Photo: Sooner Sports
My first big board of the year has finally arrived. Let me make one thing clear first. This is not a mock draft and it is not where I think the players will get drafted. These are my rankings of the players.
It really is quite impossible to put together an accurate big board without having a team or schemes in mind. So I made this big board based purely on rankings. But I did evaluate these players with the Miami Dolphins in mind because I am a fan of them. Okay Now lets get into these rankings because I know no one wants to read this.
1. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The obvious first player on the big board. This is not a huge shock to anyone. Young will have a Nick Bosa like impact early in his career. He is very explosive and athletic. He really improved his pass rush repertoire this last season. He is the best player in this draft and will have the biggest non-quarterback impact for a team.
2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Cool Joe Burrow is number two on the list. The Heisman Trophy winner truly dominated all year. He has all the traits you look for in a quarterback. He displays leadership, football intelligence, anticipatory skills, and has some of the best off-script ability you will ever see. Some might see him as a one-year wonder but it is a positive thing for me. He is only improving year after year.
3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
My personal favorite quartback in this draft. I have loved him ever since he was a freshman. If he did not have injury concerns I would rate him over Burrow. One of the quickest releases you will see. He manipulates defenses with his eyes, very efficient footwork in the pocket. He also has great pocket awareness. I still expect to see him in a Fins uniform come next season.
4. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The best defensive back in the entire draft. He is my highest graded cornerback since Marshon Lattimore. His feet in press-man is exceptional. He is the lock down cornerback of this draft. Cornerback is so important in today’s NFL and Okudah will be very valuable for some team.
5. Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Versatility is my favorite trait to look for when evaluating. Simmons is as versatile as they come. He is also a freak of nature at his size. He will be very valuable for any team. Hopefully he goes to a team with a creative defensive coordinator. He is smart, athletic, and physical. That is what you really look for in a player.
6. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Wirfs is a freak athlete and has ideal size for his position. I have him slightly edging out the other offensive tackles based on his athletic ability. He is strong at the point of attack and plays nasty. He will make an impact in the run game and in pass protection.
7. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The first defensive tackle on my big board is Derrick Brown. He is a big guy that will play from nose to 3-technique. He is explosive for his size. He is insanely strong at the point of attack and will over take games. He impacts as a pass rusher and versus the run. He dominated LSU up front with burst, strength, and football intelligence.
8. Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Honestly ranking these offensive tackles was very difficult as the top-4 are all very good. Wills is the second offensive tackle on my board because of his outstanding mental processing. He plays nasty and has good athletic ability to mirror and match in pass pro. Plays with leverage and very good positioning in the run game.
9. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
He has the highest ceiling of all the offensive tackles. Measuring at 6’7” and he is an exceptional athlete. He destroys players with powerful hands and explosiveness in his lower half. He has all the talent in the world. He could use some technical work but it isn’t bad for his size.
10. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
My WR1 goes to CeeDee Lamb. There has been a lot of arguments between Lamb, Jeudy, and Ruggs III. They are all very good and just depends on what you prefer. Lamb is the most complete. he is the best after the catch, Very good at adjusting and contested catches. He has the best body control in the draft.
11. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Rounding out the top-4 offensive tackles is Andrew Thomas. He is probably the least athletic of those but still athletic enough. He is very strong at the point of attack and understands how to use different pass sets. Hands are very good and he is very technically sound.
12. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
One of the most fun wide receivers to watch in this draft. Jeudy’s start and stop ability with his change of direction is so impressive. He runs silky smooth routes and it is very difficult to press at the line of scrimmage. He runs hard after the catch and has exceptional elusiveness.
13. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
He has been known as the speed wide receiver in this draft. While he has elite speed, he is nuanced as a route runner. He is smart and has elite competitive toughness. Always brings effort as a blocker and chasing down an interception. He also makes contested catches as well.
14. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Powerful and explosive is the best way to describe Kinlaw. He will play 1 or 3-technique at the next level depending on the down and distance. He has strong hands and has very good upfield burst. He plays with good leverage at the point of attack.
15. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
My first running back on my big board is J.K. Dobbins. He is the most complete back in the draft. He has very good vision and processes the plays quickly. He manipulates linebackers with his feet and body. He is solid in pass pro and out of the backfield as a pass catcher. Exceptional contact balance and low center of gravity makes him a tough tackle.
16. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The master of the motor technique. He has extremely quick feet and is very technical with his hands in press. He has very good ball skills and body control. He is smart and very aware in zone. His click and close is very good. Very willing tackler and is physical at the point of attack.
17. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Love is my QB3, slightly ahead of Herbert. They are both risks in my opinion but Love has more ability off-script and to throw with creative arm angles. His arm talent is insane and gives me some Mahomes vibes. He actually processes the field quickly but will make some bad decisions when trying ot get his team back into games. His upside is insane.
18. CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson is a very good athlete. Very patient and smooth in press man. He quickly transitions with elite body control. Second best cornerback in press behind Okudah. Ball skills are also very good, he will be a lock down cornerback at the next level. Tackling and willingness tackle are the biggest concerns.
19. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert is the prototypical quarterback. He has the size, arm strength and athleticism. He is a good prospect but I have my concerns. He has never read the field and gone through progressions. The coaches would not let him and that scares me a bit. But he is smart so hopefully he can learn.
20. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
My first linebacker is The Queen himself. He is the new age linebacker that plays with speed, instincts, and physicality. He really came on this season as a full-time starter. He is a big reason the LSU defense was so good. He was a tackling machine. He will play Will linebacker at the next level.
21. Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Another powerful defensive tackle that plays with heavy hands. He is physical and a force in the middle of a defense. Any defensive coordinator would love to have him playing 1-technique wreaking havoc and demanding double teams on the inside. Blacklock is the third best defensive tackle in this draft.
22. Antoine Winfield Jr, S, Minnesota
My favorite prospect in the entire draft cycle. I always love defensive backs and Winfield’s play style is very fun. He is undersized but plays physically, smart and high athletic ability. He plays with elite ball skills and tracking down the field. His range is underrated and he is effective vs the run as well. Makes plays blitzing, he is a very clutch player.
23. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney is a very complete safety and very versatile. He makes plays on multiple levels of the field. He can play two-high effectively. He plays in the box well and is a very good blitzer. Ball skills are there and he can play well in man-to-man.
24. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Size and athleticism is very good for Mims. He had a limited route tree at Baylor but showed good routes and a full route tree at the senior bowl. He is a freak athlete that runs route with some nuance. Advanced hand fighting ability downfield.
25. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The second running back on my board is Swift. He has all the tools you look for. He is a complete back with vision, burst, and contact balance. He plays with good power. He needs more nuanced footwork. He has the nastiest dead leg move.
26. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The best slot wide receiver in the draft this cycle. He is similar to Jerry Jeudy. Underrated athleticism and has very good body control adjusting to balls above the frame. He is a very smart and nuanced route runner. Sudden in and out of the breaks.
27. Yetur Gross Matos, EDGE, Penn State
He is a very versatile piece across the defensive line. He is heavy handed and knows how to use his length well. He is explosive and very long. Plays with good leverage and disengages with ease. Can rotate inside on passing downs and abuse guards with his athletic ability and length.
28. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Another good edge player that will play a lot of 5-technique and some 3-technique. Wins with his hands and length. He is smart and versatile. Not the most athletic and bendy guy either. Good versus the run and very disciplined. He is powerful as well.
29. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
My edge guys are all very close. Chaisson gets a bad rep because of limited production. People believe he is just a speed guy. He uses his hands and length very well. He is disciplined versus the run and constricts the run lanes very well.
30. Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Noah Igbinoghene is one of my favorite prospects this year around. He is new to the cornerback position after starting out at wide receiver and being a track guy. His change of direction and hip fluidity are outstanding. He has shown plus hand technique and is good in press. Needs to work on looking for the ball because he has the tracking skills.
31. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit would definitely be the best safety in the class if he could make consistent tackles. He has outstanding ball skills, athletic ability and instincts at the position. He has the range to play deep and the size to play in the box. He misses too many open field tackles and this could be because of his shoulder injury.
32. Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Another versatile piece at the wide receiver position. Shenault is the ultimate offensive weapon. He is great after the catch and very explosive for a guy his size. Very strong hands and very good play strength. Amazing contact balance. Needs to work on routes and releases.
33. Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
Versatility in today’s NFL is so important. Baun does that excetionally. He can play in multiple fronts and even be an off-ball linebacker. He is wicked quick off the ball and has a variety of pass rush moves. very aware in underneath zone coverage as well. He is a fun one.
34. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Fulton is another good cornerback that can play man and zone with good football intelligence. He plays physically in press and matched up versus the best wide receivers and battled them. He has some ball skills but when with understanding of leverage.
35. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Niang had one of the best games against Chase Young in 2018. He shut him down. Niang is big and powerful with some movement ability to match athletic pass rushers. He is pretty technically sound as well.
36. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs has the prototypical size. He is patient is press man and uses his hands well. Pretty good athlete to mirror and match. He is Stefon Diggs’ brother. He is a good zone player as he has a nice click and close. He is very aware and has smooth transitions.
37. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
He is the most natural runner in the draft class. Amazing vision and feel working through trash. He has contact balance and efficient footwork to manipulate linebackers. He is strong and smart. He just needs work as a pass catcher and pass pro.
38. Clyde Edwards Helaire, RB, LSU
CEH is one the most skilled runner in this class when it comes to using footwork and pressing lanes to manipulate second level defenders. He is very quick as well. Very good contact balance and is good in the passing game.
39. Ashtyn Davis, FS, California
Davis is a fun prospect that has a lot of range and speed. He has the ball skills and is physical when making tackles. Plays like a missile when he see’s what is developing. He is a track guy and needs better football intelligence but he is versatile and can play man-to-man too.
40. Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
He is very explosive for a guy his size. He has good hand placement and timing. He does not have the best length to fully extend. he wins with quickness off the line. He is also a pretty powerful player. A 3-technique is his best fit at the next level.
41. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
He has the prototypical size and length you want in the position. He is light on his feet. Nimble guy that is very athletic. He can get to his spots in the run game and us able to mirror and match in pass pro. Needs work on base and technique.
42. A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The cornerback class is very strong as Terrell is another one in my top-50. He struggled mightily versus Chase. But he still has good traits. Good size and feet in press man. Shows athletic ability and hip fluidity to mirror and match wide receivers. He has good hand usage as well with a good click and close in zone coverage.
43. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
He is so explosive. Acceleration after the catch is out of this world. He is a better route runner then given credit for. Will sometimes takes false steps but is so sudden he makes up for it. He has strong ball skills and tracking ability to be a strong deep threat.
44. Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
The top interior offensive lineman is Cesar Ruiz. He is a big guy on the inside and will consistently move people. He has heavy hands and the ability to play in a gap and zone scheme. He has a nice anchor in pass pro and is pretty athletic for his size.
45. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
A small school safety prospect that is a big time player. He has great size and athletic ability. He shows range to play two and single high. Has the physicality and instincts to play in the box. He has long arms and good ball skills. He needs work in man-to-man.
46. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Ranking the wide receivers was the most difficult, as there are many within my top-50. Reagor makes the list because of his explosiveness combined with contested catch ability. He makes plays after the catch and vertically down the field.
47. Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
A very good press-man corner. He is very technically savvy and wins with his play strength. He is patient with his feet and has a very good understanding of route concepts. He reads body language well and is always in good position.
48. Josh Uche, EDGE/LB, Michigan
He is another swiss army knife on defense. I love versatility and that is what this guy brings to the table. He is a very good pass rusher using an effective two-hand swipe, wins with burst and bend combined with play strength. He can cover tight ends in man coverage. A bit undersized and needs to work his play versus the run.
49. Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
One of the most consistent players when you turn the tape on. He is technically sound and always has great positioning on zone runs. Good in pass pro and plays with high amount of awareness. He has some athletic ability and a bit of a nasty side as well.
50. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Not the most explosive or athletic wide receiver. But he is the most savvy route runner in the entire draft. He sets up corners using a variety of releases. He attacks leverage and manipulates defensive back’s hips. He has strong hands and ball skills as well.
So my top-50 big board has come to an end. I don’t think I will be making many changes and I expect to release a top-100 pretty soon after this. If you actually read all of this you probably know that I value versatility very highly. It is so important in today’s NFL and you have to be ready to be ahead of the game. I have been on the versatility train a long time. Some people believe it makes players position less but if there is a good coach it should not be a problem.
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