The NFL draft begins this Thursday in Nashville, with the Arizona Cardinals holding on to the No. 1 pick.
Inquirer football writer Paul Domowitch ranks his top 50 players:
- The Eagles have Carson Wentz. So why do they want to draft a quarterback?
- After 15 years as a ‘lone ranger’ with the NFL Network, Philly native Mike Mayock has ‘skin in the game’ as Raiders GM
- A wave of young players helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl. Will the next wave come in the NFL draft this week?
6-5, 262 | Arms: 33 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.64 seconds | VJ: N/A, BP: 28 reps
In a nutshell: Allen swept the Bednarik and Nagurski awards as the nation’s outstanding defensive player. He had 17 sacks and five forced fumbles. With long arms and loose hips, he possesses an ideal blend of size and athleticism. He’s not a one-trick pass-rusher. He has a good inside counter move in addition to his speed and bend off the edge.
6-3, 303 | Arms: 33 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.83 seconds | VJ: 30.5 inches, BP: N/A
In a nutshell: Williams is a dominant interior player in the mold of Fletcher Cox and Aaron Donald. Was constantly double-teamed, yet still had eight sacks and 19 ½ tackles for losses in ’18. You can line him up anywhere on the line. He’s a disruptive player with outstanding short-area quickness and power.
6-4, 266 | Arms: 33 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.83 seconds | VJ: 33.5 inches, BP: 29 reps
In a nutshell: Bosa played in parts of just three games last season before suffering a core muscle injury that required surgery. He had six tackles for losses and four sacks before getting hurt. He’s not as fluid as his brother Joey, but has quick-twitch explosiveness with outstanding hand-usage and an array of effective pass-rush moves.
» READ MORE: Ben Fennell breaks down the edge rushers
6-2, 287 | Arms: 31 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.75 seconds | VJ: 36.0 inches, BP: 32 reps
In a nutshell: Oliver is an undersized interior lineman who uses his exceptional first-step quickness to blow past centers and guards. He had 53 tackles for losses in three years at Houston. He ran an eye-popping 4.19-second 20-yard shuttle at his pro day, which equaled DeSean Jackson’s short-shuttle time prior to the ’08 draft. His size could hinder him against the run.
6-4, 277 | Arms: 34 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.58 seconds | VJ: 38.0 inches, BP: 26
In a nutshell: A nagging shoulder injury limited Gary to nine games last year. He sat out Michigan’s bowl game so he could get an early start on his draft prep. He has a unique blends of size, speed and power, but it doesn’t always translate to production. He had just 9 ½ sacks in 34 games in Ann Arbor.
6-0, 237 | Arms: 32 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.42 seconds | VJ: 39.5 inches, BP: 22 reps
In a nutshell: White is an exceptional all-around linebacker. He has a compact, powerful frame. A thumper with sideline to sideline range against the run, notching 120-plus tackles for the Tigers in each of his last two years there. He has exceptional coverage skills and also possesses good timing as a blitzer.
» READ MORE: Ben Fennell breaks down linebacker prospects
6-3, 315 | Arms: 32 ½ inches | 40 time: 5.04 seconds | VJ: 29.5 inches, BP: 28 reps
In a nutshell: Played inside and outside at Clemson. Has exceptional initial quickness, which allows him to split gaps and be a backfield pain in the neck. He’s not a great point-of-attack player, and can get taken out of run plays. A very durable player, who didn’t miss a game in four seasons at Clemson. Also a very smart guy. Earned his undergrad degree in 2 ½ years and got his Masters in 3 ½ years.
6-5, 251 | Arms: 32 ¼ inches | 40-time: 4.70 seconds | VJ: 37.5 inches, BP: 17
In a nutshell: Hockenson is the complete tight end package. He’s an exceptional inline, point-of-attack blocker, who can block in the run game and seal off defensive ends. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he’s a solid receiver, who is red-zone savvy and aggressive after the catch. If he has a negative, it’s a lack of experience. He played just 23 games at Iowa.
5-10, 207 | Hands: 9 ½ inches | 40 time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Became only the second FBS quarterback in history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season. Extraordinary playmaker with a strong arm. Doesn’t have ideal size, but had very few passes batted down in college. There are some concerns about his durability at the next level, but he’s very good at avoiding the big hit and shielding himself after the throw.
6-2, 185 | Arms: 31 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.37 seconds | VJ: 36.0 inches, BP: 8 reps
In a nutshell: Led the SEC with 17 passes defensed and six interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 2017. His numbers dropped last year mainly because teams threw away from him. He has a tantalizing combination of size, speed and ball skills, but is sloppy with both his mechanics and technique and is going to need coaching. Doesn’t have very good play strength and is Asante-like in his enthusiasm for playing the run.
6-6, 260 | Arms: 35 7/8 inches | 40 time: 4.41 seconds | VJ: 36.0 inches, BP: 21 reps
In a nutshell: Sweat is a tall, long, athletic edge-rusher who relies on a quick get-off to beat tackles and get to the quarterback. He was extremely productive, notching 22 ½ sacks and 30 tackles for losses the last two years. His long arms allows him to keep blockers away from his frame. Needs to add some moves to his pass-rush arsenal at the next level, where his edge speed won’t be enough.
5-10, 190 | Arms: 30 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.55 seconds | VJ: 36.5 inches, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Murphy declared for the draft despite a college resume that includes just 20 games played and one season as a starter. But he was a first-team All-Pac 12 performer who has excellent instincts and ball skills. There are some questions about his deep speed – he only ran a 4.55 forty at the combine. But with his instincts, he definitely will appeal to teams who play a lot of zone coverage.
6-4, 302 | Arms: 33 5/8 inches | 40 time: 5.12 seconds | VJ: 28.0 inches, BP: 23 reps
In a nutshell: Williams was a left tackle at ‘Bama. Some think that’s where he’ll play – or at least start out – at the next level, while others think he will get kicked inside to guard. He has outstanding feet in the passing game. Very sound mechanically. He’s quick off the snap and is good at getting to the second level. He understands angles and leverages.
6-5, 315 | Arms: 33 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.96 seconds | VJ: 29 inches, BP: 24 reps
In a nutshell: Playing in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense at Washington State helped Dillard fine-tune his pass-protection skills, which are excellent. He made 39 starts there. He has a wide frame and excellent athleticism. Good balance and speed. He understands how to leverage defenders. A left tackle who will be a first-year NFL starter.
» READ MORE: Ben Fennell breaks down the offensive tackles
5-11, 220 | Hands: 10 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.60 seconds | VJ: 35 inches, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Jacobs is a low-mileage back who had just 251 carries in three seasons for ‘Bama. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry and had 16 rushing TDs in 2018. Has an excellent combination of power and elusiveness. A three-down back with natural hands. He caught 49 passes last year and averaged 11.9 yards per catch.
5-11, 234 | Arms: 32 inches | 40 time: 4.43 seconds | VJ: 40.5 inches, BP: 21
In a nutshell: Bush is a prototypical off-the-ball linebacker. He’s smaller than Devin White, but makes up for his lack of size with excellent instincts. Despite his speed, there are some questions about his ability to cover. Was used primarily as a blitzer on third down at Michigan. He’s a sure tackler. Past shoulder surgeries may concern some teams.
6-5, 249 | Arms: 33 7/8 inches | 40 time: 4.53 seconds | VJ: 36 inches, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Burns, who had 23 sacks in 33 games at Florida State, played at 225 pounds last season, but bulked up to 249 for the scouting combine. It didn’t affect his speed or movement, but the question is whether he’ll be able to keep it on. Burns has exceptional speed and length. He looks like the ideal modern-era edge-rusher.
6-3, 305 | Arms: NA | 40-time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Simmons tore his ACL in February during pre-draft training, which makes him a bit of a draft day wildcard. That and a 2016 no-contest plea for an altercation with a woman likely will cost him a few draft spots. Simmons has a similar skill set to another former Mississippi State DT. Guy by the name of Fletcher Cox. Explosive first step and Sampson-like strength.
5-9, 166 | Arms: 30 ½ inches | Hands: 9 inches | 40-time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Brown is a DeSean Jackson clone who averaged 18.3 yards per catch with 17 touchdown receptions in two seasons at Oklahoma. He had Lisfranc surgery in February and didn’t work out before the draft, but there are no questions about his speed. He can take the top off a defense. There are some concerns about his size, but Jackson has managed to survive 12 NFL seasons.
6-5, 312 | Arms: 35 1/8 inches | 40-time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: 24 reps
In a nutshell: Taylor played on both the left and right sides at Florida as a three-year starter, but most scouts view him as a right tackle in the NFL. He has long arms and big hands. He has good footwork and can mirror pass-rushers. Taylor plays to the whistle. He weighed 385 pounds in high school and had to lose 50 pounds before Florida would give him a scholarship.
6-5, 221 | Hands: 9 ¾ inches | 40-time: 4.81 seconds | VJ: 33.5 inches, BJ: 10-0
In a nutshell: Jones has elite NFL size for a quarterback. Very smart guy (has a degree in economics) who impressed teams during the interview process at the combine. Played in a pro-style offense. Has only average arm strength, but nice touch and anticipation. Moves well and can extend plays. Is more accurate than his 59.9 completion percentage at Duke would indicate.
6-6, 295 | Arms: 34 ¼ inches | 40-time: 4.93 seconds | VJ: 32 inches, BP: 23 reps
In a nutshell: Tillery has an 81-inch wingspan and a pair of the largest hands – 10 ¾ inches – in the draft. He has a unique blend of size, athleticism and power. Wasn’t a great outside pass rusher, and doesn’t have the explosive first-step quickness of some of the draft’s other top DTs. Probably best suited to be a 5-technique end in a two-gap 3-4 scheme in the NFL.
5-11, 193 | Arms: 32 inches | 40-time: 4.52 seconds | VJ: NA, BP: 14 reps
In a nutshell: Was first-team All-SEC and won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. He doesn’t have elite size or speed, but is a tough, physical player. He can play press coverage, off coverage or zone, but probably is best suited for a scheme that is going to play mostly zone. He is a wrap-up tackler who is an asset in run-support.
6-3, 306 | Arms: 31 ¾ inches | 40 time: 4.92 seconds | VJ: 31 inches, BP: 34 reps
In a nutshell: Bradbury is an athletic center who is out of the Jason Kelce mold. Arrived at NC State as a tight end before being moved inside. He excels out in space on screens and outside zone runs and can get to the second level. Ran a 4.9 forty at the combine. Tremendous core strength.
6-4, 249 | Arms: 33 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.50 seconds | VJ: 39.5 inches, BP: 20 reps
In a nutshell: Fant has great speed and quickness. He can explode off the line of scrimmage and has impressive separation ability. He’s not in teammate T.J. Hockenson’s area code as a blocker, but few college tight ends are. He is more effective on deep balls than underneath. Had 18 touchdown catches the last two years on just 69 receptions.
6-5, 227 | Arms: 35 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.48 seconds
VJ: 36 inches, BP: 18 reps
In a nutshell: Butler has long arms and large, strong hands to go with a power-forward body. He has an immense 84-inch wingspan. He’s a physical player who is exceptional on 50/50 balls. Has great body control. Averaged 22.0 yards per catch on 60 receptions last season. Biggest knock is a tendency to drop catchable balls.
6-4, 329 | Arms: 34 inches | 40 time: 5.21 seconds | VJ: 28.5 inches, BP: 19
In a nutshell: Ford made just 21 starts at Oklahoma, 14 at right tackle and seven at left guard. He’s long and athletic with an excellent combination of strength and agility. He dominated at right tackle last season for the Sooners and may get a chance to stay outside in the NFL. But his size may be better suited for guard.
6-3, 247 | Arms: 35 1/8 inches | 40 time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: 25 reps
In a nutshell: A productive player at Clemson, recording 21 sacks and 38 tackles for losses the last two seasons. Doesn’t have quick-twitch explosiveness, but has excellent power for a player his size. His long arms – 35-plus inches -- help him both in rushing the passer and playing the run. He uses those long arms to stack and shed blockers at the point of attack.
6-5, 271 | Arms: 34 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.82 seconds | VJ: 32 inches, BP: 24 reps
In a nutshell: Ferguson was extremely productive at Louisiana Tech. Had 17 ½ sacks last year and an FBS-record 45 in four years. He’s a twitchy player with excellent size, length and power. He struggled in the Senior Bowl workouts when tackles were able to get their hands on him, which could drop him into the second round.
6-3, 228 | Arms: 34 7/8 inches | 40 time: 4.33 seconds | VJ: 40.5 inches, BP: 27 reps
In a nutshell: Metcalf lit it up at the combine with his 4.33 forty and 40 ½-inch vertical jump. He’s still a work in progress with only 67 catches in 21 college games. He played in just seven games last year due to a neck injury. He’s an excellent high-point receiver, and has tremendous straight-line speed, but has a long way to go to become a polished route runner.
6-4, 342 | Arms: 34 7/8 inches | 40 time: 5.05 seconds | VJ: NA, BP: 36
In a nutshell: Lawrence is a hulking, but surprisingly-athletic-for-his-size DT who relies on his strength and power to push the pocket. He has just 18 percent body fat and can dunk a basketball. Sat out Clemson’s two playoff games last season after testing positive for PEDs. Lawrence also was used as a fullback in goal-line situations.
6-3, 231 | Hands: 9 5/8 inches | 40 time: 5.05 seconds | VJ: 28.5 inches, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Haskins was a one-year starter for the Buckeyes, but what a year. He threw for 4,800-plus yards, 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in ‘18. There is little resemblance between Haskin’s and Kyler Murray’s games. Haskins is a strong-armed pocket passer with limited mobility. He makes quick decisions, gets the ball out and is very accurate, completing 70 percent of his throws last season.
6-0, 205 | Arms: 31 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.42 seconds | VJ: 44 inches, BP: 21 reps
In a nutshell: Played cornerback in 2016-17 before being moved to safety in ’18. The corner background will be a plus for him at the next level. It gives him the kind of drop-down-and-cover-the-slot versatility that Malcolm Jenkins gives the Eagles. He’s good with the ball in the air. Tracks it like a receiver. His only negative: he’s not a great tackler or hitter.
» READ MORE: Ben Fennell breaks down the safeties
6-2, 242 | Arms: 31 ½ inches | 40 time: 4.63 seconds | VJ: 32.5 inches, BP: 19 reps
In a nutshell: Smith was extremely productive for ‘Bama last season, averaging 16.1 yards per catch with seven TDs. He’s not particularly big, but is a fluid route-runner with above-average speed for a tight end. He’s a better run-blocker than many bigger tight ends. Good bloodlines. His father, Irv Sr., was a first-round pick of the Saints in 1993.
» READ MORE: Ben Fennell breaks down tight-end prospects
5-11, 214 | Arms: 31 3/8 inches | 40 time: 4.48 seconds | VJ: 39 inches, BP: 15 reps
In a nutshell: Samuel had 11 TD catches last season and continued to impress scouts with his play at the Senior Bowl. He’s a wideout in a running back’s body. Doesn’t have ideal size to play outside and often struggled against physical corners. But he will make a good weapon on screens and quick routes. Also excelled on special teams for the Gamecocks.
5-11, 210 | Arms: 30 7/8 inches | 40 time: 4.48 seconds | VJ: 36 inches, BP: 17 reps
In a nutshell: Was kicked inside to nickel at Florida and took to it like a fish to water. He lacks exceptional deep speed, but has excellent route awareness and very good click-and-close quickness in zone coverage. Is comfortable up near the line of scrimmage. A good run defender who has a knack for sniffing out bubble screens. Didn’t play in the Gators’ base defense, which raised some eyebrows among scouts.
6-1, 195 | Arms: 32 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.54 seconds | VJ: NA, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Thompson is a prototypical back-end safety with good speed, range and anticipation. Takes good angles to the ball. Not a great tackler. Not a thumper like former ‘Bama safety Landon Collins. He’s more of a Earl Thomas-like ball hawk. Was a one-year starter. Had wrist surgery in February, but is expected to make a full recovery.
5-11, 211 | Hands: 9 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.49 seconds | VJ: 36 inches, BP: 20 reps
In a nutshell: Replaced Saquan Barkley and rushed for 1,274 yards and 9 TDs in his one year as a starter. He’s a north-south slasher with excellent speed, vision and patience. Had some fumble issues last season that he needs to correct. Scouts see him as a three-down back. He can catch the ball and did a good job when asked to pass-protect.
6-5, 310 | Arms: 35 ¼ inches | 40 time: 5.33 seconds | VJ: 25 inches, BP: 15 reps
In a nutshell: Little made 29 starts at left tackle at Ole Miss. He has exceptional size and strength to go with good feet and balance. He can cover a lot of ground with his kick slide, much like the Eagles’ Lane Johnson. Needs to work on his hand placement. Not a great knee-bender.
6-0, 192 | Arms: 32 inches | 40 time: 4.51 seconds | VJ: 39.5 inches, BP: 18 reps
In a nutshell: Ya-Sin excelled for the Owls last season after transferring from Presbyterian College. Was a first-team all-conference selection. Doesn’t have elite speed, but he has long arms and good body control and plays with a my-ball mentality when the ball is in the air. He’s a solid tackler who will be an asset in run support.
5-10, 222 | Hands: 9 ¼ inches | 40 time: 4.63 seconds | VJ: 28.5 inches, BP: 15 reps
In a nutshell: Recorded back-to-back 1,100-yard rushing seasons (and 24 touchdowns) at Iowa State behind an unremarkable line. He’s a three-down back with good hands who averaged 8.2 yards per catch last season. Doesn’t have great timed speed, but is elusive in space with exceptional cutback ability. Hard-nosed runner who is good after contact.
6-2, 228 | Arms: 33 inches | 40 time: 4.53 seconds | VJ: 28.5 inches, BP: 27 reps
In a nutshell: Harry is a big, physical receiver with long arms and strong hands. Dominated the Pac-12. He had 155 catches and 17 TDs the last two seasons. Excels on 50-50 balls. He uses his strength to power through press coverage and screens defenders like a power forward. Not a great route-runner or consistent hands catcher yet.
6-4, 228 | Hands: 9 inches | 40 time: 4.69 seconds | VJ: 31 inches, BJ: 9-3
In a nutshell: Lock has the size NFL teams like, along with a cannon arm and a quick delivery. His 56.9 career completion percentage is a concern, but it improved in each of his four seasons at Mizzou. He has good play-extending mobility, but can get sloppy with his footwork and mechanics at times. Missed too many “easy’’ throws.
5-9, 198 | Hands: 9 1/2 inches | 40 time: 4.40 seconds | VJ: 40 inches, BP: 21 reps
In a nutshell: Hill has an explosive gear, which he showed at the combine with his 4.40 forty and 40-inch vertical. You want to get the ball in his hands in space. He has good balance and vision. A good shotgun runner. Has outstanding lower leg strength. Can squat 565 pounds. Will be an effective third-down back. You can line him up in the slot and despite his slight frame, he’s good in pass protection.
6-7, 317 | Arms: 32 7/8 inches | 40 time: 5.05 seconds | VJ: 33.5 inches, BP: 23 reps
In a nutshell: An athletic player who was a defensive lineman and tight end before being moved to tackle. Uses his brute strength to overpower opponents. He’s a nasty player who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Think Jon Runyan. He was a four-year starter at Washington. Needed three procedures to correct heart arrhythmia earlier in his career.
5-11, 205 | Arms: 31 3/8 inches | 40 time: 4.45 seconds | VJ: 33.5 inches, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Abram can play both safety spots, but is most effective in the box. He’s an aggressive tackler who plays the run well. Has the speed and range to play centerfield as well as drop down and cover slot receivers. Is too-often obsessed with delivering knockout blows rather than wrapping up tacklers.
6-0, 206 | Arms: 31 inches | 40 time: NA | VJ: NA, BP: NA
In a nutshell: Adderley was a four-year starter for the Blue Hens, the first two at cornerback, the last two at safety. Has outstanding instincts, range and ball skills. He had nine interceptions in his two seasons at safety. Solid tackler. The FCS-to-NFL transition will be a slight adjustment, but nothing he can’t handle.
6-0, 226 | Arms: 32 7/8 inches | 40 time: 4.49 seconds | VJ: 36.5 inches, BP: 19 reps
In a nutshell: Brown lined up mainly in the slot at Ole Miss. Ran a ton of slants off RPOs. He’s a very good yards-after-the-catch receiver. Had 2,500 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns the last two years. Not really a vertical threat. Despite his thick build, he was an inconsistent blocker.
5-11, 198 | Arms: 31 inches | 40 time: 4.36 seconds | VJ: 39.5 inches, BP: 11 reps
In a nutshell: Savage was a four-year starter for the Terps. Knocked it out of the park at the combine, running a 4.36 forty and jumping 39.5 inches. He’s a tough, competitive player with good ball instincts who had a career-high four interceptions in ’18. While he played safety at Maryland, many are projecting him as a nickel corner in the NFL. Physical player, but needs to improve his consistency as a tackler.
6-4, 308 | Arms: 34 1/8 inches | 40 time: 4.91 seconds | VJ: 30.5 inches, BP: 25 reps
In a nutshell: Lindstrom started 48 straight games at BC, playing both right tackle and right guard. He’s projected as a guard in the NFL, mainly because of his size. He’s a solid technician with a quick first step off the ball. Has good balance and power and is an effective combo-block guy.