2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Top 150 overall, plus breaking down first-round locks
Here's a closer look at the 27 players Jason La Canfora recently labeled as locks to go in Round 1
It's comforting to think at least something isn't completely up in the air in a year where little seems certain about the NFL Draft.
NFL insider Jason La Canfora recently of the draft, for example. I've highlighted each of those first-round locks below while sharing the top 150 prospects on my board. You should get a sense of which players I think are over- and undervalued based on La Canfora's reporting.
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Top 150 prospects
2. Derwin James, S, Florida State: Another obvious one, although there seems to be more of a disparity on James as a prospect than I think there should be. He's a big, long, super-athletic secondary member with plus range and run-stopping ability.
3. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: Nelson is a menacing run-blocker and has the strength, balance, and technique to thrive in pass-protection as well. Guards are more vital now than ever. He deserves to go inside the top 10.
4. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia: My comparison for Smith is Bobby Wagner. An "undersized," to some, play-making linebacker who recognizes plays quickly, has lightning speed, can shed blocks on routine basis and is fluid and aware in coverage.
5. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
6. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: As is typically the case, it's not black or white regarding the evaluation of Barkley. He's not the second coming of Barry Sanders. He's not vastly overrated either. The former Penn State star is the running back most worthy of going inside the top 10 of, at least, the past three drafts not only because of his ability carrying the football but also due to his reliability as a receiver. He's a freak athlete, and while his vision isn't elite at times, he's a big but slippery player with the ball in his hands.
7. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
8. Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa: Jackson is a true ball-hawk who will thrive in zone coverage right away in the NFL. He has elite ball skills and awareness when sinking and watching the quarterback. His play-making ability is the main reason he's so high on my board.
9. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama: When watching safeties today in college or the NFL, you'll notice they play a lot of slot cornerback, which was essentially Fitzpatrick's main role at Alabama. I don't think that really hurts him as a prospect, he's just not a classic in-the-box thumper nor a sideline-to-sideline center fielder. Also, he lacks experience on the boundary. However, Fitzpatrick is a lengthy, athletic cover man with impeccable blitzing skills, and he's a sure tackler.
10. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: I've been the conductor of the Rudolph train for months now. I love the little things he does very well at the quarterback position. Rudolph naturally drifts away from pressure inside the pocket, has tremendous deep-ball touch, and he can read the entire field. He just doesn't have a huge arm.
11. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville: Alexander can succeed in man or zone because of his supreme athletic traits, awareness, aggression, and ball skills. He's as feisty as they come at the cornerback position and plays much bigger than his size.
12. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
13. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: I view Ward and Alexander similarly, I just believe the latter is a tick more aware when the football is arriving. Ward is probably better suited to play man because of his agility and blazing downfield speed. Both are clear-cut first-round prospects.
14. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: Jackson's the true wildcard of this quarterback class because of his Michael Vickian running ability. He's significantly improved as a passer, and while he had some bad misses last season and seemed confused by diverse coverages at times, he also threw some of the most pinpoint accurate passes down the field through tight windows of all the quarterbacks I watched and had plays with mastery level pocket drifting.
15. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma
16. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: To me, Rosen and Jackson are so close, and it's mainly due to scheme. For a team that wants to predominantly be traditional -- have its quarterback under center, run play-action bootleg often ... you get my drift -- Rosen is the guy for them. For those clubs interested in taking a more progressive approach to offense in the NFL -- spread-option, run-pass option, and primarily use its quarterback out of the shotgun -- Jackson should be more enticing. Rosen is exceptional at the short and intermediate levels of the field but can try to do to much and force footballs when throwing it away would've been the better option. His pocket presence and deep ball need improvement too.
17. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida: Bryan is comparably sized and has athletic ability close to J.J. Watt. He's not as refined using his hands as the current Texans superstar was when he entered the NFL in 2011, but the flashes were certainly there at Florida.
18. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
19. Vita Vea, DT, Washington: Vea's one of my favorite prospects in this class because while his film does show him playing a bit high at times and seemingly winning on sheer power alone, he has an assortment of reps in which he used his hands extremely well to beat offensive linemen en route to the quarterback. Vea possesses classic nose-tackle traits too. Good luck moving him with a double team, and he easily dispatches interior blockers when stopping the run.
20. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA: Davenport is a long, athletic and deceptively strong edge-rusher who converts speed to tons of power at the point of attack. He has a decent arsenal of pass-rushing moves right now and plays with a high motor. He's first-round material.
21. Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
22. Sam Darnold, QB, USC: Darnold is a fascinating prospect because he plays like a 10-year NFL veteran but isn't even 21 years old yet. He's basically Jameis Winston. Size, arm strength, mind of a franchise quarterback with a gun-slinger mentality. The latter helps him often but tends to get him into trouble, too. He has an obscure delivery and his feet are noticeably antsy in the pocket against pressure, although he's capable of making big plays while improvising. There's a ridiculous amount of talent with Darnold. He just has to fine-tune how he deals with pressure and recognize when he should rein in his aggression. There were some interceptions on overthrows in 2017, and the fumbles are an issue.
23. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP: My comparison for Hernandez is Richie Incognito. Wide, super-strong, and somewhat surprisingly mobile on pulls to the second level. He already looks like a pro on his second contract. The only minor concern I have for him is against one-gap penetrators because he doesn't have elite lateral quickness.
24. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama: Payne is versatile in that he's an experienced (and successful) two-gapper who has the strength to get off blocks against the run and he has enough burst to win as a one-gapper as well, although he didn't have one-gap responsibilities often at Alabama. Payne is a first-round talent, and he's not even 21 years old yet.
25. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: If Edmunds gets quicker reading and reacting to his keys, he can be a 125-plus tackle player in the NFL. That refined ability will help him in coverage too. At 6-foot-4 and 255-plus pounds with awesome speed and change-of-direction skills, he'll get to the football often on size and athleticism alone.
26. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
27. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State: Vander Esch and Edmunds are so similar because of their ridiculous size and length for the off-ball linebacker position. Neither shed blocks well but normally beat offensive linemen to the football because of their speed. Edmunds has more ability on the edge getting to the quarterback, and Vander Esch diagnoses quicker. Both are super long, which allows them to clog passing lanes.
28. Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
29. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
30. Connor Williams, OT, Texas
31. Dorian O'Daniel, OLB, Clemson
32. Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
33. Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas: I've been high on Ragnow for months now, and it seems as though he's become a classic "late-riser." He's not an super flashy blocker. He has a sturdy anchor, is rarely beaten by counter moves because of his strong grip and has enough mobility to work well on combination blocks. More than anything, his pass-protection skills are what make him my No. 1 center.
34. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Like Jackson, Mayfield's offensive coordinator will play a major role in his success or lack thereof in the NFL. He's typically accurate with the football but was given plenty of wide-open throws at Oklahoma in a brilliant scheme based on run-pass option plays and creative misdirection. The second half of the Rose Bowl against Georgia highlighted a problem I noticed with Mayfield on rare occasions throughout the season -- at times, against pressure, his eyes drop, and he turns into a runner too quickly inside the pocket.
35. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: McGlinchey is NFL ready. He's a fundamentally sound combo blocker against the run and almost always strikes defenders from a balanced base in pass-protection. I'm a bit lower on him than most because of his lack of overpowering strength, and at times, he looks slightly slow-footed in his kick slide.
36. Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
37. Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
38. Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
39. Braden Smith, G, Auburn
40. , OT, Oregon
41. Holton Hill, CB, Texas
42. James Daniels, C, Iowa: I see Daniels as more of an early-to-mid second-round selection due to him being much further ahead as a run-blocker than in pass-protection right now. And while that makes for an awesome highlight reel, he's going to be asked to block interior rushers on pass plays more than he's asked to block two or three defenders on a stretch run in the NFL. It's not rare for counter moves to get the best of him. With more strength, Daniels can be a well-rounded, high-caliber pivot, and his athleticism is tantalizing. In a zone scheme, he can flourish immediately.
43. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
44. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
45. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
46. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
47. Billy Price, OL, Ohio State
48. Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State
49. Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
50. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama: My comparison for Evans is Nigel Bradham, a player who had a slow start to his pro career because of his inability to quickly read what's going on in front of him. Like Bradham, Evans is an explosive, hard-hitter who should be productive against the run and has enough athleticism to be useful in coverage.
51. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
52. Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College: I'm in the minority of those who are a bit skeptical of Landry's potential in the NFL despite being a big advocate of the predictive powers of measured athleticism. At the combine, Landry essentially worked out as well as Vic Beasley did in 2015. But the latter was stronger at the point of attack and had more pass-rushing moves. Landry has the best burst / dip combination of any pass-rusher in this class. I just don't know if he can win in any other way right now. If he develops some counters, he can be a 10-plus sack player.
53. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
54. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
55. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
56. Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
57. Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
58. Tre'Quan Smith, WR, UCF
59. Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
60. Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas
61. Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama
62. Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
63. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
64. Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech
65. Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
66. M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
67. Jeff Holland, DE, Auburn
68. Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
69. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
70. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
71. Kameron Kelly, CB, San Diego State
72. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
73. Arden Key, DE, LSU
74. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
75. , DE, Georgia
76. Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina
77. Chad Thomas, DE, Miami
78. Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
79. Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC
80. RJ McIntosh, DT, Miami
81. Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
82. Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
83. Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
84. Justin Lawler, DE, SMU
85. Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
86. Austin Corbett, OL, Nevada
87. D.J. Reed, CB, Kansas State
88. Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
89. B.J. Hill, DT, NC State
90. Fred Warner, LB, BYU
91. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
92. Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
93. DeShon Elliott, S, Texas
94. Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
95. Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Miss
96. Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
97. Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt
98. Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
99. Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
100. Mark Walton, RB, Miami
101. Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama
102. Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana
103. Will Richardson, OT, NC State
104. Rasheem Green, DE, USC
105. Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
106. Genard Avery, OLB, Memphis
107. Will Clapp, C, LSU
108. Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
109. Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
110. Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU
111. DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
112. Jaylen Samuels, RB, NC State
113. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
114. Darious Williams, CB, UAB
115. Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
116. Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss
117. Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana
118. Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
119. Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
120. Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
121. Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee
122. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
123. Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
124. Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State
125. Coleman Shelton, C, Washington
126. Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
127. Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State
128. Travin Howard, LB, TCU
129. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
130. Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
131. Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest
132. Jester Weah, WR, Pittsburgh
133. Arrion Springs, CB, Oregon
134. Poona Ford, DT, Texas
135. Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
136. Scott Quessenberry, C, UCLA
137. Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
138. Micah Kiser, ILB, Virginia
139. Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
140. Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
141. Jeremy Reaves, S, South Alabama
142. J'Mon Moore, WR, Missouri
143. Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss
144. Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
145. Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan
146. Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
147. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
148. Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
149. Trevon Young, DE, Louisville
150. Tray Matthews, S, Auburn
187. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina: Hurst has quite the story, as he spent time playing minor league baseball before coming to South Carolina. I don't hate him as a prospect, there's just no way I'd pick him in the first round. He's a good, not great athlete, and has impressive receiving skills because of his speed and fluidity. His film didn't show me a prospect clearly better than any of the other prospects in this class, and he wasn't a productive blocker. Also, he was a 24-year-old playing in the SEC last year.
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