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2018 NFL Draft Position Rankings

By Jim Johnson
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Southern Pigskin's home for all of the 2018 NFL Draft Position Rankings, as well as a first round mock draft.

Below you will find my pre-NFL combine first round mock draft.

This will serve as the hub for the already released position rankings of each of the draftable prospects from our coverage area -- the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, and SoCon.

These pre-combine rankings include a basic rundown of strengths and weaknesses, however, after the combine, they will be updated with round projections, player comparisons, and a more in-depth summation of my personal opinion on each respective player.


QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL (OG/C) | EDGE (DE/3-4 OLB) | DL | LB | CB | S


For this mock draft, the selections have nothing to do with what I think WILL happen, simply what I think SHOULD happen. Basically I put myself in the shoes of the Browns’ GM, then the Giants’ GM, etc.

The selections were determined by a combination of need, my personal evaluations of the prospects, and positional value relative to the point of selection (the reason there are no running backs in the first round).

1. Cleveland Browns -- QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: 6’3, 211

Strengths: Good accuracy at all three levels of the field. Plus arm strength. Doesn’t turn the ball over often. Dominates between the numbers. Athletically in a class of his own.

Weaknesses: Has made great strides with his accuracy, but still needs to improve on throws to the sideline. Occasionally panics against the blitz.

2. New York Giants -- QB Josh Rosen, UCLA: 6’4, 218

3. Indianapolis Colts -- DE Bradley Chubb, NC State: 6’4, 275

Strengths: Physically the prototype. Nice size, speed, and strength for the position. Probably the best run stopping edge defender in college football over the past two seasons. Very effective pass rusher be it off the edge or bull rushing, but especially off the opposing tackles’ inside shoulder. Has shown steady year-to-year improvement.

Weaknesses: Sometimes plays out of control -- led to too many missed tackles in 2016. Would like to see him convert a higher rate of his pressures into sacks.

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU) -- DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama: 6’1, 202

Strengths: A special athlete, as versatile as they come. Rangy enough to be left alone in single high, even as he continues to grow into the position. Upper echelon ball skills with the added bonus of being a weapon with it in his hands. Plenty of experience as a slot corner at Alabama, can step right in and defend tight ends or receivers from the inside better than most true corner prospects. Plus in run support and has even shown prowess as a pure pass rusher.

Weaknesses: Played all over the field for Alabama but never had the chance to fully develop as either a corner or safety -- still gaining awareness.

5. Denver Broncos -- OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame: 6’5, 329

6. New York Jets -- OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma: 6’8, 360

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College: 6’3, 250

Strengths: Long, in spite of height, with great burst and speed. Arguably the most well rounded high end edge defender in 2016. Elite outside pass rusher. Able to chase down running backs before they turn the corner.

Weaknesses: Not quite ideal size. Above average bullrush efficacy in college but that could change against NFL play strength. Took steps back last year.

8. Chicago Bears -- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: 6’1, 190

Strengths: Full route tree. Elite speed, separation. So effortlessly smooth. Devastating deep threat. Continues to improve as a run blocker. Has good hands, despite the drops -- plucks the ball out of the air. Can be effective outside or in the slot.

Weaknesses: Has struggled with drops throughout his career, in large part due to lapses in concentration. Slender frame and lack of strength allow him to be redirected by bump and run.

9. San Francisco 49ers -- OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame: 6’8, 312

10. Oakland Raiders -- LB Roquan Smith, Georgia: 6’1, 225

Strengths: Elite athleticism for the position. After being only an average tackler in 2016, he totally assuaged those concerns last year. One of the best run stoppers in the draft, strength to compete in the interior and speed to beat even the faster backs to the sideline. More than capable pass rusher, albeit on a small sample size. Very good in coverage. High football IQ, never makes mistakes, always in the right place.

Weaknesses: Maybe slightly undersized relative to the prototype.

11. Miami Dolphins -- LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech: 6’5, 250

Strengths: An entirely unique physical specimen; a borderline unprecedented true linebacker with a combination of size, length, and burst, with speed to burn. One of the most gifted, imposing athletes in the class. Two years of solid all-around production. Greatly improved as a tackler last year while becoming even more of a force in the run game. Has steadily improved in coverage throughout his career and does a good job closing from zone.

Weaknesses: Relies pretty heavily on athleticism, only average feel, instincts. Still a work in progress in man coverage. Did miss a lot of tackles in 2016, although that seems to be fixed.

12. Cincinnati Bengals -- OT Connor Williams, Texas: 6’6, 320

13. Washington Redskins -- S Derwin James, Florida State: 6’3, 211

Strengths: Exceeds every physical attribute one could ask for. Super versatile. Big and athletic enough to cover tight ends from the slot. Elite ball skills. High end run stopping safety coming up near the line of scrimmage, where he has added value as a pure pass rush option. Sure tackler. A natural at the position with great overall feel and instincts. Almost always in the right place and usually making the play.

Weaknesses: Has the tools but zone coverage skills need work, not reliable as single high safety.

14. Green Bay Packers -- CB Josh Jackson, Iowa: 6’1, 192

15. Arizona Cardinals -- QB Sam Darnold, USC: 6’4, 220

16. Baltimore Ravens -- WR James Washington, Oklahoma State: 6’0, 205

17. Los Angeles Chargers -- DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama: 6’2, 308

Strengths: Faced high expectations going into the 2017 season, met them, exceeded them, and improved across the board. A unique combination of elite strength and athleticism with the ideal build for the position. Opposing coordinators must scheme away from him in the run game. Showed notable development as a pass rusher last season. An absolute technician, even by Bama’s standards.

Weaknesses: Has the tools to be a good pass rusher but his production was only about average. Would like to see him finish more sacks when he does get pressure.

18. Seattle Seahawks -- OG Will Hernandez, UTEP: 6’2, 348

19. Dallas Cowboys -- DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan: 6’2, 282

20. Detroit Lions -- EDGE Arden Key, LSU: 6’6, 265

Strengths: Has added weight to his long frame without really sacrificing any of that elite athleticism that makes him so deadly. Extremely consistent, productive pass rusher both inside and, even more so, off the edge. Converts pressures into sacks at an above average rate.

Weaknesses: Never been much of an asset against the run. Less than reliable tackler.

21. Buffalo Bills -- DT Taven Bryan, Florida: 6’4, 291

Strengths: Relative to his position, maybe one of the most athletic prospects in the entire draft class. Above average playmaker against the run -- showed some improvement from 2016 to last season. One of the nation’s premier interior pass rushers over the past two seasons and maintained that level of efficiency with a much larger sample size in 2017.

Weaknesses: Not as strong as one would like, struggles with interior power. Underdeveloped feel, instincts.

22. Buffalo Bills (from KC) -- WR Courtland Sutton, SMU: 6’4, 218

23. Los Angeles Rams -- EDGE Marcus Davenport, UTSA: 6’6, 255

24. Carolina Panthers -- C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas: 6’5, 317

Strengths: Good size, strength for the position. Gets into defenders quickly after the snap and finds work at the next level. Excellent technique in every respect. As good a run blocker as it gets. Plus pass protector at center. Starting experience at both center and guard.

Weaknesses: Only average athleticism.

25. Tennessee Titans -- S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama: 6’3, 214

Strengths: An absolute physical specimen -- ideal size-speed combo. Experienced high safety with good feel for zone, closes well. Good ball skills. Physical, effective run stopper. Very reliable tackler with a penchant for laying down big hits. Has pass rush ability. Good general feel for the position, does his job and does it well.

Weaknesses: Not really an option to cover receivers from the slot, despite physical tools.

26. Atlanta Falcons -- DT Vita Vea, Washington: 6’4, 344

27. New Orleans Saints -- TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina: 6’5, 250

Strengths: Might be the most well-rounded tight end in the draft. Competes on every snap. Plus speed for the position. Sure handed, reliable pass catcher. Prototypical size, athleticism.

Weaknesses: Is probably fully developed, physically. Will be a 25-year old rookie. Routes need some polish.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers -- LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama: 6’3, 234

Strengths: Very athletic, sideline to sideline player. Extremely efficient as both a run stopper and pass rusher, especially in 2016, on a more limited sample size. Adapted better to playing inside last season. Striker.

Weaknesses: Has the tools to be reliable in coverage but needs work. Not very instinctual. Slower to diagnose plays. Nagging injuries are a concern. Missed more tackles than would be ideal.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars -- OG Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech: 6’5, 315

Strengths: Well put together frame. A bully of a run blocker that doesn’t make many mistakes. Maybe the best pass blocking guard in college football over the last two years. Strength to handle bull rushing interior defenders.

Weaknesses: One of the most penalized offensive guards during his career. Won’t always look for more work when uncovered.

30. Minnesota Vikings -- OT Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh: 6’6, 305

Strengths: Superior athlete with top notch footwork and length. Very consistent with few mistakes. Does his job as a run blocker. Elite in pass pro.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal play strength. Isn’t blowing anyone off the ball on run plays.

31. New England Patriots -- CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville: 5’11, 192

Strengths: Versatility to play inside or outside. Speedy playmaker with plus ball skills. Smooth, agile, and keeps eyes on the quarterback. Sometimes looks like he’s running the receiver’s route better than the wideout. Particularly good against intermediate to deep patterns.

Weaknesses: Misses more tackles than one would like. Frame plus injuries in 2017 could lead to durability questions.

32. Philadelphia Eagles -- WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: 5’11, 200

Strengths: Big time playmaker -- picks up a lot of yards after the catch. Very shifty. Gets in and out of his breaks quickly. Natural pass catcher, improved his drop rate despite shaky QB play and a lot of double coverage last year. One of the great punt returners in SEC history.

Weaknesses: Below average catch radius. Quarterback play at Texas A&M has limited his ability to showcase how effective he can be as a deep threat, consistently.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP