The NFL Draft is less than a month away, and most free agents have signed with teams. With that in mind, here is my updated Top 50 prospects. To see draft analyst Rob Paul’s recent mock draft, click here.
- Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
Garrett is a physical freak. He ran a 4.64 40 yard dash and had a vertical leap of 41 inches despite weighing 272 pounds. He needs to improve his hand usage and develop a consistent inside move, but his tools are too incredible to pass up. Garrett is all but guaranteed to be the first pick in the draft.
2. Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
Hooker is a phenomenal safety prospect. He has the best ball skills and range of any safety to come out in the last several years. He’s a playmaker and a fit for any scheme. While not phenomenal against the run, Hooker is the quintessential prospect for teams in need of a deep safety. He only started one year at Ohio State, and he’s recovering from a torn labrum, but Hooker is still a stud and worthy of a top five pick.
3. Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State
Lattimore looks great on film. He is good in zone coverage, but even better in man. He doesn’t allow receivers any space due to his technical skills and his sub 4.4 speed. At 6’, he has enough length to play outside in the NFL. What’s most impressive is how much respect opposing quarterbacks gave Lattimore. They refused to throw, and often even look, his way.
4. Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
Adams doesn’t have the range or ball skills of Hooker, but he is a much better tackler. Adams can play free safety or nickel, but he’s best used as a box safety to stuff the run or drop into coverage. Even more impressive than his versatility is his leadership and character. He could go as high as second overall in this draft.
5. Solomon Thomas, Defensive Line, Stanford
Thomas answered any and all questions about him at the Scouting Combine, where he was very impressive in the field drills and tested extremely well. Thomas is a disruptive monster against the run, and is an explosive pass rusher. He has the scheme versatility to play all three downs in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
6. Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU
Fournette is the ultimate power back. He’s 240 pounds with 4.51 speed and the ability to run through people. He is also surprisingly nimble for his size and has the ability to make people miss. Fournette will need to improve his route running and pass blocking if he wants to be a complete back, but his ability as a pure runner makes him a top ten talent.
7. Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan
Don’t sleep on Corey Davis. Not only does he have size and athletic ability, he’s a tremendous route runner with good hands. He’s a legit WR1. Multiple scouts and GMs have referred to Davis as “special”. Davis does have questions about his level of competition and an ankle injury that caused him to miss the scouting combine.
8. OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama
In a very, very deep tight end class, OJ Howard blows his competition out of the water. Not only is Howard an exceptional athlete (he ran the same 40 yard dash time as Leonard Fournette, despite being ten pounds heavier), he is one of the best blocking tight ends in this draft. Howard is a day one starter for any team as a tight end, but his best fit is in a run-first system that allows him to stretch the field vertically.
9. Jonathan Allen, Defensive Line, Alabama
Allen may not have the athletic upside of his peers, but he’s a powerful technician, capable of playing multiple positions on the defensive line. Allen was the leader of Alabama’s feared defensive line. He’s also one of the safest prospects in this draft. If not for the arthritis in his shoulders, he would be a top five prospect.
10. Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
Foster is the hands down best linebacker prospect in this draft. He was the leader of Alabama’s defensive juggernaut after the departure of Reggie Ragland, and he showed the ability to shed blockers and stuff the run. However, his speed and coverage ability are what make him an intriguing talent. Foster has all the tools to be an All-Pro. However, Foster does have a slow first step on tape, and his dismissal from the Combine has led to some character concerns.
11. Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
In a normal year, Cook would be the clear cut best running back available. However, the presence of Fournette makes Cook less valuable. Cook is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, and has the lateral quickness to make defenders miss and break big runs. Think of him as Jamaal Charles, a third down back with an every down workload.
12. Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky
In a weak line class, Lamp is a phenomenal prospect. Though he played tackle at Western Kentucky, he’ll need to slide inside to guard because of his short arms. Outside of this flaw, Lamp is as close to a perfect prospect as they come. He is an athletic knee bender, with excellent footwork in pass protection. However, he can also fire off the football and move defenders in the run game.
13. Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
Barnett is a very technically skilled pass rusher. While he isn’t a top quality athlete, Barnett makes up for it with his hand usage and ability to bend an edge. He can play against the run on first and second down and pin his ears back to rush the quarterback in passing situations.
14. Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
Humphrey is a lanky track star with an exceptional understanding of route combinations, and is a very sure tackler. His intelligence and tackling may make him a better safety than he is a corner. Humphrey would best fit in a zone scheme, but he can play man if need be. He may not be a shutdown CB1 in the NFL, but he’d be an incredible CB2.
15. John Ross III, Wide Receiver, Washington
Ross made a name for himself with his blistering 4.22 40 yard dash time at the Combine. According to multiple sources, Ross also interviewed extremely well. Not only does Ross have great speed, he has excellent footwork and good hands. He could be used much like Percy Harvin, before Harvin was injured. However, like Harvin, Ross has significant injury questions that could cause him to fall on draft day.
16. Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford
McCaffrey is a very interesting prospect. Though he’s a running back, he isn’t built to be a workhorse that can carry the load on first and second down. Instead, McCaffrey is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He runs routes and catches the football better than most receivers in this class, and his absurd ability to find cutback lanes and make defenders miss makes him a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball.
17. Cam Robinson, Guard/Tackle, Alabama
Cam Robinson will have a successful career in the league, I’m just unsure if it will be at guard or tackle. His Combine measurements were absurd, he was 6’6”, 322 pounds with 35 ½” arms and 10 ½” hands. Robinson is a physical mauler in the run game, capable of moving large men out of his lane. In pass protection, once Robinson gets his hands on a rusher, he wins. His problem has been inconsistent footwork. However, he was very impressive against the top level competition Alabama played against.
18. Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Williams answered questions about his speed by running approximately 4.50 in the 40 yard dash at Clemson’s pro day. While he isn’t as good of a route runner as Davis or Ross, Williams is much more physical and able to win 50/50 balls and contested catches. He also has excellent size to box out smaller defensive backs.
19. Alvin Kamara, Running Back, Tennessee
In another year, Kamara would be a virtual lock for the first round. He has plenty of size, power, and burst to be workhorse back on first and second down. However, Kamara is also a very good blocker and receiver out of the backfield. An argument can be made that Kamara is the most complete back in this class. If he falls to the second round, he would be an absolute steal.
20. Deshone Kizer, Quarterback, Notre Dame
The top-ranked quarterback on my board, Kizer has a very impressive arm and is very mobile in the pocket. He doesn’t like taking hits and has inconsistent accuracy, particularly on intermediate-to-deep throws, but he is the best player available at the most important position in sports.
21. Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan
Charlton has all the tools to be a very good defensive end. He’s long, he’s athletic, and he has enough pass rush moves to consistently beat offensive tackles. I like him as a strong side end, where he can contribute 6-10 sacks a year, while also being a force against the run.
22. Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
Reddick has rocketed up draft boards since the end of the season. While he played EDGE at Temple, Reddick will shift to linebacker at the pro level, where he will be a cover specialist, with the ability to rush the passer. While undersized, Reddick is a fantastic athlete with a clear role and the ability to produce right away.
23. Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
Williams is a speed rusher with incredible quickness and bend off the edge. He also has impressive hand usage and a filthy spin move. He may be the best pure pass rusher in this draft. However, Williams is undersized and will likely be a liability against the run early in his career. He also has some character concerns that could cause him to fall, and he will need to add weight to his wiry frame.
24. Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
Harris has good size and athleticism, but he’s also quite technically skilled. He uses his hands very well when disengaging from blockers, and has a nice array of moves to beat offensive tackles.
25. Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State
This draft is full of rangy, athletic corners. At 6’, with a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, Conley qualifies. His cover skills were very impressive, he has good hips and does a good job of limiting separation. Conley wasn’t the best corner on his college team, but he could develop into a very respectable CB1 at the next level.
26. Quincy Wilson, Cornerback, Florida
Wilson doesn’t have the quick hips or straight line speed of other corners in this class, but he has size. Wilson measured in at 6’ 1 ½”, with 32 ¼” arms. He’s also physical and effective in zone coverage.
27. Budda Baker, Safety, Washington
Baker is a very versatile safety, with the ability to play deep zone or line up in the slot and mirror receivers, in the Tyrann Mathieu/Malcolm Jenkins role. He’s undersized, but his instincts and ball skills could make him a defensive playmaker on the back end.
28. Evan Engram, Tight End, Ole Miss
Engram is an excellent athlete; he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the Combine. He isn’t a very good blocker, but he is a matchup nightmare for defenses. Engram’s athleticism, hands, and route running make him a glorified wide receiver, but at 234 pounds, few corners will be able to match up with him.
29. Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
The hero of the national championship game has been rising up boards since Clemson beat Alabama. However, Watson will not have a seamless transition to the league. He has an average arm, and inconsistent accuracy. He will be more troubled by the spread offense from which he hails. Watson never made complicated reads, and rarely made the throws he’ll have to make at the pro level. While his leadership and character are valuable, Watson may never develop into a starting-caliber quarterback.
30. David Njoku, Tight End, Miami
A tall tight end with long arms and an impressive vertical leap, Njoku has very high potential as a receiver. However, he must improve his route running and blocking if he wants to be a go to tight end for an NFL team. If he develops, Njoku has All-Pro potential. But that’s a big if.
31. Jabril Peppers, Safety/Linebacker, Michigan
Peppers is a polarizing prospect, some see him as a superstar, others as a limited role player. I think at best Peppers is a three down starter at weakside linebacker, and at worst he’s an excellent special teams player and sub package linebacker.
32. Garett Bolles, Offensive Tackle, Utah
In the worst offensive tackle class in recent memory, Garett Bolles has very high upside. He’s thin, at less than 300 pounds, but he has great footwork and athletic ability that could lead him to be a franchise left tackle. Bolles’s problem is his age, he will be 25 by the time the season kicks off. For a raw tackle, that doesn’t give him a long time to develop and be effective before his body begins breaking down.
33. Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, LSU
Tre’Davious White will likely have a long career in the NFL as a nickel corner, however, I don’t think he’ll be successful as an outside corner. White is small, and he isn’t great at pressing off the line of scrimmage. He has great hips, feet, and ball skills, so I think he’ll have a successful career, but he could struggle going 1 on 1 with much bigger receivers. White also has great character, as he was a leader on the LSU defense.
34. Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
Ramczyk is a solid, well-rounded prospect. He has good, not great, feet. He’s a decent, but not elite, run blocker. I don’t expect Ramczyk to be a franchise tackle, but he would be a big upgrade for a team like the Giants, in desperate need of help at that position.
35. Zay Jones, Wide Receiver, ECU
Zay Jones may have played at a small school, but he put up ridiculous numbers. He’s also the most technically sound route runner in this class. He understands how to stem routes, how to gain separation at the top of routes, and rarely drops a pass. He isn’t a great athlete, although he did run 4.45 at the Combine, and he’s a bit undersized, so he may not be a number one receiver in the NFL. But he’ll be a damn good number two.
36. Dan Feeney, Guard, Indiana
Feeney is an intelligent, hard nosed guard that is great as a run blocker. Feeney doesn’t have athleticism, size, or length, but he’s always in the right position and never makes mistakes. He’s very effective as a pull blocker and at setting the edge. He should be a quality guard in the league for a decade.
37. Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
Despite having only one year of starting experience, Trubisky was very impressive in that season at North Carolina. Trubisky seems to be a good fit for teams wanting to run a more West Coast based offense. Initially, I had Trubisky much higher on my list, but his offense was predicated on quick throws- slants, bubble screens, etc- and he missed on a very high amount of intermediate-to-deep throws.
38. Obi Melifonwu, Safety, UCONN
Before the Combine, few had heard of Obi Melifonwu. Now, fans are drooling at the 6’4”, 225 pounder after he ran 4.4 flat, vertical leaped 44” (best at the Combine) and had a broad jumped 11’9”. His size and athleticism may allow him to be very effective covering tight ends. Melifonwu lacks great hips, so playing deep safety is probably out of the question, but his potential allows him to do almost everything else.
39. Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
Takkarist McKinley has All-Pro, even Hall of Fame upside. He’s big, powerful, explosive, and he plays very hard. However, he is incredibly raw. At UCLA, he was all but worthless against the run and had almost no pass rushing moves. McKinley is the ultimate boom or bust pick, he could be Julius Peppers, but he could be Dion Jordan.
40. Jourdan Lewis, Cornerback, Michigan
Jourdan Lewis is a prototypical nickel corner at the next level. He has superb hips and feet, along with excellent ball skills and the ability to press at the line of scrimmage. His biggest question was his size, but he measured in the same range as supposed outside corners Tre’Davious White, Adoree Jackson, and Desmond King. He struggles trying to cover big targets, but when covering smaller targets he’s nearly flawless.
41. Malik McDowell, Defensive Line, Michigan State
Like McKinley, picking McDowell is a big risk. At times, McDowell was absolutely dominant, using his frightening combination of length (6’6”, 34 ¾” arms) and quickness to dominate interior lineman. However, his motor ran very hot and cold. McDowell has the upside and versatility to be a slam dunk, but his inconsistency and attitude may be his downfall.
42. Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida
In the modern sub package NFL, linebackers have to be able to cover running backs and tight ends, as well as stop the run. Jarrad Davis isn’t great against the run, he has trouble getting off blocks and needs to add weight to play inside linebacker. But he’s a very good athlete with impressive cover skills, so expect him to be taken in the first half of the second round.
43. Zach Cunningham, Linebacker, Vanderbilt
While Haason Reddick and Jarrad Davis are athletic coverage linebackers, Zach Cunningham is a more conventional run stopper. He has great length and sideline to sideline to speed, and the versatility to play multiple linebacker positions. However, while he may be acceptable in coverage, he will never be excellent at it. His tackling was also flawed, as Cunningham would try to sling runners around, rather than wrap up and tackle them.
44. Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington
Kupp combines a nice mixture of size (6’2”, 204 pounds) and route running. He does a good job of getting clean releases off the line of scrimmage and “stacking” on defensive backs. He only ran 4.62 at the Combine, but had a very impressive YAC ability on tape. Kupp may have attended a small school, but Kupp absolutely torched Oregon and Washington State.
45. Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
Lawson is a well-rounded defensive end who can get after the passer and affect the running game. He has a good edge bend and a quick first step. Lawson plays with good hand usage, including a very impressive rip move. However, Lawson is undersized at only 6’2” with 31 ½” arms, and he can get overpowered in the running game. In a deep class, this might knock him back to the middle of the second round.
46. Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma
If not for his off the field issues, Mixon would be one of my top 15 prospects. He is incredibly polished as a back, with excellent vision and patience, and the ability to make defenders miss in bunches. Mixon is also a very skilled receiver. Due to his character concerns, some teams will remove him completely from their boards, but don’t be surprised if Mixon’s name is called early in the second round.
47. Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC
Jackson’s value relies upon his athletic potential. He did not measure well at the Combine, and does not have great feet or the ability to press off the line of scrimmage. Jackson also has a tendency to bite on double moves. But, Jackson is a sensational athlete, as shown by his prowess in the return game, and has very good ball skills.
48. Caleb Brantley, Defensive Line, Florida
Brantley has mesmerized fans with his ability to pressure the quarterback from the inside. He is very quick and does a good job of shooting gaps and avoiding blockers. Brantley played multiple positions along the defensive front and used powerful hands to shed blockers. However, Brantley’s tape was very inconsistent. There were possessions where Brantley took over as a dominant force, and others where he disappeared. He also struggled against better competition, which is worrying.
49. Pat Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech
Mahomes has an absolute CANNON. The Texas Tech gunslinger is always a threat due to this mobility and ability to throw deep with a simple flick of the wrist. Mahomes’s problem is his horrific mechanics. He will have to change his throwing motion to improve his accuracy and timing at the pro level, and when that happens, he may lose his incredible arm talent. Or he may end up with the greatest arm in NFL history, only time will tell.
50. Fabian Moreau, Cornerback, UCLA
Moreau is raw, but at 6’ ½”, with a 40 time of 4.35 and quick hips, he has a very high potential. Last year, Artie Burns had similar characteristics and rose all the way into the first round. If given time, Moreau could develop into a Pro Bowl corner. The fact that he is my 50th ranked player goes to show how deep this class is.