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Hart’s 2018 NFL Draft Top 100 Big Board

Mile High Report’s Christopher Hart unveils his Top 100 Big Board hours before the start of the 2018 NFL Draft.

2014 NFL Draft Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

At the beginning of the 2017 season, I once again fired up my Future Broncos segment to offer up some of my preliminary 2018 NFL Draft musings on prospects. A lot has changed since September. Some guys I valued highly have fallen, others have risen astronomically. Over the past few months, several prospects I didn’t even think about during the year came out of nowhere and are on pace to be high selections over the next three days. With the draft just hours away, I thought it was time to share my Top 100 prospect list. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you all enjoy this year’s draft and let’s all cross our fingers and hope the Denver Broncos have an excellent draft.

Tier 1 Players

Blue-chip prospects with high first round grades that I believe will make a significant and immediate impact upon entering the league. These are players who have All-Pro potential with the ability to become perennial Pro-Bowlers.

1. Quenton Nelson, OG - Notre Dame

Physically dominating interior lineman who checks the boxes in almost every category of evaluation on and off the field. Immediate starter that should receive accolades for his play early on and often throughout his career. All-Pro potential and all the makings to be one of the league’s best.

2. Bradley Chubb, DE - North Carolina State

The draft’s most established and well-rounded pass rusher and its best defender. Chubb has enormous upside and offers positional flexibility, but is best suited with his hands in the dirt end in a 4-3 front.

3. Roquan Smith, LB - Georgia

Highly-instinctive linebacker with sideline-to-sideline athleticism, tremendous closing speed and leadership qualities. Best of all, Smith is proficient against both the run and the pass. He’s a bonafide day one starter who will become a fixture at linebacker in any scheme and has a chance to become an elite player in the league.

4. Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech

Scouting Edmunds is akin to opening Pandora’s Box — you have no idea what is about to be unleashed. There’s a lot to like about his overall game, but when you realize he is only 19 years old the reality sets in that his potential is astronomical. Whatever franchise grabs him has a chance to forge one of the game’s most dynamic playmaker on defense through proper tutelage and coaching.

5. Sam Darnold, QB - Southern California

Erratic turnovers and throwing motion are two major concerns, but in my eyes Darnold has the most play-making potential out of any quarterback in this draft. I love his gunslinger mentality and ability to extend plays and make big things happen outside the pocket.

6. Saquon Barkley, RB - Penn State

Everyone has seen his highlight reels by now. Without question, Barkley is a generational talent and premier skill position playmaker in this year’s class. He is three-down back with tremendous athleticism. He boasts the claim to biggest home run threat in the class and offers star potential for any franchise that drafts him.

7. Josh Rosen, QB - UCLA

Josh Rosen is the draft’s most established pocket passer and most ready to take on the rigors of the National Football League from day one. His arm strength is good enough to make all the throws, but injury and alleged character concerns (which I believe are overblown) may cause him to slide a bit.

8. Derwin James, DB - Florida State

Rangy defensive back with the ability to close in a hurry. Superb ball skills, schematic versatility and alpha personality make him a formidable defender and a tone setter for any defensive backfield in the league.

9. Denzel Ward, CB - Ohio State

Ward will join a long list of Buckeye defensive backs who have recently been selected in the first round. While he may not have elite size, he has impeccable speed and the ball-hawking prowess to succeed out on the boundary or inside as a slot corner.

Tier 2 Players

First-round prospects who should become immediate starters in the league and have a shot at being difference makers. This is the last tier for first-round graded players.

10. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB - Alabama

Some view Fitzpatrick as a blue-chip prospect, but to me he is more of a jack-of-all trades, Swiss Army knife player in the defensive backfield. I believe his best fit is as a safety in the NFL and can be a chess piece to work against tight ends, slot receivers and running backs.

11. Vita Vea, DT - Washington

A behemoth on the defensive interior, Vea has the ideal size and strength to be a stalwart defender in any defensive front.

12. Baker Mayfield, QB - Oklahoma

Undersized quarterback with tremendous leadership ability and football intelligence. The draft’s most accurate passer possess the emotional fuel to light up a locker room and elevate the level of play of those around him. He may not be my highest rated quarterback, but he is the one quarterback I wouldn’t bet against succeeding in the pros.

13. Will Hernandez, OG - UTEP

Nelson is the cream of the crop in this year’s stacked interior line class, but Hernandez isn’t too far off and is the complete package. Battle-tested four-year starter who dominated in his conference and is proficient as a run blocker and pass protector.

14. Jaire Alexander, CB - Louisville

Alexander’s a tough evaluation because he missed a lot of time this past year due to injury, but his coverage skills, understanding of route concepts and ability to stick with defenders are on par with the best in this year’s class. He should make an immediate impact as a starter and significantly upgrade and secondary.

15. Ronald Jones, RB - USC

Critics will point to his poor forty-yard dash time to discount him, but next to Barkley, I believe he’s the biggest threat at running back in this year’s draft. Jones has exceptional play speed and is a threat to take it to the house when he touches the ball. Offers three-down ability and his cutback and vision and exemplary.

16. Mike McGlinchey, OT - Notre Dame

McGlinchey is very good tackle prospect, but never lived up to his preseason billing as a potential Top 10 selection. He struggled tremendously against Miami and Albama this year, but unquestionably is the most pro-ready and fundamentally sound technician at the position in this year’s draft.

17. Mike Hughes, CB - Central Florida

Hughes has the ability to make an impact in either a press or zone scheme from day one. He gets a big plus mark in the special teams category for being one of the the draft’s most prolific return men. He didn’t run as well as I thought he would at the 2018 NFL Combine, but still has great athleticism and should be a high-end starter for years to come.

18. Marcus Davenport, EDGE - UTSA

Davenport dominated his conference, but he has a lot of work to go in respect to technique and undoubtedly will face a learning curve upon entering the league. That being said, his length and athletic ability are off the charts and certainly can make an impact as a pass rusher as a rookie.

19. Leighton Vander Esch, LB - Boise State

One-year wonder who dominated the Mountain West Conference in 2017 at linebacker for the Broncos -- Vander Esch has supreme size, athletic ability and instincts to be a plug-and-play starter in the league.

20. Dallas Goedert, TE - South Dakota State

The premier FCS prospect in this year’s draft, Goedert is NFL-ready and will make an impact early on as a rookie. It won’t be long until he is a household name keeping defenders coordinators up at night. I can’t tell you how sad I’d be if he went to a team like the New England Patriots.

21. James Daniels, C - Iowa

At the young age of 20, Daniels has enormous growth potential, but has the ability to come in start for a franchise Day 1, which is why he will be a first-round selection. He will be a dream come true for teams who predominantly use a zone blocking scheme.

21. Lamar Jackson, QB - Louisville

Dynamic prospect who is a dual-threat as a passer and runner, but needs a lot of refinement and a creative coaching staff to revamp their scheme around what he does best. He improved every year in college, but still struggles to make key plays through the air on third down, especially if it’s third and long.

22. Derrius Guice, RB - LSU

Bull-dozing running back who has a nose for the end zone and doesn’t shy away from contact. Doesn’t offer much as a receiver out of the backfield, but can be the number one guy who wears down defenses and scores a lot of touchdowns for a team looking to dominate on the ground.

23. Harold Landry, EDGE - Boston College

An ankle injury limited his production in 2017, but Landry was one of the best pass rushers in all of college football as a junior when he racked up 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. He can play in a 3-4 or 4-3 front and will develop into one of the league’s better players if he stays healthy and adds some moves to his arsenal.

24. Frank Ragnow, C - Arkansas

Four years of experience and three of them as a starter at multiple positions make Ragnow a Day 1 prospect. He’s a physical lineman who plays with a nasty demeanor, but lacks elite athletic traits. Should be successful immediately and have a long career.

25. D.J. Moore, WR - Maryland

The Big Ten receiver of the year and one of the most explosive receivers in the draft, Moore has the ability to be a game-changer as a rookie and upgrade any aerial assault.

26. Da’Ron Payne, DL - Alabama

Massive force on the Crimson Tide’s defensive line who can project inside or out at the next level. If you’re looking for a prospect who can dominate the line of scrimmage and be a force against the run, Payne should be high on your wish list.

27. Josh Jackson, CB - Iowa

He lacks experience, won’t be a fit for every scheme and is far from a finished product, but Jackson had an incredible season with the Hawkeyes. His impeccable ball skills and the ability to create turnovers a la Marcus Peters will make him a high selection in the draft.

28. Isaiah Wynn, OL - Georgia

Wynn was a stalwart at tackle for the Bulldogs, but lacking desired size, scouts believe his best fit at the next level is as a guard. He helped pave the way for Sony Michel and Nick Chubb and did a great job protecting future first-round quarterback Jake Fromm. If the Broncos were to miss out on Nelson and Hernandez, I’d be ecstatic if they got Wynn.

29. Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama

In a wide receiver class that lacks an alpha talent, Ridley stands out over many because of his ability to line up at multiple positions and having a well-developed route tree. He probably will never be a true number once receiver, but he has a chance to be one of the league’s best secondary options.

30. Taven Bryan, DL - Florida

Bryant’s one of the best and perhaps most versatile trench defenders in this year’s draft and is explosive off the snap. He lacks a lot of starting experience, but should grow into a really good professional player in a few years.

Tier 3 Players

Prospects that carry second round grades.

31. Carlton Davis, CB - Auburn

32. Billy Price, C - Ohio State

33. Isaiah Oliver, CB - Colorado

34. Courtland Sutton, WR - SMU

35. Josh Allen, QB - Wyoming

36. Austin Corbett, OG - Nevada

37. Kerryon Johnson, RB - Auburn

38. Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan

39. Josh Sweat, DE - Florida State

40. Tim Settle, DT - Virginia Tech

41. Ronnie Harrison, S - Alabama

42. Rasheem Green, DE - USC

43. Lorenzo Carter, OLB - Georgia

44. Rashaan Evans, OLB - Albama

45. Uchenna Nwosu, OLB - USC

46. Connor Williams, OT - Texas

47. Sony Michel, RB - Georgia

48. Jessie Bates III, S - Wake Forest

49. DJ Chark, WR - LSU

50. Michael Gesicki, TE - Penn State

51. Hayden Hurst, TE - South Carolina

52. Harrison Phillips, DT - Stanford

53. James Washington, WR - Oklahoma State

54. Jamarco Jones, OT - Ohio State

55. Derrick Nnadi, DT - Florida State

56. Michael Gallup, WR - Colorado State

57. Justin Reid, S - Stanford

58. Dante Pettis, WR - Washington

59. M.J. Stewart, CB - North Carolina

60. Nick Chubb, RB - Georgia

61. Tyrell Crosby, OT - Oregon

62. Christian Kirk, WR - Texas A&M

63. Kolton Miller, OT - UCLA

64. Anthony Miller, WR - Memphis

Tier 4 Players

Prospects that carry third round grades.

65. Sam Hubbard, DE - Ohio State

66. Duke Dawson, CB - Florida

67. Da’Shawn Hand, DE - Alabama

68. Martinas Rankin, OL - Mississippi State

69. Mark Andrews, TE - Oklahoma

70. Braden Smith, OL - Auburn

71. Fred Warner, LB - BYU

72. Malik Jefferson, LB - Texas

73. Oren Burks, LB/S - Vanderbilt

74. Royce Freeman, RB - Oregon

75. DaeSean Hamilton, WR - Penn State

76. Dorance Armstrong, EDGE - Kansas

77. Orlando Brown, OT - Oklahoma

78. Tre’Quan Smith, WR - UCF

79. Rashaad Penny, RB - San Diego State

80. Nyheim Hines, RB - North Carolina State

81. Geron Christian, OT - Louisville

82. Rashaan Gaulden, CB - Tennessee

83. Brian O’Neill, OT - Pittsburgh

84. Nathan Shepherd, DT - Fort Hays State

85. Josey Jewell, LB - Iowa

86. B.J. Hill, DT - North Carolina State

87. Kemoko Turay, EDGE - Rutgers

88. Breeland Speaks, DT - Mississippi

89. JC Jackson, CB - Maryland

90. Luke Falk, QB - Washington State

91. Quenton Meeks, CB - Stanford

92. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB - Oklahoma

93. Darius Leonard, LB - South Carolina State

94. Jeff Holland, EDGE - Auburn

95. Tavarus McFadden, CB - Florida State

96. Mason Rudolph, QB - Oklahoma State

97. Isaac Yiadom, CB - Boston College

98. Duke Ejiofor, EDGE - Wake Forest

99. Terrell Edmunds, S - Virginia Tech

100. Dane Cruikshank, DB - Arizona