It’s that time once again...
With underclassmen still declaring daily for the 2018 NFL Draft, the scouts of the NFL are kicking it into overdrive as there’s only three months remaining to find the top talents available for their teams. There are sleepers everywhere, and as usual there’s game changing, ready to play right now, players at the center of attention.
This year’s draft is strongest at the following positions:
- Pass Rusher
- Defensive back
Running back undoubtedly has to be fourth on this list. Two of the Los Angeles Rams’ biggest position needs are the top two positions in this draft. However, the Rams will struggle to find help on the offensive line (particularly at left tackle) after round one. There are some legit franchise tackles in the top 32 picks, but the fall off after round one is drastic. The Rams may not find Current LT Andrew Whitworth’s successor until next year, likely giving him less time to sit and learn.
The three weakest position groups this year:
- Tight end
- Offensive guard
So without, further ado, the 2018 Draft Big Board...
***THIS IS NOT A MOCK DRAFT AND IS NOT AN INDICATION OF WHERE THE PLAYER WILL BE PICKED. ALL RANKINGS ARE BASED SOLEY ON THE TAPE THAT I HAVE PERSONALLY STUDIED THUS FAR AND MAY BE TWEAKED FOR SOME AS WE DRAW CLOSER TO THE DRAFT***
2018 Top 50
|2||Derwin James||S/CB/LB/Ret||SO||Florida St.|
|3||Bradley Chubb||DE||SR||NC State|
|6||Saquon Barkley||RB||JR||Penn St.|
|10||Quentin Nelson||OG||SR||Notre Dame|
|14||James Washington||WR||SR||Oklahoma St|
|20||Denzel Ward||CB||JR||Ohio St.|
|22||Mason Rudolph||QB||SR||Oklahoma St|
|23||Mike McGlinchey||OT||SR||Notre Dame|
|31||Michael Gallup||WR||SR||Colorado St|
|32||Sam Hubbard||DE/OLB||JR||Ohio St.|
|39||Harold Landry||OLB||SR||Boston College|
|40||Marcel Ateman||WR||SR||Oklahoma St|
|42||Will Hernandez||OG||SR||Texas El-Paso|
|43||Glenn Harris||DB||SR||Wayne St.|
|47||Tremaine Edmunds||LB||JR||Virginia Tech|
|48||Kalen Ballage||RB||SR||Arizona St.|
A few key points:
- The quarterback position is loaded. However, the question of how they stack up against the last five draft classes remains a question. Basing it solely off what we knew of these last five classes strictly with them coming out and not what we have seen in the NFL, only Josh Rosen would likely still be a top ten pick. However, Baker Mayfield might be one of the top three most intriguing QB prospects of the last five years.
- This is a draft that lacks that handful of players that were able to rack up double digit sacks. That’s not an indication of a draft that’s starved of pass rushers. In fact, this draft is fairly deep at defensive end and rush OLB. This draft has more balanced edge players than I have seen in any of the last five years. Defensive edge players in this draft excel in both rushing the passer and defending the run.
- The defensive secondary is loaded with ballhawks and athletes. The versatility of this group is stunning. Players are capable of playing all over, which raises their value greatly as it allows them to travel and follow receivers all over the field. Some can even play safety. The premier secondary player – really the best defensive player regardless of position, and arguably the best player overall – in this year’s draft is none other than Florida St. athlete Derwin James. Two things keep him from being number one on this version of my big board: one is Rosen is really really good with the value of his position playing a role as he’s really good at the most important position, and James did not have the amount of turnovers you’d expect the best player in the country to have.
- The offensive line group has a lot to prove over the next few months leading up to the draft. Once you get out of the top 40 players overall, the drop off in talent on the line is daunting. Anyone picking a lineman in the middle of round two until round four could be reaching on the player. It will be interesting to see how these players perform in the all-star games later this month. Stocks can grow significantly.
- From a skill position point of view this is a really deep draft. Also, I believe there are a lot of pro ready players that can step in and make a difference right now. The receiver position appears to be underrated, but this years group is really good. This is one of the more reliable groups I have seen. Consistency and great routes is what they hang their hats on.
It’s going to be fun to dig into these players more over the next couple of months…