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CBS Sports Very Early 2018 Top 100 Prospects

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  • CBS Sports Very Early 2018 Top 100 Prospects

    An incredibly early look at the top 100 prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft
    It's never too early to start looking ahead at next year's NFL Draft
    by Chris Trapasso CBSSports.com

    While the 2017 NFL Draft is still fresh on our minds, it's never too early to start looking forward at next year's crop of standout prospects. Here are the guys you need to know to get you ready for the 2017 NCAA season and ultimately, the 2018 NFL Draft.

    1. Arden Key | DE | LSU | Junior
    At 6-foot-6 and just over 230 pounds, Key has plenty of room to grow into his gigantic frame. Even at sub-240 pounds in 2016, the Tigers sophomore had 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks after a freshman All-American season in 2015. If he adds some weight to his and builds on his first two seasons at LSU, Key is a prime candidate to go No. 1 overall.

    2. Sam Darnold | QB | USC | RS Sophomore
    Darnold shined in 13 starts as a redshirt freshman last season. He completed more than 67 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. And he ended the season on a high note. Darnold went bonkers in a crazy comeback victory in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. He threw for 453 yards with five touchdown passes and one pick. If he tightens up his delivery, and shows more consistency drifting in the pocket, he should be a top-three lock.

    3. Harold Landry | DE | Boston College | Senior
    Landry has everything NFL evaluators want in an edge-rushing specialist. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he possesses quality outside linebacker size. The production is undoubtedly there too. Even as a sophomore in 2015, Landry had 16 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. In 2016, he led the ACC with 16.5 quarterback takedowns to go with 22 tackles for loss. With another big season, Landry will compete with Key to earn the No. 1 edge-rusher spot in the 2018 class.

    4. Mason Rudolph | QB | Oklahoma State | Senior
    Like Landry, Rudolph will check many boxes for NFL scouts and GMs. Firstly, he'll enter the 2018 draft with loads of experience. He's already started 29 games and thrown 958 passes. As far as efficiency, Rudolph's figures are stunning. He has 55 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions in his college career, including a 28/4 TD/INT ratio in 2016. Also, he's 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds and plays in the wide-open Big 12. A pure pocket passer with a strong arm, there's not much to dislike about Rudolph's game.

    5. Derwin James | S | Florida State | Junior
    A former five-star recruit with freakish athleticism, linebacker-esque hitting ability, and cornerback-like ball skills. That's a description of either former Florida State safety Jalen Ramsey or current Seminoles star Derwin James. At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, James is enormous for the position. He's super-fluid on the field with quick play-recognition gifts, as evidenced by his 91 tackles as a true freshman in 2015. He missed most of 2016 with a knee injury but should be back to 100 percent for the 2017 campaign.

    6. Christian Wilkins | DL | Clemson | Junior
    The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Wilkins only has 5.5 sacks thus far at Clemson, but in 2016, he was a terror on the interior, accumulating 13 tackles for loss and knocking down nine passes. The Tigers have become a first-round pick factory, and Wilkins looks to be the next Clemson product to go early in the draft.

    7. Derrius Guice | RB | LSU | Junior
    Guice was more impressive than Leonard Fournette in 2016. It was obvious. Even in 2015, when Fournette was 100 percent healthy, Guice, then a freshman, had his fair share of eye-popping runs when he averaged 8.5 yards per carry on 51 rushes. At 5-foot-11 and 222 pounds, Guice packs plenty of power yet has sudden agility, elite vision, and deceptive breakaway speed to round out his complete game.

    8. Saquon Barkley | RB | Penn State | Junior
    Guice and Barkley will have a tremendous battle to take the crown as the nation's top running back in 2017. Barkley has averaged 5.7 yards per carry on his 454 rushes in his two season at Penn State, and he's scored 25 touchdowns on the ground. He's 5-foot-11 and 223 pounds and runs with a balance, low center of gravity, and the ability to make a cut on a dime. In the open field, he's dangerously elusive with keen vision, and he possesses good long speed. Barkley has "NFL feature back" written all over him.

    9. Courtland Sutton | WR | SMU | Junior
    At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Sutton looks like a No. 1 wideout in the NFL. Last year in Dallas, as a redshirt sophomore, he had 76 receptions, 1,246 yards, and 10 scores. His routinely showcased his high-pointing ability, physicality, and surprising speed down the field. He likely would have been picked in one of the first two rounds in the 2017 draft but chose to gain even more momentum by staying in school for another season.

    10. Tarvarus McFadden | CB | Florida State | Junior
    McFadden and James form the best safety-cornerback duo in the country in 2017. Last year, McFadden reeled in eight interceptions, which led the nation. At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he dominated with size and athleticism at times but had moments that showed a lack of sound tackling ability. From a physical perspective, it's all there for this Florida State standout. He'll be returning from a torn labrum this season too.

    11. James Washington | WR | Oklahoma State | Senior
    Washington has been Rudolph's top passing-game priority during their time together in Stillwater. The 6-foot, 205-pound wideout has been a premier deep threat over the past two seasons, making 124 grabs at nearly 20 yards per catch with 20 total receiving touchdowns. Having Rudolph throwing him the football will likely help Washington amass huge numbers in his final season at Oklahoma State.

    12. Josh Rosen | QB | UCLA | Junior
    As a true freshman in 2015, Rosen played well beyond his years and looked to be a future No. 1 overall pick. He completed 60 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and 11 picks. He consistently demonstrated the pocket poise, accuracy, and shrewd decision-making with the Bruins that made him the No. 1 pro-style quarterback recruit in the nation coming out of high school. The 2016 season was somewhat of a disaster for Rosen. While his yards-per-attempt average increased, his completion percentage went down and he tossed 10 touchdowns to five interceptions before getting injured. With a rebound season, the 6-foot-4 Rosen will likely be in the top-10 discussion.

    13. Minkah Fitzpatrick | CB | Alabama | Junior
    The latest in an unfathomably long line of first-round caliber cornerbacks from Alabama during the Nick Saban era, Fitzpatrick has played both safety and corner for the Crimson Tide. The NFL will like that versatility. He's 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds with good strength and plus ball skills. He had two picks as a freshman in 2015 and intercepted six passes as a sophomore. Oh, and he's already returned four of those picks for touchdowns.

    14. Tyquan Lewis | DE/OLB | Ohio State | Senior
    In 2016, Lewis was the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, the edge-rushing terror had 10.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks, which was actually a step down from the season he had in 2015 (14 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and 54 total tackles). It was in 2015 that he saw a lot more one-on-one with Joey Bosa on the other side of the defensive line. Scouts will look to see if Lewis can take the next step as "the guy" opposing offensive lines scheme to stop in 2017.

    15. Mike McGlinchey | OT | Notre Dame | Senior
    McGlinchey has played both left and right tackle for the Fighting Irish, making third-team All-American in 2016 as Notre Dame's left tackle. At 6-foot-7 and close to 300 pounds, McGlinchey has the size of a blindside protector in the NFL. During his tenure in South Bend, head coach Brian Kelly has sent a variety of polished offensive linemen to the professional ranks.

    16. Connor Williams | OT | Texas | Junior
    Though Texas has fallen on some hard times over the past few years, Williams has starred for the Longhorns ever since he stepped on campus. He started at left tackle as a true freshman in 2015, which is no easy task. Last year, he was named first-team All-American, which made him one of two sophomores on the offensive side of the ball to earn that prestigious distinction. The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder is light on his feet and has a super-sturdy anchor in pass protection. With another sound year on the edge, he could challenge McGlinchey to be the first offensive lineman selected in the 2018 draft.

    17. Bradley Chubb | DE | N.C State | Senior
    Chubb, the brother of talented Georgia running back Nick Chubb, came into his own with the Wolfpack in 2016. He had 21 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. His chiseled 6-foot-4, 275-pound frame will undoubtedly intrigue NFL scouts. With his strength and pass-rushing ability, he has the potential to be a three-down defensive lineman who kicks inside to defensive tackle in nickel situations, like Michael Bennett does with the Seahawks.

    18. Deon Cain | WR | Clemson | Junior
    The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Cain has electric flashes of downfield speed and yards-after-the-catch creativity in the open field. He'll go into his junior season with 74 career catches for 1,306 yards and 14 touchdowns. It'll be interesting to see how he produces without Deshaun Watson throwing him the ball, but Cain will probably shine in his role as Clemson's No. 1 target. He's very talented, as evidenced by his five-catch, 94-yard performance against Alabama in the national title game this past January.

    19. Luke Falk | QB | Washington State | Senior
    Falk probably would have been picked in the second or third round of the 2017 NFL Draft but decided to get one more year of schooling in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. Historically, quarterbacks from that system haven't performed well in the NFL, but Jared Goff was the first pick in 2016 and Patrick Mahomes was the No. 10 overall selection in the 2017 draft. Falk might be the most "NFL-ready" out of the three, as he's already been given the freedom to call the plays for the Cougars. The 6-foot-4 quarterback has a decent arm and will light up the stat sheet once again in 2017.

    20. Derrick Nnadi | DT | Florida State | Senior
    At 6-foot-1 and a rock-solid 312 pounds, Nnadi is quite difficult to move on the interior and has the twitchiness to attack upfield. He registered 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2016, a sizable jump from 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore. Florida State has a handful of talented defensive linemen on its roster this season, anchored by the powerful and quick Nnadi.

    21. Christian Kirk | WR | Texas A&M | Junior
    Kirk lacks ideal No. 1 wideout size at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, but he has moments reminiscent of the similarly sized Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown. Kirk has blazing speed and explosive cutting ability, which makes him nearly impossible to tackle on the first try in the open field. As a freshman in 2015, he had 80 catches for 1,009 yards with seven receiving touchdowns. Last year, he reeled in 83 passes for 928 yards with nine scores.

    22. Martinas Rankin | OL | Mississippi State | Senior
    Rankin was a top junior college recruit and didn't have the best start to the 2016 season. However, he dominated down the stretch. At 6-foot-5 and 307 pounds with impressive footwork and power, Rankin is en route to having a fine final year at Mississippi State. He even took reps at center during the Bulldogs spring game (due to injuries) and performed well.

    23. Lamar Jackson | QB | Louisville | Junior
    Jackson will be one of, if not the most polarizing prospects in the 2018 class -- if he chooses to declare. The reigning Heisman winner has in-his-prime Michael Vick-type running ability. And although he's come a long way as a passer in his two years as Louisville's starter, he'll need to display more consistency with his accuracy to go early in the draft.

    24. Malik Jefferson | LB | Texas | Junior
    His stats don't jump off the page, but Jefferson has the skill set to become an impact linebacker at the NFL level. At 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, he can be likened to Texans 2017 second-round pick Zach Cunningham from a size perspective. Like Cunningham, Jefferson is a high-energy linebacker who makes plays all over the field, not just between the tackles.

    25. Jaire Alexander | CB | Louisville | Junior
    At 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Alexander could add some weight to his frame as he gets ready to make the jump to the next level. In 2016, he reeled in five interceptions and defended nine other passes in his target area. Louisville will be in the spotlight often, so Alexander will have ample opportunity to make big plays with everyone watching.

    26. Vita Vea | DT | Washington | Junior
    Washington lost plenty of talent from its Pac-12 winning squad from a season ago, but Vea the headliner of the holdovers in Seattle. At 6-foot-5 and 332 pounds, Vea is a gargantuan interior defender and moves like he's in the 300-pound range with impressive upfield burst and ability to finish. He had 6.5 tackles for loss with five sacks in 2016.

    27. Calvin Ridley | WR | Alabama | Junior
    With freshman Jalen Hurts under center a season ago, the Alabama offense was aerially challenged at times. Ridley saw his statistics drop from 89 catches and 1,045 yards in 2015 to 72 grabs and 769 yards as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Ridley has some Amari Cooper to his game, as he's a fluid receiver who makes things look easy at times. With improved quarterback play, Ridley could have a season that makes him worth a Round 1 selection.

    28. Jerome Baker | LB | Ohio State | Junior
    Another bouncy athlete playing linebacker for the Buckeyes, Baker is 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds with speed that's evident the moment you start watching Ohio State. In 2016, he made a whopping 83 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions. With another strong season, he'll be Malik Jefferson's prime challenger to be the first inside linebacker off the board.

    29. Mitch Hyatt | OT | Clemson | Junior
    Hyatt was a stonewall left tackle for Clemson in their national-title winning season a year ago. It was a fine overall campaign for the 6-foot-5, 295-pounder that culminated with a fantastic showing against a scary Alabama defensive front loaded with future NFL talent.

    30. Micah Kiser | LB | Virginia | Senior
    Kiser will enter the 2017 college football season as the inside linebacker with the best resume. In 2015, the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder had 117 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Last year, he tallied 133 takedowns with 10 tackles for loss and six sacks. He's a do-everything linebacker with imposing size and a nasty demeanor on the field. Kiser isn't a true speedster but has nice quickness and has shown he's as comfortable dropping into coverage as he is flying downhill.

    31. Orlando Brown | OT | Oklahoma | Junior
    When you think of an Oklahoma offensive tackle, you think "large and overwhelmingly powerful." Brown is exactly that, and he's the latest in a long lineage of top-flight offensive tackle prospects to come out of Norman. He's 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds and won't lose many battles in the trenches.

    32. Royce Freeman | RB | Oregon | Senior
    With Oregon's down 2016 and myriad running backs piecing together fine seasons, Freeman was overlooked last year. After totaling 3,100 total rushing yards in his first two seasons for the Ducks, his workload was scaled back, and he played in 11 games, rushing for 945 yards on 168 carries with nine touchdowns. Freeman has a style reminiscent of former Oregon star Jonathan Stewart. He has a big but compact frame and consistently shows off impressive change-of-direction skills and vision.

    33. Josh Sweat | DE/OLB | Florida State | Junior
    At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Sweat already has the body of a rangy NFL edge-rusher. In 2016, he had 11.5 tackles for loss to go along with seven sacks. He and bookend pass-rusher Brian Burns will wreak havoc in the ACC in 2017.

    34. Quenton Nelson | OG | Notre Dame | Senior
    Nelson is a massive guard at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, but he has refined pass-blocking skills. It's actually in the run game that there's plenty of room for improvement. NFL teams will love his pass-blocking specialty.

    35. Baker Mayfield | QB | Oklahoma | Senior
    The next controversial, improvisational, highly productive quarterback from the Big 12 conference, the 6-foot-1 Mayfield has glimpses of Johnny Manziel on the field, running for his life behind the line of scrimmage before eventually finding a target down the field to pull off a seemingly impossible play. There is some off-field baggage too. In three years quarterbacking the Sooners offense, Mayfield has 88 touchdowns to only 24 interceptions and has completed nearly 68 percent of his passes.

    36. Marcus Allen | S | Penn State | Senior
    Allen was the Nittany Lions' most impactful secondary member in 2016. He had 110 tackles and six tackles for loss. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he has NFL safety size. He was a terror against Minnesota, when he tallied a remarkable 22 tackles with one tackle for loss.

    37. Cameron Smith | LB | USC | Junior
    It's been a while since we've seen a top-level inside linebacker prospect come out of the USC program, but Smith will be a high pick whenever he enters the draft. The 6-foot-2 Smith carries his 245 pounds well and plays like he weighs 10-15 pounds lighter than that. After a spectacular freshman year that saw him intercept three passes to go along with 78 tackles, Smith had 83 tackles and seven tackles for loss in 2016.

    38. Ronald Jones | RB | USC | Junior
    No running back kicks it from first gear to second gear faster than Jones, and his top gear is scintillating. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Jones has a skinnier build, but he's flourished between the tackles in his first two years at USC. Last year he had 1,082 yards at 6.1 yards per carry with 12 rushing touchdowns.

    39. Tyrone Crowder | OG | Clemson | Senior
    At times, Crowder looks like Raiders guard Gabe Jackson on the interior, mauling enormous defensive linemen into the turf. In pass protection, he has concerning moments. If Crowder can show he's made strides blocking on pass plays, he could see a big boost in his draft stock.

    40. Antonio Callaway | WR | Florida | Junior
    Callaway went from big-play wideout to reliable possession target over his first two seasons on the field for the Gators. If he has a year with some game-changing plays but still shows his reliability on third downs, he'll be a favorite of many NFL wide receiver coaches.

    41. Nick Chubb | RB | Georgia | Senior
    Chubb has had an amazing and interesting career at Georgia. He looked Herschel Walker-esque during his freshman season, rushing for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns at a 7.1 yards-per-carry clip. He picked up right where he left off in 2015 but a knee injury derailed a sophomore campaign in which he averaged 8.1 yards per. Last year, he ran at 5.0 yards per carry but improved his power at the point of contact. Many were stunned when he decided to return for his senior year. There's an NFL feature-back amount of talent within this 5-foot-11, 228-pound running back.

    42. Josh Allen | QB | Wyoming | Junior
    Allen is the Carson Wentz of the 2018 class. He plays at Wyoming but has the size and arm strength to play in the NFL. Right now, he's the wild card of all wild cards. The 6-foot-5, 222-pound prospect has awesome highs and very worrisome lows. For example, in 2016, he went 18 of 31 for 274 yards with three touchdowns and a pick in an upset victory over Boise State, and 11 of 15 for 198 yards with three more scores en route to a win over UC-Davis. He also tossed five interceptions against Nebraska and had six games with a completion percentage under 55 percent.

    43. Maurice Hurst Jr. | DL | Michigan | Senior
    Hurst is a one-gap penetrator who has lived in the opposition's backfield over the past two seasons for the Wolverines. At 6-foot-2 and 280-plus pounds, he has a "smaller" frame and the quickness to slip between interior offensive linemen. Last season he had 11.5 tackles for loss and five sicks. Though he lost plenty of talent around him to the NFL, Hurst should be in for another disruptive year.

    44. Equanimeous St. Brown | WR | Notre Dame | Junior
    The receiver with the coolest name in college football is primed to truly breakout for the Fighting Irish in 2017. At 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds, he has massive size for the position and the deep speed to really threaten secondaries down the field. Last year, he averaged 16.6 yards per catch and caught nine touchdowns for Notre Dame.

    45. Duke Ejiofor | DE/OLB | Wake Forest | Senior
    Just because Wake Forest isn't an ACC powerhouse doesn't mean NFL scouts are unaware of the supremely talented Ejiofor. In 2016, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound, versatile defensive lineman racked up 17 tackles for loss to go with 10.5 sacks for the Demon Deacons. Ejiofor has the length and production teams love.

    46. Da'Shawn Hand | DL | Alabama | Senior
    An immovable object on Alabama's defensive line, Hand routinely controls blockers to free up second-level playmakers for the Crimson Tide. He's 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, and although he's not flashy, there's inherent value in a player with a strong enough anchor to not get devoured by double teams. He flashed some pass-rushing ability in 2016 too.

    47. Kendall Joseph | LB | Clemson | Junior
    Joseph was a somewhat overlooked star in his first full year of action for the Tigers in 2016, as he filled the stat sheet with 106 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and one interception. At 6-foot and 230 pounds with impressive suddenness and athleticism, he fits the "new" mold of linebacker.

    48. Auden Tate | WR | Florida State | Junior
    Tate is 6-foot-5 and nearly 230 pounds -- he's built like Brandon Marshall. Despite his power-forward like size, he's a smooth athlete with hops and strong hands. A former five-start recruit, Tate has been slowly incorporated to the Florida State offense. He made his first collegiate reception in 2016, and finished the year with six touchdowns on 25 catches. He was the Seminoles go-to target in the red zone for obvious reasons. If he has a breakout season, will he turn pro?

    49. Bo Scarbrough | RB | Alabama | Junior
    When healthy, Scarbrough looked liked a supercharged version of Derrick Henry. In the College Football Playoff semifinal against Washington, he ran for 180 yards on 19 carries with two scores and appeared nearly impossible to bring to the turf. At 6-foot-2 and upwards of 230 pounds, Scarbrough is a tank with rocket boosters.

    50. Dre'Mont Jones | DL | Ohio State | RS Sophomore
    Jones made an instant impact the moment he laced them up for the Buckeyes. As a redshirt freshman last year, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive lineman had 51 tackles and four tackles for loss. He had his two most productive games at the end of the season against Ohio State's toughest competition -- Michigan and Clemson. He totaled 12 tackles and two tackles for loss.

    51. Martez Ivey | OT/OG | Florida | Junior
    In 2015, Ivey was a five-star recruit out of Apopka, Florida. In his freshman season he appeared in 12 games for the Gators and started eight at left guard. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder got more experience on the inside in 2016, as he started 12 games in the same spot. He'll make the move to left tackle this season, which should highlight his awesome combo of athleticism and power against edge-rushers.

    52. Jake Browning | QB | Washington | Junior
    Browning and Washington's combustible offense exploded onto the scene a year ago, averaging 41.8 points and 456.9 yards per game. The 6-foot-2 quarterback zipped 43 touchdowns to his pass-catchers while throwing just nine interceptions en route to a trip to the College Football Playoff. Though he doesn't have a monster arm, Browning excelled down the field last year while throwing to future top-10 pick John Ross and Dante Pettis. Washington clearly lost some talent to the NFL, but Browning will have the Huskies competing for another Pac-12 crown this season.

    53. Armani Watts | S | Texas A&M | Senior
    The 5-foot-11, 200-pound lightning bug is a striker on the back end for the Aggies. Unfortunately, his season was cut short in 2016. The year before, Watts recorded 126 tackles and six tackles for loss. He had 56 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two interceptions in eight games last year.

    54. Marquis Haynes | DE/OLB | Ole Miss | Senior
    Haynes will likely need to add weight to his 6-foot-3, 222-pound frame to maximize his potential in the NFL, but he's done just fine at that weight in the SEC. He's amassed 36.5 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, and 127 tackles for Ole Miss in his three-year career.

    55. Quin Blanding | S | Virginia | Senior
    A 358-tackle career over four seasons for a safety would be outstanding .The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Blanding has that many tackles in just three seasons with the Cavaliers. He'll check the "production" box of the scouting process, that's for sure. In 2016, he had two picks and two tackles for loss to go along with his 118 tackles.

    56. Davin Bellamy | DE/OLB | Georgia | Senior
    At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Bellamy has quietly improved in each of his three seasons on the field for the Bulldogs. In 2016, he had 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and five sacks.

    57. Damian Prince | OG | Maryland | Junior
    Though he came to Maryland as a highly-touted tackle recruit, Prince will kick into the guard spot in 2017, where he can use his 6-foot-3, 315-pound frame to overpower interior defensive linemen.

    58. Parris Campbell | WR | Ohio State | Junior
    Among the most intriguing positional changes -- or in this case, a positional tweak -- in the entire country will be Campbell's move from a traditional receiver spot to the more versatile "H-back" role played by Curtis Samuel a season ago. Campbell caught 13 passes for 121 yards and was a reliable kick returner in 2016. He averaged 27.8 yards on 21 kick returns. The 6-foot-1, 208-pounder will be one of the main features of the Buckeyes offense.

    59. Sony Michel | RB | Georgia | Senior
    Michel has seemingly been at Georgia forever, mainly because he proved to be special right away in Athens. A former five-star recruit, Michel has 17 rushing touchdowns and a 5.5 yards-per-carry average on his 434 rushes in college. He wins with burst and change-of-direction ability. Now he's upwards of 222 pounds. Michel and Chubb are the best running back tandem in college football heading into the 2017 campaign.

    60. Adonis Alexander | CB | Virginia Tech | Junior
    Virginia Tech has sent a plethora of pro-ready cornerbacks to the league, and Alexander is next in line. At 6-foot-3 and close to 200 pounds, he has Richard Sherman-esque size and length and has reeled in six interceptions in his two years in Blacksburg.

    61. Mason Cole | C | Michigan | Senior
    Having played left tackle and center, Cole has a diverse background on Michigan's offense line. With a handful of new starters around him, the veteran 6-foot, 305-pound pivot will have to serve as the quarterback of the Wolverine's offensive front.

    62. Sam Hubbard | DE/OLB | Ohio State | Junior
    Hubbard has been rock solid for the Buckeyes in his two seasons on the field in Columbus. At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, he has legit NFL defensive end size. He has 16.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his two-year career.

    63. Mike Gesicki | TE | Penn State | Senior
    After two pedestrian years for the Nittany Lions, Gesicki flourished with Trace McSorley under center a season ago. Blessed with immense size at 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, Gesicki had 48 receptions, 679 yards, and five touchdown catches in 2016. He scored in each of Penn State's final three games last year.

    64. Billy Price | OG | Ohio State | Senior
    Another talented interior lineman from the Big 10, Price will take over the center position previously occupied by Pat Elflein, who was picked by the Vikings in the third round of the 2017 draft. Price is 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds and has already started 41 consecutive games for the Buckeyes.

    65. Dante Pettis | WR | Washington | Senior
    While he doesn't possess John Ross-like speed (who does?), Pettis thrives on vertical routes. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder caught 15 touchdowns on 53 receptions in 2016 while averaging 15.5 yards per catch. He'll be the top passing priority for Jake Browning this season.

    66. Myles Gaskin | RB | Washington | Junior
    As Washington emerged as the premier team in the Pac 12 a season ago, Gaskin helped an underrated ground game, quietly piecing together his second consecutive 1,300-yard campaign. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound back runs hard between the tackles and has some wiggle in space. He has 24 rushing touchdowns in two seasons with the Huskies.

    67. Clelin Ferrell | DE/OLB | Clemson | RS Sophomore
    As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Ferrell pieced together an eye-opening season, tallying 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. The former four-star recruit will be on the same defensive line as the supremely talented Dexter Lawrence, so he should be in for an even more productive campaign for Clemson.

    68. Carlton Davis | CB | Auburn | Junior
    Auburn isn't necessarily known for sending cornerbacks to the NFL, but Davis has the ability to make plays on Sundays. At nearly 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, he stands out on the perimeter. As a freshman, he snagged three interceptions but didn't record a pick last year.

    69. Akrum Wadley | RB | Iowa | Senior
    It's easy for Wadley to be overshadowed as a running back in the Big 10, with Saquon Barkley leading the way and a few other talented ball-carriers at other programs. But Wadley possesses the gifts to flash Barkley-like runs. In his final three games of 2016, he toted the rock 46 times for 302 yards (6.5 YPC) with a pair of scores. Don't sleep on the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder.

    70. Iman Marshall | CB | USC | Junior
    Another corner taller than 6-foot, Marshall has six interceptions in his two years at USC (three each season) and has 17 pass breakups. He's a former five-star recruit Rivals rated the top cornerback in the country in the 2015 class. Marshall oozes athleticism.

    71. Jaylon Ferguson | DE | Louisiana Tech | Junior
    Small-school prospects have to be very productive to get noticed. Ferguson has been a stat-sheet filler and has a fair amount of momentum going into his junior season. In two years, he has 29 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he has the size and length to play on the edge in the pros. Even if he matches the 14.5 sacks he accumulated in 2016, Ferguson will be a prime candidate to rise up draft boards.

    72. Ronnie Harrison | DB | Alabama | Junior
    Harrison is a 6-foot-3, 218-pound secondary menace for Alabama. He has four interceptions for the Crimson Tide in two seasons and upped his impact in 2016 by accumulating 83 tackles.

    73. Kalen Ballage | RB | Arizona State | Senior
    Ballage wasn't nearly as decorated as a high school recruit and hasn't had the same success as Leonard Fournette in college, but the 6-foot-3, 230-pound locomotive has comparable power and speed to that of the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft. His career stats aren't tremendous, but he did show versatility in 2016, as he totaled 469 yards on 44 receptions to go with his 536 yards on 125 carries.

    74. Quinton Flowers | QB | South Florida | Senior
    An elongated delivery could hurt how Flowers is viewed by NFL evaluators, but there's plenty of Tyrod Taylor to his game. Flowers is a dynamic playmaker, improviser, and athlete, yet he's more than capable of winning from within the pocket. At 6-foot, he'll battle height concerns, but prepare yourself for a huge year from the multi-faceted quarterback. If he can get his completion percentage up from 62.5 into the 64-67 percent range, he'll be a hot discussion topic come draft time. He has 46 touchdown passes to only 15 picks in his two years starting for South Florida.

    75. Mark Andrews | WR/TE | Oklahoma | Junior
    Andrews is a redwood tree on the field at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. He had seven touchdowns on 19 catches as a freshman in 2015 and hauled in another seven scores in 2016 while upping his reception total to 31. His productive year led to first-team All-Big 12 honors. Andrews is more tight end than he is wide receiver, but he has plenty of experience split out wide in the slot and has fluid athleticism after the catch.

    76. Anthony Averett | DB | Alabama | Senior
    The 6-foot defensive back has played multiple positions during his time in Tuscaloosa and emerged as a reliable secondary member a season ago when he totaled 48 tackles, eight pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. He'll team with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Tony Brown to formulate a scary-good defensive backfield for the Crimson Tide this season.

    77. Mike Weber | RB | Ohio State | RS Sophomore
    As a redshirt freshman in 2016, the speedy Weber eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark at 6.0 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. His final 16 carries only went for 50 yards, yet he demonstrated big-play ability throughout the rest of the season. He and Parris Campbell will shoulder the load for the Buckeyes this season.

    78. Jordan Thomas | DB | Oklahoma | Senior
    Like many Oklahoma defensive backs before him, Thomas has been a productive leader for the Sooners on the back end during his career. He has seven interceptions over the past two seasons, and although that number dipped from five to two last year, he had 17 pass breakups. At 6-foot and 192 pounds, Thomas has good size for an NFL corner.

    79. Jarrett Stidham | QB | Auburn | RS Sophomore
    In reserve duty for Baylor back in 2015, Stidham completed nearly 69 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He was accurate to all levels of the field. Once the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the country, the 6-foot-3 Stidham will get an opportunity to showcase his varied skill set in Auburn's option-filled attack.

    80. Frank Ragnow | C | Arkansas | Senior
    Many believed Ragnow would leave Fayetteville for the NFL after the 2016-2017 season, but the veteran center decided to give it one more season for the University of Arkansas. He was a second-team All-SEC performer a season ago and has made 26 straight starts on the interior. The 6-foot-5, 319-pound Ragnow is a classic Bret Bielema offensive linemen -- powerful and well-coached.

    81. Tegray Scales | LB | Indiana | Senior
    Scales earned third-team All-Big 10 honors in 2016 after a remarkable campaign that included 125 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. Scales plays with amazing urgency and has the twitchiness and speed to back up that aggressive nature. In 2015, he had 64 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks. Like many of the linebackers on this list, he fits the "new-age linebacker" mold perfectly.

    82. Larry Allen III | OL | Harvard | Senior
    The son of Hall of Famer Larry Allen, a mammoth offensive lineman who dominated during the 1990s for the ***** and Cowboys, Allen III is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound stalwart on Harvard's offensive line. He could have played at a bigger football power but has thrived for the Crimson during his collegiate career. He made first-team All-Ivy in 2016.

    83. Damien Harris | RB | Alabama | Junior
    After just 46 carries as a freshman in 2015, Harris had 1,037 yards on 7.1 yards per carry with two scores a season ago. At 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds, he's not a massive as Derrick Henry or Bo Scarbrough. However, Harris brings the electricity down the field with impressive quickness and good long speed.

    84. Troy Fumagalli | TE | Wisconsin | Senior
    Fumagalli has been a reliable underneath target for Wisconsin for three years now, and in 2016, he upped his volume in the passing game. The 6-foot-6 tight end caught 47 passes for 580 yards. He's an willing blocker too.

    85. Porter Gustin | DE/LB | USC | Junior
    Gustin has the frame to play on the edge in the NFL -- he's already 6-foot-5 and close to 260 pounds at just 20 years old. As a sophomore last season, he had 68 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Don't be surprised if Gustin, a former five-star recruit, becomes one of the premier edge-rushers in the Pac 12 this season.

    86. Lavon Coleman | RB | Washington | Senior
    Myles Gaskin is the headliner in the Huskies backfield, but his running back mate will garner attention from NFL scouts too. Coleman ran for 852 yards on just 114 carries with seven rushing touchdowns in 2016. He's a boulder at 5-foot-11 and 228 pounds.

    87. Byron Cowart | DE/OLB | Auburn | Junior
    Even if Cowart never lives up to the huge expectations that came with his recruitment, he has a chance to be a better pro than he was in college. After two disappointing seasons at defensive end for the Tigers, Cowart will play inside as a defensive tackle in 2017. He's listed at Auburn's website at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, a rare height and weight combination.

    88. Godwin Igwebuike | S | Northwestern | Senior
    If you've watched a Northwestern football game over the past two seasons, Igwebuike has likely stood out. The 6-foot, 205-pound safety is as active as they come in all phases. Last year, he had three games with double-digit tackles and had fewer than five tackles in only one outing for the Wildcats.

    89. Dorance Armstrong Jr. | DE/OLB | Kansas | Junior
    After a modest 2015 in which he had five tackles for loss and just 3.5 sacks, the 6-foot-4, 241-pound Armstrong Jr. had 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks for the Jayhawks in 2016. He may fly under the radar playing for Kansas but has legitimate sack-specialist skills.

    90. Jamar Summers | CB | UConn | Senior
    Summers put himself on the map with an eight-interception season in 2015. Last year, he picked off two passes but had 59 tackles, four tackles for loss, nine pass breakups and a forced fumbled -- he clearly rounded out his game.

    91. Mike McCray | LB | Michigan | Senior
    It took McCray a while to earn a major role on the defense in Ann Arbor, but he made the most of his opportunity in 2016. Behind a loaded defensive line, McCray feasted. He had 73 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and snagged two interceptions.

    92. Lowell Lotulelei | DT | Utah | Senior
    Lotulelei has done a great job following in his brother Star's footsteps at Utah. He's matured into a disruptive force in the middle of the Utes defensive line. Like his brother, the 6-foot-2, 310-pounder can win in a variety of ways and consistently makes plays in the backfield. He had eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks last season.

    93. Kahlil McKenzie | DT | Tennessee | Junior
    The son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil is a 6-foot-3, 325-pound space-eater on the interior of the Volunteers defensive line. He's coming off a torn pectoral muscle but should win most of his battles against centers in the SEC this season.

    94. Deondre Francois | QB | Florida State | RS Sophomore
    Francois took a beating behind a shoddy offensive line a year ago. His pocket drifting needs to get better, and a more sturdy front in Tallahassee would go a long way in his development. As a redshirt freshman, Francois displayed veteran-type moxie, accuracy, and decision-making. He completed nearly 59 percent of his passes at 8.4 yards per attempt with 20 touchdowns and seven picks. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is a calm pocket passer with athleticism who's well on his way to being a super-refined prospect.

    95. Azeem Victor | LB | Washington | Senior
    Victor racked up 95 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and one interception during a full slate in 2015. Last year, he was limited to nine games due to a leg injury and had 68 tackles and three tackles for loss. Now fully healthy, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound second-level roamer is primed to have a huge 2017 campaign for the Huskies.

    96. Da'Ron Payne | DL | Alabama | Junior
    Payne is a two-gapping extraordinaire with brute strength to anchor and toss offensive linemen to the side if need be. Like many Alabama defenders before him, Payne is a former five-star recruit with an NFL-ready frame.

    97. Trey Adams | OT | Washington | Junior
    Adams towers over just about everyone on the field at 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds. He's started 23 of the last 24 games for Washington. As the Huskies' starting left tackle in 2016, Adams was a first-team All-Pac 12 player.

    98. Trey Marshall | DB | Florida State | Senior
    In more of a full-time role than his first two seasons with the Seminoles in 2016, Marshall had 58 tackles with two tackles for loss and four pass breakups. The 6-foot corner will have plenty of opportunities to make plays this year as a member of Florida State's loaded defense.

    99. Tony Brown | CB | Alabama | Senior
    Another 6-foot defensive back, Brown was a key role player on Alabama's defense in 2016, recording 32 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and nine pass breakups playing next to Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

    100. Jaylen Smith | WR | Louisville | Junior
    In the two seasons Smith has played with Lamar Jackson at Louisville, he's amassed 975 yards on just 56 receptions (17.4 yards per grab) with seven touchdowns. Six of those came a year ago when he emerged as the Cardinals go-to, big-play wideout. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he has a large, NFL-caliber frame.

  • #2
    Who do you think might be worth keeping an eye on for the Rams.?

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting list. I have a few comments.

      1. Mason Rudolph is very high on that list. I haven't seen him ranked that high until now. He is a very interesting prospect though and has great size and a great arm. I like that he's ranked above Josh Rosen (who I think is overrated).

      2. I am very high on Darnold.

      3. I really can't decide if Derwin James is better than Jalen Ramsey, but I do know that I would love to have James.

      4. Arden Key reminds me of a lankier Myles Garrett. He's just a freak player.

      5. Saquon Barkley is an amazing RB. Too bad we aren't in the market...(or are we?!)

      6. If we don't resign TruJ...Tarvarus McFadden will make us forget TruJ in an instant.

      7. If Mark Barron doesn't pan out as a 3-4 ILB...we should look heavily at Malik Jefferson and Micah Kiser.

      8. I love what Kirk has done for the Aggies. I think he's the next big star at WR who doesn't possess great height.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
        Interesting list. I have a few comments.

        1. Mason Rudolph is very high on that list. I haven't seen him ranked that high until now. He is a very interesting prospect though and has great size and a great arm. I like that he's ranked above Josh Rosen (who I think is overrated).

        2. I am very high on Darnold.

        3. I really can't decide if Derwin James is better than Jalen Ramsey, but I do know that I would love to have James.

        4. Arden Key reminds me of a lankier Myles Garrett. He's just a freak player.

        5. Saquon Barkley is an amazing RB. Too bad we aren't in the market...(or are we?!)

        6. If we don't resign TruJ...Tarvarus McFadden will make us forget TruJ in an instant.

        7. If Mark Barron doesn't pan out as a 3-4 ILB...we should look heavily at Malik Jefferson and Micah Kiser.

        8. I love what Kirk has done for the Aggies. I think he's the next big star at WR who doesn't possess great height.

        LOL. Seriously. It looks like you have absolutely made your mind up on Gurley. I can relate to what you're saying about Gurley. I thought he was a better RB than he showed last season, regardless of blocking and everything else which transpired against him. But this early in his career, you can't honestly think its a good idea to move on from him. After all, he's still only 22 years old and is the best back the team has drafted for quite some time now and I believe he's the type of player who'll bust his arse off to improve. There is no denying he is still a very talented RB with a lot of unfulfilled potentials.! Or don't you agree with me after seeing him last year.?

        Comment


        • #5
          "With the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams select..." Never hurts to dream. As we're just under 300 days from the draft its hard to know who is good value and where our needs will be, so I'm going with spots that I know we'll need to address somewhere in the draft.

          Mike McGlinchey - OT, Notre Dame, good measurables and ND has put some very solid OL's in the NFL

          Mason Cole - C, Michigan, I was high on him for this year, but he chose to stay in school, has the Harbaugh stamp of approval, might be a tad small, but that's what was said about Aaron Donald, good football IQ

          Sam Hubbard - DE/LB,OSU, Could replace Easly if we don't sign him after this year or linebacker to replace Connor Barwin down the road

          I would add if Mark Barron doesn't work out at ILB, rather than draft someone, I'd go after Mychal Kendricks of the Eagles who is a non-fit for Jim Schwartz right now.

          Go Rams!
          Last edited by mde8352gorams; -07-04-2017, 12:03 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
            Interesting list. I have a few comments.

            1. Mason Rudolph is very high on that list. I haven't seen him ranked that high until now. He is a very interesting prospect though and has great size and a great arm. I like that he's ranked above Josh Rosen (who I think is overrated).

            .
            I so agree with your assessment of Rosen I have thought him overrated since UCLA signed him out of HS and started the hype train on him. Happy we won't be drafting him and I am a UCLA fan I like Goff a Million times more than Josh Rosen! Hopefully this season Jared plays well enough we do not have to draft a QB! I do not want Kirk Cousins either! Also I like your pick of the CB McFadden, he seems to be just what the doctor ordered for our secondary. But if he goes top 10 as seems possiable with his talent and we do as well as many of us dream and hope this upcoming season we might not get the shot at him... But I do love that pick! Excited about this class of college recruits going to be fun to see how it all shakes out come draft time next year!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GroundDog39 View Post


              LOL. Seriously. It looks like you have absolutely made your mind up on Gurley. I can relate to what you're saying about Gurley. I thought he was a better RB than he showed last season, regardless of blocking and everything else which transpired against him. But this early in his career, you can't honestly think its a good idea to move on from him. After all, he's still only 22 years old and is the best back the team has drafted for quite some time now and I believe he's the type of player who'll bust his arse off to improve. There is no denying he is still a very talented RB with a lot of unfulfilled potentials.! Or don't you agree with me after seeing him last year.?
              I think this is a little unfair to Rockin. I didn't get the impression his comment was meant to bash Gurley, but rather highlight the fact, that we honestly don't truly know what the team may be in the market for. Most people did a spit take (including/especially Tre Mason) when the Rams took Gurley. No one believed that was a draft need, yet the team took what they felt was a huge BPA. As well, Gurley could always be traded (Vikings & others would kill for a runner like him), which would put Saquon on the list. For example, what if they think Trujo's heir apparent is there but they have to move up for him.... in that circumstance, they may feel the talent drop between Gurley and Saquon is minimal, that it's worth moving Gurley for the blue chip cornerback, and then grabbing Saquon to cover the loss of Gurley.

              We truly never know.... I think that was the point of his little aside.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GroundDog39 View Post
                Who do you think might be worth keeping an eye on for the Rams.?
                Ultimately it's going to depend on where the Rams are picking, but right now I'd be focusing my attention on receivers, potential left tackles, linebackers, and defensive backs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nick View Post

                  Ultimately it's going to depend on where the Rams are picking, but right now I'd be focusing my attention on receivers, potential left tackles, linebackers, and defensive backs.
                  Receivers? We have been adding them pretty actively for the past 2 drafts. It would be a sign of failure if we had to go to that spot. I agree with your other spots, but would add defensive end & center. There is no assurance that Easley will be with us after this year. Sullivan is a bridge to our next starting center.

                  Go Rams!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
                    Receivers? We have been adding them pretty actively for the past 2 drafts. It would be a sign of failure if we had to go to that spot. I agree with your other spots, but would add defensive end & center. There is no assurance that Easley will be with us after this year. Sullivan is a bridge to our next starting center.

                    Go Rams!
                    Right now, the Rams still do not have a true #1 type of receiver. So right now, I'd still focus some of my attention towards that position and which guys I think could become that.

                    If that changes during/after the season because guys on the roster have emerged or grown, then obviously you reevaluate what you're looking for. But I'm not going to cross receiver off the list until the team proves it has a top one.

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • Nick
                      Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
                      by Nick
                      Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
                      May 11, 2017
                      Mel Kiper Jr.
                      Football analyst

                      Say so long to the Class of 2017. It's time for my annual way-too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

                      So how'd I do last year? Well, three from my top five went in the top six in the 2017 draft -- Myles Garrett (1), Leonard Fournette (4) and Jamal Adams (6) -- and another went 12th (Deshaun Watson). Tim Williams, on the other hand, dropped all the way to No. 78 after an inconsistent season. A few others dropped big time or returned to school for another season, but overall it was pretty solid.

                      A few notes on my first 2018 Big Board:

                      I'm not going to be too scouting-heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed, and so much will change between now and the 2018 draft.

                      Keep in mind that several prospects here have only started one season, and so I'm projecting based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.

                      Speaking of sizes, what's listed here is what schools give out. These could vary greatly when players show up for the 2018 combine. True height and weight really matters for almost every position.

                      Check out Todd McShay's first 2018 mock draft, and come back next week for my way-too-early rankings across every position group.

                      Note: One asterisk denotes a junior, and two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.


                      1. **Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

                      Darnold has everything NFL teams want in a starter. He has a big frame (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), makes quick decisions and is an accurate and natural passer. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes last season and ranked second in the nation in Total QBR (86.8). He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled. And the third-year sophomore has only started 10 games.


                      2. *Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

                      There is some projection here because Fitzpatrick (6-1, 195) has played both corner and safety and appears likely to stick at safety in 2017. But the versatility is a plus, and he could be really good at either spot. He has eight interceptions in two seasons, and four of those were returned for touchdowns. I also like that Fitzpatrick will get after it on special teams. He had 11 special-teams tackles in 2016.


                      3. *Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

                      The buzz has been growing around the 6-5, 216-pound Allen, who can really throw. His numbers weren't great last season -- 28 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions while completing 56 percent of his passes -- but NFL teams will take into account the talent around him. And Wyoming is losing a few offensive players to the NFL, including center Chase Roullier, running back Brian Hill, wide receiver Tanner Gentry and tight end Jacob Hollister....
                      -07-15-2017, 08:11 AM
                    • Nick
                      Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
                      by Nick
                      Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
                      May 11, 2017
                      Mel Kiper Jr.
                      Football analyst

                      Say so long to the Class of 2017. It's time for my annual way-too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

                      So how'd I do last year? Well, three from my top five went in the top six in the 2017 draft -- Myles Garrett (1), Leonard Fournette (4) and Jamal Adams (6) -- and another went 12th (Deshaun Watson). Tim Williams, on the other hand, dropped all the way to No. 78 after an inconsistent season. A few others dropped big time or returned to school for another season, but overall it was pretty solid.

                      A few notes on my first 2018 Big Board:

                      I'm not going to be too scouting-heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed, and so much will change between now and the 2018 draft.

                      Keep in mind that several prospects here have only started one season, and so I'm projecting based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.

                      Speaking of sizes, what's listed here is what schools give out. These could vary greatly when players show up for the 2018 combine. True height and weight really matters for almost every position.

                      Check out Todd McShay's first 2018 mock draft, and come back next week for my way-too-early rankings across every position group.

                      Note: One asterisk denotes a junior, and two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.


                      1. **Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

                      Darnold has everything NFL teams want in a starter. He has a big frame (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), makes quick decisions and is an accurate and natural passer. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes last season and ranked second in the nation in Total QBR (86.8). He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled. And the third-year sophomore has only started 10 games.



                      2. *Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

                      There is some projection here because Fitzpatrick (6-1, 195) has played both corner and safety and appears likely to stick at safety in 2017. But the versatility is a plus, and he could be really good at either spot. He has eight interceptions in two seasons, and four of those were returned for touchdowns. I also like that Fitzpatrick will get after it on special teams. He had 11 special-teams tackles in 2016.


                      3. *Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

                      The buzz has been growing around the 6-5, 216-pound Allen, who can really throw. His numbers weren't great last season -- 28 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions while completing 56 percent of his passes -- but NFL teams will take into account the talent around him. And Wyoming is losing a few offensive players to the NFL, including center Chase Roullier, running back Brian Hill, wide receiver Tanner Gentry and tight end...
                      -05-12-2017, 06:42 AM
                    • Nick
                      Gil Brandt's Top 150 NFL Draft Prospects
                      by Nick
                      Hot 150: Gil Brandt's top-ranked prospects for 2017 NFL Draft
                      By Gil Brandt
                      NFL Media senior analyst
                      Published: April 17, 2017 at 01:42 p.m. Updated: April 17, 2017 at 01:56 p.m. 0 Likes | 0 Comments

                      This is the 57th year I have produced rankings of NFL draft prospects. In the early years when I was with the Cowboys, we had only a fraction of the information we have today, with very few confirmed measurements and times for prospects.

                      But that has all changed. I can now look at my database and pull the confirmed short-shuttle or three-cone time of the 947th-ranked prospect instantaneously ... and in a matter of seconds have on my computer screen in front of me all the third-down-and-short run plays he was involved in at his Div. III school.

                      It makes an evaluator's job easier and harder at the same time. There's so much more to consider with the overload of information, but ultimately it's more accurate info, which should (in theory) make draft boards around the league more informed and precise.

                      With that said, here are my "Hot 150" prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft.


                      1
                      Myles Garrett - DE, Texas A&M
                      Three-year player with the Aggies. Has long arms (35 1/4 inches) and is very strong (33 bench lifts at the combine). Had 31.0 career sacks at A&M, with only 12 coming against SEC competition. Can be a game-changer, but needs to learn pass-rush moves. Just turned 21 last December.

                      2
                      Leonard Fournette - RB, LSU
                      Three-year player at LSU. First player in Louisiana history to win national high school player of the year honors twice. Started six games in 2014, rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, with a 5.5-yard average. He also had a 26.0-yard average as a kick returner. Led nation in 2015 with 1,953 rushing yards (6.5-yard average) and 22 touchdowns, finishing sixth in Heisman voting. Suffered left ankle injury in 2016 fall camp and did not play well, finishing with 843 yards and eight TDs in seven games. In two career games vs. Alabama, rushed for just 66 yards. Very explosive runner. Had best 20-yard time of any running back at the combine. Looks like a linebacker when you meet him in person.

                      3
                      Solomon Thomas - DE, Stanford
                      Spent three years at Stanford, but only played two after being redshirted in 2014. Strong (30 bench lifts at combine) and explosive (35-inch vertical). Has great short-area quickness. Very tough. Outstanding character, intelligence and leadership skills; could one day hold political office if he so chooses. Best position could be left defensive end, but will be a very good tackle because of speed and quickness.

                      4
                      Marshon Lattimore - CB, Ohio State
                      Was at Ohio State for three years but missed 2014 season with a hamstring injury that required surgery. After limited play in 2015, started 12 games. Was targeted 35 times last season, with...
                      -04-17-2017, 05:12 PM
                    • Nick
                      McShay's way-too-early 2018 NFL mock draft
                      by Nick
                      McShay's way-too-early 2018 NFL mock draft
                      Todd McShay
                      ESPN Senior Writer

                      Let's start by emphasizing the first part of the headline above: way-too-early. There's a reason we use that terminology for this piece. I have not studied tape on most of these players. I've simply done my best to match up many of the top players on my preliminary list with teams that make sense.

                      A few more important notes:

                      Most of my evaluations below came from what I've been able to see watching players in person or on TV. We still have a ton of work to do on everyone in the 2018 class.

                      Last year, 14 players who were featured in my way-too-early mock draft ended up going in the 2017 first round, and 20 total went in the first two rounds. As we saw with Jake Butt, injuries are impossible to predict and certainly impact a player's draft stock.

                      The draft order below was generated by Football Outsiders, using its early projected records for the 2017 season.

                      Here is my way-too-early NFL mock draft for 2018. Underclassmen are noted with an asterisk.

                      1. Cleveland Browns
                      Sam Darnold, QB, USC*
                      Watching WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in preparation for the 2017 draft, it was hard not to notice Darnold. He has the mental makeup, poise and arm strength you look for in an NFL quarterback.

                      2. San Francisco *****
                      Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming*
                      Allen is very physically gifted, but he needs to improve his decision-making and be a little more consistent with his footwork. He has good mobility and the arm strength to make any throw in the book.

                      3. New York Jets
                      Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA*
                      Rosen is coming off a shoulder injury that knocked him out of his team's final six games last season. He has raw talent but needs to improve his accuracy; he has a 59.7 career completion rate.

                      4. Cleveland Browns*
                      Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson*
                      Wilkins finished second on Clemson with 13 tackles for loss in 2016, just behind Carlos Watkins, who had 13.5. Wilkins is very disruptive, racking up 10 pass breakups and five QB hurries last season.

                      *Acquired in a trade with the Texans

                      5. Minnesota Vikings
                      Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama*
                      The No. 1-ranked WR recruit in 2015, Ridley has accounted for 161 catches in his two seasons in Tuscaloosa. That's 28.4 percent of the team's total in that span.

                      6. Denver Broncos
                      Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas*
                      Jefferson has started 18 games in his first two seasons with Texas. He has 15.5 tackles for loss in his career and ranked third on the team with 42 solo tackles in 2016.

                      7. Indianapolis Colts
                      Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State*
                      Barkley had nearly 1,900 total yards in his true sophomore season at Penn State. His 22 total touchdowns ranked first among all Power 5 running backs last season.

                      8. Buffalo Bills
                      Derwin...
                      -07-15-2017, 08:08 AM
                    • Nick
                      Mel Kiper's Too-Early 2017 Big Board
                      by Nick
                      Mel Kiper's Too-Early 2017 Big Board
                      May 11, 2016
                      Mel Kiper Jr.

                      In what has become an annual tradition, here's the too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

                      The quick audit on last year?

                      Not too bad!

                      Joey Bosa was at No. 1, and a number of other early picks were close by. Jared Goff was my No. 1 quarterback, Jalen Ramsey was my No. 1 option in the secondary and the top three tackle prospects were Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin, just the way I ended up. It could always be worse.

                      A couple of notes on what you see below:

                      1. I'm not going to be too scouting heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed at this point.
                      2. I also have (too-early) rankings across every position group done and will publish those next week.

                      With that said, here you go.

                      An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2016 season. Two asterisks denotes a redshirt sophomore.


                      1. *Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M Aggies
                      The value of guys who can apply consistent pressure in a pass-happy league has never been higher -- did you catch the Super Bowl? -- and Garrett is that long edge monster all teams covet. He has 24 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss in two seasons.


                      2. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama Crimson Tide
                      On a per-snap basis, Williams is as disruptive as any player in America, and I think he would have easily been a first-rounder in the 2016 draft. The question is whether he can be as dominant when he's playing more snaps.


                      3. *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU Tigers
                      Big, bruising, fast ... but let's keep an eye on the mileage. Fournette is a dynamic talent, that rare running back who generates excitement for teams drafting in Round 1. But he carried 300 times last season and is at 487 carries in two years. Will LSU use him up?


                      4. *Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson Tigers
                      Had he been available for the 2016 draft, Watson could have challenged Jared Goff to be the first quarterback taken. Sure, he's a gifted mover (1,105 rushing yards in 2015), but Watson is a very good passer; he can drive it down the field and displays consistent accuracy and touch.


                      5. *Jamal Adams, S, LSU Tigers
                      I had his dad, George, in the 1985 draft guide, and Jamal might be even better. He was the top safety in the country as a high school senior and has continued to dominate at LSU. He plays with tenacity and aggressiveness. He can cover, attack the line and has good ball skills.



                      6. *Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State Spartans
                      A versatile, highly athletic interior defender who can be moved anywhere along the line, McDowell has length and strength. And he was disruptive last season, piling up 13.0 tackles for loss. Sparty lost a lot of talent on the defensive line to the 2016 draft, so McDowell faces...
                      -08-01-2016, 01:35 PM
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