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Rankings

Norris: Positional Rankings

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

These rankings of draft-eligible prospects are based on both preseason and inseason work and are subject to change.

 

Feel free to share your own rankings in the comments below.


Quarterbacks

 

1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon - Obviously athletic with the ball in his hands, but does not receive the credit he should for be patient, poised and winning in the pocket.


2. Jameis Winston, FSU - I focus on things I can see, and therefore possibly understand. Winston’s eye level is innate, and although he could improve seeing the field as a whole, his progression reading and poise are advanced for a college quarterback. His issues recognizing underneath coverage are showing up more and more this season.


3. Everett Golson, Notre Dame - If I’m being honest to my process and evaluation, Golson belongs higher on the list than Cook and Hundley based on success against pressure and pocket movement. Golson uses his movement skills to find workable space and has improved his velocity and placement after learning to throw with the laces. Ball security is a bigger issue than interceptions, and he fits the stereotype of shorter QBs getting passes batted down.


4. Connor Cook, Michigan State - Has to improve how he manages the pocket. Has to. But on a team that will keep him clean on most snaps in the pocket, Cook will have success. That is an unrealistic scenario to ask for.


5. Brett Hundley, UCLA - Two steps forward, two steps back. Hundley admitted to trying to please evaluators by focusing on winning from the pocket. That did not work out well. If he cannot consistently use his mobility to win as a passer while resetting his eye level, Hundley will not sustain success in the NFL.


6. Cody Kessler, USC

7. Brandon Bridge, South Alabama

8. Bryce Petty, Baylor

9. Trevone Boykin, TCU

10. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss



Wide Receivers

 

1. Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma - Is bigger than corners and knows it, out leaps them when high pointing after cutting in front to gain positioning. Fights for yards after catch when catching screen passes. Can eat up cushion quickly thanks to burst and long strides off the line.


2. Kevin White, West Virginia - Blossoming this season. Very good at what he does: working back along the sideline and winning in contested situations. Has flashed winning with the ball in his hands, too.


3. Amari Cooper, Alabama - I continue to receive flack for saying Cooper is an “on the ground” receiver. I will say he looks better in 50-50 situations this season. Much better, in fact, and I will erase the previous label if that continues all season. He creates a good amount of separation and already wins with the small game.


4. DeVante Parker, Louisville - Body control to make contested catches off the ground is obvious. High points extremely well. Creates that sliver of space to win against tight coverage. Aggressively works back towards his QB on comebacks.

 

5. Devin Funchess, Michigan - A similar receive prospect to Kelvin Benjamin in how he wins downfield, might be even better on short routes and after the catch. His inconsistencies at the catch point have been displayed more often this season.


6. Rashad Greene, FSU

7. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

8. Tony Lippett, Michigan State

9. Nelson Agholor, USC

10. Ty Montgomery, Stanford



Running Backs


1. Todd Gurley, Georgia - He’s a complete back with vision, footwork, acceleration, long speed and an ability to beat first contact. He’s shown patience as a receiver on screens. Gurley is a foundation back, which is still extremely important in the NFL.


2. Melvin Gordon III, Wisconsin - Has extreme speed and acceleration to make the most of cracks at the line of scrimmage and second level. We are starting to see more pass protection and receiving opportunities.


3. TJ Yeldon, Alabama - Yeldon has had fumble issues in the past, but he’s really impressive. He is showing more acceleration this year and always seems to fall forward for an extra yard or two.


4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska - A very well-rounded and compact back. Scouts will compile the tape of him having to run in tight spaces and through narrow lanes.


5. Mike Davis, South Carolina - Davis is still talented and will contribute in the NFL, but I am not sure he succeeds in every situation he lands in. Offensive line is an important piece to the puzzle. His upfield cuts are a positive.


6. Duke Johnson, Miami

7. David Cobb, Minnesota

8. Tevin Coleman, Indiana

9. Jay Ajayi, Boise State

10. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State

Offensive Tackles


1. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame - Has length and a big frame, but struggles to mirror laterally on counter moves for extremely long periods of time. That can be an issue when blocking for a quarterback like Everett Golson, who resets the pocket and takes his time working through progressions. Looks so much more assertive and aggressive this year.


2. La’El Collins, LSU - Sensing a theme here? Collins might be the most powerful blocker in this entire draft. He will lose his balance, but thanks to length, strength and size Collins can win from these positions. Not all of them, however, so expect a few bad snaps. Look at the big picture instead of focusing on his few very poor snaps.


3. Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M - I love Ogbuehi’s combination of length, mirroring skills, and ability to anchor. Some might only see him as a right tackle, but is that an issue? The NFL has a number of outstanding rushers that feast on right tackles. The degree of importance between left and right is not as vast as some make you believe.


4.Brandon Scherff, Iowa - A powerful athlete for the position. I would expect Scherff to lose occasionally thanks to overextension/balance issues, but that comes with the territory for an aggressive and assertive blocker. He can maul.


5. Andrus Peat, Stanford - The difference in strength Peat plays with is an interesting case study. As a run blocker, he is aggressive and assertive, moving opponents and displaying athleticism at the second level. In pass protection he plays with pillow hands and consistently gets jolted while lacking the same first punch.

 

6. Jake Fisher, Oregon

7. T.J. Clemmings, Pitt

8. Daryl Williams, Oklahoma

9. Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State

10. Sean Hickey, Syracuse

Edge Rushers


1, Randy Gregory, Nebraska - Looks even better last year. Has burst (when he wants to use it), bend, lateral agility, closing speed and aggression on contact. His fluidity is ridiculous and even cut blocks can’t stop Gregory. He has added hand use and counters. The game has slowed down this year. I wish he produced the same get off on each snap.


2. Shawn Oakman, Baylor - Speed to power is his game. Despite a massive frame, Oakman has a ridiculous first step and beats many tackles with it alone. When tackles compensate and get further back, power is added to jolt and drive.


3. Vic Beasley, Clemson - Beasley has been the focal point of opposing coaches. To start the season, teams were working away from his side and giving extra attention to the athletic edge rusher. Even if he stays the player he is, Beasley can be an edge rushing factor due to his speed alone.


4. Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington - I don’t factor in his previous injuries since that type of information is not available for each prospect. Kikaha, in a slightly different role this year, is good at use his hands to control his opponent and/or shed to work inside or outside once disrupting the pocket.


5. Dante Fowler, Florida - A real technician, Fowler is Chandler Jones with a piano dropped on his head. Fowler’s movement skills have been a pleasant surprise, but the variety of moves he uses it what allows him to win.


6. Shane Ray, Missouri

7. Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky

8. Eli Harold, Virginia

9. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA

10. Frank Clark, Michigan

Off Line of Scrimmage Linebacker


1. Eric Kendricks, UCLA - One of the most impressive defensive performers I have watched regardless of position. We know Kendricks can recognize running lanes and read the triangle, but where he can be most beneficial to a team early on is in coverage. Turn on the Virginia game to find out.


2. Shaq Thompson, Washington - We have had this discussion with Telvin Smith in the past: safety or linebacker? At its core, there really is no debate since both are just labels. Thompson will be at his best in the box, chasing down plays and winning in space. Many offensive linemen now fear quicker backers who can avoid blocks more than power players that will hit them face up.


3. Benardrick McKinney, Miss State - Speaking of linebackers who aren’t afraid to match offensive linemen’s power… McKinney’s best spot might be on the line of scrimmage on the strong side of a 4-3 under. McKinney struggles catching up once taking a misstep on play action or when over pursuing.


4. Denzel Perryman, Miami - An all-around linebacker who has no extreme positives but no glaring negatives. Expect Perryman to be a mid-round selection who could contribute early depending on landing spot.


5. Eric Striker, Oklahoma - Expect Striker’s career to follow Tahir Whitehead’s: On line of scrimmage linebacker moving to the second level in the NFL due to traits and size.


6. Paul Dawson, TCU 

7. Kris Frost, Auburn

8. Curtis Grant, Ohio State

9. Mike Hull, Penn State

10. Jake Ryan, Michigan


Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .