
8. Derwin James, S, Florida State
James loafed on an NC State touchdown, and that weak tackling effort down the field will raise some questions in NFL circles. Other than that, James was everywhere (as per usual) in Florida State's return to the field following Hurricane Irma. He had eight tackles and one pass breakup while playing basically every position behind the defensive line. He's a superb athlete and smart defender.
9. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
It took a while for Darnold and the USC offense to get going against Cal, but when all was said and done, he finished the night completing 68 percent of his passes with two touchdowns. He did have a pick on an underthrown pass and averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt on the evening. Darnold's clearly a special talent, he just needs to clean up the few mistakes he makes each game.
10. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma
Gumby was at it again this weekend as Oklahoma's bendy edge-defender against Baylor. He had six tackles and a sack along with an assortment of quarterback pressures. For the second straight game, he forced a fumble. Okoronkwo isn't simply pinning his ears back and rushing the signal-caller on every play either. He often aligns as a strongside linebacker (or even as a corner) tasked to drop into coverage. And he's looked comfortable doing so this season.
11. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Chubb exploded against the Seminoles with seven tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. He seemingly lived in Florida State's backfield and was a big reason NC State completed the upset in Tallahassee. Chubb looks the part of an NFL defensive end and will turn pro with three years of high-level production. Those things will help him go in the first round.
12. Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC
Nwosu makes his first appearance in the top 20 after stockpiling impressive efforts in September. Like Okoronkwo, this Trojan defender isn't a mammoth presence on the outside. He's listed at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, but he uses his low center of gravity, quickness and hands to frequently beat much larger offensive tackles around the corner. He got constant pressure against Cal and did so in a variety of ways, which is critical for a pass-rusher. He's also deflected eight passes at the line through four games.
13. Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson
Joseph is the most dynamic playmaker on Clemson's loaded defense. The 6-foot, 225-pound off-ball linebacker zooms to the football on seemingly every play, and his fluid athleticism is always on full display. He had 12 total tackles in the Tigers' 34-7 win over Boston College. He is a modern-day NFL linebacker. Joseph averaged just over seven tackles per game in 2016 and currently sits at 7.25 tackles per outing this season.
14. Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
Nnadi is uniquely capable of using his upper body to fend off offensive linemen while running down the line of scrimmage to get to running backs running off tackle or around the corner. He's had six tackles in both games this season and used his strong arms to get into the backfield on a few occasions as well. At 6-foot-1 and around 315 pounds, Nnadi is a load to move and fleet-footed.
15. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice didn't play against Syracuse. He's still a marquee running back prospect. I thought he was a tad better than Barkley in 2016, but the Penn State running back has gotten off to a better start in 2017. Guice still has a fun-to-watch blend of lateral agility, power, and vision that make him NFL feature-back material.
16. Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
Another new entry to this list, the 6-foot-5 Tate was a menace against the Wolfpack Saturday afternoon. He snagged nine passes for 138 yards with one touchdown and displayed his physical dominance throughout the contest. Tate also showed his ability to calmly track the football in traffic on his 51-yard gain. Tate is young and relatively inexperienced but has an NFL body and is emerging as the premier contested-catch wideout in college football.
17. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
McGlinchey is a clean left tackle prospect who excels as a pass blocker and when he's asked to block in the run game. He was outstanding against Michigan State next to his tremendous linemate Quenton Nelson. McGlinchey seems like a first-round lock at this point in the season. That October 21 matchup against Uchenna Nwosu and the USC defense looms large.
18. Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Speaking of USC, Smith was terrific against Cal on Saturday, as he notched 12 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He showed his pass-rushing ability on a few plays too. Smith may not be the most gifted athlete in the country, but there may not be a linebacker who's more aware of his surroundings and assignments or quicker reading his keys, especially on run plays.
19. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Could Stanford have back-to-back first-round running backs? Love is doing a heck of a job to possibly make that happen. His current stat line reads like a receiver if you substitute receptions for rushing attempts -- 73 carries, 787 yards and five touchdowns. His 10.8 yards-per-carry figure is flat-out insane. So was his game against UCLA. OK, so the Bruins aren't the '85 Bears, but 263 yards on 30 rushes is amazing. He now has runs of 53, 62, 69, and 75 yards this season. His suddenness is really impressive.
20. Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
Burnett only had 76 yards this week, yet he found the end zone for the fifth time in three games. Some will question his weight, but the top USC target has proven to be a complete pass-catcher so far this season. He has at least seven receptions in every contest and seemingly snags everything in his general area.
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