2018 NFL Draft Big Board – 51-100
51. Jessie Bates III | Wake Forest | S
Jessie Bates III is one of the few true free safeties in this draft class. A guy who has the range, instincts, and awareness to patrol the back end of the secondary is a hot commodity and Jessie Bates has all three. While his size is a little concerning, Bates still shows the ability to come up and tackle, and cover bigger receivers up the field. Bates isn’t a super athlete, but he makes up for his lack of size and elite athletic ability with great instincts and ball skills. Bates could easily end up being one of the best safeties taken in this draft class.
52. Justin Reid | Stanford | S
Justin Reid has ideal size and speed at the safety position, and also plays with instincts and awareness when roaming the back end of the secondary. Reid is aggressive in the way he reads and reacts. More often than naught, Reid is right in what he sees, but that aggressiveness has also burned him in the past. Reid has the coverage ability and range to play as a true FS, but also the physicality and tackling ability to be an impact SS. Not many guys in this draft class have the size, speed, and range that Reid possesses.
53. Fred Warner | BYU | LB
Fred Warner is limited to playing as an outside linebacker, but man is he good at the position. Warner is excellent in coverage, has great play speed, and can make plays sideline to sideline with ease. Warner is highly regarded on the BYU team and will take that leadership presence over to the next level. Warner can play in 4-3 or 3-4 schemes and will be a key special teams player as well. I look at Fred Warner as a poor mans Ryan Shazier.
54. Martinas Rankin | Mississippi State | OL
Martinas Rankin may be the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft class. He played primarily at tackle at Mississippi State, but teams will look at him at all five positions in this years draft class. Rankins shows off his athletic ability with how natural he looks when shuffling, dealing with speed, and having his hands and feet synch up. Rankins lack of participation in the Senior Bowl and Combine have quieted the hype surrounding his name, but don’t forget about the Mississippi State offensive lineman. He’s still a top 75 player in this draft class,
55. Cedrick Wilson | Boise State | WR
I’m higher on Cedrick Wilson than most, but there are few receivers in this class I trust more when tracking the ball down the field than Wilson. I also think he has severely underrated hands and has the stop-start quickness to be a pain after the catch. Wilson does have a thin frame, so there are some questions regarding how he’ll hold up against press coverage, but he showed in Mobile the ability to get off of press coverage, separate downfield, and be a clutch red zone target. The former Boise State receiver works well in space, and has a good feel for how to get open in all three levels.
56. Andrew Brown | UVA | DT
Andrew Brown is an example of a player who will have a much more productive career in the NFL, than he did at his college program. Andrew spent most of his career at UVA playing in a two-gap scheme as a defensive end, the move defensive tackle will certainly help Brown’s NFL career take off. Andrew Brown has an insanely quick first step and has a variety pass rush moves he can throw at you. A former five-star recruit also has extremely violent hands and is disciplined when rushing upfield. This grade on Andrew Brown is definitely a projection, but it’s one I’m very comfortable with.
57. Jack Cichy | Wisconsin | LB
If you could guarantee me that Jack Cichy will play in 80% of his games from this point on and return to his 2016 form, I’d have a first-round grade on the former Wisconsin linebacker. Unfortunately you can’t do that, so I have to take the injury history into consideration. When healthy and on the field, Cichy is one of the best linebackers in this draft class. A instinctive player who can play the run, in coverage, and be an effective blitzer as well are few and far between. Jack Cichy has all the tools to be a special player, he just needs to stay healthy in order to do so.
58. Marcus Davenport | UTSA | EDGE
Pre-Senior Bowl, I had a first-round grade based on his UTSA tape, but after a rather disappointing week in Mobile, I went back to the tape and came away with a different impression. Marcus Davenport has some of the most intriguing traits in this draft class, but he still has no idea how to use them. His physical attributes are off the charts, but he doesn’t know how to use his length and explosiveness yet. If Marcus Davenport can put all his tools together, we’re talking about a player similar to Ezekiel Ansah, but he still has a long way to go.
59. Braden Smith | Auburn | OL
This interior offensive line class is so deep that you can find starter’s as late as day three. Braden Smith is a guy I see as a day one starter at guard with the versatility to play tackle and center as well. Braden Smith had a consistent career at Auburn and will look to carry his college success into the NFL. Smith’s athleticism and play strength fly off the tape, sometimes he can be a little too aggressive when taking on defenders and can lose balance and lunge which causes him to get beat. If he can improve on his technique he will be a hell of player in the league.
60. Dante Pettis | Washington | WR
Dante Pettis is an underrated route runner, underrated at the catch point, underrated after the catch, and elite as a punt/kick returner. Pettis runs extremely crisp routes, has natural soft hands, and can make the tough catches away from his body as well. His weight is a little bit of a question weighing in at 190lbs, but he plays much bigger than his measurables say he is. What Dante Pettis brings as a returner is enough is enough to value him on early day two, but I think he could be a damn good option as a high end WR2 in the NFL.
61. D.J. Reed | Kansas State | CB
If D.J. Reed was two inches taller he may have a first round grade from me. Reed is one of the best cover corners in this draft class, but the lack of height may push him over to the slot in the NFL, which I think he can be elite at. Reed is one of the more physical corners in press coverage and against the run. The former Kansas State CB, is also a dynamic returner that can be just as good on special teams as he is on defense. Reed also has extremely good ball skills and plays the ball in the air like a wide receiver.
62. James Washington | Oklahoma State | WR
James Washington was one of the most productive receivers in the country in 2017. Washington is a big play receiver that makes most of his plays downfield. Washington has a unique frame and isn’t all that fast, but he ran through coverage at Oklahoma State with ease. Washington has some of the strongest hands in this draft class that allows him to pluck the ball out of the air with ease. Washington will need to work on beating press coverage and developing as a route runner if he wants the success from college to carry over to the NFL.
63. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo | Oklahoma | EDGE
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is the definition of a tweener. While being on the shorter side, the Oklahoma edge rusher has insane arm length that he’s still learning how to use. Okoronkwo uses his hands and leverage to walk blockers back into the pocket on a consistent basis. He also plays with some bend you wouldn’t expect to see from a guy who isn’t necessarily a speed rusher. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo may not be a big-time contributor in year one, but as a developmental and situational pass rusher, he holds a ton of value in my book.
64. Holton Hill | Texas | CB
Without the off the field issues, Holton Hill would be a top 30 player on my draft board, but unfortunately, there is a ton of concern regarding Holton Hill off the field. When on the field, Holton Hill has ideal size and length and is extremely physical in coverage and when coming up and playing the run. If he stays clean off the field, and improves on his ball skills, there is CB1 potential in Holton Hills game.
65. Harrison Phillips | Stanford | DT
Stanford’s Harrison Phillips is a versatile interior defensive lineman who can play the one-technique or the three-technique. Phillips is very good run defender, but also can get after the quarterback as well with his strength and technique. Phillips has a wrestling background, and that shows in his mentality, play strength, and the ability to stay square when attacking offensive lineman. Harrison Phillips may not be a sexy player, but he is a quality starter on the defensive line that can play the run and offer some pass rush.
66. Lorenzo Carter | Georgia | EDGE
Lorenzo Carter has great length, and has great lower body explosion and flexibility that allows him to bend the edge and win off the line with his first step. Carter uses his hands well when setting the edge and working to the quarterback. Needs to develop more pass rush moves to help him counter when his size and speed doesn’t win on it’s own. Guys with Lorenzo Carter’s size and length that move like he does don’t last very long. I don’t expect the former Georgia pass rusher to be around after day two.
67. Derrick Nnadi | Florida State | DT
The interior defensive tackle class is absolutely ridiculous. It’s easy to forget about a guy like Derrick Nnadi, but realistically he should be one of the guys getting talked about a lot. Nnadi is strong at the point of attack and takes on double teams well with his stout lower half and strong upper body. Nnadi is explosive in his lower half and has some burst in the way he plays. While not being a great pass rusher, Nnadi is a guy who can consistently push the pocket with his strength and explosiveness. Nnadi is a day one starter at one-technique for most teams need help at the position.
68. Sam Hubbard | Ohio State | EDGE
Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard isn’t a sexy player. He isn’t super explosive, doesn’t have elite speed, and can’t bend like some of these other rushers, but his technique is very clean ass a pass rusher and run defender. Hubbard rarely gets blown off the ball as a defensive end due to his play strength and pad level. He won’t be a guy that racks up double-digit sacks consistently, but he can win with some push and has a variety of pass rush moves he can throw at opposing offensive lineman.\
69. Leighton Vander Esch | Boise State | LB
Leighton Vander Esch is a far superior athlete than he is football player right now. Vander Esch relies on that athleticism to play the position right now which proved to be extremely productive at Boise State, but in the NFL linebackers have to match that athleticism with instincts and awareness, as it stands right now he lacks that, but his elite athletic ability makes up for it. Vander Esch is still an ascending player so the sky’s the limit, but right now he’s lower on my board than most.
70. Darius Leonard | South Carolina State | LB
Darius Leonard’s Senior Bowl really opened my eyes for the South Carolina State LB. Leonard is a quick, instinctive off the ball linebacker who can make plays sideline to sideline and behind the line of scrimmage. Leonard relies on his eyes to read and react and he’s normally in a great position to make a play on the ball carrier. Darius Leonard is one of the most consistent tacklers in college football and his work ethic and attitude will be contagious in defensive meeting rooms.
71. Malik Jefferson | Texas | LB
Malik Jefferson is an extraordinary athlete that is still learning to trust his instincts and eyes when reacting to plays. Jefferson has shown to be a really nice off the ball linebacker that can shoot the gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage, sideline to sideline, in coverage, and as a pass rusher. Jefferson’s speed, size, and potential will get him drafted in the top 64 picks, but he still is extremely raw and has a long way to go before he will make a huge impact on a defense.
72. Christian Kirk | Texas A&M | WR
While Christian Kirk didn’t test like the athlete we thought he was, Kirk still holds value as a really nice slot in the NFL and a elite return man. Kirk is still a playmaker no matter what his combine numbers say, with the ball in his hands, Kirk can make something out of nothing consistently. While I do think he is limited to the slot, I think he can be a top slot receiver in the NFL if he’s able to meet his ceiling, he can also be an electric return man as well.
73. Da’Shawn Hand | Alabama | DT
Da’Shawn Hand will be making a position change from DE to DT in the NFL, but it’s one i see him having little troubling with. Hand showed off his impressive physique and power at the Senior Bowl consistently winning 1-on-1 battles in practice and that even carrier over to a nice game. Hand was known at Alabama for being a strong point of attack defender. He was a force against the run and could push the pocket as well with his power. Look for Hand to make an early impact as a penetrating three-technique on whatever team drafts him.
74. B.J. Hill | N.C. State | DT
Another really strong one-technique who is good at the point of attack, good at shedding blocks, and has a motor that never stops. Hill did a lot of the dirt work at N.C. State playing as the team’s nose tackle. While taking on a lot of double teams, Hill consistently showed the ability to make plays at and behind the line of scrimmage. Hill is also known for playing with that relentless motor and it showed at N.C. State as he was always involved in tackles down the field.
75. Tyrell Crosby | Oregon | OT
Tyrell Crosby is a tackle who looks to have been built in a lab. At 6-foot-5 325llbs, Crosby is a massive man who has the size and length to be really nice starter at right tackle. I personally think Crosby lacks the quickness to play on the left side, but he has all the size and nasty mentality that you could dream of when building a NFL offensive tackle.
76. Dorian O’Daniel | Clemson | LB
In order for Dorian O’Daniel to meet his full potential, he will need to land with a creative defensive coordinator. O’Daniel is the next linebacker-safety hybrid that can be lights out when playing off the ball and allowing him to flow sideline to sideline. O’Daniel isn’t a great cover guy, so he may be a two-down linebacker to start off as he develops his cover ability. With Daniels speed and ability to maneuver through traffic I love his fit in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes as an off the ball linebacker.
77. Tarvarus McFadden | Florida State | CB
Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden had a horrendous combine, but I can’t deny the tape. McFadden is a longer, bigger corner who excels when playing in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. McFadden has excellent length and once he gets his hands on you it’s tough to get by him. While does lack the athletic ability to be a really dominant corner in the league, I do think he can be a really solid CB2 on most teams. We could also see him make a transition to safety to account for his lack of straight line and recovery speed and show off his impressive noise for the ball.
78. Justin Jones | N.C. State | DT
Justin Jones is very similar to his former teammate B.J. Hill. The differences between the two are I see Justin as more of a pass rusher with less strength and balance against the run and combo blocks. Justin Jones showed off at the Senior Bowl his impressive quickness, pass rush moves, and strength when penetrating the pocket. Jones needs to work on playing with better pad level as he will be seeing even more double teams and combo blocks than he did at N.C. State.
79. Hercules Mata’afa | Washington State | EDGE
Hercules Mata’afa is one of the most interesting players in this draft class. Mata’afa played primarily as a defensive tackle at 250lbs at Washington State, that won’t be happening in the NFL. I see Mata’afa playing as a 4-3 defensive end while rushing from the three-technique in certain obvious passing situations. Mata’afa showed off a great initial quickness, a nice inside move, and tons of play strength at Washington State. It’ll be interesting to watch his development as he learns a new position, but he has the traits that should allow that transition to go over smoothly.
80. Duke Ejiofor | Wake Forest | EDGE
Duke Ejiofor relies more on technique than he does athleticism, and that’s how he wins off the edge. Ejiofor uses his hands, arms, and variety of moves to be a force against the run and get after the quarterback. Ejiofor needs to improve on being more consistent with his efforts and technique, but there’s a lot to like regarding the former Wake Forests pass rushers game.
81. Quin Blanding | UVA | S
While I see Quin Blanding being a better SS than FS in the NFL due to his lack of athleticism, I do see a guy with range that could play the FS position if needed to. Blanding was a tackling machine at UVA and will look to keep those efforts up in the NFL. Blanding plays his best ball when he has time to react and then take angels to ball carriers and receivers. While he isn’t a great cover guy, he could easily develop into someone I could trust covering tight ends and receivers in the slot.
82. DaeSean Hamilton | Penn State | WR
Other than Calvin Ridley, DaeSean Hamilton is the best route runner in this draft class. Hamilton gets open on a consistent basis using his short area quickness, crisp body movements, and eyes to deceive opposing CB’s. Hamilton was limited at Penn State due to the QB play, but he’s a guy who I expect to have a more productive NFL career than college career. Hamilton doesn’t have great hands, but his ability to separate by using his speed and route running ability is enough to land him in my top 100.
83. Jamarco Jones | Ohio State | OT
As a pass blocker, Jamarco Jones is one of the better offensive lineman in this draft class. Jones plays with great balance and keeps his footwork clean when getting into pass sets. Jamarco Jones is also a really nice athlete for 6-foot-5 310lbs, which allows him to keep clean when walking rushers up the pocket and getting to the second level. Jones needs to improve on his play strength and play with better pad level in order to succeed as a OT in the NFL, but I do think Jones can be an adequate starter at tackle for teams looking for a starting tackle in the mid rounds.
84. Dalton Schultz | Stanford | TE
There are few “complete tight ends” in this draft class, but Dalton Schultz is one of them. Schultz takes just as much pride in being a great blocker than he does making plays in the receiving game and that shows up on film. As far as blocking goes, Schultz has better technique than half of the offensive lineman in this draft class. Schultz rarely ever gets of balance, plays with good pad level, and can drive his man off the ball with ease. As a receiver, Schultz is a decent route runner, but can improve in that aspect of his game. If Dalton Schultz can continue to develop as a route runner and receiver he will be a three-down tight end in this league for a long time.
85. Poona Ford | Texas | DT
It still blows my mind that Poona Ford didn’t get a combine invite. Anyways, Poona Ford will without a doubt get drafted and will without a doubt make an impact on an NFL roster. Poona Ford is obviously undersized at 5-foot-11 300lbs, but plays with great natural leverage, good play strength, and nice thickness in his lower half that allows him to walk offensive lineman back into the pocket consistently. Ford has a nice spin move and moves extremely well for a big boy.
86. Mike Gesicki | Penn State | TE
There’s a ton of hype surrounding Mike Gesicki after a dominant performance at the NFL combine. Gesicki flashes his unreal speed, unbelievable leaping ability, and great short area quickness at the Combine. Gesicki has ideal size at 6-foot-5 250lbs, and should almost be viewed as bigger wide receiver than a tight end. Gesicki has no idea how to block, and wasn’t asked to at Penn State. Gesicki will get over drafted due to his alien like Combine, but there is still a long ways to go before I see Mike Gesicki making a huge impact outside of the redzone.
87. Ian Thomas | Indiana | TE
Indiana’s TE Ian Thomas under-produced at Indiana, but I have a feeling he will be a much better pro player than he was in college. Thomas gets open consistently with his route running ability and speed. Thomas can get open in all three levels, and can be a pain to bring down after the catch. Ian Thomas has sure hands, and is developing as a blocker. As a mid round option, I love Ian Thomas’ value in almost any offense.
88. Royce Freeman | Oregon | RB
Kind of the forgotten guy in this loaded running back room, Royce Freeman’s burst, power, and elusiveness in the open field are the three things that fly off the tape when watching Freeman. Freeman has that bowling ball like build and plays with the same amount of violence of bowling ball when he gets going down field. Freeman has really nice balance when he does come into contact with defenders and won’t be brought down with just arm tackles. Royce Freeman’s draft process kind of reminds me of Kareem Hunt’s last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Freeman replicate Hunt’s success in year one.
89. Marcell Ateman | Oklahoma State | WR
Marcell Ateman is one of the many bug bodied, physical receivers in this draft class that wins at the catchpoint and by using his large frame to box defenders out to go get the football. Ateman can be a serious pain in the ass to defend in the red zone with his catc radius, and size when going up to get the football. I saw more drops on film than I expected, and doesn’t look to be an extremely natural hands catcher. But with his size, athletic ability, and the production at Oklahoma State I could see Marcell Ateman having a huge impact on whatever team drafts him.
90. Genard Avery | Memphis | LB
Genard Avery is currently a two down linebacker, but he can play a role on third downs as well. The Memphis linebacker is a force against the run and has to problem taking on and disengaging from blockers. Where Avery struggles is in coverage, but the good thing is, is he can rush the passer on third downs while he still develops his coverage ability. Avery is built like a rock and shows of his play strength at the point of attack and how he disengages from blockers. Avery will fit in as a ILB in 3-4 schemes, but could potentially play as a MIKE in 4-3 schemes as well.
91. Marcus Allen | Penn State | S
In a class filled with in the box safeties, Marcus Allen is one that stands out to me, Allen works well when coming down hill in run support, but is also able to cover tight ends up the seam and underneath as well. Allen takes really good angels when coming down hill and has ball carriers feel it when he hits you. Allen is tight in the hips and is a long strider so he can struggle with changing directions, but as a in the box safety Marcus Allen will play a valuable role in a defense.
92. Frank Ragnow | Arkansas | OL
Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow is a versatile lineman who can play either interior spot. Ragnow has ideal size, strength, and athleticism for an interior lineman. Ragnow has experience at multiple positions, is a leader in the locker room, and is a day one starter at center or guard in year one. If Frank Ragnow can improve on some of his balance issues, and trust his size and athleticism more, he has pro-bowl potential.
93. Kerryon Johnson | Auburn | RB
The former Auburn RB has been flying way under the radar. Kerryon Johnson is a great athlete that runs with explosiveness, balance, and violence. Johnson is extremely tough and has played through a ton of injuries in his career at Auburn. Johnson has a odd running style, as he runs more upright than most running backs, but it hasn’t caused him any problems so far. Johnson is another guy that I see having a big impact on in the receiving game as well.
94. D.J. Chark | LSU | WR
D.J. Chark will without a doubt have a better NFL career than college career. Chark is the definition of a big play receiver that will fit in nicely with teams that have a need for a deep threat receiver. Chark isn’t a great route runner, and doesn’t have natural hands, but he can take the top off a defense with ease, and that holds a ton of value in today’s NFL.
95. Isaac Yiadom | Boston College | CB
Isaac Yiadom is a big physical corner who uses his size to bully receivers at the line of scrimmage and throughout their route’s. Yiadom has had a really nice offseason that has elevated his grade from me into the top 100. Yiadom had a really nice Senior Bowl and backed that up with a nice performance at the combine. Due to his length, size, and athletic ability, I like Isaac Yiadom’s chances of making an NFL roster and contributing early on.
96. Mike White | Western Kentucky | QB
I truly believe that Mike White could be a day one starting quarterback in the NFL. Mike White has dealt with a ton of adversity throughout his college career, but has only responded with positivity. After transferring from USF to Western Kentucky, Mike White’s career finally took off. We have seen Mike White be deadly accurate with tons of arm talent. If White has time to scan the field and go through his progressions, he is one of the better quarterback prospects in this draft class. A dominant Senior Bowl performance only backed that up for the former Western Kentucky QB.
97. Hayden Hurst | South Carolina | TE
Though he is an older prospect Hayden Hurst is still a quality complete tight end. Hurst can be a receiving threat, but can also stay in and block with some of the best. Hurst is a good route runner who creates separation with his lower body quickness and his physicality at the stem. Hurst has good hands as receiver and heavy hands as a blocker. The former baseball player will look to fit in as a three down tight end in the NFL.
98. M.J. Stewart | North Carolina | CB
Due to his size, M.J. Stewart will find a home as a nickel corner in the NFL. Stewart is physical at the line of scrimmage and loves getting involved in the run game. For a smaller guy, Stewart plays big at the catch point, and always seemed to make plays on the ball. Stewart is also a good athlete who moves well in short area’s and has the long speed to stay in stride with quicker receivers.
99. Equanimeous St. Brown | Notre Dame | WR
If you compare Equanimeous St. Brown’s measurable’s to a guy like Julio Jones, you don’t have much of a difference. Now that’s not me saying St. Brown is going to be Julio Jones, but it’s rare for a 6-foot-4, 215lb receiver to run a 4.48 40 yard dash. St. Brown is known for taking the top off of defenses and runs crisp route’s for his towering size. There are only a handful of receivers in this draft class with true #1 potential, and St. Brown falls somewhere at the top of that list.
100. Josey Jewell | Iowa | LB
Josey Jewell is one of the most instinctive linebackers in this draft class, he just lacks ideal speed and athleticism to really maximize his potential. Jewell does an excellent job of seeing things happen and reacting to them in a hurry. There is little wasted movement or time when attacking ball carriers down field, and he works rather well in space for being a big guy. When coming downhill, Jewell shows a good ability to breakdown and be a sure wrap up tackler. Jewell definitely won’t out athlete guys, but he will outsmart them, and beat ball carriers to their landmarks. Jewell also does a very nice job of taking on and disengaging from blockers in order to fill the right gaps.
101. Deadrin Senat | USF | DT
Big athletes, or (fatletes) are a dime a dozen to find, when you find them draft them. Deadrin Senat is a big space eating nose tackle but moves like a explosiveness under tackle. Senat plays with a tremendous amount of power in his upper body and has very thick legs that allows him to hold up at the point of attack and eat double teams consistently. Senat isn’t a great pass rusher, but he offers some juice in that aspect for being more of a space eating nose tackle.