2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Matt Miller's Early Rankings

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2017

2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Matt Miller's Early Rankings

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    Think of the NFL draft process like a ladder with 10 rungs on it. Going on school visits over the summer (for scouts) is the first rung. That's where you get accurate height, weight, speed times and do an initial character visit. 

    The second rung is where we are right now: the early part of the season when scouts are still getting out to see players live for the first time. That's what I've been doing, too.

    The rest of the ladder: in-season school visits, bowl games, Senior Bowl, scouting combine, pro days and private workouts before the end of April when the 2018 NFL draft takes place.

    Properly evaluating a player takes a lot of time. I prefer to not write up strengths or weaknesses on a player until I've watched three games of film. There's nothing wrong with watching a game on TV or YouTube if that's all you have, but when writing up a player for a scouting report, I focus only on that player throughout the game. Doing this in person is best, but going off the All-22 works too.

    As you can imagine, there aren't enough hours in the day to see every prospect at that level yet. In fact, it takes me (and two assistants) until March to generally feel good about each player. That makes this list but an early start to the final rankings for this year's class. A lot will change. No evaluator should be so bullish on summer rankings that they won't change them.

Top 25 Overall Players

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    RankPlayerSchool
    1QB Sam DarnoldUSC
    2RB Saquon BarkleyPenn State
    3QB Josh AllenWyoming
    4S Derwin JamesFSU
    5QB Josh RosenUCLA
    6DE Harold LandryBoston College
    7DE Arden KeyLSU
    8OT Connor Williams Texas
    9RB Derrius GuiceLSU
    10DT Christian WilkinsClemson
    11WR Calvin RidleyAlabama
    12S Minkah FitzpatrickAlabama
    13CB Tarvarus McFadden FSU
    14LB Malik JeffersonTexas
    15DE Dorance ArmstrongKansas
    16OT Mike McGlincheyNotre Dame
    17WR Deon CainClemson
    18WR Courtland SuttonSMU
    19RB Ronald Jones IIUSC
    20LB Jerome BakerOhio State
    21DE Clelin FerrellClemson
    22S Ronnie HarrisonAlabama
    23DT Maurice HurstMichigan
    24WR Christian KirkTexas A&M
    25DT Dre'Mont JonesOhio State

Top 10 Quarterbacks

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    Biggest Riser: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

    Biggest Faller: Luke Falk, Washington State

    Most NFL-Ready: Josh Rosen, UCLA

    Best Arm: Josh Allen, Wyoming

    Best Runner: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

    Best Potential: Josh Allen, Wyoming

    Biggest Question Mark: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

    Biggest Sleeper: Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Sam DarnoldUSC
    2Josh AllenWyoming
    3Josh RosenUCLA
    4Mason RudolphOklahoma State
    5Lamar JacksonLouisville
    6Baker MayfieldOklahoma
    7Luke FalkWashington State 
    8Jarrett Stidham Auburn
    9Nick FitzgeraldMiss. State 
    10Jake BrowningWashington

Top 10 Running Backs

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    Biggest Riser: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

    Biggest Faller: Nick Chubb, Georgia

    Most NFL-Ready: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    Best Third-Down Back: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    Best Speed: Ronald Jones II, USC

    Best Power: Derrius Guice, LSU

    Best Potential: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

    Biggest Question Mark: Mike Weber, Ohio State

    Biggest Sleeper: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Saquon BarkleyPenn State
    2Derrius GuiceLSU
    3Ronald Jones II USC
    4Sony MichelGeorgia
    5Rashaad PennySan Diego State
    6Mike WeberOhio State
    7Akrum WadleyIowa
    8Bo ScarbroughAlabama
    9Royce FreemanOregon
    10Mark WaltonMiami (Fla.)

Top 10 Wide Receivers

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    Biggest Riser: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

    Biggest Faller: Antonio Callaway, Florida

    Most NFL-Ready: Deon Cain, Clemson

    Best Boundary Receiver: Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    Best Slot Receiver: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

    Best Hands: Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    Best Route-Runner: Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    Best Potential: Courtland Sutton, SMU

    Biggest Question Mark: Antonio Callaway, Florida

    Biggest Sleeper: Simmie Cobbs Jr., Indiana

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Calvin RidleyAlabama
    2Deon CainClemson
    3Courtland Sutton SMU
    4Christian KirkTexas A&M
    5Simmie Cobbs Jr.Indiana
    6Deebo SamuelSouth Carolina 
    7James Washington Oklahoma State 
    8Dante PettisWashington
    9Antonio CallawayFlorida
    10Deontay BurnettUSC

Top 10 Tight Ends

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    Biggest Riser: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

    Biggest Faller: Ryan Izzo, FSU

    Most NFL-Ready: Mike Gesicki, Penn State

    Best Slot Tight End: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin

    Best Hands: Mike Gesicki, Penn State

    Best Route-Runner: Mike Gesicki, Penn State

    Best Blocker: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

    Best Power: Adam Breneman, UMass

    Biggest Question Mark: Adam Breneman, UMass

    Biggest Sleeper: Drew Sample, Washington

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Mike GesickiPenn State
    2Mark AndrewsOklahoma
    3Troy FumagalliWisconsin
    4Adam BrenemanUMass
    5Brandon FrittsNorth Carolina
    6Dalton SchultzStanford
    7DeAndre Goolsby Florida
    8Tyler PetiteUSC
    9Ryan IzzoFSU
    10Drew SampleWashington

Top 10 Tackles

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    Biggest Riser: Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan

    Biggest Faller: Tyrell Crosby, Oregon

    Most NFL-Ready: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

    Best Run-Blocker: Connor Williams, Texas

    Best Pass-Blocker: Connor Williams, Texas

    Best Potential: Connor Williams, Texas

    Biggest Question Mark: Jamarco Jones, Ohio State

    Biggest Sleeper: Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Connor WilliamsTexas
    2Mike McGlincheyNotre Dame
    3Orlando BrownOklahoma
    4Brian O'NeillPittsburgh
    5Trey AdamsWashington 
    6Mitch HyattClemson
    7Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan 
    8Tyrell CrosbyOregon
    9Jamarco JonesOhio State
    10Geron ChristianLouisville

Top 10 Guards

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    Biggest Riser: Will Hernandez, UTEP

    Biggest Faller: Tyrone Crowder, Clemson

    Most NFL-Ready: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Best Run-Blocker: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Best Pass-Blocker: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

    Best Potential: Will Hernandez, UTEP

    Biggest Question Mark: Braden Smith, Auburn

    Biggest Sleeper: Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama 

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Quenton NelsonNotre Dame
    2Will HernandezUTEP
    3Braden SmithAuburn
    4Martez IveyFlorida
    5Beau BenzschawelWisconsin 
    6William ClappLSU
    7Ross Pierschbacher Alabama
    8Brandon FanaikaStanford
    9Cody O'ConnellWashington State 
    10Tyrone CrowderClemson

Top 10 Centers

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    Biggest Riser: Coleman Shelton, Washington

    Biggest Faller: none

    Most NFL-Ready: Billy Price, Ohio State

    Best Run-Blocker: Billy Price, Ohio State

    Best Pass-Blocker: Billy Price, Ohio State

    Best Potential: Billy Price, Ohio State

    Biggest Question Mark: Martinas Rankin, Miss. State

    Biggest Sleeper: Nick Linder, Miami (Fla.) 

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Billy PriceOhio State
    2Frank RagnowArkansas
    3Mason ColeMichigan
    4Martinas RankinMiss. State
    5Coleman SheltonWashington 
    6Bradley BozemanAlabama
    7Sean WelshIowa
    8Nick LinderMiami (Fla.)
    9Jake BennettColorado State 
    10Austin GolsonAuburn

Top 10 Edge-Rushers

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Biggest Riser: Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

    Biggest Faller: Porter Gustin, USC (injury)

    Most NFL-Ready: Harold Landry, Boston College

    Best Run-Stopper: Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

    Best Pass-Rusher: Arden Key, LSU

    Best Potential: Arden Key, LSU

    Biggest Question Mark: Arden Key, LSU

    Biggest Sleeper: Dorance Armstrong, Kansas

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Harold LandryBoston College
    2Arden KeyLSU
    3Dorance Armstrong Kansas
    4Clelin FerrellClemson
    5Sam HubbardOhio State 
    6Bradley ChubbNorth Carolina State 
    7Josh SweatFSU
    8Austin BryantClemson
    9Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma
    10Porter GustinUSC

Top 10 Defensive Linemen

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Biggest Riser: Maurice Hurst, Michigan

    Biggest Faller: none

    Most NFL-Ready: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best Run-Stopper: Maurice Hurst, Michigan

    Best Pass-Rusher: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Best Potential: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Biggest Question Mark: Vita Vea, Washington

    Biggest Sleeper: Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Christian WilkinsClemson
    2Maurice HurstMichigan
    3Dre'Mont JonesOhio State
    4Vita VeaWashington
    5Derrick NnadiFSU 
    6Da'Ron PayneAlabama
    7Rasheem GreenUSC
    8Da'Shawn HandAlabama
    9Trenton Thompson Georgia
    10Kahlil McKenzieTennessee

Top 10 Linebackers

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    Biggest Riser: Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

    Biggest Faller: none

    Most NFL-Ready: Jerome Baker, Ohio State

    Best Run-Stopper: Cameron Smith, USC

    Best Pass Coverage: Malik Jefferson, Texas

    Best Pass-Rusher: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

    Best Potential: Malik Jefferson, Texas

    Biggest Question Mark: none

    Biggest Sleeper: Josey Jewell, Iowa

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Malik JeffersonTexas
    2Jerome BakerOhio State
    3Tremaine EdmundsVirginia Tech
    4Lorenzo CarterGeorgia
    5Cameron SmithUSC
    6T.J. EdwardsWisconsin
    7Christian MillerAlabama
    8Shaun Dion HamiltonAlabama
    9Josey JewellIowa
    10Kendall JosephClemson

Top 10 Cornerbacks

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    Michael Chang/Getty Images

    Biggest Riser: M.J. Stewart, North Carolina

    Biggest Faller: Damon Arnette, Ohio State

    Most NFL-Ready: Tarvarus McFadden, FSU

    Best Slot Cornerback: Denzel Ward, Ohio State

    Best Man Coverage: Tarvarus McFadden, FSU

    Best Zone Coverage: Anthony Averett, Alabama

    Best Potential: Jaire Alexander, Louisville

    Biggest Question Mark: Iman Marshall, USC

    Biggest Sleeper: Kevin Toliver, LSU

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Tarvarus McFaddenFSU
    2Jaire AlexanderLouisville
    3Denzel WardOhio State 
    4Anthony AverettAlabama
    5Quenton MeeksStanford 
    6Kevin Toliver IILSU
    7M.J. StewartNorth Carolina 
    8Damon ArnetteOhio State
    9Iman MarshallUSC
    10Kendall SheffieldOhio State

Top 10 Safeties

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    Biggest Riser: Kyzir White, West Virginia

    Most NFL-Ready: Derwin James, FSU

    Best Coverage: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

    Best Strong Safety: Derwin James, FSU

    Best Free Safety: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

    Best Hybrid Defender: Derwin James, FSU

    Best Run-Stopper: Derwin James, FSU

    Best Potential: Derwin James, FSU

    Biggest Question Mark: Armani Watts, Texas A&M

    Biggest Sleeper: Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern

    RankPlayerSchool
    1Derwin JamesFSU
    2Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama
    3Ronnie HarrisonAlabama
    4Marcus AllenPenn State
    5Kyzir WhiteWest Virginia 
    6Jordan Whitehead Pittsburgh
    7Quin BlandingVirginia
    8Godwin Igwebuike Northwestern 
    9Armani WattsTexas A&M
    10Van SmithClemson