The NFL season is quickly coming to a close. The hopes and dreams of many teams have dwindled, and they have officially entered draft mode. This class is headlined by the depth of defensive line talent, and there are many other positions throughout this class that have their strengths. This draft board and rankings will be altered and updated multiple times throughout the draft process.
(All measurements are indicative of what’s recorded on NFLDraftScout.com)
1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State (Junior, 6-4, 263)
Bosa is widely seen as a slam dunk prospect and the blue-chipper among this entire group. He possesses the first step explosiveness, strength, bend, and power to turn into a franchise cornerstone. With the NFL quickly turning into a passing league, teams are salivating for pass rushers and the potential of adding Bosa off of the edge. After suffering a core injury against TCU (Oct. 15), Bosa opted to get surgery, and he quickly declared for the NFL draft afterward. As long as he’s able to pass the medical portion at the Combine, Bosa is sure to be the top player selected.
2. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama, (R-Sophomore, 6-3, 295)
Entering the 2018 season, Williams was a relatively unknown. The Crimson Tide are known as a factory for defensive talent, and the interior defender has shined in his first year as a starter. Williams has shown the ability to get consistent penetration as a run defender. He also is disruptive with pushing the pocket and getting home to the quarterback. Interior pressure has become a necessity and Williams versatility allows him to be a three-down defender on the next level. He has an elite ceiling and being that he has only been a one-year starter, many believe that he’s only scratching the surface of his true potential.
Watching Quinnen Williams again vs. LSU. It’s even better. He’s an elite talent. pic.twitter.com/hfp7nROJom
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 8, 2018
3. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston, (Junior, 6-2, 292)
Oliver was seen as the most heralded prospect in program history after signing with the Cougars in 2016. He has since lived up to every bit of the hype and more. The biggest question with Oliver will be his size and just how much he weighs. Another question that scouts will want to ask Oliver about is a sideline outburst that happened with head coach Major Applewhite. Oliver’s explosion, various abilities to win, and position flexibility are what’s going to allow him to be a very high first-round selection.
4. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama, (Junior, 6-5, 301)
Williams has played right tackle and left tackle in his tenure in Tuscaloosa. Since his sophomore season, he has settled in nicely protecting the blindside of the Crimson Tide quarterbacks. Starting all 42 games in his career, he has been the model of consistency. There will be questions about his arm length and size, but his technique, nimble feet, and power are traits that will give him a chance to be a potential productive starter.
"It'll be ok"
Williams taking the LB for a 10-yard ride. pic.twitter.com/Mf7ZIjLijE
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) December 7, 2018
5. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky, (Senior, 6-4, 258)
There isn’t a senior prospect in the country that has helped their draft stock more than Allen. Many evaluators were skeptical of him last year after having an inconsistent junior season. Inconsistencies in sack production were a fatal flaw of his in 2017. Allen started off the season very hot but underwhelmed during the backstretch. After foregoing the draft last year, he improved his overall game in many facets. His explosion and acceleration off of the edge are unique. Allen has also shown the ability to play from many stances and comfort as an off-ball outside linebacker.
6. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU, (R-Sophomore, 6-2, 185)
He not only has one of the best names in college football, but he has the game to match it. After tying for the SEC lead in interceptions with six last season, Williams production slipped a bit, but he still was able to remain disruptive at the line and sticky in man-to-man coverage. Greedy’s hips, ball skills, and technique are what have scouts so excited about him. There needs to be substantial improvements with him as a run defender and closing space at the top of routes, but many of his flaws are correctable. He’s just the next in line of an impressive lineage of Tiger defensive backs.
Greedy Williams has one of the best names in football and the game to match it. My latest piece for @ITPylon dives into how he got the nickname, his strengths/weaknesses, and which teams should have their 👀 set on the 🔒corner.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 6, 2018
7. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi, (Junior, 6-3, 300)
Simmons entered Starkville with plenty of scrutiny after a disturbing video of him went viral, but his production has helped somewhat cool off the concerns about his off-field past. His draft status will remain an unknown, and the video will be something that he will have to answer questions about frequently. While still a bit raw in certain areas, Simmons already has the foundation of all the tools that you look for in an interior defender. His natural power is evident, and his motor is always flaming hot. Shedding blocks consistently and lowering his pad level are fatal flaws right now, but being in the right environment will help him overcome those tendencies over time.
8. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington, (R-Sophomore, 5-11, 182)
The Huskies secondary has become known as an NFL factory for defensive back talent. Murphy is just the next in line of what could become one of the more impressive stock rises of this draft season. Murphy’s scheme versatility and positional flexibility are a few of the reasons behind his surge. With familiarity as an outside corner and as a nickel defender, those traits alone will make him a huge asset to a teams secondary. Murphy’s body control, footwork, and tackling abilities are excellent. His ball skills are great, and he is a big play waiting to happen at any moment. A player whose stock continues to trend upward, he could contend to be the first corner off of the board next April.
He can PLAY!!! pic.twitter.com/IEwSKrnRIu
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) November 24, 2018
9. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama, (Junior, 6-1, 239)
Wilson’s aggression is off the charts. He shows unlimited tenacity when on the field. Playing with controlled chaos, his instincts and being able to decipher plays in front of him are above average. Against the run, he fills gaps violently and has zero problems taking on blockers. Wilson takes pride in initiating contact, and he does not sit back and wait. A quick trigger allows him to make plenty of tackles within the box and on the perimeter. His tempo sometimes gets him in trouble and leads to over-pursuit. His tackling form needs a lot of work, as he flies into ball carriers with reckless abandon. Against bigger blockers, he does struggle to avoid, and he can be engulfed. Because of his size, this may be a constant issue. If Wilson can control his mentality a bit, and improve his tackling form he has a lot of upside as a middle linebacker.
10. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama, (R-Junior, 6-1, 196)
True center-field safeties seem to be a dying breed in today’s NFL. There aren’t many around the league, but there just haven’t been many that have come along in previous years. Thompson is the first high-end type to surface since Malik Hooker in 2017. His biggest asset is his range and instincts playing on the roof of the defense. As the last line of defense, he has shown to be able to be a mistake eraser on the back-end of the defense. His value doesn’t just come as a pass defender though. Thompson is not shy at all in run support. His length, speed, and range allows him to embrace filling gaps as a run defender.
11. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State, (R-Sophomore, 6-2, 220)
After filling in for J.T. Barrett and winning over arch rival Michigan, all eyes were on Haskins entering this season. He finished as one of the most prolific signal-callers in Buckeye history. After having a rough stretch during the mid-point of the season, since the controversial 49-20 upset loss against Purdue, Haskins has thrown for 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He’s also completing 68.3% percent of his passes. There are some indications that he will enter the draft and if he does, Haskins will have only started 14 games. Something to remember with the Ohio State quarterback — since 1973, 100 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first-round. Cam Newton, Mark Sanchez, and Mitchell Trubisky are the only three who have made 15 or fewer college starts. Haskins brings plenty to the table. He has a relatively strong arm and shown that he can make tight window throws. His poise in the pocket and ability to read the entire field shows his maturation even though he’s just a one-year starter. Haskins stock has skyrocketed during the latter part of the season, and it continues to climb.
12. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida, (Junior, 6-2, 242)
Before the season, there wasn’t much buzz about Polite, but he left his mark in his junior season in The Swamp. After recording 22 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and 2.0 sacks, his production took a significant jump. This season, his stats increased to 43 tackles, 18.0 tackles-for-loss, and 11.0 sacks. The first trait that jumps off of the film about Polite is his suddenness. He possesses a rare blend of being able to accelerate to full speed while still being able to re-direct and bend the edge at the same time. Polite always plays through the whistle and his hand-to-hand combat is very violent. He shows a great mixture of moves against blockers. His biggest improvements need to come as run-defender. At times, he sets the edge violently, while others times he looks unsure on what to do when teams run the ball at him.
Jachai Polite… Not just a speed rusher that wants to bend the corner. Look at this long arm move! Absolutely beautiful… pic.twitter.com/RyOsfoJpCq
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 10, 2018
13. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss, (R-Sophomore, 6-3, 230)
There are mixed opinions surrounding this receiver class. Many are labeling it to be a group full of complimentary options in a receiving corps. Few have the upside to be a true headliner amongst a group on the next level. Metcalf is one of the few outliers. He possesses the size, athleticism, hands, and quick twitch to potentially be not only the best receiver in this class but one of the better ones throughout the entire league. Plenty of questions surround his true route-running abilities, but there are many variables as to why he was unable to flourish in the Ole Miss offense. Metcalf’s season came to a close after suffering a neck injury against Arkansas (Oct. 15) that resulted in surgery. Injury concerns loom large and are a key to his draft stock. Medicals at the Combine will be huge for him and his future going forward.
14. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (Junior, 6-5, 233)
The prospect that entered the season garnering the most hype was Herbert. Widely considered as the top quarterback of this class, he’s known for his smarts and athleticism. He has plenty of tools that scouts look for in a signal-caller. The media has flip-flopped on if he will declare. Reports are that he wants to return for his senior season to play with his younger brother, who will be a freshman at Oregon next season. On the other hand, it seems highly unlikely that Herbert would turn down the opportunity of being a high first-round pick. In a down quarterback class, his current stock is the highest that it will ever be. A large decision looms for the engineer of the Ducks attack. Whichever direction he decides to take, it will be headline news.
15. Devin White, LB, LSU, (Junior, 6-0, 240)
Originally starting off his career at running back, White quickly transitioned to linebacker during his freshman season. Fast forward three years later, he is now a First-team Associated Press All American. The engine of LSU, White’s abilities are what ignited the Tigers defense during his career. His intensity and physicality are easily noticeable. It’s not a coincidence when his teammates and coaches refer to him as the heartbeat of the team. His intangibles are everything that coaches want in an off-ball linebacker. His over-aggressiveness leaves him susceptible to misreads and overrunning plays often. Consistently getting off blocks is another area that he will need to correct.
16. Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan, (Junior, 6-4, 283)
When it’s all said and done, Gary will be the most polarizing prospect of this entire class. The top high school recruit in 2016, he was considered to be the big man on campus in Ann Arbor. Gary is built like an interior defensive lineman, but he has played primarily on the edge during his career. Having an impressive combination of burst and strength, he was also able to play on the interior in sub-packages as well. It’s debatable on where he will play on the next level, but most believe that he’s best as an edge rusher. While there were questions about his motor, when Gary turns it on, he flashes the traits of being an elite talent. Why is his motor so hot and cold though? That’s a question evaluators will want answered during the pre-draft process. There’s plenty of untapped potential there with Gary, but he needs to show more consistency on a down-to-down basis.
17. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa (Junior, 6-4, 241)
Having an athletic tight end has become the new norm throughout the league. A larger target that can remain in-line or flex out and create mismatches in the slot against linebackers or nickel corners is an added advantage for offenses. The recent success of Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle will only help the stock for Fant. He has shown the versatility to take advantage of favorable matchups. While being an inconsistent blocker, Fant has shown the capabilities of being able to do it, but he needs some altering to his technique. Fant finished his Iowa career with 78 catches for 1,083 yards and 19 touchdowns. His final season was a bit of a whirlwind for multiple reasons, but his production remained stable when he was on the field.
Iowa does a great job of showing off Fant’s versatility in their offense. You can put him anywhere on the field and in various formations. He causes multiple problems for defenses.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) June 21, 2018
18. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia, (Senior, 5-11, 185)
The recipient of the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back in the country), Baker was the first Georgia defensive back to ever win the illustrious award. He ended the season with two interceptions, ten pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Head coach Kirby Smart interchanged the defensive scheme and technique with their corners. They played a mixture of off coverage and man-to-man. Baker showed to be effective in both. You can tell that he embraces the challenge of locking down the man in front of him. Where Baker will have to answers questions is during the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Many scouts are questioning just how fast he is. Often, he allows plenty of separation on deep routes down the field because receivers can outrun him.
19. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State, (Junior, 6-4, 235)
How much does he weigh? That’s the question that you’re going to see associated with Burns until the Combine. It’s no secret that he has a thin frame. The trade off though is his relentless ability to get after the quarterback. In his final season, Burns finished with career highs in sacks (10.0) and tackles-for-loss (15.5). Despite his frame, that type of production is impossible to ignore. He projects best as a 3-4 outside linebacker. There are plenty of caveats with Burns. Until he adds more onto his frame, he will be inconsistent against the run, which disables him of being a three-down defender. He doesn’t have enough girth in his lower half to stand his ground, and this is evident when teams run at him. He’s very advanced as a pass rusher and has elite body control. Burns can contort his body in all types of positions and angles, which is why scouts are so intrigued about his future potential.
20. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma, (Junior, 5-10, 168)
A threat to break a game open at any moment, Brown is the true definition of a player that can take the top off of a defense. Operating from multiple positions within formations makes him a handful to deal with. His video game-like speed leaves defenders in their tracks, and it is nearly impossible to guard him in one-on-one situations. Recording six games with at least 100 receiving yards, Brown’s explosiveness in his routes and in the open field are clear. He has a well diverse game despite the reputation of him being mainly a deep threat. Brown excels at running shallow crossers, tunnel screens, and short routes that keep him on the move laterally. He is not a natural hands catcher or a prospect that will consistently high point the ball out of the air. Questions about his size will appear, but teams must understand his role on a receiving corps. He will never be a No. 1 option. Brown’s best served as a field stretcher, explosive option, and primarily a complementary piece.
Adding several weapons for Josh Allen was likely a priority for the Bills’ college scouts as they hit the road this season. Let’s take a look at three promising draft-eligible wideouts the Bills could target at different points in the draft:
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) November 7, 2018
21. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson, (R-Junior, 6-4, 265)
The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the year, Ferrell was a part of a loaded Clemson defensive line. Considered the best prospect of the bunch, he proved his worth in his final season. The most intriguing aspect about Ferrell is how his game has improved every year. His tackles for loss and sack production have increased. With potentially two games left to play, his numbers can take an even greater leap. Ferrell has a versatile game, as he’s consistent as a run defender, and a pass rusher. He shows the capability of being able to set a violent edge to keep contain and finish plays by making the tackle. His first step off of the edge is above average, and he consistently can finish home at the quarterback. Ferrell’s questions come when he’s forced to make a counter move or re-direct. His inability to alter at the apex and re-direct when he’s knocked off of his intended path is an area that he will need to improve upon.
22. Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State, (R-Junior, 6-2, 286)
Many expected Jones to declare a season ago and were taken by surprise when he opted to return to Columbus. Jones was routinely overshadowed during his career due to playing on a defensive line that included Nick Bosa and a host of other highly touted prospects. Despite that, Jones was steady and continued to remain consistent. He projects best as a 3-technique in the NFL. Jones ability to consistently penetrate the line of scrimmage and his effort will give him a chance to be a starter very early on in his career. A beefy frame and long arms allow him to stand his ground against double teams. He’s able to keep his arms extended and disengage when necessary to make plays on ball carriers. Jones can be a bit reckless in his approach, and it leads to him being on the ground or having a lot of moments where you don’t understand what he’s doing during a lot of plays. If he’s able to be drafted into an environment that helps him contain that playing-style into being more under-control, his upside is high.
23. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State, (Senior, 6-5, 245)
Sweat has flown a bit under the radar due to a bit more love for his surrounding parts, but he has a well-rounded and diverse game. Consistently solid is the best way to describe him. He’s not flashy or going to wow you with his ability to bend the edge, but his production continues to improve. Sweat doesn’t have the upside as most of his counterparts in this edge class because of his flexibility limitations, but he still projects to be a starter for a long time.
24. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State, (R-Junior, 6-3, 213)
One of the most prolific wide receivers in school history, Harry has left his mark in the record books. His career got off to a fast start as he finished with 58 catches, which led all freshman receivers in the nation. That total was also good enough to break former tight end Zach Miller‘s previous freshman record of 56 catches in 2004. Harry followed that up with an impressive sophomore campaign — 82 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. He tied Jaelen Strong‘s single-season catches record and finished as an All-Pac-12 First Team selection. This season, he has already has set a new career high in touchdown catches, with nine. These records are just a microcosm of the Sun Devils main target. Harry’s natural hands, size, high pointing the ball, and ability to play through contact are his best traits. He’s exceptional at the catch point, where he’s completely comfortable with winning in various ways. He’s shown to be able to out-jump defenders, box them out, and even out-muscle them to secure the ball. Gaining separation is the factor that has the opinions so mixed about his draft stock. How well he runs at the Combine will be a huge factor on where he’s drafted.
Outside leverage by DB, Harry knows how to attack it
*Attacks outside leverage on 2nd step
*DB opens hips while maintaining outside leverage
*Harry then stems upfield to get the DB to change his angle
*Drops hips, plants to sideline (patient but sudden) pic.twitter.com/omQKJQ88nh
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) November 9, 2018
25. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson, (Senior, 6-3, 315)
A roundly built prospect that features plenty of explosiveness and excitement on and off of the field. Wilkins personality will light up a room and his versatility as an interior defensive lineman gave the Tigers a jolt. Due to multiple injuries along the defensive line, he was forced to play mainly on the edge in 2017. Believed to be a first-round pick last year, he decided to come back for his senior season to earn his degree and chase a national championship. This year, he returned strictly to the interior, and he thrived. Showing off his athleticism and short area quickness, Wilkins looked to be rejuvenated. He has the strength to hold up against double teams, short-area burst, and a deep repertoire of moves to defeat interior blockers. Due to his build, Wilkins is able to maintain a low pad level – disabling blockers to get into his chest and block him cleanly.
26. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State, (Junior, 6-2, 214)
Possesses a thick build and muscular frame, which allows him to play his desired playing-style. Not an overly explosive prospect, but he has enough to win on routes. His burst out of his stance are above average, and this carries over well throughout his routes. Harmon isn’t going to consistently run past defensive backs, but the detail in his routes usually allow him to gain separation. His catch radius is wide, and he has the capability of catching the ball away from his body frame. His hands and grip strength are impressive, and he routinely snags the ball out of the air. Harmon is very selfless, and it shows during running plays. He takes pride in blocking and attempts to flatten defenders any chance that he gets.
27. Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College, (Senior, 6-5, 285)
Allen’s upside will not be as high as others in this draft class, but he’s a mature player that is ready to step in as a rookie and contribute right away. He has a very thick frame and gives full effort every single snap. His motor is non-stop. Allen best projects as a defensive end in a three-down defensive front or a 3-technique in a four-down front. He doesn’t have the long twitch to consistently put his hand in the dirt and rush off of the edge. A lot of his splash plays come from all-out effort. Scouts will love him because his game is predicated upon power and while he doesn’t have the elite upside as some others do, they will be willing to sacrifice that for a mature player that’s always going to be where he’s assigned to be within the scheme.
28. Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama, (Junior, 6-6, 316)
Davis was seen as the most highly rated Alabama defensive prospect entering the season. Playing mostly in a reserve role in 2017, Davis was still able to rack up 8.5 sacks and 69 total tackles, which led to the expectations of him to have a breakout season this year. His stature and athleticism at that size are unique. After the surprise emergence of Quinnen Williams, he stock quieted a bit. There were glimpses from him of what he showed a season ago, but his overall play was inconsistent.
29. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss, (Junior, 6-1, 230)
Brown has an extremely stocky and stout body frame, and he plays exactly how his body indicates. The go-to target of the Rebels offense, he did a heavy amount of his damage from the slot. The offense limited his route tree, but he maximized his role in multiple ways. Brown’s a big body target with a very wide catch radius. He’s not a receiver that’s going to play above the rim often, but he dominates and is comfortable in his confines below it. The biggest questions with Brown will be his straight-line speed, ability to generate separation against man coverage, and if his overall route running can improve. He must become more versatile than the routes he was asked to run at Ole Miss. Due to his limitations, he most likely won’t ever be the lead receiver in a corps, but he can be a very effective slot receiver.
30. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri, (Junior, 6-3, 225)
Before 2018, he operated in an Air Raid offense that allowed him to make quick throws to the perimeter, take vertical shots down the field often, and take advantage of the unfavorable box counts with run-pass options to the boundary or single receiver side of the formation. Lock is an extremely gifted thrower, who possesses elite arm talent and an easy ability to throw it to all three levels of the field with various amounts of RPMs. Lock has a true gunslinger mentality. Right now, he goes for the home-run swing too frequently instead of taking what the defense gives him. Consistent ball placement, eye manipulation, and footwork are among the deficiencies in his game. He has a tendency to get lazy with his eyes and delayed speed through his progressions. Often you notice that he locks his eyes onto his intended target in hopes that they will eventually come open opposed to advancing to the next option in the progression. What makes him intriguing though is his natural traits. Many of his flaws seem to be correctable. If he’s able to correct his negatives, he could end up being a successful NFL starter down the road.
31. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, (R-Sophomore, 6-4, 250)
During the early stages of the season, Noah Fant was the Iowa tight end that received most of the love and notoriety. As the season progressed, many started to notice and his production this season paid huge dividends. He was the first sophomore ever to win the John Mackey Award, which is given to the nations top tight end. Hockenson’s blocking ability is elite, and he’s underrated as a receiver. Many are comparing him to another former Iowa tight end in George Kittle because they have very similar skill sets and versatility. He’s yet to declare for the draft, but if he does, we could see a prospect quickly shoot up draft boards.
Ever see two TE pancakes on the same play? …Yea me neither
Welcome to Iowa Hawkeye film study! Fant & Hockenson 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/pAMfhQQXDO
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 12, 2018
32. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss, (Junior, 6-5, 325)
Little entered Ole Miss with plenty of hype. After being one of the highest rated prospects to sign with the Rebels, Little was quickly inserted into the starting lineup midway through his freshman season. He has not surrendered the spot since then, and he’s been a stable of the teams offensive front. Little’s frame and natural athleticism look the part. He has the strength to generate movement as a run blocker and the fluidity to mirror edge rushers as a pass protector. Little is very raw though. Despite his athleticism, he plays on his heels occasionally, and it leads to him allowing sacks. Upside is the term that you will hear associated with Little frequently throughout the draft process and the early stages of his pro career. Teams will see his athleticism and current tools in hopes of molding him into an eventual productive left tackle. Those days are far down the road, and Little is a bit rough around the edges right now. There will be lots of inconsistencies throughout his career, but if the untapped potential can be reached, he has the chance to be a teams blindside protector for multiple years.