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2018 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock’s positional rankings

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How does NFL Network guru see the talent in the draft?

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached one of the landmarks of the draft process: NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock has released the first iteration of his position rankings.

As always happens, there are some positions where Mayock’s rankings go about as expected. But then other positions have rankings with surprises that leave eyebrows raised and people talking.

These rankings have no bearing on how the New York Giants view the draft. But considering Mayock’s experience and wealth of connections around the league, they are certainly worth noting and discussing.

Quarterback

The big surprise of Mayock’s rankings is that Wyoming’s Josh Allen is his second-ranked quarterback.

Mayock clearly favors size and athleticism throughout his rankings, but nowhere is that more on display than ranking Allen above both Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield. While both quarterbacks have their concerns, both are simply superior passers with better accuracy and precision, much better and more consistent mechanics, and better decision making in game situations.

Mayock got to see Allen in person at the Senior Bowl and must obviously believe that his stats lie and he can be molded into a franchise quarterback at the next level.

Running Back

Mayock doesn’t have any surprises in this list, and it pretty much lines up with how most view the class. I have Sony Michel and Nick Chubb rated similarly, with the biggest difference between them being the scheme fit with whichever team that drafts them.

Wide Receiver

Can I accuse Mayock of shenanigans here? I think I will, because he very clearly has seven receivers in his Top 5. I don’t have a big problem with the rankings themselves (I’m a bigger fan of James Washington’s physicality, catch radius, and ability to adjust on deep passes than Mayock is, it seems), but having three receivers tied for fifth does highlight one of the issues with this receiver class. There aren’t any “clean” prospects but a glut of second-tier players who have intriguing upside, but definite warts.

Tight End

There aren’t really any surprises here. The bulk of the tight end class is fairly similar in talent and expected role. Most of the tight ends at the top of the draft class have a “classic” built and adequate athleticism.

I’ll admit that I haven’t gotten a look at Will Dissly yet, so his name is a slight surprise at the bottom of the list.

Offensive Line

Lumping the interior and tackle classes together, there aren’t any surprises with the tackles, though Connor Williams being third is a bit of a surprise. I’d like to know if the knee injury that forced him out in the middle of the season had a role in his down play in the first two games of the year. Williams was excellent in 2016 and seemed to recapture that form after returning from the knee injury.

On the inside, I’m a little surprised to see Iowa’s James Daniels above Ohio State’s Billy Price. Daniels is an intriguing and athletic center, but I think he is limited to a zone blocking system, while Price has more versatility.

Interior Defensive Line

I’m a little surprised to see Maurice Hurst behind Da’Ron Payne, given the role that the interior pass rush has in the NFL. Hurst has the ability to be the next in the line of Gerald McCoy, Fletcher Cox, and Aaron Donald as an undersized interior disruptor. Vea is, quite simply, a monster and I have no problems with him topping the list. My only hope is that he doesn’t get typecast as a nose tackle at the next level because of his size, but rather is allowed to line up across the front and attack the offense.

Edge Rusher

No arguments that Chubb is the top edge rusher in this draft class, however I believe that Harold Landry is being criminally underrated at fourth on the list. He dealt with injuries all year, but in 2016 he was an absolute terror. Landry needs to play with more strength (and sharpen up his hand usage), but his first step, speed, and bend around the edge are second to none in this class.

Arden Key has intriguing tools and was similarly productive in 2016, but there are questions about his mentality and commitment, and his production took a serious dive in 2017.

Linebacker

My only thought on this list is that Nwosu should be in the “Edge Rusher” group. Given Mayock’s preference for size and athleticism, I’m not surprised by Edmunds edging out Roquon Smith at the top. The 19 year old from Virginia Tech is a freak who Giants fans will be hearing a lot about in the coming weeks. Personally, I rate Smith a bit higher coming out, due to his longer track record and impressive track record. However, Edmunds’ upside is simply absurd. If the Giants don’t draft a quarterback in the first round, his is a name fans should be clamoring for.

Defensive Back

Once again, I’m going to combine positions.

I’m not really surprised by the cornerback rankings, and I’m glad to see Hughes from UCF made the list.

I’m also glad to see Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick on the “Safety” list, as I believe he can be a franchise player as a free safety. Derwin James deserves the second spot, and really showed off his potential towards the end of the season. This is a strong group.