Draft Panel: How Many Quarterbacks Will Go in the Top 10?
The San Francisco 49ers are not in the market for a quarterback. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. Kyle Shanahan mentioned at the NFL Combine that the 49ers will look to improve at every position outside of quarterback and fullback.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this draft class is loaded with talented signal callers. USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen appear to be locks to go in the top 10. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield also has a chance to go early with so many QB-needy teams selecting at the top of the first round. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is a wildcard, but still likely to go in the first round.
The best case scenario for San Francisco is that teams become enamored with as many quarterbacks as possible. That will push down more blue chip talent to the 49ers at No. 9. Should a top QB remain on the board when San Francisco goes on the clock, John Lynch could find himself fielding trade calls.
With that, let’s dive into who experts believe is the top QB in the class and how many signal callers they believe will go in the top 10.
Matt Bowen, ESPN: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma; Four QBs in the Top 10
For me it’s Baker Mayfield. I know he doesn’t have the measureables that some of the other quarterbacks do, but I think he’s a fit for the modern pro game. He completed 70 percent of his passes in college. He knows how to attack throwing windows. He knows how to anticipate throwing windows. When I saw him live at the Senior Bowl, you could see the way guys gravitated around him by the end of the week. If I’m a coach, I want that in my quarterback. He’s also a gamer. He’s got the traits right now. You can’t teach his accuracy. At this point, I’m going to say that four will go in the top 10. I think the Buffalo Bills are going to trade up and get one.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Sam Darnold, USC; Four QBs in the Top 10
I think you could potentially see four quarterbacks go in the top 10. I’ve been with Sam Darnold, and I’m going to go with him to the finish line. I know he can do everything. He can do it on-schedule. He can do it off-schedule. He can make every throw. He’s got velocity. He’s got touch. I’ve seen him be able to feather the ball when he needs to. He, to me, is an outstanding prospect who has been picked a part a little bit too much.
Photos: Daniel Jeremiah's Top-50 Draft Prospects for 2018
The NFL Network draft analyst recently announced his updated top-50 prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Barkley is one of the most dynamic running backs to enter the NFL in the last decade. He's built like a brick house, with an extremely thick/muscular lower body. On inside runs, he's quick to press the line of scrimmage before stopping, sorting and then exploding through the hole. When he decides to bounce the ball outside, Barkley has an incredible lateral burst. He's at his best on stretch runs. When he puts his foot in the ground and drives upfield, his suddenness is exceptional. He rarely drops his shoulder on contact, but his lower-body strength allows him to power through tacklers, and he also possesses a violent stiff arm. He has elite home-run speed and can make defenders miss at the second and third level without gearing down. Barkley's a versatile weapon in the passing game, capable of splitting out wide and running receiver routes with ease. He has natural hands. He's also reliable in pass protection, displaying both awareness and willingness. Overall, Barkley is capable of becoming the best player at his position very early in his NFL career.
Chubb has ideal size, strength and instincts. He primarily lines up with his hand down, but did stand up at times for the Wolfpack. As a pass rusher, he has a good get-off, but he is an outstanding technician with his hands. He wins with rip moves, swipe moves and a powerful bull rush. He can bend and wrap the edge. Chubb's motor never stops. His ability to finish is outstanding and it's reflected in his production. He was asked to drop into coverage some, and while he's serviceable in this capacity, he's best served moving forward, not backward. Against the run, he shocks blockers with his hands. He can locate the ball and close ground quickly. He dominates tight ends. Overall, Chubb has a natural feel as a pass rusher and should be a double-digit sack artist very early in his career.
Nelson lined up at left guard for the Irish this past season and that is where he projects at the next level. He has a thick, hulking build -- and he's the nastiest offensive line prospect I've ever evaluated. In the run game, he is quick out of his stance and has the ability to completely wash opposing players down the line of scrimmage. He rolls his hips on contact, locks on with a powerful grip and doesn't let up until he's finished the job. Nelson is very effective when he works up to the second level on combo blocks and pulls. He can adjust in space and he blocks through the whistle consistently. In pass protection, Nelson possesses an immediate anchor vs. power rushers and effortlessly handles twists and stunts. Overall, Nelson has all of the tools to be the best run blocker in the NFL and he'll be reliable in pass protection. He's the easiest player to evaluate in this draft class.
Ward is an undersized cornerback (5-foot-10, 191 pounds, per school measurements) with excellent quickness, toughness and ball skills. In press coverage, he is patient and he'll catch and re-route before settling on the receivers and mirroring down the field. In off coverage, he is a fluid mover and explodes out of his plant to drive on the football. He is very twitched up. Ward's ball awareness is excellent -- he can locate and high-point the ball down the field. His lack of size does show up on occasion vs. taller opponents, but overall, he plays much bigger than his height. He's very aggressive in run support and has some snap on contact as a tackler. At the end of the day, Ward might lack ideal size, but he is a very skilled player and I love his competitiveness. He reminds me of a young Adam Jones.
Darnold has a thick/sturdy frame and the desired height for the position. He operated in the shotgun in the Trojans' offense. He has quick feet in his setup and throws from a wide base. He has a long, loopy throwing motion, but it's actually very quick and explosive -- and he has shown the ability to tighten it up at times. He has very quick eyes to work through progressions and throws with excellent anticipation. He's adept at changing ball speed and ball flight. He has enough velocity to fit balls into tight windows. Once he improves his weight transfer from his back foot to his front foot, he will see an uptick in accuracy and velocity. Darnold is a very nifty athlete, capable of escaping free rushers and creating explosive plays downfield. He's also a very competitive runner who fights for extra yards. His biggest issue has been his propensity to fumble the ball. He needs to do a better job of keeping both hands on the ball in the pocket and covering the ball up once he takes off. Overall, Darnold has some areas to clean up, but I love his size, competitiveness and ability to make plays on and off schedule.
Edmunds has a unique blend of size, length and athleticism. He primarily lines up off the line of scrimmage, but does get some work rushing off the edge. Against the run, he is quick to key, fill and finish as a tackler. He has rare lateral range and collects tackles from sideline to sideline. The former Hokie flashes the ability to shoot his hands and play off blocks, but this is one area where he can improve. Against the pass, he easily mirrors running backs and tight ends; there are even examples of him matching up and redirecting vs. slot receivers. He offers tremendous upside as an edge rusher, where he can dip/rip and bend around the edge. Overall, Edmunds has All-Pro ability. His upside is outrageous.
Fitzpatrick is an outstanding playmaker who possesses the versatility to play every position in the secondary. He primarily lined up as the nickel this past season, but he played cornerback as well as safety in previous campaigns. He's at his best when allowed to float and keep his eyes on the quarterback. He has outstanding instincts, anticipation and ball skills. In man coverage, he has the size and speed to match up with both the big/physical pass-catchers as well as the smaller/quicker wideouts. He does have some hip tightness when he changes direction, but he recovers quickly because of his explosiveness. Against the run, he's aggressive to attack the line of scrimmage and is a very dependable tackler in space. He's an outstanding blitzer, displaying timing and burst. I love the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the defense. Overall, I see Fitzpatrick as a dynamic safety on run downs and a playmaking nickel on passing downs. He's a bigger version of Tyrann Mathieu and I think he will make a similar impact in the league.
James is a versatile talent with exceptional size, speed and physicality. He lined up all over the field for the Seminoles. He took snaps at both safety spots, nickel cornerback, sub-package linebacker and was asked to rush from the outside linebacker position on occasion during his collegiate career. In my opinion, he's more valuable when he plays closer to the line of scrimmage. He excels covering backs and tight ends and is a dynamic blitzer. When he lines up as the deep safety, he lacks ideal anticipation and needs to improve his angles to the alley in run support. He doesn't have a ton of ball production, but that will improve once he settles into a more defined role. When he's aligned in the box, he is quick to key/read against the run; he explodes to and through ball carriers. His lateral range is outstanding and he makes a lot of plays from the back side. To see his game speed, watch him run down Lamar Jackson in the Louisville contest. Overall, I see James as a box safety or weak-side linebacker at the next level.
Rosen has ideal height/weight for his position, although he does have a narrow frame. He's the best pure passer in the draft. Rosen is precise in his drop and throws from a firm platform. He has a sharp, quick release and throws a majestic ball. He's at his best in rhythm/on-time throws. His anticipation is excellent, as is his ball placement. He has plenty of velocity to make every throw. Issues arise when he's under duress. He struggles to create on his own and his accuracy suffers when he's forced off his original launch point. When a lane opens up, he will pick up the free yards with his feet, but he needs to improve his ability to escape when pressured. Durability is also a concern. Overall, I think Rosen is ready to play right away, but he needs to continue to develop his off-script skills.
Smith is an undersized inside linebacker with excellent instincts and range. Against inside runs, he uses his quickness to beat blockers to spots and is a firm, chest-up tackler. He does need to improve his hand usage because once blockers get into him, he struggles to free himself. He's at his best against perimeter runs. Smith brings outstanding recognition and covers ground quickly. I believe he projects best as a 4-3 WLB where he would be able to use his speed to run-and-chase without having to mix it up inside. Against the pass, he has the speed and agility to cover RBs and TEs. He's an excellent blitzer. Smith might lack the ideal bulk, but he's a playmaker against both the run and pass.
Vea is a massive defensive tackle prospect with remarkable power, quickness and agility. He's a dominant run defender, routinely resetting the line of scrimmage against both individual blockers and double-teams. He's quick to shoot his hands, latch on and toss opposing blockers before quickly pursuing the football. He has rare lateral range for a 340-pound defender. He also flashes the ability to use his quickness to split gaps and create negative plays. As a pass rusher, he has a nasty slap/swim move. He can roll his hips and generate pocket push with his power. There are times where he plays too tall and consequently gets controlled. That can be improved. Overall, Vea is a more athletic version of Haloti Ngata and should quickly emerge as a Pro Bowl player.
Davenport is a raw edge rusher with outstanding size, length and explosiveness. He aligned in a two-point stance for UTSA but could easily play with his hand in the ground as a 4-3 defensive end at the next level. As a pass rusher, he has a very quick first step and flashes the power to bull through tight ends and offensive tackles. He doesn't always have a game plan and that will lead to him stalling out if he doesn't win early in the down. His ability to bend and wrap around the edge is very impressive for his size. He's a little segmented right now, but once he gets his feet and hands to work together, he will emerge as a double-digit sack artist. In the run game, he dominates tight ends at the point of attack. His effort and speed from the back side is outstanding. Overall, Davenport isn't a finished product, but I'm bullish on his future because of his rare size, athleticism and effort.
Mayfield lacks the ideal height for the quarterback position, but he has a muscled-up/square build similar to Russell Wilson. He operated in the shotgun for the Sooners. He has a unique setup: He's very frenetic, but he's consistently accurate despite throwing from a variety of platforms and arm angles. He generates a lot of torque from his lower body. You need to see him play in person to fully appreciate the way the ball jumps out of his hand. His offensive line did a nice job of keeping him clean at OU, but when pressured, he showed the ability to extend plays while keeping his eyes down the field. He's accurate on the move and while he lacks top speed, he is very effective on designed QB runs. The biggest challenge in his evaluation involves the lack of tight-window throws he's had to make. It will take some time for him to adjust to the lack of space at the next level. There are some questions about his maturity on and off the field. Long story short, Mayfield might lack ideal size, but I love his accuracy, playmaking skills and toughness. He has the tools to be a quality NFL starting quarterback early in his career.
Allen has ideal size, arm strength and mobility. At Wyoming, he split time underneath and in the shotgun. He has quick feet in his setup and a smooth, fluid release. He's at his best driving the ball to the outside. He generates outrageous velocity and can squeeze the ball into very tight windows. He must improve on touch throws, but he has shown the ability to change ball speed and throw with loft. He needs to throw with more anticipation and there are times where he really locks onto his initial read, which can lead to pass breakups and turnovers. While he has room to improve on his overall ball placement, there were numerous dropped balls by his receivers in every game I studied. Allen's combination of athleticism and strength allows him to avoid free rushers and shake off tacklers. He's an aggressive runner and he's been effective on designed QB runs as well as scrambles. Allen isn't a finished product, but he offers unlimited upside, provided his drafting team exercises patience.
Hughes is a fluid, agile cornerback prospect with the versatility to play inside or outside. He has good size and excels in press coverage, where he incorporates a two-hand jam and rarely allows a free release. He has very quick feet. He redirects and mirrors opponents with ease. From off coverage, Hughes has a fluid pedal and shows some pop out of his plant/drive. He's rarely out of phase in coverage, but when he is, he has the speed to recover. His ball awareness is excellent. He isn't a physical tackler, but he goes low and gets the ball carrier on the ground. Hughes did have an off-the-field issue at his previous school (North Carolina). Overall, Hughes is an outstanding cover cornerback and he's ready to start right away at the next level.
Alexander is a tough, instinctive cornerback prospect. He spent the majority of his time on the outside at Louisville, but he did take a few reps at the nickel spot. He's excellent in press coverage. He consistently re-routes his opponent with a quick two-hand jam. He has a little stiffness when he opens up, but he's rarely out of position underneath or down the field. From off coverage, he has a choppy pedal, but he boasts an excellent burst out of his plant and drive. His route recognition, throw anticipation and ball awareness are elite. He collected several pass breakups in every game I studied. He's very willing in run support and provides some big hits. Overall, Alexander lacks ideal fluidity, but I love his instincts, swagger and ball skills.
Guice is a very shifty running back with excellent quickness and power. He has a thick/square build and runs with a very low pad level. On inside runs, he likes to press the hole and pause before using a jump-cut. Once he gets north and south, Guice seeks out second-level defenders and lowers his shoulder on contact. He has excellent contact balance. He doesn't have elite top speed, but his short-area quickness is outstanding. He's effective on perimeter runs, but he's more natural running inside. He was underutilized in the passing game at LSU, but he displayed adequate ball skills. He needs to be more firm in pass protection. Overall, Guice has a nice blend of power and quickness. He's built to carry a heavy workload at the next level.
Payne is a powerful, run-stuffing defensive tackle with pass-rush upside. Against the run, he launches out of his stance and quickly shoots his hands to generate knock-back against single blocks. He will also use a quick slap/swim to disrupt. He holds up well vs. double-teams and has tremendous lateral range. As a pass rusher, he has a quick get-off, but he needs to develop a plan. Most of his pressure is the result of his swim move. He needs to work on counter moves. His effort is excellent. Overall, Payne is built to dominate on run downs right now. He has the athletic ability and power to emerge as a much better pass rusher in the near future.
Ridley is a lean, explosive receiver who lined up both outside and in the slot for Alabama. He uses a variety of releases to escape press coverage and gets up to top speed in a hurry. He's an excellent route runner. He accelerates into the break point before snapping off and generating separation. He has strong hands to pluck low balls and tracks the deep ball naturally. Ridley is not a physical, 50-50-ball type of player -- his game is more about speed and quickness than strength and power. He's slithery after the catch and uses his speed to create chunk plays after short completions. His production was average, but that is the fault of the offense and quarterback. Overall, Ridley is more than a home-run hitter and I believe he'll be a top-tier No. 2 wideout at the next level.
Evans is a versatile, playmaking linebacker. He moved all over the field in the Alabama defense. He aligned off the ball in the middle of the defense, stood up outside and even occasionally put his hand in the ground as a defensive end in pass-rush situations. Against the run, he's a tick late to key/read, but once he makes up his mind, he closes in a hurry. He runs right through blockers and if he doesn't make the tackle, he creates a pileup to slow down the ball carrier. He has outstanding speed to range sideline to sideline. He will miss an occasional tackle in space because he rarely breaks down, instead looking for the big hit. In coverage, he can easily mirror tight ends and backs. He will even match up in the slot at times. He isn't a polished pass rusher, but he can win with pure speed and effort. Overall, Evans is a tone-setter on defense and his versatility is a huge asset.
Hernandez has average height and a very thick/square build for the position. He lines up at left guard for the Miners and completely dominates in the run game. He is quick out of his stance and uses his upper strength to torque and dump defenders at the point of attack. He does a nice job of re-working his hands to maintain inside position and maintain leverage. In pass protection, he has the power base to anchor bull rushers and surprising quickness to redirect vs. athletic defenders. He piles up some gnarly knockdowns when he's uncovered. He's always looking for extra work. Overall, Hernandez is a tempo setter in the run game and more than adequate in the passing game. He had a great Senior Bowl and combine.
Daniels is a very athletic and technically proficient center. In the run game, he's extremely quick and effective on reach blocks and second-level blocks. I'm amazed by his ability to stay attached with his hands while he re-works his foot positioning. In pass pro, he plays with outstanding knee bend and balance. He shoots his hands quickly and can anchor against power as well as redirect vs. counters. He's very aware. Daniels is one of the best center prospects I've evaluated in the last five years.
Michel is one of my favorite players in this entire draft class. He has a perfect build for the position and runs with a nice blend of power, quickness and elusiveness. On inside runs, he's very loose/slithery and he runs with ideal pad level. He drops his shoulder on contact and generates space when none is available. He has enough juice to get to the perimeter, and while he lacks home-run speed, he's rarely caught from behind. In the passing game, he runs crisp routes and catches the ball smoothly. He's been very stout in pass protection. Overall, Michel reminds me a lot of Kareem Hunt and I think he's capable of making a similar impact at the next level.
Bryan is a very athletic, twitched-up defensive tackle. As a pass rusher, he has an excellent get-off. He launches out of his stance and flashes an impressive push/pull move to generate pressure. When he has proper hand placement, he can push the pocket with outstanding power. He does needs to add more hand moves to his arsenal, but he has the raw tools to develop into an outstanding interior pass rusher at the next level. Bryan is very inconsistent against the run. He plays too high, struggles to resist pressure on angle blocks and loses sight of the ball. He's at his best when slanting and shooting gaps. Overall, Bryan isn't a finished product, but he has Pro Bowl-caliber traits and could emerge as a premier interior pass rusher.
Williams lined up at left tackle for the Longhorns and that is where I'm projecting him to play at the next level. He has excellent height/bulk for the position and average length. In the passing game, he's fluid out of his stance. He possesses the foot quickness to kick out and cover up speed rushers. He's a very easy mover and plays with excellent knee bend. He has a sharp punch, but occasionally, he is late to shoot his hands and allows defenders to get into his chest. In the run game, he can latch and generate movement at the point of attack. However, he gets overaggressive at times, lunging and whiffing. He is very athletic working up to the second level. Overall, Williams didn't play as well last fall (he also missed significant time with injury) as he did the previous season, but I still view him as a quality starting NFL tackle.
Jackson has good size for the position and I love his versatility to play inside and outside. He was deployed in a variety of coverages in Iowa's scheme and was effective in all of them. In press coverage, he isn't physical, but he's very fluid to open up and mirror. I have some concerns about his deep speed, but he wasn't really challenged in the games I studied. He is at his best in zone coverage, where he sees through the wideout to the quarterback. He's quick to identify routes, break on the ball and finish. He has rare ball skills, which creates some spectacular picks. He's an effective wrap/drag tackler in the run game. Overall, Jackson might lack ideal twitch and deep speed, but his combination of size and ball skills is outstanding. He is a plug-and-play starter.
Kirk is a compact, muscled-up WR. He's built like a running back and plays in the slot as well as outside. He's an exceptional route runner. He understands how to leverage defensive backs, sell double-moves and cleanly enter/exit the break point. He has strong hands and tracks the ball smoothly. He does a lot of work in the middle of the field and doesn't let the heavy traffic affect his concentration. I love his strength, elusiveness and will after the catch. Kirk reminds me a lot of Golden Tate coming out of Notre Dame, and I believe he can have similar success.
Vander Esch is a long, instinctive and fast inside linebacker. Against the run, he's quick to key/read and aggressively shoot gaps. He does a good job sorting through the trash to find the ball. He flashes the ability to pop/separate from blockers, but at times, he's too narrow and gets washed out. He has outstanding speed/range. He's a highly productive tackler, but also produces a couple fly-by missed tackles in every game. He has ideal size/speed to mirror tight ends in coverage and he's a productive blitzer. Vander Esch was one of the most productive players in the country this past season and should be an immediate starter at the next level.
Jones is one of the most explosive players in the draft. He's similar to Jamaal Charles in size and style. On inside runs, he's very aggressive in attacking the line of scrimmage and can avoid defenders in tight quarters. He has tackle-breaking power as a result of his lower-leg drive and he mixes in a violent stiff arm. He has a good feel for the cutback lane and displays exceptional lateral burst. On outside runs, he easily gets to the perimeter and is elusive in space. Once he gets a step, Jones has elite breakaway speed. He has improved as both a receiver and blocker. He fought the ball as a sophomore, but was more comfortable as a pass-catcher this fall. He is aware in pass pro, but still gets caught on his heels at times. Overall, Jones is a threat to score every time he touches the ball and I love his toughness and upside in the passing game.
Hurst is a former pro baseball player who walked on as a tight end for the Gamecocks. He has excellent size, speed and ball skills. He was primarily used as a move tight end. As a route runner, he is very smooth and quickly builds speed. At South Carolina, he wasn't asked to run a lot of traditional option routes and work back to the quarterback. However, he excels on vertical routes and crossers. He tracks the ball smoothly and has a big catch radius. He received the ball quite a bit on tight end reverses and proved plenty capable of making defenders miss or out-running them to the corner. He's more than willing as a run blocker and, while he lacks power, he does a nice job of shielding defenders. Hurst should be a Day 1 starter and has tremendous upside.
McGlinchey started at right tackle and left tackle during his collegiate career. He has outstanding size for the position. In the passing game, he has average quickness out of his stance but uses his length to keep his chest clean and anchor vs. bull rushers. He does get too narrow at times, which causes him to struggle vs. both speed and counter rushers. I think he'll benefit from a move back to the right side. In the run game, he does a good job of getting underneath opponents and generating movement at the point of attack. He's very aware vs. twists and stunts. McGlinchey had some games where he struggled (see: Miami), but he has all of the desired traits to emerge as a quality starting right tackle at the next level.
Oliver has excellent size, length and speed for the position. He's at his best in press coverage. He shoots his hands and re-routes wide receivers before staying on their hip down the field. He has plenty of speed to carry vertical routes. From off coverage, he has some stiffness when he has to open up and change directions. He has good ball awareness down the field (see: pass breakup against UCLA). I love his aggressiveness and physicality in the running game. He fights through blocks and he's a reliable tackler in space. Oliver has the ideal skill set to thrive as a press cornerback at the next level. He needs to improve his flexibility and transition movement in off coverage.
Jackson is an undersized cornerback with rare twitch and make-up speed. LSU moved him all over the field in its scheme. He played inside, outside and even took some reps at safety. In press coverage, he's patient, but I'd like to see him be more physical with his hands at the line of scrimmage. He usually plays out of a quarter turn (butt toward the sideline). He uses his quickness and speed to mirror wideouts underneath and down the field. He rarely gets caught out of position, but when he does, he has the speed to recover. From off coverage, he has a quick pedal and is a very easy/fluid mover. His instincts and ball skills are good but not great. He's a willing tackler, but he's not ultra-aggressive in run support. Overall, Jackson doesn't make a ton of plays, but I believe his best football is ahead of him. He's a special athlete.
Harrison is a hulking safety prospect with a nice blend of versatility, toughness and instincts. He moved around in the Alabama defense, aligning as the high safety at times while dropping down in the box, as well. In zone coverage, he's quick to read his keys and flow to the ball. He has excellent range when he's working in the deep half. When he's in the box, he flies to the alley to collect tackles on quick throws to the perimeter. He isn't as effective in man coverage. He has some lower-body stiffness and his change of direction is average. He's excellent against the run. He attacks the line of scrimmage and breaks down before securing the tackle. He has a very high batting average as a tackler. Harrison is a very well-rounded safety and he's ready to play right away.
Wynn was an undersized left tackle for the Bulldogs; he projects as a starting guard at the next level. In the run game, he is sudden out of his stance and can roll his hips on contact, generating movement at the point of attack. His hand strength is outstanding. He's very effective as a puller because of his ability to redirect and cover up linebackers in space. In pass protection, he keeps his hands tight and he's a natural knee-bender. He will lunge and whiff on rare occasions, but he's usually patient and stays on balance. He is very aware of blitzers (see: him vs. Minkah Fitzpatrick in the national title game). Wynn has some previous experience at guard and I believe he has Pro Bowl ability at that position.
Landry is an undersized edge rusher. At BC, he was deployed as a hand-in-the-ground defensive end and a stand-up outside linebacker. Against the pass, he lacks an elite get-off, but he has a variety of hand moves and bends really well coming off the corner. He's very successful when he bends/rips/flattens to the quarterback. He also has the ability to widen and convert speed to power against opposing tackles. His effort is excellent. He was an outstanding finisher in 2016, but fell off of a few sacks in 2017. He's inconsistent against the run. He flashes the quickness to cross the face of blockers and collect tackles, but once engaged, he struggles to get off blocks. He needs to get stronger. I see Landry as a fit for teams that employ a 3-4 defense and are looking for a pass-rush upgrade. He has some similarities to Dee Ford coming out of Auburn.
Moore is a thick, muscled-up wideout with outstanding toughness, burst and savvy. He lines up both outside and in the slot for the Terrapins. He powers through press coverage and understands how to set up defenders before snapping off his route. He collects a lot of quick hitters in this offense, but he flashes the ability to work down the seam as well as over the top. He tracks the ball naturally. He can adjust and finish on poor throws. He's at his best after the catch. Moore routinely breaks tackles, makes defenders miss or runs away from them. His competitiveness is off the charts. I won't be surprised if Moore ends up being the best receiver in this draft class.
Bates is a tall, lean safety for the Demon Deacons. He has outstanding range, instincts and ball skills from the deep middle and he flashed the ability to match up in the slot. He's a very fluid athlete and has plenty of makeup speed if he's caught out of position. Against the run, he's quick to key/read and fill the alley. He is a low, wrap/drag tackler and he does have some misses on tape. His lack of strength shows up at times. Overall, Bates is a very athletic middle-of-the-field defender and he has the versatility to cover in the slot. He should quickly emerge as a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Jackson has been the most dynamic playmaker in college football for the last two seasons, operating out of the shotgun in the Cardinals' offense. He has a lean, narrow frame. He has quick feet in his setup and he bounces on his toes once he gets to the top of his drop. He throws with a very narrow base. He generates tremendous velocity despite flipping the ball and failing to generate any power or torque from his lower half. He's more accurate/consistent on in-breaking routes and over-the-top touch throws. His accuracy suffers when he has to drive the ball outside the numbers. He is too stiff on his front leg and the ball sails on him. His pocket presence has improved over the last year and he excels avoiding unblocked rushers. He's the most electric runner at the position to enter the NFL in the last decade. On designed QB runs, he's very elusive and slithery. Overall, Jackson needs time to work out some mechanical issues, but his playmaking ability is special.
Goedert has ideal size, ball skills and toughness for the position. At South Dakota State, he lined up in-line, flexed in the slot or split out wide. In the passing game, he builds speed as a route runner and has subtle quickness at the top of his routes. He understands how to keep defenders on his back and has strong reliable hands. He lacks big-time burst after the catch but he runs hard and is tough to bring down. In the run game, he effectively shields defenders over his nose and can generate some movement on down blocks. Goedert isn't an electric playmaker, but he's dependable in every facet of the position.
Hurst is an undersized defensive tackle with exceptional quickness and awareness. Against the pass, he has elite get-off. He explodes off the snap and has a collection of effective hand moves to generate pressure. His bread-and-butter move is a quick swipe before wrapping around the blocker and exploding toward the quarterback. Against the run, he relies on his quickness to beat cut-off blocks and disrupt. Occasionally, he'll get stuck on blocks and is moved out of the hole. His effort is excellent. Overall, Hurst is an ideal 3-technique and could emerge as one of the best interior pass rushers in the league.
Phillips is a powerful defensive tackle with excellent production and a non-stop motor. He dominates against the run. He jolts blockers with a quick, explosive punch before locating the football and collecting tackles. He understands blocking schemes, routinely defeating double-teams with his quickness and awareness. His lateral range is exceptional and he never seems to tire out despite rarely coming off the field. As a pass rusher, he generates a steady push with his bull rush and flashes a quick slap/swim move. He needs to improve as a finisher. He has some ankle tightness and struggles to flatten out once he gets upfield. Phillips offers immediate value on run downs and I believe he's going to improve as a pass rusher at the next level. He reminds me of Kyle Williams coming out of LSU.
Price was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. He played both guard and center during his career. He was a very dominant run blocker while lining up at center in 2017. He has quick feet and a very powerful base. He latches on and flashes the upper torque to rag-doll opposing defenders. He isn't a great knee-bender, but once he gets his hands on you, he stays attached. He does struggle with balance at the second level. He gets overly aggressive and ends up on the ground too often. In pass protection, he can anchor easily against power rushers and he's very aware vs. twists and stunts. Overall, I love his strength, toughness and position flexibility. He's not an elite athlete, but he's a Day 1 starter at either guard or center.
Crosby lined up at left tackle for the Ducks. He has a nice blend of size, power and instincts. In the passing game, he lacks upper-tier quickness, but he does a nice job of staying square, shooting his hands and steering opponents. He will have some trouble with elite speed rushers, but I believe he'll benefit from a move to the right side. I love what he brings in the run game. He consistently generates movement on down blocks and he's a nasty finisher. He also takes good angles when working up to the second level before latching and controlling linebackers. I wish he were a little more athletic, but he has all of the skills to be a solid starting right tackle.
Chubb is a powerfully built running back. He's at his best running between the tackles. He has excellent vision. He runs with a high pad level, but he has incredible contact balance. Defenders routinely bounce off him in the hole and he always fights for extra yards. On perimeter runs, he doesn't bring the ideal suddenness to get the corner, but once he gets north/south, he's a load to bring down. He lacks home-run speed, but he racks up a lot of doubles. In the passing game, he has strong/reliable hands and he's dependable in limited pass-protection opportunities. Chubb reminds me of Jonathan Stewart coming out of college, but he doesn't quite have the same burst.
Penny has an ideal blend of size, speed and production. He gets a lot of work in the SDSU offense and he's proven he can carry a heavy load. On inside runs, he has excellent vision. While he doesn't often punish defenders, he does absorb contact and generate extra yards. He has enough speed to get to the perimeter, and once in the open field, he can find a second gear to go the distance. He doesn't offer a lot of wiggle, but he does possess a firm stiff arm. He can catch the ball naturally, but he isn't used much in pass protection and will need some time to develop in that area. He has been ultra-productive as a kickoff returner throughout his career.
Sutton is a big, physical wideout. He primarily lines up outside, but he does take some reps in the slot. He uses his upper-body strength to defeat press coverage, although he lacks ideal suddenness in his release. As a route runner, he's a long strider who struggles to generate much separation. He makes a ton of plays with defenders draped all over him. He has an enormous catch radius and his ability to high-point the ball is special (see one-handed grab vs. Tulsa). After the catch, he lacks burst and wiggle, but he will power through tacklers. Overall, Sutton lacks ideal explosiveness and route-running polish, but his combination of size, strength and ball skills is tough to defend against.
Carter is a long, loose and explosive outside linebacker for the Bulldogs. Against the run, he uses his length to lock out blocks and hold the point on the front side. He has tremendous speed to close down space from the backside. Against the pass, he's more of a blitzer than a pass rusher. He lacks a vast array of moves, but he wins with pure athleticism. He also has value on special teams (see blocked field goal in Rose Bowl). I believe his best football is ahead of him.
Chark has a tall, lean build for the position and possesses outstanding play speed. He's an ideal vertical weapon in the passing game. He quickly builds speed and runs past everyone he plays against, whether it's in the SEC or the Senior Bowl. He tracks the ball naturally. Chark still has some work to do as a route runner. He's still a little sticky in and out of his break when he's working back to the QB. He offers tremendous value as a punt returner (two punt-return TDs in 2017). Overall, Chark has room to grow as a technician, but his big-play ability will be evident immediately at the next level.
Hill lines up at defensive tackle for the Wolfpack. He has broad shoulders and a thick, muscular frame for the position. Against the run, he plays with balance and power at the point of attack and flashes the quickness to penetrate/disrupt. His effort to chase plays is excellent. As a pass rusher, he has a quick slap/rip move and he generates a lot of pressures. He lacks sack production, but I believe that will come in time. Overall, Hill is very athletic and his best football is ahead of him.
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Dane Brugler, NFL Draft Scout: Sam Darnold, USC; Three QBs in the Top 10
It’s Sam Darnold for me. He needs to cut down on the turnovers, but his ability at only 20 years old to anticipate passing windows, create outside of structure and handle the overall mental battle of the position is outstanding. If I had to bet on one of these guys long term, it’s going to be Darnold. As far as quarterbacks in the top 10, I think it’s three at the minimum with the chance of four. It’s going to be fascinating to see how it all plays out.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: San Darnold, USC; Four QBs in the Top 10
I think the best quarterback is Sam Darnold… barely. It’s a weird year in that all of the guys are kind of grouped together. I like Darnold. I like his accuracy. I like his poise. I like his toughness. I think his football IQ and leadership skills are also really good. For quarterbacks, I put a heavy emphasis on that. I think when you look at the total picture, they all have their weaknesses, but Darnold has the most strengths that I feel safely about projecting forward. I still think four of them go in the top 10. Now that Kirk Cousins is in Minnesota, I think a lot of lanes opened up for quarterbacks to go early.