Ell’s Top 25 NFL Draft Prospects
- QB Josh Rosen (1st Round, #10, Arizona Cardinals)
In my opinion, Josh Rosen was the best of the signal callers in this draft, coming out of a pro-style offense with a former NFL coach in Jim Mora Jr. and he’s the most accurate QB in the draft. Rosen’s throws one of the prettiest spirals in the draft and has complete confidence in his abilities, but he is in a great situation to learn from veteran QB Sam Bradford who has seen the good and the bad of the NFL and Mike Glennon who doesn’t want to lose his QB spot again.
- RB Saquon Barkley (1st Round, #2, New York Giants)
Saquon Barkley has a rare blend of size, speed, and athleticism that will wow the most common observer, as he can make a game changing play in an instant. Barkley has home run speed, despite having the build of a power back, similar to Le’Veon Bell, as well as similarities in their rare catching abilities. Having Barkley is similar to having an extra WR with RB power which also makes him dangerous, if he was better running north/south he would be #1; however, the Giants haven’t had a franchise RB since Tiki Barber and Barkley can be the guy.
- DE/OLB Bradley Chubb (1st Round, #5, Denver Broncos)
Bradley Chubb is the best defensive player in a strong defensive draft which says a lot. Chubb was compared to a combo of Von Miller and Khalil Mack by Von Miller himself. Chubb has the ability to excel as a pure pass rusher whether he is standing up (OLB) or has his hands in the ground (DE) playing with a good mix of power and speed. Going to the Broncos to play with Miller, is also a plus as he will teach Chubb the skills to be immediately ready and increase his pass rush moves; he is the rusher they thought they had in Shane Ray and haven’t had since DeMarcus Ware.
- G Quenton Nelson (1st Round, #6, Indianapolis Colts)
Quenton Nelson is considered the best lineman in the draft which is not common for the Guard position which shows his effectiveness. Nelson is probably the safest pick in the draft, but it’s tough to rank the Guard position, but so high when talking draft and overall position. Nelson has good size and plays with great strength, technique, and footwork; there are very few flaws to his game and he should be ready from day 1. A team like the Colts needed a lineman like Nelson as he is consistent, smart, and physical; QB Andrew Luck has suffered multiple injuries.
- LB Roquan Smith (1st Round, #8, Chicago Bears)
Roquan Smith has drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame OLB Derrick Brooks and he has great athleticism, coverage skills, and instincts similar to Brooks. Despite being undersized, Smith was still ranked as the best MLB and many scouts believe he could be even better playing on the weak side, similar to Brooks. DC Vic Fangio knows how to get the best out of his defensive players and with an improving Bears’ defense; Smith is expected to make a big impact year 1.
- QB Josh Allen (1st Round, #7, Buffalo Bills)
It’s tough to not be intrigued by the skillset of Josh Allen, as he shown that he can throw 50/60 yards effortlessly, has put in the work in the offseason to improve his footwork, and hasn’t backed down from the big stage. Allen has a cannon arm and the size you would like in your QB, as well as, the mobility. However, coming out of Wyoming there was a lack of quality playmakers around him and he was essentially a one man show, so there are improvements that need to be made in footwork, accuracy, and consistency. In Buffalo, behind veteran A.J. McCarron and 2nd year QB Nathan Peterman, the Bills will have a good gage to see how pro ready Allen really is; as they both have limited game experience.
- DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (1st Round, #11, Miami Dolphins)
Minkah Fitzpatrick was considered to be the top DB in the draft, but because of the early QB chase the Safety position suffered as a result. Fitzpatrick was a different case, as he played both CB and S, as a moving piece, which left teams split on making him a #1 CB or a Safety where he would be more comfortable. Luckily, with the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick has a chance to make an impact as the #2/3 CB or as a roaming Safety to help playmaker Reshad Jones; he will be much needed him in a secondary and defense in need of young talent.
- SS Derwin James (1st Round, #17, Los Angeles Chargers)
Derwin James has been compared to SS Kam Chancellor with his good size, physical play, and ability to be a back end enforcer. James was believed to be rising up boards as high as #7 to Tampa Bay, but he fell to become a steal for the Chargers. James takes over as seemingly a finishing piece to a defense with improved pass rush and secondary play and he can play the back end enforcer in a tough division where he will be much welcomed to the defense.
- CB Denzel Ward (1st Round, #4, Cleveland Browns)
Denzel Ward was the unquestioned top CB in the draft, despite being slightly smaller than teams would want as a #1 CB, but his coverage, ball-hawking, and recovery skills, along with top speed to put him at the top. The Browns had an obvious need at CB and picked up Ward who should move right in as the Day 1 starter, after releasing veteran Jason McCourty, who had a similar skill set to Ward, but Ward has a lot more potential.
- DT Vita Vea (1st Round, #12, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Vita Vea was one of the players that teams wondered where he would land, as he has drawn comparisons to DT/DE Haloti Ngata and many teams believe he hasn’t reached his potential yet. Vea is a huge lineman with the footwork and motor to make a push into the backfield or even draw double teams, as he is one of the strongest players in the draft. He is still raw, but teams believe with the right coaching he will take the next step. Selected by the Bucs, Vea should be a problem starting or playing next to Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy and the added pass rushers at DE; if Vea can play consistently expect this to be one of the top defensive lines.
- QB Sam Darnold (1st Round, #3, New York Jets)
Sam Darnold was ranked as the #1 QB on most draft boards and was expected to be the 1st overall pick because he proved that he can make all the throws and playing at USC he has gone through the ups and downs as a leader on a top program; very battle tested, however teams have questioned his turnovers. Darnold had a great pro day workout which many teams believe would solidfy him as the #1 pick, but the Browns went in another direction leaving him to the Jets where he is the future and franchise QB. Darnold has a great position to learn behind veteran Josh McCown who has proven he knows what it takes to play QB and stick around in this league.
- T Mike McGlinchey (1st Round, #9, San Francisco 49ers)
In a draft that lacked a pure #1 LT, the closest player to that and the one I believe will have the most immediate success is Mike McGlinchey. McGlinchey is a tough, blue collar athlete with good size and strength. He is coming off a good season playing with top G Quenton Nelson mentioned above. The negatives against McGlinchey is that he doesn’t do well against speed rushers and he sometimes uses his hands poorly which may make him a RT, but I believe he has the skillset to play LT in the league. With the 49ers, he is expected to cover prized franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s blindside for the next decade, but he may be able to start off at RT.
- DE Marcus Davenport (1st Round, #14, New Orleans Saints)
Marcus Davenport was mostly an unknown coming out of a small school, until his standout performances all throughout the Senior Bowl preparation and the actual game. Davenport has elite size, great athleticism, and a relentless motor making him one of the top edge rushers in the draft. The Saints traded up to the #14 spot to select, Davenport as they are still in need for a pass rusher partner for star DE Cameron Jordan and Davenport should be ready to make an impact.
- RB Sony Michel (1st Round, #31, New England Patriots)
Sony Michel is an explosive speed back who has game changing speed and the ability to catch out of the backfield which led to comparisons to Alvin Kamara, another player who had college tape that shows you he is a rare athlete. However, after Kamara’s season, teams were not fooled and Michel rose up the board sliding into the 1st round, as the Patriots got a steal. With the Patriots, similar to college, Michel can run in a back by committee approach and should be used in the same role Dion Lewis was used, but Michel is bigger and better.
- LB Tremaine Edmunds (1st Round, #16, Buffalo Bills)
Tremaine Edmunds is considered a new age linebacker with elite size, good speed, and good athleticism which allows him to line up at any of the LB spots, but his best bet would be as a sideline to sideline tackler in the middle. Edmunds is still raw and uses his talents over instincts which will come with coaching and he needs to improve his coverage, but the talent and potential is there for him to cause problems as an addition rusher and being disruptive in every play. The Bills are the perfect fit for Edmunds with a much improved secondary and a front line that’s always been disruptive. Having a playmaker like Edmunds in the middle on a team full of athletes, will insure he’s leading the way and making plays all over the field for a LB core in need.
- LB Rashaan Evans (1st Round, #22, Tennessee Titans)
Rashaan Evans could be one of the next top linebackers from Alabama, as he had good size, speed, and the versatility to play any of the LB spots, but teams believe his best fit maybe inside. Evans is a sideline to sideline tackler who can rush the passer and drop back in coverage, along with the toughness to play through injuries. Teams would like to see him play with better instincts, but it probably due to seeing fewer reps buried on a talented Bama team, so his best football should be ahead of him. Evans goes to a Titans team under 1st year HC Mike Vrabel who will be able to teach him all he needs to know, as the talent is already there.
- T Isaiah Wynn (1st Round, #23, New England Patriots)
Isaiah Wynn is a strong, athletic fundamentally sound tackle who has been able to dominate from the tackle position despite being less than ideal height which makes some teams believe he may be better at Guard, but he has experience at both. Wynn has good use of his hands and solid footwork which might make tackle his best position, but he will have to prove he can take on bigger lineman. The Patriots selected Wynn and he may have a chance to compete for the open LT job, but just like most players the key for Wynn is his versatility as he can play inside or outside for an offensive line in transition.
- QB Lamar Jackson (1st round, #32, Baltimore Ravens)
Lamar Jackson appears to be something we haven’t seen, an athletic QB with good size and good speed to be labeled as a real dual threat QB; Deshaun Watson showed similar play, but Jackson has been compared to Mike Vick which shows his athletic ability. Jackson should give defensive coordinators fits as they try to figure out which way to get to him and stop him, but speed kills. Jackson has a nice fit with the Ravens who traded back into the 1st round to get him, knowing that he could bring the excitement and spark that Joe Flacco hasn’t brought to the offense since the days Baltimore was desperate for a QB; now it may be time for a change. Jackson can continue to learn and get better, while the team figures out how to unleash him.
- C/G Billy Price (1st Round, #21, Cincinnati Bengals)
Billy Price was one of the most dominant interior O-lineman in the draft with good size and technique while playing with a physical nature, but a late pectoral injury had him drop down the board for some teams, but he will be ready in time for camp. Price can line up at any of the interior spots and has the ability to dominate at Center where the Bengals now have an opening; the Bengals could use him at Center or take advantage of his athletic ability and run blocking by moving him to RG, but they will probably allow him to walk right in Day 1 as Center.
- RB Nick Chubb (2nd round, #35, Cleveland Browns)
If it wasn’t for the injuries, Nick Chubb would be ranked higher and definitely would have been drafted higher. Chubb has good size and quickness to pound it out as a workhorse back, but similar to college he will probably be best paired with a speed back to get the most out of him without letting him breakdown. Chubb has received comparisons to NFL vet Frank Gore who turned an injury prone college career into a successful NFL career running for tough yards. The Browns view Chubb as the back that they envision to set a physical tone on offense; it will be interesting to see how they use him.
- DE/OLB Harold Landry (2nd round, #41, Tennessee Titans)
Harold Landry was considered one of the best pass rushers, but like most college stars he was overly criticized for having a down season in sacks this season, after double digits last season and his run stopping ability. However, Landry has good size, a relentless motor, and loves to train; teams believe that as a situational pass rusher he can make an early impact while he continues to learn. Luckily, the right coach had their eye on Landry in 1st year Coach Mike Vrabel who had a good all-around skill set in his playing days always making him an x-factor.
- DT Da’ron Payne (1st round, #13, Washington Redskins)
Da’ron Payne was one of the top run defenders in the draft after a solid championship season at Alabama taking on double teams and dominating interior offensive lineman and a standout championship game performance. Payne has good size, athleticism, and he is one of the strongest players in the draft. The Redskins selected Payne after many scouts and fans knew they wanted Vita Vea, but Payne is just as strong and massive. Payne should be the day 1 starter at NT and they hope that he is a steal, as his former teammate Jonathan Allen was for them last season.
- RB Derrius Guice (2nd Round, #59, Washington Redskins)
Derruis Guice slipped in the draft due to questions surrounding his NFL interviews, but his talent is unquestioned. Guice is another north/south running back from LSU that likes to get physical with defenders and run people over with good size, speed, and breakaway ability; he also played through injury proving his toughness. Guice was selected by the Washington Redskins and they are in need of a player to be that workhorse back and own the position; Guice has the talent to be that guy.
- CB Jaire Alexander (1st Round, #18, Green Bay Packers)
Jaire Alexander was selected a lot higher than most team expected due to his lack of size, but Alexander plays with good speed, cover skills, and a physical play style which has led to injuries. Alexander’s talent stands out and in the league he seems to be best used as a nickel cornerback to take advantage of his athleticism, but that’s no problem as the 3rd cornerback has become a very part of the game with increased passing. The Packers selected Alexander with their need to for depth and talent at the position; he will see immediate playing time.
- TE Hayden Hurst (1st round, #25, Baltimore Ravens)
Hayden Hurst is just an overall athlete spending time at different positions in baseball before giving football a chance and becoming an instant leader and playmaker. Hurst is a sure catching TE who can move all over the field like an extra WR, but he needs to improve his blocking and improve his route running; the talent and skill set is there. The Ravens selected Hurst after struggling at the position with consistency the last few seasons; he should give Joe Flacco a nice quick option he hasn’t had since Dennis Pitta.