The 2018 NFL Draft is approaching. The NFL Scouting Combine is this weekend, which begins the time of the draft process where teams get to have an up close and personal look at the draft prospects.
We at WFNY are getting Browns fans ready by examining the top prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. WFNY’s Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns release their initial top five rankings for each of the draft’s position classes. The duo is back and ready to unveil their initial big board. We will begin with Gilbert and Burns’ players who stand 50 through 41 on their big boards.
Joe: OG Braden Smith, Auburn (Joe’s No. 5 OG/C)
Braden Smith has ideal size and strength for an offensive guard with the ability to take on the power of interior defensive linemen.
Jake: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State (Outside Jake’s Top 5 LBs)
A deeper film study shows a linebacker with an excellent feel for play development and closing speed that translates to Sundays.
Joe: WR James Washington, Oklahoma State (Outside Joe’s Top 5 WRs)
James Washington is a big play receiver with the ability to track deep balls incredibly well.
Jake: DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (Outside Jake’s Top 5 IDL)
A quick and tough interior player who won’t wow you physically, but just finds the ball. Impressive production from a defensive tackle.
Joe: S Armani Watts, Texas A&M (Joe’s No. 4 S)
Armani Watts is an athletic player who can affect the run and pass game using his quickness to break on the ball.
Jake: CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado (Jake’s No. 5 CB)
Long arms, big frame, and a relatively polished technique give Oliver a shot at becoming a No. 1 corner someday.
Joe: RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (Outside Joe’s Top 5 RBs)
Nick Chubb is built like a bowling ball and has an impressive combination of power and speed.
Jake: WR Dante Pettis, Washington (Jake’s No. 4 WR)
Polished route running, soft hands, and the college games best punt returner in history combine to make one intriguing prospect.
Joe: TE Christopher Herndon, Miami (FL) (Joe’s No. 4 TE)
Christopher Herndon is an athletic tight end who can contribute in all facets of the game and could be a player who has a better pro career than college career.
Jake: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina (Jake’s No. 1 TE)
About as complete a TE prospect as you’ll find. Can contribute in both phases. Age is a concern.
Joe: CB Anthony Averett, Alabama (Joe’s No. 5 CB)
Anthony Averrett is just a football player. He is a fluid athlete with physicality to help out in the run game.
Jake: DT Taven Bryan, Florida (Jake’s No. 5 IDL)
Lightning quick off the snap, the physical skill is impressive. Bryan has to sharpen technique to reach his full potential.
Joe: TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma (Joe’s No. 3 TE)
Mark Andrews is built like a house and offers a huge frame for a quarterback to target in the passing game.
Jake: OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon (Jake’s No. 4 OT)
A left tackle by trade at Oregon, Crosby will be over-matched there on Sundays. I look for him to move to right tackle and dominate as a nasty finisher in the run game.
Joe: IDL Harrison Phillips, Stanford (Outside Joe’s Top 5 IDL)
Harrison Phillips is one of the most active interior defensive linemen in the draft with the strength and active arms to pressure the pocket.
Jake: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma (Jake’s No. 5 OT)
Orlando Brown comes from a family of offensive lineman and has developed into a nice prospect. Some think he shifts sides due to a lack of quickness, but he’s a surprising athlete who has long arms and a physicality/strength combo that will make general managers drool.
Joe: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State (Joe’s No. 4 LB)
Leighton Vander Esch has the size and athleticism teams dream of in their linebackers.
Jake: S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest (Outside Jake’s Top S)
Long, rangy free safety type who flashed the ability to match up in the slot as well. Adept at playing the run and pass with instincts for a deep center field.
Joe: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville (Joe’s No. 4 CB)
Jaire Alexander has the upside to be one of the best corners in the class if he can stay healthy.
Jake: WR DJ Moore, Maryland (Outside Jake’s Top 5 WR)
Plenty to love here: physical, quick, elusive, nice catch radius. DJ Moore got better each year at Maryland and I think he keeps progressing in the NFL. Think Steve Smith type.