Most impressive 2018 draft prospects so far

October 19th, 2017 | Written by Rob Staton

1. Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
Barkley just finds a way to make explosive plays and put points on the board every week. He’s a freak of nature with great character. A top five placing seems inevitable if he avoids injury.

2. Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
It was tempting to put Nelson at #1 but Barkley is too good. Nelson is the complete package at guard — he’ll pull to the second level, hit people at the LOS and open up huge running lanes. Fantastic prospect.

3. Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
There aren’t many players at 6-4 and 275lbs who combine great athleticism, quickness and power. Chubb is an every down edge rusher, is physical against the run and has the same bloodlines as top-tier athlete cousin Nick Chubb.

4. Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
There are some similarities to Sheldon Richardson. Wilkins is a ball of energy. He’s not the most prolific pass rusher but his motor never switches off. He hustles to the ball and doesn’t stop. Good athlete.

5. Taven Bryan (DE, Florida)
An inside/out rusher who dominates the LOS. Bryan drives blockers into the backfield with a vicious bull rush but he also wins with quickness. He’s highly underrated and one of the best players in college football.

6. Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
Yes there are accusations of inconsistency but there aren’t many players with Vea’s skill set. He and Greg Gaines are a force inside, clogging up run lanes and providing some pass rush. Excellent nose tackle prospect.

7. Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson)
Shaq Lawson type defensive end coming off a forceful 3.5 sack performance against Syracuse. Ferrell is listed at 260lbs but looks and plays bigger. Good against the pass and the run. Part of a fantastic front seven.

8. Maurice Hurst (DT, Michigan)
His performance against Indiana was dominant, adding to a great year so far. He lived in the backfield and blocked a crucial field goal. The league needs quality three-technique prospects. Hurst’s a classic example.

9. Minkah Fitzpatrick (S, Alabama)
Highly athletic, modern day defensive back capable of lining up in multiple positions. Aggressive, leads by example and should be an early starter at the next level.

10. Derwin James (S, Florida State)
He’s sometimes a bit stiff in the open field but he has the size to defend the run and the range to make plays in coverage. He’s listed at 6-3 and 211lbs and could play some strong safety and big nickel.

11. Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA)
He isn’t getting much help and he’s had some pretty terrible interceptions. That said, Rosen has also shown poise, accuracy and the ability to move around in the pocket to make a wide range of throws.

12. Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)
Playmaker. Capable of running for a 1000 yards to go with his throwing ability. Continues to grow as a passer. There are too many critics with Jackson. He has a big future at quarterback. He gets no help at Louisville.

13. Billy Price (G, Ohio State)
Price plays like his hair’s on fire. Very active, very aggressive with the mobility to move to the second level. Switched to center this year but could play guard in the NFL. A notch behind Quenton Nelson but really good.

14. Mike McGlinchey (T, Notre Dame)
Solid rather than spectacular but he emphatically won every battle against Boston College speed rusher Harold Landry. If you want to make a case for McGlinchey that’s the tape you turn to.

15. Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)
Home-run hitter, just needs a crease to explode to the second level and break off a big run. He’s not the biggest (listed at 5-10 and 196lbs) but he’s incredibly dynamic. Making a strong Heisman case.

Not included…

Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
He hasn’t even had a full season as the starter at USC. There’s no rush to declare, especially if Cleveland ends up with the #1 pick.

Trey Adams (T, Washington)
Reports suggest he won’t turn pro at the end of the season after suffering a serious knee injury. A weak tackle class could tempt him — but for now we have to assume he’ll stay with the Huskies in 2018.

Derrius Guice (RB, LSU)
He’s a little bit banged up and needs a strong finish to the season to get some momentum behind his stock.

Nick Chubb (RB, Georgia)
He’s coming close to his best again but the medical checks will be so important. We know he’s a fantastic athlete. We’ll see if he’s still at that level at the combine.

Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
He’s starting to find some form. With #1 receiver size and a little Dez Bryant to his game, Sutton has time to push himself into the early part of round one.

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57 Responses to “Most impressive 2018 draft prospects so far”

  1. Nick says:

    Rob, I posted this in the previous post (so apologies for the repetition), but do you see WR as a likely early-round target for the Seahawks?

    And if so, who would you recommend I check out? Thanks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t see it as a likely target, purely because they drafted Darboh a year ago and they generally seem to have a young group they like. I think it could be a day three type target, maybe R3 if there’s a player out there. Two of the guys I like are Deon Cain and Dante Pettis. Sudden athletes, make plays.

      I think the early round focus will likely be DL or OL again.

  2. AndrewP says:

    Rob- Any DEs you like in the 25-35 thus far? Thinking of life after Cliff… whenever that may come. Also, you can never have too many pass rushers.

    I really like DE as a potential position of interest this April/May. Will be eagerly following the combine #s for elite split times.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a bit early to say. Some of the guys I like might be more to my taste and could last. There are others I haven’t noted here because I think they’ve not warranted a mention, such as Harold Landry. Clemson has several very good D-liners and Austin Bryant is rising. I haven’t focused on Sam Hubbard yet or Dorance Armstrong. I liked what I saw from Hercules Mata’afa. Marquis Haynes has always intrigued me.

  3. Rik says:

    The Bryce Love video was pretty cool, but the Stanford blocking is exceptional. The OL is opening some broad seams for him to burst through. I still think Rawls has the ability to get down field if (and it’s a pretty big if) our line could open a seam. Which they haven’t thus far.

    So I think we go OL in the first round, or trade down and pick OL at the top of the 2nd. I’d love to watch a game this year where the Hawks OL get some upfield push.

    • Ishmael says:

      I was talking to V12 about this a while back. Love’s a fun player, but Stanford keep him super, super, clean. I’m not at all sure he’d be a good player in Seattle.

      • Hawktalker#1 says:

        One odd thing about love to me is that even though he is fast, he doesn’t look on tape fast when I watch him play. Something about his running style looks a little sloppy looks to slow him down on the field. Sure he has some good bursts and breakaways, but he doesn’t have that sudden looking “fast” that I would have expected from someone with his speed.

      • Volume12 says:

        Like what was said about Kareem Hunt last year? Your looking for traits.

    • icb12 says:

      I won’t argue that Stanford blocking is good.

      But you need to watch games and not the highlights…

      He’s NOT getting enough credit for doing the dirty work and little things. The short runs, the hard runs.

      I would disagree with V12 that he is better than CMC.. but that would be based on versatility alone.
      He hits the line square with good pad level most of the time. And IF there is a hole.. goodbye.

      So much fun to watch. I think my favorite thing is how he stays on schedule. He gets whats going to be got and then his special traits take over. You don’t see him freelancing behind the LOS. He sticks to the play, hits the hole, and gets whats there. Too many RBs in college will bounce, bounce, bounce… He goes vertical on the field and doesn’t waste any time going sideways unless that’s how the play was designed. That’s good coaching, good blocking, and good running.

  4. Rik says:

    Nick Bosa is looking pretty strong this year at DE. Bloodlines.

  5. Greg Haugsven says:

    Anyone watch Damien Harris from Alabama? Scarborough gets all the love but Harris at 5 11 225 is a beast.

  6. RWIII says:

    With the health of Cliff Avril a MAJOR issue the Hawk are going to need another defensive end. So in my opinion the Hawks are going to have to go OL/DE early. It seems like you can find value with most of the other positions later in the draft. So ince again its OL/DL early in the draft. In my humble opinion.

    • East Side Stevie says:

      We still havent seen Malik or Dion Jordan both of them could potentially provide great depth.

      • Hawktalker#1 says:

        Agreed. I am very hopeful that one or both of them really breaks out once they get on the field.

    • C-Dog says:

      This is going to be a great opportunity for Marcus Smith to further establish himself at LEO. If he can provide 6+ sacks in rotation, Seattle might consider retaining his services. With Malik McDowell being thought of in the Red Bryant role, Seattle could have a good situation at end in 2018 without going there in the first.

      OL, they could probably use another player at OT or OG.

  7. vrtkolman says:

    Marshawn has turned into a joke. He literally just grabbed a referee by the uniform and tossed him to the side. Ejected. I’ve never actually seen that before.

  8. Ishmael says:

    Yikes. Lynch just put his hands on a ref. Can’t do that Marshawn, andd he’s been ejected.

    Feels like it’s shaping up to be a bit of a funny draft. Not a heap of players I’m super stoked about.

    • East Side Stevie says:

      Its still early bruv, let the season play out Rob is just getting started on his studying. Its gonna be a fun one in due time my friend..

  9. Katal says:

    So the Seahawks will likely spend their first two picks on both sides of the line don’t they?

    In 2014 they took Britt with their first pick.
    In 2015 they missed out on Marpet, but they used their first pick on Clark.
    In both 2016 and 2017 their first two picks were offensive and defensive linemen.

    We don’t know what will become of Avril, but there’s no doubt that Cliff and Bennett are both getting older, while Frank and Sheldon are going to need to get paid. And obviously there’s still work to do on our offensive line (although it certainly seems like we finally have some building blocks going forward).

    So while Coach Carroll and GM Schneider could do anything if the perceived right value falls to them (hello C-Mike), it does seem like the odds are on the team continuing to build from the trenches, right?

    • East Side Stevie says:

      Agree. I dont mecessarily think Cliff and Bennett will be “Too old” per se I think if you find a way to keep Cliff and Mike B 3-4 more years at the right cost. Where Im curious is what they will do with the money when we dont re sign Jimmy G. Do we re sign Luke Wilson? Luke Joekel? What about Sheldon Richardson? P rich? Lacy? Bradley Mcdougal? This offseason will be crucial. Either Seattle wins big in FA or they hit a lot in the 2018 draft. But both, our upcoming free agency and our draft will argueably be the most crucial they have been in the last 3-4 years.

  10. Derron James says:

    This game man dang

    • C-Dog says:

      That was an insane finish

      • Hawk Eye says:

        so the “Clear best team” after week 5 loses 2 games in a row and just gave up 500 yards. I don’t know that Alex Smith has ever looked better, he is playing like a top 3 QB this year. But their defense has issues.

        I think what is clear this year is that there are no dominant teams out there.
        The probable Super Bowl winner will be a team that gets hot at the end of the year, and played well enough during the year to not fall out of the race.

        • C-Dog says:

          This was a great example of as to why I don’t freak out about early losses or get too jazzed about early wins. The season is about ebbs and flows. Too many either crown or write off teams too early. It would not shock me if the Giants make things really difficult for Seattle this Sunday, and then Seattle turns around and plays a really good game at home against the Texans. Honestly, I don’t mind a season that is lacking on clear dominant teams, it makes it more interesting.

          Folks were flipping out after the Seahawks narrowly beat the 49ers at home. Now we can see that while the 49ers are winless, all their games have been close, which indicates that they have some really nice parts, particularly on their defense. They might be a Saquon Barkley and Kirk Cousins away from contending again in the west.

          But today is all about instant reactions, social media feeds off it, reason and common sense often get thrown out the window and replaced by knee jerk reactions.

  11. Preston says:

    Rob, while you were watching Nelson and McGlinchley, did you see anything good out of Hunter Biven?

  12. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    I mentioned previously, DE/LEO probably will be the priority spot to draft now.
    You’ve got 1 guy who is on IR and may not be able to return to the field, and you have a second guy who is a little long in the tooth…. and has dealt with multiple (minor to major) injuries in the last few years.

    I do not see the benefit of adding another early round OL prospect, which might take 1-2 years to get into NFL shape/conditioning/scheme. They have a bunch of OL parts right now, but I think they can pull together something workable in 2017…. leading to 3-4 guys sticking around into the 2018 season, without another big roster shuffle along the OL.

    I could see RB or CB, but lets be honest…. Seattle has made due with many late round guys in these 2 spots. So the likelihood they spring an early pick for either of these position groups is pretty remote.

    Also, we know Seattle will trade down from the first…. they are a bit short on picks in 2018.. after some preseason wheeling and dealing. Time for JS to work some draft pick trading magic.

    • Volume12 says:

      Don’t spend an early pick on the O-line, rather draft another 3rd-4th rounder that won’t last more than a couple years again?

      This team is desperate for O-line help. They tried to sign Brendan Albert who’s play has regressed every year since he’s been in Miami.

      Maybe it comes together, but you don’t stop trying because you have bodies on your roster.

      They’re literally watching a guy they were high on when he was drafted to help this run game in Alex Collins have success behind a very similar blocking scheme in Baltimore.

      You need to hedge for Fant and grab a guard.

      • C-Dog says:

        I can see the first pick going to either OT or OG.

        Even if Cliff decides to hang it up, and a big part of me thinks he should, I think Seattle is a Marcus Smith extension and a healthy Malik McDowell away from having pretty strong depth at DE again. Clark should only get better, and there is nothing about Mike B that makes me think he’s near the finish line, he’s just such a warrior.

        Even if Pocic takes the LG spot and runs with it, there is still RG. Even if Fant comes back from injury next year, we have no idea what kind of player he is going to be, we’re still looking at a player who is incredibly raw. If there is a good OL sitting there with that first pick and not some superstar running back, I really hope Seattle takes that player.

        • Sea Mode says:

          I kind of wish Pocic could stick at RG and Odhiambo at LG, with Fant returning and then hedging that left side in the draft.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          They need tackles – not guards. They have a whole roster full of guards.

          • East Side Stevie says:

            Here lies the problem we do have a roster full of guards but only 1 has been competent and he just had surgery to clean up his knee. Aboushi has looked better at RG than Glow but the issue is neither Aboushi or Joekel have a definitive future in Seattle. They are on 1 year deals. Having a roster full of guards does absolutely nothing if none of them are competent. Ifedi was a first round pick which means nobody is questioning the athleticism and the instincts, he has struggled at times in his 2 seasons but he is starting to look like he is settling in at right tackle and I think everyone can agree he looks much better. I have no problem saying Ifedi is a competent Right Tackle. Lets move on to Fant who would be starting if it weren’t for injury. People were somewhat high on Fant this offseason, and it looked like he made significant progress in his development. IN 2018 Fant can be competent at LT. My point, is that we need help at Guard not Tackle.

  13. Volume12 says:

    Memphis LB Gennard Avery is a stud. He is active!

    That’s a dude that gets picked on day 3 and ends up a starter on Sundays.

  14. Volume12 says:

    Was wondering since this summer who Seattle might’ve been checking out at Illinois St. And now that the halfway point is upon us, we have a better feel for the FCS prospects.

    Good very well be this cat…

    Illinois St. CB Davontae Harris (2015 Sophomore tape):
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_LRMa745V0s

    Also come combine time lets see what C. Arkansas CB Tremon Smith does (no tape). Another school they’ve been sniffing around the past couple years.

  15. Volume12 says:

    Seahawks scouting OK St. & Texas again. And they were just at NM St. practice this week. Perhaps looking at WR Jaleel Scott (6’6, 215 lbs.)?

    ‘Bama, Stanford, USC, OK St., and Texas all 2 times.

  16. AlaskaHawk says:

    If they resign Frank Clark and Sheldon Richardson, the defensive line will be loaded as is. I would be more concerned about getting a good linebacker/blitzer or another cornerback. (You can never have enough in todays pass happy game). Depending on the safeties health through the rest of this season = they may have to continue drafting in that area.

    I just see a lot more needs on offense than defense.
    No left tackle – if Fant the answer?? still not sure
    Left Guard on a one year contract – what about backups??
    Center = Set
    Right Guard = I hope Aboushi is the answer but still unknown
    Right Tackle = Ifedi better fill that spot – who is the backup

    Tight End- Graham will probably be gone after this season
    Vannett is the only one signed after 2017
    They will have to draft there

    Running Back by committee = but half the committee is injured and the other half isn’t doing very well.

    Wide Receiver = Darboh hasn’t been integrated yet. Richardson is ending his rooky contracts. Lockett will be done by end of 2018. My philosophy is similar to cornerbacks = you can never have enough good wide receivers. They need to keep drafting here.

    Looking at that list they need to draft 2 offensive line, 1 tight end, 1 running back, and 1-2 wide receivers.
    Defensively the capital is better spent on linebackers and cornerback or safety.

  17. JimQ says:

    QB-J. T.Barrett, Ohio State, 6-1-1/8/220, 4.6/40 +/- ((I see some similarities with RW, and Barrett is a couple inches taller.)) I’ve had my eye on this QB for several years now, IMO he could be a great option for the Seahawks in the coming draft. Barrett’s draft stock seems to currently be in the mid-round range, I’d guess he’d go in rounds 3, 4 or 5, he could be a darn good value at that price.

    2017: 7-games so far: Passing: 138 of 207 for 1838-yds, 66.7%, 8.9-YPA, 21-TD’s, 1-INT, Rushing: 70 for 359-yds, 5.13-YPC, 5-TD’s

    2016: 13-games: Passing: 233 of 379 for 2555-yds, 61.5%, 6.7-YPA, 24-TD’s, 7-INT, Rushing: 205 for 845-yds, 4.12-YPC, 9-TD’s

    2015: 11-games: Passing: 93 of 147 for 992-yds, 63.3%, 6.7-YPA, 11-TD’s, 4-INT, Rushing: 115 for 682-yds, 11-TD’s. (In 2015 Barrett was the backup QB to Cardale Jones for 1-st 7-games before taking over for him after his injury)

    2014: 12-games: Passing: 203 of 314 for 2834-yds, 64.6%, 9.0-YPA, 34-TD’s, 10-INT, Rushing: 121 for 938-yds, 5.49-YPC, 11-TD’s. (In 2014 Barrett started due to Braxton Miller’s injury & was freshman All-American, finished 2-nd Nationally to Mariota in passing efficiency (169.8-rating) and was 10th Nationally in total offense (314.3-YPG) – All this as a freshman!!!!)

    —-Current CAREER TOTAL stats thru last week:
    Passing: 667 of 1047 for 8219-yds, 63.7%, 7.85/YPA, 90-TD’s, 22-INT.
    Rushing: 561 for 2824-yds, 5.03-YPC, 36-TD’s.

    I know QB is a lower option in the coming draft after OL/DL/EDGE are addressed, however in the middle to late rounds, I’d like to see the Seahawks take a flyer on this kid. Thoughts anyone?

    • Rik says:

      Barrett looks really solid this year. The TD to interception ratio this year is crazy! Ohio State brought in a new offensive coordinator this year and their downfield passing game has really improved. He’s always been a strong runner for a QB, and he’s showing a lot of calm, controlled movement in the pocket this year.