This has been the most in-depth scouting I have ever done. I had to scout more players than ever before to really get a feel for this class. The reason being the draft class lacks that cluster of players who's head and shoulders above the rest. There's RB Saquon Barkley, and then there's everyone else. This doesn't mean it's a weak draft class — like the 2013 draft was considered to be, and was — but if the grading scale was 1-10, and 10 being the best, usually there are about five guys that can be viewed as a nine or a ten, and about 15-18 guys that are viewed as an 8.
In this class you have Barkley, who most will call a ten — he's a nine to me, but very close to be ten, maybe I should say 9 1/2 — and about 10-12 players who are eights, then about 65-70 guys who are sevens. Making this a draft full of guys with the potential to be barely above average, but hardly any that look like future perennial Pro Bowl players. Mock drafting this will be fun because names are going to be all over the board.
This year’s draft is strongest at the following positions:
- Defensive back
- Pass rusher
The three weakest position groups this year:
- Offensive tackle
- Offensive guard
So without further ado, the final rankings of my 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***
Top 100 Big Board
|1||Saquon Barkley||RB||Jr||Penn St.|
|5||Derwin James||S||Jr||Florida St.|
|6||Quentin Nelson||OG||Sr||Notre Dame|
|7||Bradley Chubb||DE||Sr||NC State|
|8||Harold Landry||EDGE||Sr||Boston College|
|12||Denzel Ward||CB||Jr||Ohio St.|
|14||Tremaine Edmunds||LB||Jr||Virginia Tech|
|16||Mike Hughes||CB||Jr||South Florida|
|18||Will Hernandez||OG||Sr||Texas El-Paso|
|19||Mike McGlinchey||OT||Sr||Notre Dame|
|20||Mason Rudolph||QB||Sr||Oklahoma St.|
|25||Shaquem Griffin||OLB||Sr||South Florida|
|32||Marcus Davenport||DE||Sr||Texas-San Antonio|
|35||Leighton Vander Esch||OLB||Jr||Boise St.|
|43||Billy Price||C||Sr||Ohio St.|
|44||Rashaad Penny||RB||Sr||San Diego St.|
|45||Christian Kirk||WR||Jr||Texas A&M|
|46||Martinas Rankin||OT||Jr||Mississippi St.|
|48||James Washington||WR||Sr||Oklahoma St.|
|49||Sam Hubbard||EDGE||Jr||Ohio St.|
|58||Tavareus McFadden||CB||Jr||Florida St.|
|64||Dallas Goedert||TE||Sr||South Dakota St.|
|65||Jerome Baker||OLB||Jr||Ohio St.|
|66||Mike Gesicki||TE||Sr||Penn St.|
|74||Michael Gallup||WR||Sr||Colorado St.|
|77||Hayden Hurst||TE||Jr||South Carolina|
|80||Nathan Shepard||DT||Sr||Fort Hayes St.|
|82||BJ Hill||DL||Sr||NC State|
|83||Equanimeou St. Brown||WR||Jr||Notre Dame|
|84||Chukwuma Okorafor||OT||Sr||Western Michigan|
|85||Marcus Allen||S||Sr||Penn St.|
|86||KeKe Coutee||WR||Jr||Texas Tech|
|87||Duke Ejiofor||DE||Sr||Wake Forest|
|88||Simmie Cobbs Jr.||WR||Sr||Indiana|
|94||DJ Reed||CB||Jr||Kansas St.|
|95||Derrick Nnandi||DL||Sr||Florida St.|
|96||Terrell Edmunds||S||Sr||Virginia Tech|
|98||Josh Sweat||ILB||Jr||Florida St.|
|100||Kalen Ballage||RB||Sr||Arizona St.|
A FEW NOTES:
Saquon Barkley is the best player in this draft. Still I want to lower him a few spots like I did on my first big board, because I wish he would run with more physicality. To be 235 lbs, and that explosive and power (more explosive than Todd Gurley or Leonard Fournette), you almost never see him run through a guy. And some games it bothered me watching how easily he went down from arm tackles. Though he does occasionally get physical and show some of the most impressive leg drive you have seen since Marshawn Lynch entered the draft. But it's far from consistent. He's a massive and faster version of LeSean McCoy, essentially. A space player, who will occasionally flash how powerful he really is.
For the record, the Combine had nothing to do with my love for Shaquem Griffin. If you're a regular listener to TSR, then you already know I have been talking about him since late December. I first heard about him after the 2017 season when he won player of the year in his conference. But what really made me pay attention to him was his brother. His brother, Seattle Seahawks CB Shaquille Griffin, was a baller and performed well as a rookie. By October 3rd I really started to dig into Shaquem even more. By October 4th, I was sold. When January rolled around I was on record saying, if not for his hand, he'd be a surefire first round pick. His hand is going to scare teams, but he could very well come off the board round two. I think he's going to help lead a team to a Super Bowl one day. He brings that much energy to a defense. And he's also that good!
Running back is pretty heavy in this draft. Rashaad Penny is one of the most underrated backs in this class. I personally think this class is better than last year's class just because of the head count. Yes, last year saw a lot of backs go in the top 45 picks, but I think this year we will see about 12 backs come off the board by pick 70. There are some guys I don't have in my top 100 who a case can be made for to be a top 50 player.
There are some legit steals in the 70-100 range. This range of players is loaded with guys who can come in and help immediately. Players like ILB Azeem Victor, WR KeKe Coutee, WR Michael Gallup, CB DJ Reed, ILB Josh Sweat, C Mason Cole (might be the most versatile lineman in the draft), and many others, are going to be early impact players. This is where that huge cluster of player who are all expected to be barely above average comes into play. Every draft has that cluster, but this one has even more. And that means a few guys — some of which I believe I just listed — will actually be more than just barely above average. Reed, Sweat, and Victor could all be some of the biggest steals in the draft.
So there you have it. Be on the look out for my first mock coming soon, and scouting reports. The draft is coming quick, fast, and in a hurry. And from there we are only 90 days from camp.
I love this time of the year. I get the draft and my birthday (dirty 30 this year) within a week every year. I kicks it haaaaard!!!!