Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports
Every year there is a handful of players in each NFL draft class that I love. This year is no different and a few of them are some of my favorite prospects ever. Some of my favorite prospects every year are defensive back’s. On this NFL Draft crush list half of the players are DB’s and I could have done even more. This list starts off with a player that has that skill set that I always in love in a player. Let’s get right into this draft rush list.
1. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
My personal favorite player to watch in this draft class. He is pretty much always the smallest player on the field but he does not play like it. He is a good athlete that processes route and run concept at an elite pace. He plays like a missile flying around the field. He also has the best ball skills of all the safeties in the draft class. I love smart, physical and athletic players. He is also versatile enough to play multiple roles on the defense. I would build my team with players like him.
2. Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Igbinoghene is a highly athletic corner with elite change of direction and hip fluidity. He is new to the cornerback position and already showing some advanced hand techniques downfield. He has the most upside in this draft class at the cornerback position. He uses the sideline to his advantage very well and understands leverage. He is a former wide receiver and has the ball skills. He is a player not being talked about enough and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sneak into the back end of the 1st round.
3. K’Von Wallace, DB, Clemson
I love defensive backs if you can’t tell already. If Wallace wasn’t teammates with Isaiah Simmons he would be talked about a lot more. Wallace played as many positions as Simmons did for Clemson. His best fit is playing in a nickel role and he will play some strong safety. He is a very intelligent football player and seems to always be in the right position. He is always around the ball in the run game and makes an impact in the man and zone coverage.
4. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
I always end up loving the nuanced route runner in the class that will go in the mid-rounds. Jefferson is going to be a value pick in this deep wide receiver class. He understands how to create separation and has very strong hands at the catch point. He might not be the most athletic but creating separation is the most important thing to me. Jefferson is always open and he has slot and outside wide receiver versatility.
5. Zack Baun, EDGE/LB, Wisconsin
I love versatility especially on defense. Baun is one of the most versatile defensive prospects in this class. He is a highly athletic and technical pass rusher. Wins with quickness, hand usage, and leverage. He is very disciplined and good vs the run. He will play some off-ball linebacker at the next level and he shows good awareness in underneath zone coverage. He is a bit undersized but makes up for it with his leverage and athleticism.
6. Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
He played mostly wide receiver at Memphis but best projects as a running back at the next level. He ran mostly power concepts when he did play running back but showed very good footwork for limited experience. He is a natural with the ball in his hands and he is highly explosive. He will be a very good third down back right away that has very good upside to become a good three-down back.
7. Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
Uche is a Swiss army knife on defense. He can rush the best with outstanding bend and burst. He is undersized but has good play strength and uses good pad level on speed to power moves. He uses a nice tow hand swipe as well. He is a very good coverage player as he can play zone and man and can carry players vertically with his high athleticism.
8. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
My favorite quarterback in this draft it Tua Tagovailoa but that is too obvious. Love is my second favorite quarterback to watch. I loved Mahomes coming out of Texas Tech and they have a lot of similarities. Love is so good off-script and he can make any throw from a crazy arm angle and off-base. He has a strong arm and he processes the defense very quickly. I am not that worried about the interception number. He played on a bad team and was trying to do too much. With the right coaching he is going to be a very good quarterback.
9. Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
This is a weak tight end class and Bryant has some fun qualities for a tight end. He has the best play speed at the position. He will be more of a H-back/move tight end at the next level. But he will thrive at this specific role. He plays fast through his route stem and after the catch. He is willing to be physical too and he is a smart player.
10. Ashtyn Davis, S, California
I really do love the top end of this safety class. Finding rangy free safeties in this league are a rarity. Davis is exactly that and he is till new to the position. His ball skills are phenomenal and he plays like a missile flying around the field. He also has the versatility to line up all over the field and man up on tight end’s.
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