After completing the 2018 Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide, I have a strong idea of this draft's strengths and weaknesses. That said, grades will change after the Combine as we get verified measurable and medicals, and the Pro Days and private workouts also have a say in determining our final rankings.
Going into the Combine, two of draft's strongest positon groups are the wide receivers and running backs. Although there may not be any top 10 wide receivers, clubs with a need will be able to draft a good wideout into the third round and perhaps the fourth. There is also a variety of different types of receivers. There are big guys, like SMU's Courtland Sutton, and smaller and faster guys, including Dante Pettis of Washington and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk.
The RB position, led by Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, is also very deep. It wouldn’t shock me to see eventual starters come from the fourth and fifth round. Don’t be surprised if you see a run on running backs beginning in the second round.
Players like Jordan Chunn from Troy, Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough are quality backs, but I doubt they go in the first three rounds. Remember, the Bears' Jordan Howard was a fifth-round pick two years ago.
Back in August, there were many analysts who said this QB class might be the best ever. Now that it's mid-February, we know that its average at best. You could ask five analysts who their top quarterback is and you would probably get three answers. There really isn't a consensus top guy at the position. The group of Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold are all talented, but each of those prospects also has a list of negative traits. Because of need, some quarterbacks will go high but my opinon is that they will end up being overdrafted. The small-school guy to watch is Richmond's Kyle Lauletta.
The TE group is not very strong. There could be one or two who go in the first round, but more likely they will go in the second. The best tight ends in this class are Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert. Andrews profiles as a "move" tight end, while Goedert can play at the "Y" or "move" position. A tight end who is getting a lot of strong looks is South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst.
This is the second year in a row that the OT class isn’t very strong. It used to be that three to four tackles would go in the top 15 picks. That won’t happen this year. In fact, I don’t think there is an odds-on favorite to be the first tackle selected. A trio headlines the class — Orlando Brown, Mike McGlinchey and Connor Williams — but there will be debate on which is the best. Some NFL people believe that both Brown and McGlinchey will be better off on the right side. There is some depth at the position, but most of the good ones will be off the board before the end of the third round.
The best lineman in the draft comes from the OG group, and that is Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson. There are some (me included) who feel that Nelson may be able to play right tackle. Nelson was recruited to play tackle, but to get him on the field early, Notre Dame moved him inside. He played at close to 350 pounds in 2016 and was in the low 330s this past season. To play tackle, he may have to get into the low 320s.
Other guards, including Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn and Braden Smith, all figure to start as rookies. A couple of them could move to center, as they should have that versatility.
The leader of the C group is Ohio State’s Billy Price. He is a better player than the Vikings' Pat Elflein, who went in the third round last year. Price can play center or guard and step in as a starter right away. James Daniels from Iowa has similar versatility, but he isn’t currently as physical as Price.