This is it! The long awaited top 10 players. WFNY’s Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns have been releasing their 2018 NFL Draft big boards over the course of the last few weeks. We have gone through the players 11 through 50 on their boards. Now it’s time to see the top 10. But, before we get to these players, a quick note. These boards might not be the duos final rankings when the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft finally gets here. Over the next couple weeks leading up to the draft, the two will re-look at their position rankings, which could cause some changes to be made resulting in an updated big board. But, that is for later.
It is time. We are finally here. Here are the top 10 players on Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns’ first 2018 NFL Draft big boards. Enjoy!
Joe: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech (Joe’s No 1 LB)
Tremaine Edmunds is a dream linebacker for NFL teams. Edmunds is 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, but is able to move so smoothly and easily to play sideline to sideline and in coverage.
Jake: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
A true sideline to sideline middle linebacker in the mold of Ray Lewis. Smith plays with excellent range, leverage, and power. He can handle taking on and shedding blocks inside, working outside for stretch runs, and can handle middle of the field pass coverage.
Joe: IDL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (Joe’s No. 2 IDL)
Da’Ron Payne is another great athlete in the interior defensive line class. He is so explosive off the line at his size and shows good strength to be stout at the point of attack.
Jake: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
This drafts best corner is Ward. He is stick to his man type and his tape shows it. Ward might not have quite the size scouts love, but his feets, hips and shoulders all work in perfect harmony to cover any type with ease. Ward has some limitations, but he is this class’s best cover man.
Joe: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State (Joe’s No. 1 CB)
Denzel Ward has the best feet in the corner class. He is able to fluidly move his hips and feet, which gives him the best mirror skill ability in the class.
Jake: S Derwin James, Florida State
Derwin James has somehow become underrated in this class and that is a mistake. His combine performance showed his is the best in this class of safeties as he can bounce between the box, covering the slot, and I think he can morph into a quality deep center fielder as well. James quick change of direction and instincts will make him deadly in a defensive backfield soon.
Joe: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (Joe’s No. 1 S)
Minkah Fitzpatrick is a versatile defender in the secondary. He is a great athlete who can cover in man coverage, go back in zone coverage, come up in run defense and even come off the edge as a blitzer.
Jake: QB Sam Darnold, USC
Of the big three quarterbacks in this draft, Darnold is the least polished and furthest from ready. That doesn’t mean he lacks the skill. He is still young at 20 years old, but has already proven to posses some of the top notch skills needed to make a successful quarterback in the NFL. Darnold plays outside structure as well as anyone in this class and can make throws well from all sorts of bases and angles. He needs to get better within structure reading coverage, but that will come. A multitude of factors both on and off the field lead many to believe he is the first overall pick.
Joe: IDL Taven Bryan, Florida (Joe’s No. 1 IDL)
Taven Bryan has the best combination of get-off and explosion in the interior defensive line class. He can be in the backfield before the blocker knows what happened, making him a disruptive force in the interior.
Jake: OLB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Another young prospect at just 19 years old, Edmunds is a freak player in a body built for football. He is thick chested, long armed, and tall. He is the ideal outside linebacker in both a 4-3 and 3-4 and I expect him to make a wide range of plays at the NFL level as he can play in space, handle the edge rush, and take on blockers. He just plays fast.
Joe: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State (Joe’s No. 1 RB)
Saquon Barkley is just a freak at the running back position. He has the elusiveness and speed to make defenders look silly and take a handoff all the way to the endzone.
Jake: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
The most polished passer in this group. Rosen does his damage within the pocket and down the middle of the field. Many who have evaluated the position for years will tell you that you won’t see one much better than Rosen, and it’s easy to see why. The problem for Rosen is the personality stigmas that follow him, fair or unfair, and his propensity for injury. He is probably the safest selection at the position but he is still carrying risk.
Joe: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (Joe’s No. 1 IOL)
Quenton Nelson is by far the best overall offensive lineman in the draft. He has a combination of strength and nastiness that makes him a plow in the trenches.
Jake: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
The quarterback I feel is the most NFL ready on day one. Mayfield carries his own risks with personality, but his on-field performance, the most efficient in NCAA history, is what drives this one home. He might not be the best in any one single category of skill set, but he is the best across the board of accumulated skills. If you can get past him being close to just 6’1, you’ll have a great quarterback for the next decade.
Joe: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (Joe’s No. 1 QB)
Baker Mayfield has a top level arm. He blends a strong arm with pinpoint accuracy, making him an accurate passer to all levels of the field.
Jake: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Barkley has cemented himself as one of the best in this class. He is a fine runner of the football, and when you mix in his abilities in the passing game, it’s easy to see why he will go top five. Barkley isn’t a ‘once in a generation’ back, but he is in that top tier of backs in the last decade.
Joe: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA (Joe’s No. 1a QB)
Josh Rosen is the cleanest quarterback on the field. He has great accuracy in throws 10-19 yards down field with the mechanics and IQ of an NFL starting quarterback.
Jake: EDGE Bradley Chubb, NC State
NFL teams can never have enough pass rushing talent, and Chubb is worth the hype here. He is the quintessential mix of speed and power, and he can get home against the pass and hold down an edge against the run.
Joe: Edge Bradley Chubb, NC State (Joe’s No. 1 Edge Rusher)
Bradley Chubb is my favorite player in the draft and the No. 1 player on my board. He is an explosive athlete with the hands to control blockers and the strength to be a good run defender.
Jake: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
This year’s best prospect is also the safest selection. Nelson is about as sure a thing as we have had in some time. He has elite power, quickness, and awareness for the guard position and he will be a day one lock to be a game changer up front. His skill set is so broad he has been mentioned to slide over to tackle. Nelson won’t be selected first overall, but he is destined to be the best player in this group.