There isn’t any movement at the front of the top 10 list of 2018 NFL Draft prospects. These players are still at the top of my personal list. With championship weekend, Bowl Season, the All-Star Games, and the NFL Scouting Combine, there is still plenty of “process” left to go in which this can change. But as of right now, if the New York Giants have a top five pick (as looks increasingly likely) I want them to come away with one of these players.
1 - Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
Barkley is a game-changing playmaker with sterling character, elite athleticism, and a 4-down skill set.
2 - Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
Mayfield might be undersized and perhaps too competitive for his own good (on occasion), but he is smart, coachable, athletic, with a quick release and accuracy to all areas of the field, and routinely makes “NFL” throws.
3 - Quenton Nelson (OG, Notre Dame)
Nelson is, put simply, the best lineman in this draft. He is powerful, nasty, surprisingly nimble, with sound technique in both run blocking and pass protection. He is considered to have All-Pro potential, and I haven’t seen anything to contradict that.
4 - Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB, Alabama)
Fitzpatrick is a bit of an interesting case in the secondary. Where he plays might depend on his measureables at the Combine and which team drafts him. His best fit might be in the role currently played by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, moving between blitzing slot corner and free safety. Wherever he plays, a defense needs to get him on the field somewhere. He is playmaker with sky-high football IQ and a reputation for tremendous work ethic.
5 - Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
Chubb isn’t a Myles Garrett or Jadeveon Clowney type of freakishly athletic pass rusher. He is more in the mold of Joey Bosa, combining a good (but not freakish) burst and bend with tremendous power and hand usage.
6 - Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
Stanford just keeps giving Bryce Love the ball, and he just keeps producing. He carried the ball 20 times for 125 yards against Notre Dame over the weekend. He didn’t get into the end zone (which is a bit disappointing), but he played a major part in Stanford’s win. He will play USC this coming Friday.
The only real knock on Love (and what really separates Barkley from him) is that he isn’t a factor in the passing game. Love has just 6 receptions for 33 yards on the season. However, if your team needs a talented runner, you would be hard-pressed to find a better ball carrier than Love.
7 - Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Jackson will likely be the most “boom or bust” QB prospect in this draft, and his success in the NFL will likely depend on the team that drafts him. If he is put in an offense that plays to his strengths, he could be a rookie phenom. Jackson has a rifle for an arm, and electric athlete who will likely finish the season with more than 3,500 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing while racking up 42 total touchdowns to just 9 giveaways (interceptions and fumbles).
Dan Kadar of our sister site Mocking The Draft has the Giants selecting Jackson third overall in this week’s mock draft. About the pick Dan says:
Without Darnold, the Giants simply move down to the next quarterback up. Jackson had statistically a better season than his Heisman Trophy sophomore year. As a prospect, he’s gotten much better at making plays in the pocket.
8 - Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa)
The Iowa corner’s ultimate draft stock will likely depend on the scouting combine. However, his production against top competition, including a trio of interceptions against Ohio State and a pair of pick-sixes certainly has him on my radar. He has 7 interceptions and 18 more passes defensed in his huge junior campaign.
9 - Arden Key (DE, LSU)
I’ve been a bit hesitant about putting Key on this list. His departure from the team in the spring and questions about his mindset are troubling. Likewise, he hasn’t produced up to expectations. However, he was still terrific in 2016 and has the blend of size (6’6,” 265), flexibility, and athletic traits that tend to get drafted highly. He will need to dispel concerns about his love for the game, but the talent is there.
10 - Roquon Smith (LB, Georgia)
Another newcomer to the list, the Georgia linebacker has been ascending draft boards all season. Smith is a tad undersized, but he is the kind of athletic, instinctive linebacker who flies around, making plays across the field. He has been compared by some to Lavonte David. With (at least) two games yet to play (the SEC championship and Georgia’s bowl game, Smith has 100 tackles on the season, to go with 8.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed and a forced fumble. That’s up from 95 tackles (5.0 TFL) last season.