Our final installment of the 2018 Draft Panel looks at which prospects are currently being undervalued. Every year, analysts around the country fall in love with a few specific players. The term "draft crush" has been around for awhile, and it's always intriguing to see which players some experts have ranked higher than their colleagues.
I'd like to thank all five of our experts who took the time to be a part of this six-part series. With that, here are a few names to keep on your radar when the draft begins on April 26.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
"Leighton Vander Esch is my guy. He’s a late first round guy. I think he’s going to be a stud in the NFL. He’s exactly what I’d look for in a linebacker. He can cover. He can blitz. He has the size to stack up blockers. He’s a true three-down inside linebacker. That’s my guy."
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee
"I like Rashaan Gaulden out of Tennessee. He’s a nickel corner. I know exactly what he is, and I think he can step in and play right away. He’s in the middle-round area. I’ll give you another one, and this guy might not even get drafted. Demario Richard, the running back from ASU. He’s like a sixth- or seventh-round guy. You better believe you can find good running backs that late. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles about Corey Clement (or the 49ers about Matt Breida). You can find guys late. They’re out there. Richard is a good football player."
Dane Brugler, NFL Draft Scout: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
"I’ve been on Moore for a while now since I started studying him. I fell in love with the tape. He runs polished routes. He makes physical catches. He gets yards after the catch. You can’t help but get a Steve Smith vibe from what he does. He’s a first-round pick. He’s not as much of a sleeper anymore, but he’s still one of my biggest draft crushes. A guy on defense that I really like is Nathan Shepherd, a defensive tackle out of Fort Hays State. He’s a Day 2 pick and might get into the top 50. He’s well traveled and a little older, but he has an NFL skill set. He might be the top small school-player drafted this year.”
Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
"I don’t understand why Mike Gesicki out of Penn State isn’t getting more attention. I think we’re seeing in today’s NFL these tight ends that are matchup nightmares when used as slot receivers. They’re really taking over the NFL. Gesicki is a freak athlete and deserves a lot of credit for Penn State’s success this season. We saw him at the Senior Bowl and we saw him at the combine. He’s a savvy route runner. He’s got great hands and strength. He’s a first-round caliber player."
Matt Bowen ESPN: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
"Here’s the reason why I love Minkah Fitzpatrick. There’s so much talk about whether he’s a safety or a cornerback. What’s his value to a team? He’s what I’d call a slot safety. He’s got to get into the right system with a coach who is going to be creative. I think he’s best near the football. That’s inside the numbers. That’s where he can impact your football team so much. I think he’s super smart. The people at Alabama say he’s an A+ kid. He picked up Nick Saban’s defense right away as a freshman. He’s smooth on film. He can blitz. He can tackle. He can cover a slot receiver."