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NFL Big Board | Deuce’s Top 30

The NFL Draft is less than a week away, and I give you a peek inside my NFL Draft guide: My top 30 players

2017 NFL Draft Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is less than a week away and every team is putting the final touches on their draft boards. Like teams across the NFL, we’re doing the same thing here at Canal Street Chronicles. All the training with the Scouting Academy, comparing notes with other talent evaluators and countless night studying tape all comes down to this. Some notes before we get into the list:

  • This is not an attempt to predict where players will be drafted.
  • Rankings are determined by an 8 point grading scale that grades various attributes across each position (Ex: For Runningbacks - Mental Processing, Competitive Toughness/Ball Security, Play Strength, Athletic Ability, Vision/Ability To Create, Burst, Finishing Ability/Yards After Contact, Zone Running, Gap Running, Receiving/Route Running, Pass Protection)
  • Also, when grading a player, every scout is biased to scheme/fit they are most familiar with or prefer.
  • Finally, my grades are also based on what I think Year 1 Production will be like, but I try to include year 3 projections. I can be very high on a player, but have him as a mid round pick because he needs development.
  • The below snippets are from my NFL Draft Guide
  1. Quenton Nelson - Guard: Immediate starter you can win with that fits in any format for any team. Plug-N-Play player. Mauler on the inside with the athletic ability to be used as a pulling guard in power/zone schemes or as a blocker in screens. Extremely high marks for his processing speed.
  2. Minkah Fitzpatrick - Corner/Safety: Elite athlete who spent a majority of 2017 in the slot, but has the versatility and experience to play any DB position. Displays desired ball skills and the versatility to play man or zone coverages in press, off or in space.
  3. Bradley Chubb - DE/EDGE: Ideal size, strength and athletic ability to be a 3 down player. Displays a solid pass rush plan paired with a full tool box of moves. Very physical setting the edge. Showed an ability to drop into coverage. Possible early double digit sack player.
  4. Roquan Smith - MLB/WLB: Shows elite range and athletic ability not only for the position, but for a defender. Rare linebacker that excels in man and zone coverages. Extremely high marks for his processing speed. Vocal team leader and playcaller. Added bulk for scouting combine (played in 220-225 range). Play strength is concern as we've yet to see him play to his combine measure weight.
  5. Saquon Barkley - Runningback: Extremely elusive for his size. Determined runner, capable receiver and strong blocker. Elite athleticism makes him difficult to bring down and allows him to quickly capture the edge. It is a bit concerning that given his size (5110, 230) that he plays more like Reggie Bush than Derick Henry, but many believe that with proper coaching he will be an elite player at his position at the next level.
  6. Derwin James - Safety/Cornerback: Wins with athletic ability and versatility. Was used as free/strong safety, nickel corner and even had some linebacker responsibilities. Good recovery skills and overall coverage ability. Shows impressive stop and start ability which helps not only in coverage but when he blitzes off the edge. Swiss Army Knife.
  7. Vita Vea - 1 Gap or 2 Gap Nose Tackle: Mammoth of a man who doubles as a dancing bear. 340 lb frame with elite play strength and surprising athletic ability. Shows the play strength and processing ability to play in an odd or even front as a 0/1 tech nose. Overpowers offensive linemen in one on ones and displays bullrush/hump move to rush the passer. Stamina concerns (Can he go 60+ snaps?) and found himself on the ground a little bit more than you’re ok with while at Washington.
  8. Derrius Guice - Runningback: Powerful runner and finisher who possesses the athleticism to threaten the edge. Plays bigger than his size and is able to finish his power by lowering his center of gravity and creating leverage with lower leg drive to fight for extra yardage. Lacks experience/reps as a receiver. Must continue to work on pass pro technique
  9. Josh Rosen - Quarterback: Familiar with multiple offensive systems. Shows good velocity, very good accuracy as well as anticipation through various route concepts.. Best mechanics of draft class. Smart player who doesn't make many mistakes. There are some who question his personal drive and there are concerns over his personal stances and how they might negatively represent a team.
  10. Isaiah Wynn - Guard/Left Tackle: Technician who wins with elite use of hands, quick/efficient footwork and very good technique to gain leverage and win reps. Very good mental processing. Athletic ability to move in space. Maintains leverage throughout blocks and doesn't have any wasted energy in punch/set/anchor. Very good in pass pro and has the versatility to slide outside in a pinch.
  11. Baker Mayfield - Quarterback: Very nice combination of decision making and accuracy. Uses multiple throwing angles, anticipation, touch and arm strength to overcome height deficiencies and get the ball on target. Shows good pocket poise and isn’t easily raddled. Very efficient when operating the scramble drill. Gets better in situational football moments seeing an uptick in efficiency and performance on third down and in the red zone.
  12. Calvin Ridley - Wide Receiver (Flanker): Good with a skinny/lean frame. Runs a complete route tree using foot speed, use of hands and counters to release at line of scrimmage. Only possesses adequate play strength and doesn't display the consistent ability to win on the line. Best suited to play off allowing his initial quickness and route running to form separation.
  13. Denzel Ward - Cornerback: Undersized frame with adequate play strength that wins with elite athletic ability, play speed and coverage ability. Has blazing long speed and the hip fluidity to mirror receiver’s routes. Size limits him against run.
  14. Mike Hughes - Cornerback: Good frame that lacks a little junk in the trunk. Shows elite athletic ability and foot speed and was used primarily as a press corner on the left side. Very good processing speed and very competitive. Aggressive, but poor open field tackler.
  15. Maurice Hurst - Defensive Tackle (3 Tech): Prototype 3 tech with elite up field burst, use of hands and play speed. Slightly undersized and lacks lower body strength. Reliable defender against the run makes him a three down player. Flagged with medical at NFL Combine, but was not asked to return for rechecks.
  16. Sam Hubbard - DE/EDGE: Possesses good size, very good athletic ability and solid play strength to play defensive end in an even front. Reads and progresses through his keys quickly. Very good use of hands and is a high motor player. Should be an immediate NFL Starter. Can over pursue at times.
  17. Josh Jackson - Cornerback: Former WR with very good knowledge of route tree. Combines elite athletic ability with very good mental processing in zone. Has very fluid hips and locks onto receivers quickly. Used primarily in zone coverage at Iowa leaving few reps to break down his ability in press or off man. Poor tackling/Run Support technique.
  18. Courtland Sutton - Wide Receiver (Split End): One of the few quality Split-Ends in this draft class. Good play strength with a very wide catch radius that wins contested situations. Lacks burst/1st step to form consistent separation.
  19. Sony Michel - Runningback: Lacks the power of most high end RBs, but makes up for it with his elite burst, receiving ability and by being a willing pass protector. Potential to be dangerous receiver out of backfield.
  20. Tremaine Edmunds - SLB/MLB: Has rare combination of size and athleticism. Very fast and very strong off the edge with length to keep blockers at bay. Young player (will be 20 years old as a rookie) who is still developing his key and diagnose ability. Man/Zone coverage ability runs hot and cold. Only shows marginal pass rush ability at this time while being a reliable force against the run.
  21. Da’Ron Payne - Defensive Tackle (3 Tech): Good Height/Weight interior defensive lineman with above average athletic ability and play strength. Shows nice upfield burst but also has consistency issues, combined with pursuit/stamina concerns. When he’s “on”, he’s dangerous.
  22. Billy Price - Center/Guard: Versatile offensive lineman who can play center or guard. Very athletic and plays with good pad level, lateral movement, athletic ability and functional play strength to move defenders from a spot. Shows a good anchor in pass protection. Reads defenses pre and post snap very well while displaying the desired mental processing to run the line and pick up delayed blitzs and stunts.
  23. Christian Kirk - Wide Receiver (Slot): Versatile off the line receiver who can fill slot and/or flanker role. Lacks height, length and play strength to be relied upon as a primary target on the line. Good separation quickness at line of scrimmage, good athletic ability and very good YAC Ability. Willing to take hit over middle of the field and haul in contested catches. Is also a threat as a punt returner.
  24. Connor Williams - Offensive Tackle: Tough Mauler who wins with play strength and a strong grip. Shows high mental processing to pick up stunts/delayed blitzs and read defenders pre-snap. Has a very good anchor in pass protection, but not a great pull/2nd level option. 2016 tape is far superior to 2017 due to injury. Medical red flag.
  25. Rashaan Evans - WLB/MLB: Able to slide inside/outside as a versatile starting linebacker. Key and diagnose ability is good, but can be caught guessing at times. Good athlete with good ability to cover TE and carry up the seam. Shows an above average ability to blitz the a gap or come off the edge.
  26. Harold Landry - EDGE/DE: Has good length, size, very good lateral movement and overall athletic ability. Very good first step quickness. Desired ankle/knee/hip flexion to run the arc against offensive tackles. Struggles to consistently convert speed to power.
  27. Ronald Jones II - Runningback: North/South Runner with the change of direction and speed to the edge to be a zone runner. Good burst and vision while lacking sufficient play strength for Gap/Power. Is adequate in pass protection.
  28. Frank Ragnow - Center: Wins with athletic ability, lateral quickness and a good anchor in pass protection. Reliable mover in space for screens, pulls and outside zone runs. Attacks 2nd level well. Good mental processing.
  29. Will Hernandez - Guard: Mauler who wins with play strength, high mental processing and anchoring ability. Has the athletic ability to pull and move in space to reach 2nd level blocks. Has a mean streak and consistently gets under the skin of defenders. Didn't face elite competition.
  30. Lamar Jackson - Quarterback: Showed marked improvement in pre/post snap reads from 2016 to 2017. Ran multiple pro concepts with 5 man routes and full field reads. Elite athlete who can move out of the pocket to buy time and shows good accuracy/ball placement (struggled with drops from his receivers) and arm strength. Mechanics need improvement, particularly the narrow base that can cause his hips to flare (and balls to sail).

There you have it, the top thirty players from my NFL Draft guide with snippets of what made them so highly ranked. Disagree with anyone on the list or think someone should take their spot? Let me know in the comments below.

I also go into a little bit more depth on each player in this video: