The 2018 NFL Draft is just over two weeks away with the excitement and intrigue building each day. The Cleveland Browns own nine picks in the draft with five of those picks coming in the first two rounds. It is a huge event for the future of the organization.
Here at WFNY, we have been getting you ready for the upcoming draft ever since the Browns 2017 season started to wind down. WFNY’s Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns started before the season ended to give everyone an early glance at the top prospects of every position group in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was an early glance to see who to look for in the upcoming draft.
Well, the duo is back to give you their final say. Gilbert and Burns are here to release their final top five rankings for each of the position groups in the upcoming class. So, sit back and enjoy Joe Gilbert and Jake Burns’ top five prospects and thoughts for all six offensive position classes of the 2018 NFL Draft.
2018 NFL Draft Early Glance Series (Gilbert and Burns’ Initial Position Rankings): Quarterback, Running back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive Tackle, Offensive Guard/Center, Interior Defensive Line, Edge Rusher, Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 QBs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 QBs|
|1. Josh Rosen, UCLA||1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma|
|2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma||2. Josh Rosen, UCLA|
|3. Sam Darnold, USC||3. Sam Darnold, USC|
|4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville||4. Lamar Jackson, Lousiville|
|5. Mike White, Western Kentucky||5. Josh Allen, Wyoming|
Joe: My order did not change but the separation between the quarterbacks has in my mind. I believe Josh Rosen is the top quarterback, but I do not see much of a separation between Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Darnold has moved up in my eyes after watching him further. He has shown the ability to throw accurate passes under different circumstances including on the run. Those top three are so close and I would not mind taking any of them. Rosen is the most pro-ready, while Mayfield has the accuracy to all levels of the field. I think they will all be good pros. Lamar Jackson is the fourth quarterback on my board, but I like his pro prospects, too. Mike White is a quarterback who can be a steady backup and possibly develop into a starter. This is a great group of quarterbacks with four first-round talents.
Jake: I have remained pretty consistent with this order all year. Mayfield is an accurate, driven, passionate leader who will thrive in the right spot. Rosen is the best pure quarterback in this class, and perhaps many classes before this one. Some argue Darnold has the best of all the traits needed, and if he can rectify his turnover issues, he might be just that. I still prefer Lamar Jackson to Josh Allen but there is a path to NFL success for both under the right circumstances. Names like Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk, Mike White, and Kyle Lauletta will be drafted and given ample opportunities as well. I firmly believe this is as deep a draft quarterback class as we have seen since 2004.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 RBs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 RBs|
|1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State||1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State|
|2. Ronald Jones II, USC||2. Derrius Guice, LSU|
|3. Derrius Guice, LSU||3. Sony Michel, Georgia|
|4. Rashaad Penny, San Diego State||4. Ronald Jones II, USC|
|5. John Kelly, Tennessee||5. Nick Chubb, Georgia|
Joe: In the early rankings, I had Bryce Love of Stanford as my No. 2 running back, but he decided to stay in school. So, my rankings are different from the original version. I have Saquon Barkley, Ronald Jones, and Derrius Guice in the same order, sans Love now. Barkley is just a freak athlete, who can show speed, elusiveness, and power in one single play. I love Jones’ explosion and speed out of the backfield, while Guice’s balance is a big asset in his game. But, the big mover in my list is Rashaad Penny. After watching more of him, I gained more appreciation in his abilities, especially his vision. Penny moved to No. 4 in my rankings. John Kelly ends my list, showing a dual-threat ability with an underrated strength feature in his game. Overall, this position is loaded with talent. I had a hard time ranking the running backs after my first two backs. They are closely grouped and the ones I have not listed are not far off from the top five. It is a really deep group.
Jake: This running back class is about as loaded as it comes. Bryce Love withdrew his name, but even with the Heisman runner-up returning to Stanford, the class has the chance to be historic. Top names Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice have the ability to carry an offense, and the second tier names like Sony Michel, Ronald Jones II, and Nick Chubb are all ultra productive with skill sets that will translate well within the right offense. This list leaves off many names that could be a big part of their team’s Sunday plans. Names like Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, John Kelly, Mark Walton, Kerryon Johnson, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines, Kalen Ballage, Josh Adams, Bo Scarbrough, and Roc Thomas. It is borderline laughable the riches at this position.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 WRs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 WRs|
|1. Anthony Miller, Memphis||1. Courtland Sutton, SMU|
|2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M||2. DJ Moore, Maryland|
|3. Calvin Ridley, Alabama||3. Calvin Ridley, Alabama|
|4. Courtland Sutton, SMU||4. James Washington, Oklahoma State|
|5. Auden Tate, Florida St|
5. D.J. Moore, Maryland
|5. Anthony Miller, Memphis|
Joe: The wide receivers class is so deep and the bounty of talent has really been hard to judge. Because of that, I have made some big changes in my final rankings. I catapulted my favorite receiver, Anthony Miller, from No. 3 to the No. 1 spot on my list. I just couldn’t find a reason not to put him on top. His combination of playmaking, route running and athleticism is a recipe for success. The other big jump comes from Christian Kirk, who moves up from No. 4 to No. 2. Kirk is similar to Miller in that he can make things happen when the ball is in hands and that he shows some nice route running ability. I dropped Courtland Sutton below Calvin Ridley because I am a little worried about Sutton’s ability to separate from coverage whereas Ridley has shown consistency in doing that task. The last change is the addition of D.J. Moore as my co-No. 5 receiver with Auden Tate. Tate and Moore are so athletic and with so much potential that I decided to group them together at No. 5. As I stated before, this class is so deep that there are so many receivers left off the board who are so close to making it in my top five.
Jake: This position group lacks the top end talent, but it is nonetheless deep. I have Courtland Sutton as WR1 as he is the best fit from a size and speed combination with the testing results and production to match. DJ Moore is also a productive college player who tested well and has the film to match the numbers. Both players likely go on day one. James Washington is the class’s best deep ball tracker who will be effective working the middle of the field with his body size. Anthony Miller slipped some as he dealt with a foot injury in the pre-draft process, but he is as solid as they come. Runs crisp routes, provides great footwork, puts in extra effort every play, and is a leader for his team.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 TEs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 TEs|
|1. Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State||1. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina|
|2. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina||2. Mike Gesicki, Penn State|
|3. Dalton Schultz, Stanford||3.Dallas Goedert, S. Dakota State|
|4. Mike Gesicki, Penn State||4. Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin|
|5. Mark Andrews, Oklahoma||5. Christopher Herndon, Miami|
Joe: The tight end class is another group from this draft that has good depth, but is also very tight between each prospect. I made some changes to the list, but my top two guys remain Dallas Goedert and Hayden Hurst. Goedert has the size, athleticism and ball skills to be a mismatch in the passing game, while also providing good blocking ability. Hurst is a similar player to Goedert, a complete tight end who can affect the game receiving and blocking. My big change came from three to five in my rankings. Dalton Schultz moves up two spots to No. 3. He is the best blocker in the class, in my opinion, but he also provides fluid athleticism to develop into a receiving threat. The other jump comes from Mike Gisicki, who I had just outside my top five. Gesicki is the No. 4 tight end on my list because of his freakish athleticism and his ability to be a playmaker in the passing game. Mark Andrews comes in at No. 5. He is a big tight end who can give the quarterback a large target to throw to.
Jake: The tight ends are highlighted by the top three names on this list. Hayden Hurst is my TE1 as he is just so complete. He is effective in the passing game in both the slot and inline positions. He runs well, beats his defender regularly with great technique, and blocks like a tight end should. If you can get past his age being 24, you have a great player. Mike Gesiciki might be the best athletic testing tight end ever, and he tested like a wide receiver at the size of 6’6 250. It’s some freaky stuff. He won’t block, but he seems like Jimmy Graham 2.0, so draft him and play him like a wide receiver and prosper. The same can be said for Dallas Goedert who is 6’5 255 and his film shows a high level of athleticism and catching abilities. His blocking displays haven’t been great, and he decided against running the forty yard dash, but the film shows what could be a special player. After the big three, it dips into a pool of really good football players who will contribute but probably never make it to a featured player. Two guys I really enjoy are Troy Fumagalli and Christopher Herndon. Both have a great willingness to block and pull from a wing position to do so – what modern offenses love. They also work really well in the passing game off play-action concepts, and in the red zone.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 IOLs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 IOLs|
|1. Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame||1. Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame|
|2. Billy Price, Ohio State||2. James Daniels, Iowa|
|3. Isaiah Wynn, Georgia||3. Billy Price, Ohio State|
|4. Will Hernandez, UTEP||4. Isiah Wynn, Georgia|
|5. Frank Ragnow, Arkansas||5. Frank Ragnow, Arkansas|
Joe: The interior offensive line class is one of the deepest position groups in the entire draft. It is led by one of the most dominant guards to come out in a long time, Quenton Nelson. He has everything a team wants in a guard paired with a nasty playing style. Billy Price remains No. 2 on my list because of his versatility, strength, and athleticism. Isaiah Wynn is the big mover on my list after missing my original top five. Wynn has the versatility of playing both guard and tackle in college with the size and athleticism to be a really talented guard in the NFL. Will Hernandez played at a lower level in college, but when he played higher level teams, he showed he belonged very quickly. Frank Ragnow fell two spots in my rankings because of his lack of athleticism compared to the other four on my list, but Ragnow has great size and power to be a good center and possible guard in the NFL.
Jake: The interior class is deep as well. It is tough to come up with a truly complete top five as so many good names are left off the list. The group is led by the stellar Quenton Nelson who is one the best overall players in this class, and the combo of James Daniels and Billy Price can anchor the middle of an offensive line with the best as them as both players can play guard or center and thrive. The names after are just as good in Isaiah Wynn–who played guard and tackle at Georgia and was dominant. Frank Ragnow was extremely consistent for Arkansas and will be another anchor for his drafted team as he plays with great technique as it mixes with his impressive size and power. Names like Will Hernandez and Braden Smith will be early draftees as well.
|Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 OTs||Jake Burns’ Top 5 OTs|
|1. Connor Williams, Texas||1. Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame|
|2. Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame||2. Connor Williams, Texas|
|3. Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh||3. Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh|
|4. Orlando Brown Jr., Oklahoma||4. Kolton Miller, UCLA|
|5. Kolton Miller, UCLA||5. Orlando Brown, Oklahoma|
Joe: This offensive tackle group is not great. No one blows me away as a prospect. It lacks elite talent and has so much uncertainty. The separation between players is not large either. At the top of my rankings is Connor Williams. Williams is the cleanest tackle in the class in terms of technique. The biggest mover on the list is Mike McGlinchey, moving up four spots to No. 2. He has the length and athleticism to be a left tackle in the NFL. His potential in pass protection moved him up my list. Brian O’Neill may be the best athlete of my top five with the potential to be a left tackle in the NFL. Orlando Brown is the biggest faller in my list because of his awful athletic testing. But, I trust the tape. I think he still is a tackle in the NFL with his massive size and power. With Mitch Hyatt staying in school, Kolton Miller is the newest tackle added in my top five. Miller is all about potential with his combination of size and athleticism. At the end of the day, I would not take a tackle until later on Day 2.
Jake: This group is without a doubt the weakest of the offensive position groups. The class as a whole lacks the top end talent and it feels like it requires the most projecting. The two big names are Mike McGlinchey and Connor Williams. Both have the ability to be left tackles in the NFL, but they carry risk. McGlinchey is the most consistent in the group, but his foot speed can leave much to be desired and he carries a risk against speed rushers in the NFL. Despite that, I trust him and his tape where he held his own well against Bradley Chubb this past season. Connor Williams has the nasty streak scouts and teams love, but his size is an issue and he might need to be moved inside if he can’t keep edge rushers off his frame. I still think he settles in as a tackle due to his athleticism and effort. O’Neill and Miller are both projection selections who will need a franchise to be patient with them as they learn their craft – especially Miller who is a freak athlete but has to learn to play with bend. Orlando Brown carries his own risk. On film he dominated but his athletic testing –some of the worst we have seen before– is a major cause for concern as the athletes get bigger and faster at the next level. I trust his ability but much will need to be vetted on his work ethic. Other names to keep an eye on are Tyrell Crosby, Martinas Rankin, and Chukwuma Okorafor.