NFL Draft

Top 10 interior defensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft:

Having talked about the top interior offensive linemen on Tuesday, we move back to the defensive side of the ball with their direct opponents. Unlike many mainstream pages I am not differentiating between outside linebackers, defensive ends and defensive tackles, because the job descriptions don’t match a lot of times. A base D-end in a 3-4 has completely different responsibilities than one in a 4-3 who is primarily an edge pass rusher and those are way more similar to actual outside backers that line up on the edge than actual stand-up backers. Therefore you will find my rankings on edge rushers here next week and this edition includes all interior D-linemen, meaning anything from head-up on the offensive tackle to true nose tackles lining up across center.

I don’t remember the last time we had such a talented group at the top. Three of them will probably be selected in the top 20 and up to nine of them could be top 50 overall prospects, with one being so talented that he might go in the first round despite possibly not being available at all for the 2019 season. For me, I don’t consider current injuries in my positional rankings. You will find their impact on my big board once I’m done with every position. Most of these guys project as upfield penetrators, who will be asked to play one gap and create problems for opposing offenses, even if their schemes or teams’ needs didn’t allow them to do that at the collegiate level. With the amount of sub-packages and hybrid defenses, true fits aren’t as important as long as you can be a disruptive player and help out your team. I will refer to many of them as “3-techniques”, meaning they line up on the outside shoulder of the guard and only play that B-gap in base sets.

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NFL Draft

Top 10 interior offensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft:

After talking about the best running backs and linebackers available last week, we move into the trenches in our positional draft rankings. For this edition, I combined offensive guards and centers because the necessary skill-sets are very similar and many of these prospects played both positions during their collegiate careers. While their value might differ depending on offensive scheme, I like to evaluate them as one group.

There are definitely no generational-type prospects like Quenton Nelson on this list, who I had as my number two overall player, but this group has about a dozen quality names. As the league moves more towards wide-open offenses that throw the ball out of shotgun and try to get it out quickly on a multitude of screens, mobility and pass-protecting are becoming more important, but there is still a lot of value of what interior offensive linemen can do for you in the run game. Obviously each team will evaluate these prospects according to their scheme, but for the purpose of this list, I am looking for complete players, who will help my offense move the ball.

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NFL Draft

Top 10 linebackers in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We started our positional rankings on Tuesday with the running backs and the way we are going to do this is alternate between offense and defense with kind of the direct matchups in one week (so tackles vs. edge rushers, wide receivers vs. cornerbacks, etc.). So that leads us to the linebackers in this edition and the opinions about this group seem to be all over the place.

While I do believe there is a clear order of one, two and three, after that there is a lot of disagreement. I think there are two clear first-rounders and another guy, who should go somewhere early on day two, but from my number five prospect on these guys might not even hear their names called before day three when I look at many of these rankings out there. Two that are frequently among the top five or so didn’t even make my list at all. I am looking for fast, athletic linebackers who fit the modern game, while also being able to defend the downhill run game, as I could see a trend of more power football being played in the near future.

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NFL Draft

Top 10 running backs in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We have come to the point for me to reveal my positional rankings for the upcoming NFL draft. I will put out my top ten (plus) with two positional groups coming every week leading up to April 25th, with my top 100 big board and only mock draft finishing up the process. This week I am starting with the running backs and linebackers.

While there is no generational running back prospect such as Saquon Barkley in this class, I think overall these skill positions are very deep this year. You will see something similar with the wide receivers, where there is no consensus number one guy, but plenty of prospects NFL front offices will try to get their hands on. When it comes to the RBs, I think one young man has crystallized himself as the cream of the crop, but my rankings look a lot different compared to others after that. Obviously these boards will alter depending on scheme fits and personal preferences, but for me I am looking for an all-around back with vision, appropriate footwork, natural running style, versatility and the ability to create more than what is actually there.

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College Football Rankings

Top five players by position entering the 2017 college football season – Defense edition:

After looking at the five best players at each offensive position a week ago, I want to do the same for the other side of the ball. Once again, this list isn’t a prospect ranking for the pro level, but rather my scouting report for the college players at this point. I came up with those names as a combination of what the players would be able to do regardless of their school and how well I think they play in the scheme of their defense.

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College Football Rankings

Top five players by position entering the 2017 college football season – Offense edition:

This is not a scouting report for the pro level, but rather just based on how I’d rank them heading into this college football season according to what I saw last year and in week one just now. I obviously haven’t quite watched as much tape on them as I did on the draft prospects a few months ago, but I’ve watched a lot of college football over the last several years and couldn’t help but already take a look at a couple of games of all those guys. This list will also be interesting to look at the end of the season and when really scouting the prospects, to compare it with what I come up then.

Check in next week again for the edition on defense.

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