The 2018 NFL Draft is under two weeks away and the excitement and anticipation is growing as each day passes. The future of the Cleveland Browns will be greatly affected by what transpires over the course of the three-day event. The Browns have nine picks in the draft with five of those selections coming in the first two rounds. It is a huge opportunity for the franchise.
Over the past many months, WFNY has been getting you ready for the huge 2018 NFL Draft. In particular, WFNY’s Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns have taken a look at the top players who will make up this upcoming draft. The duo started early, even before the Browns season ended, to give their thoughts and top prospects for each of the position classes in the 2018 NFL Draft. The two then released their first big boards with their top 50 prospects. Last week, the duo finished up their film work and study by releasing their final top five position rankings for the draft. And today, the duo finishes up their prospect rankings with their final big boards. Gilbert and Burns’ boards will see a lot of changes from the first edition based on their further film study and how the prospect fared in the pre-draft process, like the NFL combine and pro days. How the prospect performed in the pre-draft process can cause you to go back re-evaluate the player. These final big boards are Gilbert and Burn’s official top 50 prospect rankings going into the 2018 NFL Draft.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at WFNY’s Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns’ final big boards of the top 50 players in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Joe: Edge Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Chubb is my top player in the 2018 NFL Draft. Edge rushers are so important and Chubb is best in the draft with his ability to rush the passer with great technique and athleticism, while also being a strong run defender.
Jake: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Nelson has the chance to be a top-five guard next year, that’s how high his potential is coming out of the draft and making an immediate impact.
Joe: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Nelson is just a dominant player in the trenches. Chubb is above him on my list because of the position value, but talent-wise, Nelson is just as elite as Chubb is in this draft.
Jake: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
My highest rated quarterback jumps in this list. He has it all: accuracy, bravado, big arm.
Joe: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Rosen is the quarterback who is the most pro-ready quarterback in the class. His accuracy, arm talent and intelligence will allow him to be ready to go right away.
Jake: DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
The best defensive player in a class pretty full of talented players on that side of the ball. Chubb is about as balanced a defensive end as we will see.
Joe: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
No corner is as clean and smooth as Ward is in this draft. Ward is the best secondary prospect in the draft with the potential to be a lockdown corner in the NFL.
Jake: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The workout warrior has much to prove within the tackles, but his shiftiness, top end speed, and pass catching ability is hard to ignore.
Joe: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mayfield gets so many false narratives attached to him, but at the end of the day, he is right up there with all the other quarterbacks. He has the arm strength and accuracy to all levels of the field to be a franchise quarterback.
Jake: QB Sam Darnold, USC
Seems each day it is more certain Darnold ends up at the top of this draft. He has some issues to clean up but the 20-year-old oozes potential.
Joe: QB Sam Darnold, USC
Darnold has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the class, in my opinion. He can make the throw that just wows you with the playmaking ability to be successful when things break down around him.
Jake: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
The most day one ready quarterback in this class. Rosen is a magician within the pocket but has to clean up his decision making when pressured off his base.
Joe: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
There is no running back more gifted than Barkley. He has the ability to run past defenders with speed, run through defenders with power and run around defenders with agility.
Jake: S Derwin James, Florida State
James continues to shoot up boards as his testing aligned with some special film. He could line up outside or inside in a defensive backfield and thrive.
Joe: IDL Taven Bryan, Florida
Bryan is one of “my guys.” He has the best explosion and get off at the line of scrimmage of the entire interior defensive lineman class. That gift cannot be taught and that is why I am so high on him.
Jake: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Patrick Willis Jr. here. He is a sideline to sideline linebacker who can control the middle of your defense for the next ten years.
Joe: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is the ideal linebacker in the modern day game. He has the size and athleticism to be able to win in the trenches and then go back into coverage to cover players one on one.
Jake: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
This class’ best corner is ideal for a man to man scheme where he can use his ideal footwork and speed to flank his man. Size is a bit of a concern but his technique makes up for it.
Joe: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is the quarterback of the secondary. He can perform a cavalcade of roles with his coverage ability, either in man or zone, being his strongest asset.
Jake: OLB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Edmunds might have the longest frame and arms I have ever seen at linebacker and he uses that frame and athleticism to shoot through blocks to control the run game.
Joe: IDL Maurice Hurst, Michigan
With his medical looking clear for now, Hurst is a hot commodity in the interior defensive line class. Other than Bryan, Hurst has the best explosion and get off at the line of scrimmage in the interior defensive line class.
Jake: S/C Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Fitzpatrick has slipped on some boards as he has made it known his preference for a slot corner, but it doesn’t limit his athletic ability and the different roles he can provide.
Joe: S Derwin James, Florida State
If your team needs a Swiss army knife, Derwin James is your man. His athleticism allows him to do many things, including rush the passer, come up in run defense and go out in man and zone coverage.
Jake: DE/OLB Harold Landry, Boston College
This class’s best pure pass rusher (who graded out a class high 89.0 in 2016 according to PFF) is going to be a steal for some team. His 2017 dip was due to injuries.
Joe: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Smith is as pure a linebacker as you will find. He has the instincts and tackling ability to cover the entire field and be a tackling machine for a defense.
Jake: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
I consider Guice to be a more polished runner than even Barkley, but does he bring the same type of complete game? Time will tell if he develops those skills.
Joe: Edge Harold Landry, Boston College
We did not see the true Landry this past season. Landry, when healthy like in 2016, has the athleticism and bend to be a havoc on the edge in pass rushing situations.
Jake: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Sutton is a beautiful mix of speed/size at the wide receiver position and he has a high upside as he is relatively new to the position.
Joe: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Alexander is a versatile corner who can play in a slew of coverages. His ability to read and close on the ball is crazy to watch and a huge asset for him as a corner.
Jake: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Alexander is a great blend of technician in zone coverage but also can cover man to man as well as almost any in the class. He is an advanced prospect for the position.
Joe: IDL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Payne is a different kind of athlete at the interior defensive line spot. He has the size, explosion, and mobility that few possess together, even in the NFL.
Jake: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Seeing as his medical status is becoming clear, Hurst is the best interior name in this class. Quick off the football and powerful at the point of attack.
Joe: WR Anthony Miller, Memphis
Playmaking ability, check. Great route runner, check. Athleticism, check. Good hands, check. Toughness, check. Ball skills, check. Miller has everything you want in a receiver.
Jake: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
McGlinchey is the best prospect at tackle in a class that is weak at the position. He has the size and athleticism to make it work long-term as long as his team shows some patience.
Joe: RB Ronald Jones II, USC
Jones has the ability to go from 1 to 100 in fewer steps than most backs in the class. He is so explosive out of the backfield with the ability to make defenders miss and then burst for a home run.
Jake: WR DJ Moore, Maryland
Mix Moore’s testing with his market share at Maryland playing with ten different quarterbacks and you can see why he is special. Speed, strength, route work, hands, return game. He checks all the boxes.
Joe: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Vander Esch is another ideal linebacker for the modern NFL. He has the combination of good size and athleticism, along with the instincts to quickly come downhill and make a stop in the run game.
Jake: DE/OLB Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport will be a bit of project but if he can master the technique, that size and athleticism will play all over the field.
Joe: C Billy Price, Ohio State
Price has the combination of power and mobility that is hard to come by in the interior line positions. He rarely is overwhelmed by power and he also adds value in that he can play center or guard.
Jake: OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Wynn can play inside and out for hid drafting team but I expect him to thrive inside where he was impressive at the Senior Bowl.
Joe: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk is a playmaker, both as a receiver and a returner. He is a good route runner with the quickness to make defenders miss and turn a catch into a big play.
Jake: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Payne seems to be underrated in this class. He is athletic for his size and can play well within a two-game scheme handling the run game and driving his man into the opposing quarterback’s lap.
Joe: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Guice is just another talented back in this class, who would be a top one in any other draft. He has homerun ability with the balance to sustain his forward momentum after contact.
Jake: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
One of the more polarizing prospects in this class, Jackson is more than his legs – and those are downright special. He has improved as a passer each year and has shown the ability to work through reads at an NFL level.
Joe: CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
Oliver is a big, long corner who teams covet in their press corners. He has the size, length, athleticism, and ball skills teams look for in their shutdown corners.
Jake: RB Sony Michel, Georgia
Michel is a special back in the mold of Willis McGahee. He runs with a power/speed combination that will fit perfectly in the modern NFL blocking schemes.
Joe: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Goedert is my top tight end in the class. He is complete tight end with the ability to block, but more importantly, be a mismatch in the passing game as a big, athletic receiving target.
Jake: TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Gesicki won’t excel as a traditional tight end. Rather he will be best fit working from a two-point in the wing and slot much like Jimmy Graham. He is a special athlete for the size.
Joe: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Jackson is more than just a runner as he has shown a strong arm and good intelligence to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. But, his athleticism makes him so much more enticing because he can turn any play into a touchdown.
Jake: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson has the best natural instincts in the corner group, but he is raw in his technique. He is best fit for zone coverage schemes and can work into man to man concepts as he learns his craft.
Joe: OT Connor Williams, Texas
Williams is such a clean technician at the offensive tackle spot. He is a smooth athlete with the power to be a good run blocker and the feet to be a good pass blocker.
Jake: ILB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Evans is a bull in the middle of a defense as a stack linebacker. He can play the run traditionally and get after the quarterback. His long-term success will depend on his ability to cover in space.
Joe: S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
If you need a centerfielder-type safety for your defense, Bates is your guy. He can also play in man coverage with the athleticism to cover receivers.
Jake: DT Vita Vea, Washington
Vea is a special athlete for his size as he tested out of this world, but his production hasn’t matched the tape flashes. To find long-term success he will have to find some consistency.
Joe: CB Mike Hughes, UCF
Mike Hughes is yet another press corner who can possibly develop into a shutdown corner. Beyond his strong man cover skills, he also provides run support, showing the willingness to be a physical presence in the run defense.
Jake: C James Daniels, Iowa
Daniels is the best center in this class as he can play the pivot really well. Whether he ends up at guard or center is to be determined but his anchor and hand fighting are special.
Joe: RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Penny was one of the most productive college running backs in the entire country. He is a complete running back with the ability to run and catch the ball out of the backfield, showing good vision as a runner.
Jake: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley is an older prospect who didn’t test well, but I trust the tape and ability that he finds a place in the NFL as a solid pass catcher.
Joe: Edge Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport may have one of the highest ceilings of all the edge rushers in the class. He is a physical freak, but what really pops out on film is his strength to just overpower blockers.
Jake: OT Connor Williams, Texas
Williams has a nice blend of power and speed at the position but will his size be able to handle it? His nasty streak will help make up for it.
Joe: WR Calvin Ridley, Texas A&M
Smooth is the word that comes to mind when watching Ridley. In my opinion, he is the best route runner in the class. He also has the speed to take the top off the defense.
Jake: S Justin Reid, Stanford
Reid is just as special a person as he is a prospect. The safety can play in the box or work as a free safety with a nice set of instincts that help him make plays all over the field.
Joe: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Sutton is one of the most physically imposing receivers in the class this year. He moves really well for a man his size, but his game will be using his size to win the matchup against the defender.
Jake: CB Carlton Davis, Auburn
Davis has some impressive tape and he is a long-armed solid athlete. The only question is his change of direction due to a poor 3-cone number, but I trust the tape here.
Joe: IDL Vita Vea, Washington
Vea is one powerful and huge young man. He treats blockers like rag dolls, tossing them aside to get free when the ball gets near him. To go along with this power, Vea adds extremely unique athleticism for a man his size.
Jake: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst is a complete tight end who can block from inline or wing positions as well as show an effective route tree in the passing game. The age doesn’t scare me.
Joe: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Besides Connor Williams, McGlinchey is the only other offensive tackle in my top 50. He pairs great length and athleticism, which should allow him to be a left tackle in the NFL.
Jake: C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Ragnow can play either interior position but he is best at center. He didn’t allow a sack all season and only a few pressures got by him. His best trait is his awareness at all times.
Joe: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst is a complete tight end. He is a strong blocker who can really be counted on as an extra blocker. As a receiver, he has the ability to make plays after the catch.
Jake: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
The draft’s most polarizing prospect. The tools are obvious–big arm, athletic, intelligent–but do those traits mean he improves his accuracy and football processing? It’s a massive risk.
Joe: OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Wynn is a versatile lineman who has experience at offensive guard and offensive tackle in college. But, he is best suited at guard because he is not the ideal size for a tackle. But, his athleticism should be really enticing for teams looking for a guard.
Jake: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Bryan is about as quick off the ball as any prospect the [past few years. For Bryan, it’s finding the balance in the lack of production against the athletic upside. He is worth the gamble.
Joe: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Evans is one of the most athletic linebackers in the entire draft. He plays sideline to sideline, using his speed to roam all over the field. He also adds value because of his ability to rush the passer.
Jake: OLB Uchenna Nwosu, USC
Nwosu has shot up my board as his pass rushing skills are special coming off the edge and on stunts from inside. He is an underrated defender in coverage as well.
Joe: CB Carlton Davis, Auburn
Davis is a long corner who can play in press coverage. His agility times at the NFL Combine were a little worrisome, but his tape backs him up and his length could overshadow those agility limitations.
Jake: OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
Hernandez is about as prototypical guard looking as anyone you will ever see. A true mass of muscle, he will excel in the run blocking aspect and use his frame well in pass blocking.
Joe: OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
Hernandez is built like a bowling ball, but he moves well. He is known as a strong run blocker, using his strength to move players to the direction he wants them to go in order to shield them away from the ball.
Jake: C/G Billy Price, Ohio State
Price will fall down boards as he recovers from his pectoral injury at the combine, but don’t let that fool you. He is a special player who is a cerebral leader with special blocking traits.
Joe: TE Dalton Schultz, Stanford
In my opinion, Schultz is the best blocker of all the tight ends in the class. He is a player with good athletic ability, so he could be a player who surprises with how talented he can be in the passing game as a receiver.
Jake: CB Mike Hughes, UCF
Hughes is a technician who has the right amount of ball skills to last in the NFL a long time. His athletic upside projects well.
Joe: C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Ragnow is built well and is extremely strong for a center. But, he does have solid mobility with the willingness to work his way to the second level and block downfield.
Jake: OT Brian O’Neill, Pitt
O’Neill is an athletic tight end transplant who has nice feet at the position. He is still working on the strength side of the position but he has a high upside.
Joe: Edge Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
Ejiofor is another “my guy.” Though he is not a great athlete, he has long arms and solid elusiveness. He uses quickness and good hand technique to get by blocks and be a penetrating force.
Jake: DE Arden Key, LSU
Key has fallen off many draft boards due to his character issues and a poor Pro Day, but his film still pops with an athlete who knows how to get home and produce sacks.
Joe: CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa
Jackson is not going to be a press man corner, who can mirror receivers all over the field. But, he can be a really good zone corner because of his great instincts and ball skills.
Jake: S Jessie Bates, Wake Forest
Bates is one this draft’s best center field types in the safety group. He has a nice array of film proving his instincts and he plays the run game well from a deep position.
Joe: Edge Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Hubbard is a fluid, athletic edge rusher, stemming from his time in high school where he actually played safety. He also has strong hands to rip away from blocks to get free and get to the ball.
Jake: RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
Chubb is just a solid fundamental running back. He has more athletic upside than most let on, and he his knee appears to be fully healed. He will be consistent between the tackles in the NFL.
Joe: TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State
An absolute freak athlete. Gesicki is not going to be a blocker. But, he will be a player you can put out wide to create mismatches as he can outrun linebackers and then use his size and jumping ability to win over top of defensive backs.
Jake: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Vander Esch has some concerns about his medicals and some have been rumored to have removed him completely. If a team can get past that issue you will see a linebacker prospect who covers the field well in run support and produced some nice plays against the pass this season.
Joe: WR Auden Tate, Florida State
Tate has so much potential with the combination of size and athleticism. He is a receiver who could be better in the NFL than he was in college.
Jake: DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford
Phillips is an old school prospect type who led his defense in tackles from the interior of Stanford’s defensive line. He produces, led the combine in bench reps, and has high character.
Joe: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
Moore received no favors playing at Maryland, playing with some really poor quarterback play. Moore has the athleticism to be a playmaker and a big play producer.
Jake: CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
Oliver might be this class’s best man to man cover corner on par with Denzel Ward but his immunity to tackling gives some scouts a reason to pause.
Joe: RB John Kelly, Tennessee
Kelly is another “my guy.” He has good agility to elude defenders and make things happen out of nothing. But even though he is not a big back, he has the ability to run through tackles and show some power in his running style.
Jake: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk didn’t test as well as I wanted him, especially in quick change of direction, but his film pops with a player who has long strides in the open field and will help extensively in the return game.
Joe: S Armani Watts, Texas A&M
Armani Watts is an athletic safety who can fly downhill. He is a complete safety, affecting the run and pass game, who can set the tone for the entire defense.
Jake: OT Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
Crosby will be in high demand on day two as the film shows a nasty run game finisher with athletic upside to mold well into the right tackle position in the NFL.
Joe: RB Sony Michel, Georgia
Michel is yet another talented running back in this loaded class. He is an elusive runner with good vision, but also good balance to take on contact and continue to move forward.
Jake: DE/OLB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
Carter fills out my big board as a high upside edge rusher who tested much better than his film. Teach him moves to get after the quarterback and he may prosper quickly.