Robert Garcia’s Top 40 Prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft
Draft week is here and it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. Yes, I love Nacho Libre! As teams start to finalize their draft boards this week, it is time to do ours here at 600 ESPN El Paso.
UTEP’s Will Hernandez has had a meteoric rise this off-season, as the once second-to-third-round selection now seems entrenched as a top-30 pick. His performance at the combine answered a lot of questions about his athleticism but his arm length may keep him out of the top 20 picks. Maryland’s D.J. Moore also passed his off-season tests. While Moore may not have the height that teams covet, he catches everything thrown his way, is a solid route-runner and has that quick-twitch acceleration you want at wideout.
After a horrendous showing at the combine, Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown went from a late first-round prospect to hoping he’ll be selected in the second round. He still grades out as a potential starter at right tackle in the NFL. Michigan's Maurice Hurst is off several team's boards. The standout defensive tackle was a medical red flag at the combine after an EKG showed irregularities. If he checks out physically, he could be a steal for some team in the third or fourth round.
Here’s a look at my Top 40 prospects broken down into five different tiers based on talent.
Tier 1 - Considered to have the talent and traits that make up a perennial all-pro, these prospects are expected to make an impact for their franchises from day one. What makes these three individuals truly special is that they are also great character guys.
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
2. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
3. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Tier 2 - Selected between the top 5 to 15 picks, these prospects are expected to secure starting spots and make contributions during year one. They have the talent to be future pro bowlers on a yearly basis.
4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
5. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
6. Derwin James, DB, Florida State
7. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
8. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
9. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
10. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
11. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Tier 3 - Mid first-round prospects that should make their way into the starting lineup sometime during year one. The potential to be a pro bowl player is there--they just need to maximize their game.
12. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
13. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
14. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
15. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
16. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
17. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
18. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
19. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
20. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Tier 4 - Late first-to-early-second-round prospects that should make their way on to the field in either a starting or substitutional role during year one.
21. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
22. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
23. James Daniels, C/OG, Iowa
24. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
25. Connor Williams, OT/OG, Texas
26. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
27. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
28. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
29. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
30. Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
31. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
32. Harold Landry, OLB/DE, Boston College
33. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
34. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Tier 5 - Second-round prospects that could slide up into the first round. These players may spend a little more time than they'd like on the bench but they'll be counted on to play a role as a back up, situational player, or on special teams.
35. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
36. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
37. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
38. Billy Price, C/OG, Ohio State
39. Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
40. Lorenzo Carter, OLB/DE, Georgia