Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It’s time for a brand new Big Board update…and boy has A LOT changed from my preseason board back in August.
Let’s look at the facts real quick: if you are a team looking for new pieces on defense, this is the draft for you. Pass rusher and defensive lineman are absolutely loaded with talent with guys like Nick Bosa, Ed Oliver, Clelin Ferrell, Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons, and Montez Sweat. All should be starters for whoever drafts them. Also, of the 75 prospects, I have ranked (yes, this is a Top 50 update), 42 of them play on defense while 34 play on offense.
Speaking of offense, this isn’t the best draft for this side of the ball. The Quarterback class, with the exception of Justin Herbert, is painfully weak. The Running Back position is the weakest it’s been since 2014 when the first Running Back (Bishop Sankey from Washington) was taken in the second round. The Offensive Line positions (tackles, guards, centers) are solid groups headlined by consensus #1 OL, Jonah Williams. Wide Receiver and Tight End are easily the strongest groups with at least 12 total prospects in the Top 50. Both groups are headlined by guys like Ole Miss’s D.K. Metcalf and Iowa’s Noah Fant.
Now without further ado, let’s get started!
The Top Ten
1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Ed Oliver was my top-ranked guy in the preseason until I took a better look at Nick Bosa and realized I made a mistake. Bosa is everything you want in a defensive end: excellent hand technique, exceptional first-step quickness, athleticism, the whole nine yards. He is the best player in the draft heading into bowl season. But the gap between him and Quinnen Williams is getting smaller by the week. And speaking of Mr. Williams…
2. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
Coming in at second overall on my draft board is one of the most dominant defensive players in college football. Quinnen Williams possesses violent hands at the point of attack and might have the best hand technique out of anyone in this draft class. You can forget playing one-on-one (hell, double-teaming him probably won’t work either ) because he will absolutely demolish you. He’s not the biggest guy at 6’3, 285, but that has not fazed him one bit this season. Williams may very well be the first pick in late April.
I can't get enough of Quinnen Williams. Sort of long arms the LG to get him off balance, then bull rushes him the rest of the way towards the QB before discarding him and getting the sack. This is a special player. pic.twitter.com/Dq7jWpOXOe
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) November 15, 2018
3. Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Some fans might perceive this ranking as a hot take but from what I’ve seen so far this year, Williams has been more impressive than Oliver. Let’s not shy away from that facts, though: Oliver is still a Top three consensus prospect in this draft. Oliver possesses an elite first-step and athleticism that you just don’t see in defensive lineman. His production has been spectacular during his three years at Houston but I would like to see how he would fair against a Power Five opponent.
4. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Deionte Thompson is far and away the best defensive back prospect in the draft and a guy that can turn into a quarterback’s worst nightmare in the secondary. On tape, Thompson showcases elite range and ball skills to go along with his physicality and athleticism. For a team in need of safety or defensive back help overall, Thompson would make things 10x better because of what he brings to the table.
5. Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
Back in August, I had Raekwon Davis in the #5 slot on my big board over Simmons. But in my analysis of Simmons, I said this:
“The third defensive lineman in my Top 10 might be a better player than my fifth overall prospect, Raekwon Davis…As a pass rusher, [Jeffery Simmons] is much more developed than Davis in terms of having a plan of attack as a rusher. While Simmons might be better than Davis, Davis is ahead of him due to upside and potential. At the moment though, I see Simmons being a top 15 lock throughout the fall unless he has a down year.”
Most of this is still true. Simmons is a lock for the Top 15 and is still much better at having a plan of attack as a pass rusher. The production, though, has been better this year for Simmons and his upside and potential has risen. But the gap between Simmons and Davis is still very small.
6. Jonah Williams, T, Alabama
Williams is still the best offensive prospect in the draft, period. Footwork is still excellent and has rarely made any false steps during his pass sets. Size and strength is still on an elite level as well. But, again, some teams are still concerned about his length and say Williams might have to move to guard because of it. Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network recently did a film analysis on Williams showing that he has some technical hand usage issues to work on but his length should not be a concern. I believe Jonah Williams is going to be a starting left tackle in the NFL.
7. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Raekwon Davis has been very quiet in the box score this year due to being in the rotation with Quinnen Williams and Isaiah Buggs. But when given the opportunity, Davis turns into a monster. Davis showcases violent hands and power but is still very raw as a pass rusher. Despite those concerns, he is still talented and has HUGE upside and potential. Davis can develop into a dangerous defensive lineman at the next level over the next few years.
8. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
A guy that was previously unknown at the start, Jachai Polite has become one of the most feared pass rushers in college football (shoutout to Ben Fennell for finding this guy). Polite is a great athlete with amazing bend and is a helluva speed rusher. Polite is one of the speedy pass rushers that posses bend that I LOVE and I think he can make a easy transition into the NFL as a 3-4 OLB.
Florida DE Jachai Polite was turning it upppppp in the 2nd half! pic.twitter.com/ng1Wl8saDM
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) September 30, 2018
9. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Greedy Williams is still the best cornerback for the upcoming 2019 draft and there isn’t a cornerback that has convinced me otherwise…yet. As I said in the preseason, Williams has the size, length and athleticism that teams beg to have at the position plus his click-and-close ability from off-coverage is incredible. He’s the real deal. But the concerns still remain: he struggles with press-man technique, effort and lack of focus (see Bama game). Despite that, he is a consensus Top 15 prospect.
10. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Wilson has shot up by board and has been a Top-10 prospect for me since mid-October. Wilson possess rare instincts, balls skills, and ability in coverage to go along with being an outstanding tackler. He is a perfect example of today’s linebacker. Wilson will more than likely join the list of stud Bama backers that have been drafted in recent years such as Reuben Foster, Rashaan Evans and Reggie Ragland.
Mack Wilson WOW. This is a linebacker, folks pic.twitter.com/qLGSmA3T1s
— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) November 4, 2018
The Board: 11-50
Now that you have seen who my Top Ten guys currently are, here’s the rest of my Top 50 draft board!
***Note: I have ranked the players below in terms of their performance and skill, not on which spot they will be drafted from.
|12||D.K. Metcalf||WR||Ole Miss|
|13||Gerald Willis III||DL||Miami|
|14||Kelvin Harmon||WR||NC State|
|17||Montez Sweat||EDGE||Mississippi State|
|19||Jeffery Tillery||DL||Notre Dame|
|22||Dolton Risner||T||Kansas State|
|25||Hakeem Butler||WR||Iowa State|
|28||Yodny Cajuste||T||West Virginia|
|31||N’Keal Harry||WR||Arizona State|
|32||Deebo Samuel||WR||South Carolina|
|39||Wyatt Ray||EDGE||Boston College|
|40||DaMarkus Lodge||WR||Ole Miss|
|43||Chris Lindstorm||iOL||Boston College|
|45||Elgton Jenkins||iOL||Mississippi State|
|49||Scott Frantz||T||Kansas State|
|50||A.J. Brown||WR||Ole Miss|
In A Weak QB Class, Who Stands Out (with the exception of Herbert)?
Out of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, this upcoming class is one that holds more questions than answers.
Justin Herbert is easily the best Quarterback in the draft and he might not even declare. So besides Herbert, who stands out?
Will Grier– Grier is one helluva quarterback and has good arm with great touch and ball placement, accuracy, and solid awareness in the pocket. His mechanics are a mess and can result in bad play (see Iowa State). He’s had a nice year and showing why he can potentially be the second quarterback taken in the first round come April.
Drew Lock– Lock is a guy with good accuracy on all three levels and possess a nice little cannon of an arm but his mechanics, footwork, and ability to work through his progressions is a major concern with him. That’s a no for me. It’s not clear where Lock could be drafted. Some think he’ll go towards the end of the first round, but others think that he could be a day two pick.
Ryan Finley– Finley has first round pote–oh wait, sorry, I thought it was August. Finley has a noodle for an arm and processing a play is something he tends to struggle with but he is very solid in his progressions. I don’t see anything more than a career back up. NEXT!
Brett Rypien– I’m gonna be completely honest, I haven’t watched enough of Brett Rypien but just off the threads I’ve seen on Twitter and clips from Boise State games on Saturday, I can tell you he’s a favorite among many and he probably will be a favorite of mine as well. Put him on the list!
Easton Stick– Stick is a four-year captain at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. When I watch Stick, always notice nice touch and anticipation with him plus a good release of the football. Accuracy is pretty good, too. Add him to the short list of standout-ish QBs.
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) October 12, 2018
Daniel Jones– Jones is actually one of my favorites and I can go ahead and say he is one of the QBs that stands out. Jones is accurate with a solid arm, great presence in the pocket and poise plus his athleticism is very underrated. I wasn’t a fan of what I saw against Clemson but I really liked the potential. Add him!
Glanced at a few potential QB draft prospects over the past few weeks. Duke QB Daniel Jones is impressive. His anticipation on RPOs in the short-to-intermediate areas is legit. pic.twitter.com/2u6oQfOYmA
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) September 25, 2018
Gardner Minshew– Minshew is someone I’m still trying to get a better look at but from what I saw against USC, I think he will be a big riser for the upcoming class. Great arm and is actively going through progressions. With that said, he does struggle with natural accuracy (yes, I know he’s completed 70% of his passes so shut up). This means the Senior Bowl (if invited and he accepts it) is going to be huge for him. But I like his potential. Minshew is more of a wait and see, at the moment.
Out of the seven guys I listed out, 4 QBs (Rypien, Stick, Jones, and Grier) are guys I consider as standouts in this weak QB class. While I still don’t consider these guys as Top-50 prospects, I see some nice upside and potential in this prospects. Remember: this could all be very different come the NFL Combine.
Chiefs vs. Rams: The Greatest Game of All-Time
Week 11’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams lived up to hype and then some.
.@AaronDonald97's performance in two words?
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2018
215 yards, 2 TDs.
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2018
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2018
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2018
All-Time classic. Game of the Century. The Clash of the Titans. You can call it whatever you want. This was a game that everyone will be talking about until the day they die. We saw the future of the NFL, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff, go head to head on Monday Night Football in front of 90k+ fans and with tens of millions watching at home. This game might’ve topped the 2006 Rose Bowl as the GOAT game. We may never see anything like this again.
But let’s talk about ole’ Patty Mahomes. This dude is leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns and it’s only his TWELFTH CAREER START!. How can you be this good so early into your career?? If Mahomes is doing this in his second season, he’s going to be nuking defenses for the next 10+ years. That’s a scary thought!
Also, I don’t want to hear how this game had “no defense” because that’s the laziest take ever and that just tells me you didn’t watch the game. There were three defensive touchdowns, eight total sacks, and six total turnovers. But no defense right?
Thanksgiving Game Picks!
Ah, football on Thanksgiving. Something I love so dearly! I love it so much, I decided to make some game picks for today’s festivities!
12:30 PM ET: 7-3 Chicago Bears (-3.0) @ 4-6 Detroit Lions
Detroit is coming off a HUGE win over a tough Carolina Panthers squad on Sunday, as are Chicago who took down Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Chase Daniels, the richest backup Quarterback in football, will start in place of an injured Mitchell Trubisky while the Lions will be without rookie Running Back sensation Kerryon Johnson also. I expect the Bears to shutdown Detroit’s run game and get after Matthew Stafford and force him into some costly turnovers. Bears, 31-13.
4:30 PM ET: 6-4 Washington Redskins @ 5-5 Dallas Cowboys (-7.0)
Washington lost their game (and QB) Sunday. Not good. Not good at all! Zeke and the Dallas Cowboys defense should be licking their chops right now. I think Washington can still put up a fight with Adrian Peterson and solid defensive play, but I think Zeke and that stout Cowboys defense will play lights out. With a win, Dallas would be in the driver’s seat of the NFC East. ‘Boys, 28-10.
8:30 PM ET: 4-6 Atlanta Falcons @ 9-1 New Orleans Saints (-12.5)
If you think the Falcons stand a chance against the Saints, go kick rocks. The Saints have arguably the best offenses and one of the Top 10 best defenses in football. Drew Brees, Kamara/Ingram, and Michael Thomas are going to have an absolute field day. Saints win 49-21.
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