Mike Mayock is well known for his pre-draft positional rankings. This year, his NFL Network cohort Bucky Brooks has joined him in the practice. The acclaimed draft experts are two of the most respected analysts in the business. Their recent rankings provide ample material for comparing and contrasting different opinions as we are just a week away from the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
Mayock and Brooks shared their top five prospects at each position. Here are a few takeaways from those lists.1. There's a pretty stark contrast as to how they view this year's quarterback class. The same five names appear on each list – UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Wyoming's Josh Allen – but the analysts differ on who is the best. Brooks has Rosen as his top signal caller while Mayock picked Darnold.
Their view of Allen is where opinions vary the most. Mayock has the Wyoming product as his second-ranked quarterback, but Brooks has him ranked fifth. Mayock also added Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph as tied for fifth with Jackson.**
2.Both Mayock and Brooks have the same top three running backs – Penn State's Saquon Barkley, LSU's Darrius Guice and USC's Ronald Jones II. Brooks then has Oregon's Royce Freeman ranked fourth and Georgia's Sony Michel ranked fifth. Mayock has Michel ranked fourth with fellow Georgia Bulldog Nick Chubb ranked fifth3.** Alabama's Calvin Ridley and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk are the top two receivers, respectively, in each set of rankings.
It appears that Mayock is still in the evaluation phase for wideouts. That, or there is just an incredibly narrow margin between pass catchers at the top of the draft. Mayock has Washington's Dante Pettis, Maryland's D.J. Moore and Memphis' Anthony Miller all tied for fifth in his rankings.4. Their cornerback rankings mirror one another for the most part, featuring the same five names. Ohio State's Denzel Ward, a common name projected to the 49ers in mock drafts, is each analyst's top-ranked corner.
Iowa's Josh Jackson, UCF's Mike Hughes, Colorado's Isaiah Oliver and Louisville's Jaire Alexander are the other top four cornerbacks.**
5.** Comparing the other defensive position groups gets a little murky. For example, Brooks ranks defensive ends while Mayock has a category for edge rushers. Most of the names in those groups are similar though as N.C. State's Bradley Chubb is the consensus top pass rusher in this year's draft.
Both Mayock and Brooks also have small school product Marcus Davenport as their second-ranked defensive end/pass rusher.6. The hardest point of comparison is between Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds and Georgia's Roquan Smith.
Smith is a prototypical inside linebacker where Edmunds is seen as a high-ceiling player who can play multiple positions. Both players have been commonly projected to San Francisco in mock drafts. Brooks has Smith as his top inside linebacker and Edmunds as his top outside linebacker. Mayock combined all linebackers and has Edmunds ranked ahead of Smith. You're likely to hear plenty more about each guy in the weeks leading up to the draft.