Mock drafts are fun (and stressful) but they don't really reflect my personal opinions on the prospects. My Top 25 however, most certainly does. I've been putting out positional rankings throughout the offseason but this is my final take on who I believe are the best 25 players are in the 2018 draft. I've tried to remove positional value as much as I can in order to make the list based purely on draft grade. So this is it, my Top 25 players in the 2018 NFL Draft. Enjoy!
1. OG - Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
There's never really a "sure thing" prospect in the draft but I think Quenton Nelson is as close as you're going to get. Interior pass rush has become increasingly prominent in the NFL over the past season or two, meaning having elite guards on your team is as important as ever, so why not take the best one to come out of college this decade? He dominates on every snap, simple as that. Also, loads of people who have played the position and know a lot more about offensive line play than I do think he has a good chance of getting a gold jacket at the end of his career. To me, he's the number one guy in the class.
2. RB - Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Many draft analysts are saying that Barkley is a "generational talent" and even though I don't think he'll be quite as good as that, he's still pretty damn special. Barkley is the perfect type of running back for the NFL right now with great speed and size, big play ability, and the skills to line up as a receiver and make plays. He's probably going to be a top 5 back for the next 10 years in the right situation and I would be shocked if he makes past the fifth pick in the draft.
3. S/LB - Derwin James, Florida State
If you listen to the First Down Podcast then you probably won't be surprised to hear that Derwin James is one of my favourite prospects of the past five years. His athleticism is off the charts, he's a huge hitter, and his leadership ability is probably the best I've seen in a while. His cover skills are also incredible, he can do it all! Of course he has his flaws and some are still unsure about which position is best for him, but in the right scheme, I'm confident that James will be a Pro Bowl calibre player, if not All Pro. He's a star, no doubt about that.
4. EDGE - Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
I've been up and down on Chubb, but I think he just sneaks into my top 4. I think he's the best edge rusher in this class, but not quite as good as the top pass rushers we've seen go in the past few years, like Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett. However, he still looks like a top prospect with ideal size, speed and instincts that position him well to make an impact in the NFL. He's a pretty safe pick in my opinion.
5. LB - Roquan Smith, Georgia
Despite Virgina Tech's Tremaine Edmunds getting the majority of the praise at the linebacker position, I have no doubt in my mind that Roquan Smith will be best LB in the class. The Georgia prospect has great coverage skills as well as being an incredibly effective tackler who has the lowest misses per attempt out of the the top-rated players at his position in this draft. He reminds me of the Falcons' Deion Jones and I think he's ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
6. DT - Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Hurst has been underrated by almost everyone (apart from Pro Football Focus) throughout the whole scouting process, mainly because of his size. Considering both his height and weight are almost identical to that of Aaron Donald, probably the best defensive player in the NFL, I don't see how it's a problem. Production wise, Hurst was outstanding during his career at Michigan and I believe he's too good to not repeat that pass rush success at the next level. For me, Hurst is a stud that deserves to be taken in the top 10 of this year's draft.
7. QB - Sam Darnold, USC
Thats right, Darnold is my top quarterback in this draft. His footwork needs work and 13 interceptions in only 14 games in 2017 isn't the most appetising stat, however I think he has best chance of all the QB's in this class to be successful in the NFL. He has great arm strength, outstanding improvisation skills, and elite leadership quality. I really like both Rosen and Mayfield in this draft as well, but Darnold is the guy I'm most confident in.
8. S/CB - Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
I think the questions about where Fitzpatrick's ideal position is has hurt his value over the past few months, but I think he can be a playmaker at either free safety or corner. If he does get moved to the outside I don't think he'll be as successful as Jalen Ramsey has been since making the move, but I do believe he can cope against some of the best wideouts in the NFL. Despite this, I would keep him as a ball hawking free safety and just let him go out there and make plays.
9. QB - Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I would love to put Baker as my top quarterback in this class but I just can't do it. His accuracy is by far the best in this draft and he's an off the charts competitor who knows how to win. It's not even his height or personality that I have an issue with, I just feel as if he needs to be in the right situation in order to shine. However, I'm still a big fan and there's nothing I'd enjoy more than to see Mayfield succeed in the NFL.
10. CB - Denzel Ward, Ohio State
As much as I don't like to admit it, it's Ward's size that prevents him from being higher on this list. The talent is most definitely there but when you're only 5'10" and you have to line up against 6'5" beasts like Mike Evans, you're going to have problems. But despite his lack of height, I still believe Ward can be a number one cornerback at the next level.
11. QB - Josh Rosen, UCLA
For me, Rosen is without a doubt the best pure pocket passer in this draft class. He has incredible arm talent and I think he's the most NFL ready of all the QB's in this class. My doubts with him don't lie with either his personality or background (I'm pretty sure Tom Brady asks his coaches "why?" and Peyton Manning's privileged upbringing didn't seem to hinder him), my problem with Rosen is his durability, or lack thereof. A history of concussions and shoulder injuries isn't what I want to see on a quarterback's medical report, but if he can stay healthy and land in the right situation, then I think he'll thrive in the NFL.
12. EDGE - Harold Landry, Boston College
In my opinion, Landry is one of the most underrated players in this draft. He's the best pass rushing 3-4 OLB in the class and should be taken more seriously as a top 15 pick. Despite having a disappointing 2017 season, due partly to injury, Landry was exceptional in 2016 stacking up 65 pressures in 265 snaps. In the right scheme, it's not inconceivable that he has a better career than Bradley Chubb.
13. LB - Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
There's no question that Edmunds has bucket loads of talent but he's still so raw. At only 19 years old, he has a way to go in his football development but, if he can fulfil his potential, then I think he can be a top tier NFL talent.
14. DT - Vita Vea, Washington
Now this man is a beast. Vea is an athletic freak with incredible speed for his immense size, he even played running back in high school. He's likely to get drafted just outside the top 10 and I think he'll be worth it.
15. CB - Josh Jackson, Iowa
Another underrated player in this draft. He's had some comparisons to Marcus Peters and I sort of agree. I don't think he'll be as good as Peters, but he plays in a similar way and has the potential to be an interception machine in the NFL. When it comes down to it, he's a playmaker with a bright future, especially with him being so young at the position, not playing CB till 2015.
16. OT - Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
McGlinchey is far and away the best tackle in the draft for me and will probably be the second offensive linemen off the board. Some people argue that he was helped out by having Quenton Nelson next to him, but he was just as solid when playing right tackle as he was on the left. McGlinchey could be a guy that a tackle needy team can plug in day one and be extremely comfortable with him as a starting tackle.
17. EDGE - Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport has been sliding down mock drafts all over the NFL internet over the past few months, but I think the middle of the first round is about right for him. He's most definitely a work in progress still, but he does have the tools to be an elite pass rusher.
18. CB - Mike Hughes, UCF
After being suspended in 2015 and spending the 2016 season in community college, Hughes needed to have a good 2017 season at UCF and he did just that. He didn't give up a single touchdown all season and he has the all traits to be a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.
19. OG - Will Hernandez, UTEP
He isn't quite on the same level as Quenton Nelson overall, but when it comes to run blocking I think Hernandez could give him a run for his money. The UTEP guard has a great base and is a real people mover, well worthy of a first round selection.
20. LB - Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Not many prospects have moved up draft boards as much as Vader Esch has over these past few months. A physical freak comparable to Tremaine Edmunds with great instincts in the run game, I believe he could go in the top 20 despite his deficiencies in coverage.
21. OT/OG - Connor Williams, Texas
Don't let Williams' injury affected 2017 season fool you, this guy can play. He was dominant in his sophomore year at Texas and I believe he has the tools to be a starting tackle (or guard) for many years at the next level.
22. RB - Ronald Jones II, USC
Ronald Jones' stock has dropped massively over the past few weeks for many scouts, but not for me. He has some questions to answer in the passing game, but he more than makes up for it as a runner. He's a home run hitter and I think he can make an immediate impact in the NFL.
23. WR - Calvin Ridley, Alabama
One of the main reasons Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the league is that he's an exceptional route runner and Calvin Ridley is clearly the best in that area out of the top WR's in the class. His size and speed are good enough to make him a potential number one receiver for an NFL team.
24. RB - Nick Chubb, Georgia
Despite his size, Chubb is deceptively elusive and far from slow. With elite vision and cutting ability, Chubb was almost as productive as Gurley at Georgia when he was healthy and I think he can have a productive NFL career.
25. EDGE - Arden Key, LSU
Take away his off field issues and I think Key is a top 15 talent. He's a bit light for his height, but his production at LSU is unquestionable and if he can stay out of trouble, I think he can be a highly effective pass rusher in the league.
Mowlem is a young sports writer from Reading, United Kingdom. All articles are written by Reece Mowlem (unless stated otherwise).