NFL Draft Big Boards: Comparing Rankings from Top National Analysts

 

Mock drafts generally garner a bulk of the attention during this time of the year.

And for good reason. Fans are eager to see who NFL Draft analysts project their favorite team will select come the last weekend in April. However, those predictions are often based on who they're hearing teams are interested in, rather than who analysts think are the better players overall.

That's where the big board comes in: a comprehensive ranking of prospects eligible for selection, regardless of position and draft order.

Here are the rankings from five of the nation's most prominent draft experts:

Todd McShay, ESPN: Top 32

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: Top 50

Mike Mayock, NFL Network: Top 5 by Position

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: Top 50

Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Top 42

There are some variances to each list – especially Mayock's that is broken down by position – but there are still comparisons to be made.

The easiest way to organize all that information is to break it down by these pertinent questions.

Who is No. 1?

Joey Bosa got half of the votes with Mayock's rankings not applicable to this question.

McShay and Rang have the edge rusher out of Ohio State as their top player in the draft as of now. Bosa posted five sacks in 2015, but recorded 13.5 sacks the season prior. The 6-foot-6, 275-pounder is touted as a player who will make an immediate impact for teams in need of an improved pass rush.

Miller chose Jared Goff. The California quarterback threw for 4,714 yards and 43 touchdowns before opting to forgo his senior season as a Golden Bear.

Finally, Jeremiah tabbed Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil as his choice for No. 1. Jeremiah said Tunsil has "ideal height, bulk and length" to play left tackle in the NFL.

Who is the top quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft?

Clearly, Goff is Miller's choice. A month ago, the rest of the panel probably would have agreed. Now it's just Rang who also chose Goff as his top signal-caller.

The other three, including Mayock, chose Carson Wentz. The North Dakota State product shined in Mobile, Ala., during Senior Bowl week and subsequently began climbing draft boards everywhere. Wentz, who stands a tick over 6-foot-5, has over an inch on Goff as well as 17 pounds.

The quarterbacks rank either as the No. 1 or No. 2 signal-caller according to all five analysts.

Who is the best skill player in the draft?

Once again excluding Mayock, three of the four draft experts – Miller, Jeremiah and McShay – agree that Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott claims this title.

Elliott eclipsed 1,800 rushing yards in each of the last two seasons and totaled 41 rushing touchdowns. Jeremiah has him listed the highest at sixth overall. 

Rang went with Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. The 6-foot-2 pass-catcher hauled in 1,153 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this past season.

For what it's worth, Mayock has both Elliott and Treadwell listed as the best players at their respective positions.

Is Ohio State's Bosa the best defender in the draft?

Rang and McShay think so.

Miller thinks it's Jaylon Smith, who recorded 115 tackles in 2015 along with nine sacks. The Notre Dame linebacker's stock will be interesting player to watch, however, as he tore his ACL in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day.

Jeremiah has Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey as the top defender on his board. Although he played cornerback in college, many think Ramsey has the ideal build (6-foot-1, 202 pounds) to play safety in the NFL.

Is there a consensus player at any position between all five analysts?

It's Ramsey and Tunsil. All five draft experts rank those two at the top of their position groups.

At what position do the opinions vary the most?

This is probably linebacker (not to be confused with edge rusher), and the discrepancies probably have more to do with the overall depth at the position.

Mayock agrees with Miller and has Smith as his top linebacker in the class.

Rang and Jeremiah have Myles Jack. UCLA's star defender only played in three games in 2014 due to a torn meniscus but is already back to full health. Jeremiah calls Jack "an explosive playmaker with a unique skill set." 

McShay chose Alabama linebacker and Senior Bowl star Reggie Ragland. Ragland posted 102 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2015.

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