2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Matt Miller's Way-Too-Early Initial Rankings

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 2, 2017

2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Matt Miller's Way-Too-Early Initial Rankings

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The early word from NFL scouts on the 2018 NFL draft is that it will be a good one. Potentially very good. And that's all thanks to three quarterbacks.

    Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen will have NFL scouts, coaches and general managers following their every move over the next season. Each represents the possibility of a franchise quarterback if they continue to develop to their full potential and remain healthy. 

    Allen's big arm and athleticism will draw comparisons to a bigger Patrick Mahomes, while the pro-schemes that Darnold and Rosen are coming from will give them an immediate boost. 

    The excitement surrounding the quarterbacks won't hide the fact that Penn State's Saquon Barkley should enter the season as a Heisman favorite with legitimate comparisons to Ezekiel Elliott. And already one scout has told me that Texas left tackle Connor Williams looks like a young Joe Thomas.

    On defense, the class is anchored by a few studs—Christian Wilkins, Derwin James and potential stars Malik Jefferson and Jerome Baker. The safety class so far doesn't compare to what we just saw, but it will be good once again with James, Marcus Allen, Quin Blanding and Armani Watts headlining.

    This should be looked at as more of a watch list than a final ranking, but it's a great starting point for watching players in 2018.

Top 50 Overall Players

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    RB Saquon Barkley
    RB Saquon BarkleyTony Ding/Associated Press

    Here are the top 50 players overall for the 2018 NFL draft.

    2017 Top 50 Rankings
    RankPlayerSchoolPos
    1Josh AllenWyomingQB
    2Sam DarnoldUSCQB
    3Saquon BarkleyPenn StateRB
    4Christian WilkinsClemsonDL
    5Josh RosenUCLAQB
    6Derwin JamesFSUS
    7Connor WilliamsTexasOT
    8Da'Shawn HandAlabamaDL
    9Malik JeffersonTexasLB
    10Minkah FitzpatrickAlabamaCB
    11Arden KeyLSUEDGE
    12Deon CainClemsonWR
    13Derrius GuiceLSURB
    14Jerome BakerOhio StateLB
    15Marcus AllenPenn StateS
    16Josh SweatFSUEDGE
    17Cameron SmithUSCLB
    18Tarvarus McFaddenFSUCB
    19Mike McGlincheyNotre DameOT
    20Mitch HyattClemsonOT
    21Orlando BrownOklahomaOT
    22Calvin RidleyAlabamaWR
    23Courtland SuttonSMUWR
    24Vita VeaWashingtonDL
    25Jaire AlexanderLouisvilleCB
    26Denzel WardOhio StateCB
    27Dre'Mont JonesOhio StateDL
    28Armani WattsTexas A&MS
    29Martinas RankinMiss. StateOT
    30Azeem VictorWashingtonLB
    31Quenton NelsonNotre DameOG
    32Christian KirkTexas A&MWR
    33Antonio CallawayFloridaWR
    34Marquis HaynesOle MissEDGE
    35Quin BlandingVirginiaS
    36Bradley ChubbN.C. StateEDGE
    37Davin BellamyGeorgiaEDGE
    38Sony MichelGeorgiaRB
    39Damien PrinceMarylandG
    40Daylon MackTexas A&MDL
    41Luke FalkWashington St.QB
    42Equanimeous St. Brown Notre DameWR
    43Harold LandryBoston CollegeEDGE
    44Mason ColeMichiganC
    45Godwin IgwebuikeNorthwesternS
    46Duke EfioforWake ForestDL
    47Byron CowartAuburnEDGE
    48Derrick NnadiFSUDL
    49Adonis AlexanderVirginia TechCB
    50Parris CampbellOhio StateWR

Quarterbacks

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    QB Josh Allen
    QB Josh AllenAssociated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Josh Rosen, UCLA

    Best Arm: Josh Allen, Wyoming

    Best Runner: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

    Best Potential: Josh Allen, Wyoming

    Biggest Question Mark: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

    Biggest Sleeper: Max Browne, Pitt

    Quarterback Rankings
    RankPlayerSchool
    1Josh AllenWyoming
    2Sam DarnoldUSC
    3Josh RosenUCLA
    4Luke FalkWashington State
    5Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State
    6Lamar JacksonLouisville
    7Jake BrowningWashington
    8Kyle AllenHouston
    9Baker MayfieldOklahoma
    10Max BrownePitt

Running Backs

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    RB Bo Scarbrough
    RB Bo ScarbroughTom Pennington/Getty Images

    Most NFL-Ready: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    Best Third-Down Back: Ronald Jones, USC

    Best Speed: Ronald Jones, USC

    Best Power: Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

    Best Potential: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    Biggest Question Mark: Nick Chubb, Georgia (injury)

    Biggest Sleeper: Damien Harris, Alabama

    Running Back Rankings
    RankPlayerSchool
    1Saquon BarkleyPenn State
    2Derrius GuiceLSU
    3Sony MichelGeorgia
    4Ronald JonesUSC
    5Royce FreemanOregon
    6Nick ChubbGeorgia
    7Myles GaskinWashington
    8Bo ScarbroughAlabama
    9Rawleigh Williams III Arkansas
    10Damien HarrisAlabama

Wide Receivers

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    WR Deon Cain
    WR Deon CainJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Most NFL-Ready: Deon Cain, Clemson

    Best Boundary Receiver: Deon Cain, Clemson

    Best Slot Receiver: Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    Best Hands: Dante Pettis, Washington

    Best Route-Runner: Courtland Sutton, SMU

    Best Potential: Courtland Sutton, SMU

    Biggest Question Mark: Antonio Callaway, Florida

    Biggest Sleeper: Parris Campbell, Ohio State

      

    Wide Receiver Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Deon CainClemson
    2Calvin RidleyAlabama
    3Courtland SuttonSMU
    4Christian KirkTexas A&M
    5Antonio Callaway Florida
    6Equanimeous St. Brown Notre Dame
    7Parris CampbellOhio State
    8James WashingtonOklahoma State
    9Deebo SamuelWashington
    10Dante PettisWashington

Tight Ends

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    TE Adam Breneman
    TE Adam BrenemanSean Rayford/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin

    Best Slot Tight End: DeAndre Goolsby, Florida

    Best Hands: Adam Breneman, UMass

    Best Route-RunnerBreneman

    Best Blocker: Fumagalli

    Biggest Question Mark: Dalton Schultz, Stanford

    Biggest Sleeper: Ben Johnson, Kansas

    Tight End Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Adam BrenemanUMass
    2Troy FumagalliWisconsin
    3Mike GesickiPenn State
    4Mark AndrewsOklahoma
    5Dalton SchultzStanford
    6DeAndre GoolsbyFlorida
    7Marcus BaughOhio State
    8Durham SmytheNotre Dame
    9Ben JohnsonKansas
    10Cam SerigneWake Forest

Offensive Tackles

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

    Best Run-Blocker: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

    Best Pass-Blocker: Connor Williams, Texas

    Best Potential: Connor Williams, Texas

    Biggest Question Mark: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

    Biggest Sleeper: Trey Adams, Washington

     

    Offensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Connor WilliamsTexas
    2Mike McGlincheyNotre Dame
    3Mitch HyattClemson 
    4Orlando BrownOklahoma
    5Martinas RankinMiss. State
    6Trey AdamsWashington
    7Toby WeathersbyLSU
    8Geron ChristianLouisville
    9Tyrell CrosbyOregon
    10Jamarco JonesOhio State

Offensive Guards

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    Martez Ivey
    Martez IveyPhelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Best Run-Blocker: Martez Ivey, Florida

    Best Pass-Blocker: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Best Potential: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Biggest Question Mark: Tyrone Crowder, Clemson

    Biggest Sleeper: Wilson Bell, FSU

     

    Offensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Quenton NelsonNotre Dame
    2Damian PrinceMaryland
    3Martez IveyFlorida 
    4Billy PriceOhio State
    5Scott Quessenberry UCLA
    6Tyrone CrowderClemson
    7Larry Allen, Jr.Harvard
    8Cody O'ConnellWashington St.
    9Braden SmithAuburn
    10Wilson BellFlorida State

Centers

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Mason Cole, Michigan

    Best Run-Blocker: Mason Cole, Michigan

    Best Pass-Blocker: Mason Cole, Michigan

    Best Potential: Mason Cole, Michigan

    Biggest Question Mark: Nick Linder, Miami (FL)

    Biggest Sleeper: Jake Bennett, Colorado State

     

    Offensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Mason ColeMichigan
    2Michael DeiterWisconsin
    3Alec EberleFlorida State 
    4Frank RagnowArkansas
    5Coleman SheltonWashington
    6Sean WelshIowa
    7Bradley Bozeman Alabama
    8Nick LinderMiami (FL)
    9Austin GolsonAuburn
    10Jake BennettColorado State

Defensive Lineman

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    DL Christian Wilkins
    DL Christian WilkinsJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best Run-Stopper: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best Nose Tackle: Vita Vea, Washington

    Best 3-4 Defensive End: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best 3-Technique: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best Pass-Rusher: Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama

    Best Potential: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Biggest Question Mark: Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee (injury)

    Biggest Sleeper: Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee (injury)

    Defensive Lineman Rankings
    RankPlayerSchool
    1Christian WilkinsClemson
    2Da'Shawn HandAlabama
    3Vita VeaWashington
    4Dre'Mont JonesOhio State
    5Daylon MackTexas A&M
    6Duke EjioforWake Forest
    7Derrick NnadiFSU
    8Kahlil McKenzieTennessee
    9Lowell LotuleleiUtah
    10Maurice HurstMichigan

Edge-Rushers

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    Arden Key
    Arden KeyJim Lytle/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Arden Key, LSU

    Best Run-Stopper: Bradley Chubb, N.C. State

    Best 4-3 Defensive End: Josh Sweat, FSU

    Best 3-4 Outside Linebacker: Key

    Best Pass-Rusher: Key

    Best Potential: Key

    Biggest Question Mark: Key

    Biggest Sleeper: Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

    Edge Defender Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Arden KeyLSU
    2Josh SweatFSU
    3Marquis Haynes Ole Miss
    4Bradley ChubbN.C. State
    5Davin BellamyGeorgia
    6Harold LandryBoston College 
    7Byron CowartAuburn
    8Dante BookerOhio State
    9Tyquan LewisOhio State
    10Sam HubbardOhio State

Linebackers

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    LB Malik Jefferson
    LB Malik JeffersonEric Gay/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Malik Jefferson, Texas

    Best Weak-Side Linebacker: Jefferson

    Best Strong-Side Linebacker: Cameron Smith, USC

    Best Inside Linebacker: Mike McCray, Michigan

    Best Run-Stopper: McCray

    Best Pass-Rusher: McCray

    Best Pass Coverage: Jefferson

    Best Potential: Jefferson

    Biggest Question Mark: Jefferson

    Biggest Sleeper: Christian Miller, Alabama

    2017 Linebacker Rankings
    RankPlayerSchool
    1Malik JeffersonTexas
    2Jerome BakerOhio State
    3Cameron SmithUSC
    4Azeem VictorWashington
    5Christian MillerAlabama
    6T.J. EdwardsWisconsin
    7Kendall JosephClemson
    8Tremaine Edmunds Virginia Tech
    9Matthew ThomasFlorida State
    10Mike McCrayMichigan

Cornerbacks

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    CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
    CB Minkah FitzpatrickGerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

    Best Slot Cornerback: Anthony Averett, Alabama

    Best Man Coverage: Fitzpatrick

    Best Zone Coverage: Tarvarus McFadden, FSU

    Best Potential: Fitzpatrick

    Biggest Question Mark: Denzel Ward, Ohio State (untested)

    Biggest Sleeper: Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech

     

    2017 Cornerback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Minkah FitzpatrickAlabama
    2Tarvarus McFaddenFSU
    3Jaire AlexanderLouisville
    4Denzel WardOhio State
    5Adonis AlexanderAlabama
    6Anthony AverettAlabama
    7Carlton DavisAuburn
    8Jamar SummersUConn
    9Brandon FacysonVirginia Tech
    10Tony BrownAlabama

Safeties

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    Armani Watts
    Armani WattsDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Most NFL-Ready: Marcus Allen, Penn State

    Best Coverage: Derwin James, FSU

    Best Strong Safety: Allen

    Best Free Safety: James

    Best Run-Stopper: Allen

    Best Potential: James

    Biggest Question Mark: Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern

    Biggest Sleeper: Jordan Whitehead, Pitt

     

    2017 Safety Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool
    1Derwin JamesFSU
    2Marcus AllenPenn State
    3Armani WattsTexas A&M
    4Quin BlandingVirginia
    5Godwin Igwebuike Northwestern 
    6Damon WebbOhio State
    7Nick WashingtonFlorida
    8Jordan WhiteheadPitt 
    9Chris HankinsUSC
    10Dominick SandersGeorgia