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2018 Top Ten SEC Draft Prospects

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The SEC's top-ten NFL Draft-eligible prospects for 2018.

With the 2017 NFL Draft now in the books, it's officially time to look ahead to next spring. Below are the SEC's top ten draft-eligible prospects for 2018;

SEC Top Ten
1. Arden Key, OLB, LSU -- At 6'6'', 238 pounds with all of the measurables and skills, Key is exactly what the NFL wants in a franchise pass-rusher. His 1.09 sacks-per-game last season were the most in the SEC, a higher rate than Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen and Derek Barnett. Key could be the first non-quarterback taken or the number one overall pick.

2. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama -- Versatility is a huge strength for Fitzpatrick as he can play corner or safety at an elite level. A natural ballhawk with tremendous defensive instincts, Fitzpatrick led the league with six interceptions a year ago. Additionally, he has 18 pass breakups in two seasons. 

3. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M -- Kirk is college football's best perimeter playmaker and has the numbers to back it up. Two years into his college career, Kirk has 163 receptions for 1,937 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding five punt returns for score with a staggering 23 yards per attempt. The two-position value here is obvious.  

4. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama -- Silky-smooth on the edge, Ridley already has 161 receptions as he becomes a junior; for point of reference, Amari Cooper had 103 catches two seasons in, while Julio Jones had 101. Ridley's red-zone knack, with 14 touchdowns, will make him a high-priority wide receiver. 

5. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama -- As the Crimson Tide's nose guard last year, Payne helped set the tone for a unit that led the nation by holding opponents to just 63.9 rushing yards per game, the lowest total since 2008. At 6'2'', 319 pounds, he has the ideal strength to be the interior anchor of a professional front line.

6. Martez Ivey, OT, Florida -- With considerable experience at both guard and tackle, the ability to play multiple positions will be an appealing part of Ivey's profile. The 6'5'' talent could project at either spot, versatility which is rare. Ivey has been a lineup fixture for the Gators during his career in Gainesville. 

7. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama -- Harrison, at 6'3'', 216 pounds, is the complete package at safety. He finished second for the Crimson Tide with 85 tackles as a sophomore, adding a couple of interceptions and seven pass break-ups. As a freshman, Harrison had a key deflection in the first national title bout between Alabama and Clemson.

8. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU -- Guice was a revelation this past fall, running for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns at a conference-best 7.58 yards per carry. His physical, thrashing style is similar to that of Leonard Fournette and could make Guice a prominent feature back at the next level. He had over 250 yards in two of his last four games.

9. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia -- It's very possible that Chubb could finish as the rushing runner-up in SEC history with more production this season. He is 5'10'', 228 pounds, has elite vision and credentials that compare favorably to almost anymore. Fully recovered from a brutal knee injury, Chubb is back on track for big things.  

10. Duke Dawson, CB, Florida -- A physical cornerback at 208 pounds, Dawson can play in the slot or on the perimeter. Last fall, he excelled in a nickel role for a defense that allowed the lowest quarterback rating in the country, the fewest touchdown passes and the second-fewest yards per game.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Matt Osborne and Kevin Thomas on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network and is the sports director for multiple ESPN Radio affiliates based throughout southeast Georgia. @BJBennettSports