The Woodgrove Outlander

Top 8 Prospects of the 2018 NFL Draft

Written by Ryan Forbes

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#1. Saquon Barkley- (Running Back) Penn State– There is no doubt who the top player in the draft is. Barkley has been the most talented and explosive player all year in college football. His playmaking ability will guarantee him a spot as one of the top players in this year’s draft.

NFL Comparison: Ezekiel Elliot. Barkley has the same type of player as Elliot was in Ohio State with his dual threat. Not only do defenses have to load the box to stop Barkley in the run game, they also have to fear his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Elliot brings that same fear to defense and both players have received national attention for their abilities. Elliot has had some trouble adjusting to the attention, with domestic violence charges being brought against him. The question on many teams’ minds is: Will Barkley be able to handle the attention.

#2. Minkah Fitzpatrick- (Cornerback) Alabama– Fitzpatrick was college football’s best cover corner for two years now and easily could have been a top pick in last year’s draft. His dominance in coverage has been shown with his six interceptions last year, and although he followed that up with only one this year, his effectiveness was still shown with opposing quarterbacks trying to avoid firing the ball to his side of the field.

NFL Comparison: Joe Haden. Haden was also overlooked for his lack of interceptions, but his ability to shadow the game’s best receivers is what has made his career. Fitzpatrick has shown his ability to shadow some of the best receivers in college and should have no problem continuing that in the NFL

#3. Roquan Smith- (Linebacker) Georgia- Smith helped lead a defense oriented Georgia Bulldog team to the Championship but just came up short. He proved himself throughout the season with his quick reactions and ability to fly around the field to make tackles. If Smith decides to declare for the draft he will easily be in the top ten.

NFL Comparison: Deion Jones. Jones shows the same playmaking ability to blow up every offensive play. His speed and size is almost identical to Smith, and they both have the potential to become the greatest linebackers to play in the league. If Smith can become as effective in pass coverage as he is in the rush game, then he would be the complete NFL linebacker.

#4. Quenton Nelson- (Guard) Notre Dame- Nelson may be the best player in this draft. His consistency blocking in the passing and rushing game can make him the most NFL ready prospect in this draft.

NFL Comparison: Zack Martin. The former Notre Dame alumni compares well to this current Notre Dame player. Martin’s size and ability to block in the passing and rushing game is what got him drafted in the first round back in 2014, and with Nelson drawing close comparisons, he should not escape the top ten of this draft.

#5. Bradley Chubb- (Defensive End) NC State- Chubb has an elite ability to rush the passer and stuff the run game. He recorded ten sacks this year and 10.5 last year, so he has proven his ability to disrupt games and rattle quarterbacks. One weakness is that if he can’t get going and disrupt the passer, he can be completely taken out of the game by the opposing offense.

NFL Comparison: Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah’s size helps him dominate offenses such as Chubb has done in College. Chubb shows the same ability to disrupt the passing attack and stuff the run, which is what Ansah has done for the Lions in the past couple years. Chubb may be the most NFL ready defensive player in this draft.

#6. Josh Jackson- (Cornerback) Iowa- Jackson probably isn’t the top cornerback in the draft, but he’s definitely close to Alabama’s Fitzpatrick. Jackson, however, is definitely more ball aware then Fitzpatrick. His three interceptions in the game against Ohio State shows ability to make plays on the ball. What makes him weaker than Fitzpatrick is that his coverage is not as strong, and he can get beaten over the top. Granted, Fitzpatrick played on the nation’s top team and Jackson played on a decent Iowa team, but he played to Fitzpatrick’s advantage in coverage.

NFL Comparison: Trumaine Johnson. Johnson has demonstrated his ability to create interceptions since coming into the league in 2012. Any team would be thrilled to add a cornerback like Jackson to their roster in 2018.

#7. Calvin Ridley- (Wide Receiver) Alabama- Ridley is probably the top receiver in this year’s draft and should be a first round player. His speed makes him a dangerous opponent, and his catching ability will make him a threat to opposing defensive backs.

NFL Comparison: Stefon Diggs. Diggs showed the same type of talent entering the draft in 2015, but fell to the fifth round and has made teams pay for not selecting him sooner. Ridley shouldn’t fall that far, but he could make teams pay for not selecting him, too.

#8. Derrius Guice- (Running Back) LSU- Guice has terrified opposing team’s defenses in college while his 200 pound frame has powered through defenders one by one. He’s had back to back 1,000 yard rushing seasons and should have no problem continuing this in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Leonard Fournette. Guice and Fournette were teammates at LSU and split time in the backfield together in 2016. They both have the same ability and mentality of running straight through people. They may not be shifty backs, but still have the ability to change a game and Guice should have no problem with this in the NFL.

 

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