Top prospects: 2018 NFL draft

Mel Kiper is seen as an NFL Mock Draft guru

Mel Kiper is seen as an NFL Mock Draft guru

Jackson Rowland, Staff Writer

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With the 2017-2018 professional football season ending, teams will need to start figuring out their draft picks for the next year. It’s obvious that the right picks can make an incredible impact on a team’s season, as rookies like Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt both led their teams in all-purpose yards and rushing yards, respectively. These rookies made instant impacts on their teams and this coming year looks to be no different, with another impressive draft class.

 

College football is offering many talented players this year, from Heisman winning quarterback Baker Mayfield to the multi-talented athlete Saquon Barkley. In this year’s draft, the Cleveland Browns have the number one pick. Surprise. They are expected to take a quarterback first round, which they desperately need, and Josh Allen seems to be the most likely number one pick according to Mel Kiper’s mock draft. As the starting quarterback for the Wyoming Cowboys, Allen threw for 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. His stat line isn’t the most impressive of the quarterbacks entering the draft, but at 6’5” and 233 pounds, Allen’s measurables make him desirable to many professional franchises. The New York Giants have the second pick in the 2018 draft. They desperately need a replacement for their starting quarterback Eli Manning. Manning has been one of the greatest quarterbacks in Giants’ history, but he is getting older and he has slowed down greatly in the past few years. The most likely replacement for Manning, also according to Mel Kiper’s mock draft, would be Josh Rosen, UCLA’s starting quarterback. Rosen threw for 3,756 yards and 26 touchdowns, a much more impressive stat line. Rosen also boasts a 6’4” and 218 pound frame, so he has the measurables of an NFL quarterback as well.

 

Aside from Allen and Rosen, there are many other impressive prospects for the coming NFL draft. Baker Mayfield finished the 2017 season with the second most passing yards at 4,627 yards. Along with his impressive passing yardage, Mayfield also threw 43 touchdowns which added to his Heisman resumé. However, there are many questions surrounding Mayfield’s character and his measurables. He has gotten into many on field altercations and even got arrested last year for public intoxication. Many NFL teams might question his ability to represent their franchises in a respectful manner. Mayfield is also 6’1”, which is very short for professional quarterback standards, especially when most offensive lineman are at least 6’6”. Only a few quarterbacks have been able to get over the height barrier, such as Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, but their success proves that it is possible to be a short quarterback in the NFL. Saquon Barkley is also an impressive prospect. Barkley led Penn State in all-purpose yards, including 1,271 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. He added on many other scores through receiving, returning, and even passing. More notable than his ability to score is his ability to make plays. Every game for Barkley felt like a highlight reel. His ability to make people miss in the open field, whether by jukes or by hurdles, and his explosive speed made him exciting to watch. Any NFL team would be incredibly lucky to have him add to their roster, as he’ll continue to make plays in the NFL.

 

The 2018 NFL season is bound to be an exciting one, and the new class of NFL prospects will help to increase that level of excitement. Many prospects will be able to make instant impacts like JuJu Smith-Schuster. A new season is another year for new opportunities, and it will be interesting to see which teams and which rookies make the most of their opportunities in the coming year.

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