Saturday 24th March, 2018
30 ℉ | 53 ℉Cincinnati
In my second edition of the 2018 Big Draft Board 50, the top seven spots did not change, but there was plenty of shuffling after that, based on NFL Scouting Combine results and added tape study. Two of the biggest risers were Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore and Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

Moore has very strong tape, which is why he debuted at No. 30 on my first draft board. At the Combine, he was faster (4.42 seconds in 40 yards compared to an expected 4.52) and taller (6-feet compared to an expected 5-10), moving him up to No. 23. Moore remains the No. 2 wide receiver, behind only Alabama's Calvin Ridley.

Vander Esch also had an impressive Combine (4.65 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical, 6.88 three-cone drill), but added tape study focusing on the second half of the season helped his ascent on the board. On film, his light bulb appeared to illuminate throughout the season, getting better and better with more reps.

Rankings (height, weight, 40-yard dash time, jersey number)

--1. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame (6-5, 325, 5.23, 56)

A player with few weaknesses, Nelson has elite play strength and heavy hands to control defenders in the run game, bulldozing anything in his way. He also has the body control, range and instincts to be above average in pass protection. Nelson won't go No. 1 in the draft, but he's the draft's best football player.

--2. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama (6-0, 204, 4.46, 29)

The debate over whether Fitzpatrick is a corner or a safety is reminiscent of Jalen Ramsey' situation when he came out of Florida State. The correct answer is that it doesn't matter because Fitzpatrick can play either position at a high level.

--3. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State (6-4, 269, 4.65, 9)

With back-to-back seasons that included 22-plus tackles for loss, 10-plus sacks and three-plus forced fumbles, Chubb put himself on an exclusive list. And the game tapes match the production, projecting him as a dangerous NFL pass rusher.

--4 Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (6-0, 233, 4.40, 26)

Although he doesn't have dominant ballcarrier-specific traits (vision, patience, decision-making), Barkley isn't lacking in those areas due to freakish athleticism for his size; he projects as a productive pro for a long time.

--5. Sam Darnold, QB, USC (6-3, 221, 4.85, 14)

The turnovers were an issue in college and he is far from a finished product, but Darnold is my top quarterback prospect because he is advanced in several key areas like managing the pocket, anticipating windows and the overall mental battle at the position.

--6. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State (5-11, 183, 4.32, 12)

While he doesn't have exceptional size and length, Ward is above average in almost every other category. He is a premier athlete with the budding instincts and toughness required to cover receivers on an island, whether outside or in the slot.

--7. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia (6-1, 236, 4.51, 3)

Another prospect who doesn't have ideal measurements, but he makes up for those deficiencies in other ways. Smith is a magnet to the football with the mental alertness and athleticism that make him a high-ceiling, high-floor prospect.

--8. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (6-1, 215, 4.84, 6)

When done studying Mayfield's tape, you realize there are no reasons to doubt what he brings to the field. Yes, he needs to mature in areas, but his accuracy and competitive drive translate to any football league.

--9. Derwin James, SS, Florida State (6-2, 215, 4.47, 3)

A better athlete than football player right now, James owns more raw ability than most players in this draft class. It is easy to get excited about the player he will be two years from now.

--10. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA (6-4, 226, 4.92, 3)

Rosen is the prospect with the most potential to move up or down between now and the draft. He is outstanding from the pocket and has a sharp mind, but there are plenty of issues on and off the field.

--11. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama (6-1, 189, 4.43, 3)

With his play speed and route running skills, Ridley has ability to create his own separation up and down the field. His lack of build leads to some durability questions, but he has the skill-set of a high-end No. 2 NFL wideout.

--12. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech (6-4, 253, 4.54, 49)

A freaky size/strength/speed linebacker, Edmunds currently has holes in his game and needs to better understand how to use all his gifts, but he isn't far away from those realizations.

--13. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville (5-10, 196, 4.38, 10)

While undersized and underpowered, Alexander has Joe Haden-like skills with the requisite athleticism, intelligence and toughness to step into a starting role early in his NFL career. His Combine performance only cements his status as a top-20 pick.

--14. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (6-1, 292, 4.93, 73)

With his initial surge of quickness and power to break the rhythm of blockers, Hurst has the NFL-ready traits to be a one-gapping penetrator early in his NFL career. His draft grade is currently on hold as he receives a second opinion on his heart condition.

--15. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA (6-6, 264, 4.58, 93)

A former high school wide receiver, Davenport is still figuring things out as a pass rusher, but he has the measureables, physical traits and desire to grow into an impact NFL defensive end.

--16. Vita Vea, DT, Washington (6-4, 347, 5.10, 50)

Possessing a rare blend of power and athleticism, Vea is one-of-a-kind with his physical gifts and has a chance to be an above-average pro if his discipline, technique and consistency catch up.

--17. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College (6-2, 252, 4.64, 7)

Although his senior season didn't go as expected, due mostly to injuries, Landry still possesses the outstanding bend, shoulder dip and speed that NFL teams covet on the edges.

--18. Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia (6-2, 313, 5.22, 77)

Wynn started all 15 games for the 2017 SEC Champions and played well, but he has the skill-set to be a dominant NFL guard with his hip sink, athleticism and point-of-attack power.

--19. James Daniels, OC, Iowa (6-3, 306, 5.23, 78)

With his balance, punch and toughness, Daniels has the ingredients of a long-time NFL starter. He is quick to engage and control the point of attack, sustaining his mean streak through the whistle.

--20. Ronald Jones, RB, USC (5-11, 205, 4.49, 25)

With the body type, explosive runs and even the same jersey numbers, the comparisons between Jones and Jamaal Charles are unavoidable. He flashes the home run speed and understated power to elevate a NFL backfield.

--21. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF (5-10, 189, 4.53, 19)

Although he has some issues in off-coverage, Hughes is one of the best press corner prospects in this draft class and also offers special teams value as a return man.

--22. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State (6-5, 270, 4.76, 6)

His tape doesn't show a difference-maker, but Hubbard has a well-rounded skill-set with the athleticism and intelligence that fuels his versatility, projecting as a long-term starter.

--23. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland (6-0, 210, 4.42, 1)

Moore was taller and faster than expected at the Combine, and his game film shows legitimate Steve Smith vibes in terms of speed, physical presence and instincts downfield.

--24. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP (6-2, 327, 5.15, 76)

A mauler with elite grip strength, Hernandez loves to play the bully role regardless of the score or clock, displaying the natural power and surprising foot quickness to be a plug-and-play starter.

--25. Billy Price, OC, Ohio State (6-4, 305, 5.19, 54)

Along with a collegiate resume beyond reproach, Price has the movement skills, proficient technique and brute strength to be an immediate upgrade at center or guard for his NFL team. His recent pectoral tear and surgery is a minor setback but shouldn't have much of an impact on his draft grade.

--26. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama (6-2, 232, 4.73, 32)

A downhill, power linebacker for the Tide, Evans loves to mix it up with blockers, using his hands to tear through blockers. There are too many near tackles and cover lapses on his tape, but his physicality fits any scheme.

--27. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State (6-4, 256, 4.65, 38)

An ascending player, Vander Esch has the athletic skill-set and budding instincts to be a three-down player in the NFL. He has a better chance of getting drafted in round one than round two.

--28. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State (6-5, 256, 4.70, 86)

Goedert needs time to refine his routes and blocking, but those deficiencies are based more inexperience rather than inability. His physical skill-set and dependable ball skills make him the top tight end option in this class.

--29. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU (5-10, 224, 4.49, 5)

Guice stresses defenses with his quick, explosive cuts and his angry run style make him tough to finish, although it also leads to durability concerns. He has the competitive nature and athletic profile of a runner no NFL team wants to see in their division.

--30. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa (6-0, 196, 4.56, 15)

Jackson shows the football intelligence and ball skills to excel as an outside zone cornerback in the NFL. He would be higher on this list, but his issues in run support and press-man coverage are bothersome.

--31. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming (6-5, 237, 4.75, 17)

While his physical traits make him scouting catnip, Allen remains undeveloped in several key areas of playing the position at a high level, including his accuracy. Nonetheless, his play also suggests that he still has plenty of room before hitting his football ceiling.

--32. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (6-2, 216, 4.42, 8)

It is easy to get excited about Jackson when watching his tape, but those feelings are based more on his athleticism than his consistency as a downfield passer. While not lacking in arm talent, he needs time to polish his passing skills.

--33. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida (6-5, 291, 4.98, 93)

One of the most gifted interior players in this draft class, Bryan has outstanding athleticism and upper body power, but is currently a liability vs. the run and needs to turn his splash plays into consistency.

--34. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama (6-2, 311, 4.95, 94)

While he lacks consistency, especially as a pass rusher, Payne flashes similarities to Ndamukong Suh with the hip flexibility and upper-body power to control the point of attack.

--35. Connor Williams, OT, Texas (6-5, 296, 5.05, 55)

The tale of two tapes: the 2016 game film for Williams shows a future top-20 draft pick, but his 2017 tape was a combination of uneven play and injuries, leading to concerns and questions. Half the league will have him on the board as a guard and the other half at tackle.

--36. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn (5-11, 213, 4.45, 21)

One of the toughest runners I ever scouted, Johnson competes with the win-at-all-cost attitude and multi-dimensional skill-set that project him as an impactful NFL starter.

--37. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame (6-8, 309, 5.27, 68)

While he has his warts, especially vs. edge speed, McGlinchey has the technique, smarts and intangibles of a solid NFL starter, either at tackle or inside at guard.

--38. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (6-0, 201, 4.50, 26)

A classic press corner, Oliver stays balanced in his transition to stay on top of routes and shows off the length and timing to ball search and disrupt the catch point.

--39. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford (6-3, 307, 5.21, 66)

A nuisance to block, Phillips wins with power, instincts and a technically-sound approach. It is no coincidence that he is consistently in position to make plays, making him an interchangeable player on the interior defensive line.

--40. Ronnie Harrison, SS, Alabama (6-2, 207, 4.57, 15)

A violent downhill player, Harrison has an outstanding closing burst and creates collisions. He shows some flaws in coverage, but he has a large tackle radius and athletic traits to be a NFL starter.

--41. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia (5-10, 214, 4.54, 1)

A multi-dimensional weapon, Michel routinely gets more yardage than expected from blocking provided. His cutting ability and toughness as well as blocking and receiving skills that fit any type of running back role.

--42. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina (6-4, 250, 4.67, 81)

After a stint in minor league baseball, Hurst (25 years old in August) is older than ideal for a NFL rookie. However, he has reliable hands in traffic and can finish with a physical mindset as both a ball carrier and blocker.

--43. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis (5-11, 201, 4.53, 3)

From walk-on to record-breaker, Miller is a crafty route-runner with the sudden feet, body control and spatial instincts to skirt defenders. He projects as a reliable No. 2 receiver with the basement of a quality slot option.

--44. Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn (6-1, 206, 4.53, 6)

With his size, length and athleticism, Davis has the raw traits that NFL teams target on draft day. He needs to improve footwork and technique in reverse, but he contests everything thrown in his direction.

--45. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU (6-3, 218, 4.54, 16)

No receiver prospect in this class has a higher NFL ceiling than Sutton with exceptional athletic prowess for man his size. However, there will be a massive difference between the offense at SMU and that of whichever team drafts him.

--46. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame (6-5, 214, 4.48, 6)

Although he lacks route deception, St. Brown is a good-sized athlete who can threaten every level of the defense. He is one of the few receivers in this draft class with the ceiling of a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

--47. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma (6-2, 253, 4.77, 31)

Okoronkwo isn't overly creative and is shorter-than-ideal for an edge presence. Regardless, he is not easy to stop, using his natural leverage, athleticism and resilience to pressure the pocket consistently.

--48. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (5-11, 227, 4.52, 27)

Although he isn't the most explosive runner, Chubb skillfully marries his movements with his eyes, and few at any level have his combination of balance and lower body power.

--49. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas AM (5-10, 201, 4.47, 3)

A high-ceiling, high-floor prospect, Kirk has all the traits of an immediate slot weapon and return man in the NFL with his controlled athleticism and knack for creating separation before and after the catch.

--50. Rashaun Gaulden, FS, Tennessee (6-1, 197, 4.61, 7).

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