IDP Week rankings fantasy football 2018

2018 IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings & Watch – NFL Draft

 Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIX7viGakf0
Height: 6-1. Weight: 203.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2018): Top-10. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick will either be the first or second safety chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he’s very likely to be a top-10 pick. This was a complete no-brainer, as there was absolutely no benefit to returning to school. 

Grade for declaring: A+ 

 Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 216.
Projected 40 Time: 4.59.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

It could be argued that Ronnie Harrison should’ve returned to school to improve upon his coverage skills, but I think he’s making the right decision. Harrison is likely to be the third safety chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James, making him a probable first-round pick. 

Grade for declaring: A-

 Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Height: 6-2. Weight: 319.
Projected 40 Time: 5.10.
Projected Round (2018): 1. 

Da’Ron Payne is coming off a great year for the national champion Tide. He’s a tremendous run-stuffer who can get to the quarterback on occasion. He’s a freakish athlete for his monstrous size, and will certainly be coveted by some teams in the top 20. There was no reason for Payne to return to school after what he did in 2017, so this is obviously a great decision. 

 Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
Height: 6-1. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 

Quenton Meeks has had some nice moments at Stanford, but he didn’t play very well overall this past season. He should have returned to school to improve his draft stock, but instead, he’ll likely be a third-day selection. Meeks is certainly selling low on his draft stock, which is something prospects shouldn’t do. 

Grade for declaring: C- 

 Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-5. Weight: 236.
Projected 40 Time: 4.71.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

Tremaine Edmunds is the better of the two brothers, and he stands a very good chance of being a first-round pick. Compared to Anthony Barr by some, Edmunds is a very athletic linebacker with great instincts. He took a bit of step back this past season compared to his prolific 2016 campaign, so I didn’t know if he would declare, but this is still a great decision on his part. 

Grade for declaring: A- 

 Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-2. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 

Both of the Virginia Tech Edmunds brothers declared for the NFL Draft today. Terrell Edmunds is the lesser of the two, but he’s still a solid prospect, earning high marks in coverage. There’s talk that Edmunds could be moved to linebacker in the pros, much like the Cardinals did with Deone Bucannon. As a second-day prospect, Edmunds’ decision to leave for the pros makes a lot of sense. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Height: 5-11. Weight: 175.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Donte Jackson has drawn comparisons to Janoris Jenkins. He has size limitations, but is very fast and will be able to handle speedy receivers in the NFL. This could get him drafted in the second half of the opening round, so he’s obviously making a good decision by declaring early. He had a great 2017 season, so he’s doing the right thing by selling high on his draft stock. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Justin Reid, S, Stanford
Height: 6-1. Weight: 204.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Justin Reid played very well this past season, and team sources have told Charlie Campbell that he has first-round potential. Reid is a solid safety who does everything well, and if he isn’t chosen in the opening round, he’ll go early on Day 2. Thus, I think his decision is the correct one, as he could’ve risked injury or regression had he returned to school. 

Grade for declaring: A- 

 Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 273.
Projected 40 Time: 4.81.
Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our worst declaration of the draft season. Jalen Wilkerson is an undersized redshirt sophomore who had very little playing experience. He still needs to develop his game – he moved from tight end to defensive end – and his body, and it’s almost certain that he won’t be drafted. This is a huge mistake. 

Grade for declaring: F- 

 

 Kevin Toliver II, CB, LSU
Height: 6-2. Weight: 193.
Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
Projected Round (2018): 3-4. 

Kevin Toliver is a big cornerback with a first-round skill set. He performed very well as a freshman and sophomore. However, he regressed greatly this past season. He was torched often in 2017, and sources told Charlie Campbell that they’re concerned with Toliver’s poor instincts. There’s also a question of why he was held out for the first game of the season without any sort of explanation. Toliver, who has plummeted in the 2018 NFL Mock Draft, should have returned to school to rehabilitate his draft stock. However, there’s always a chance that some team falls in love with his potential and takes him earlier than expected, so this isn’t a horrible decision. It’s just not a very good one. 

Grade for declaring: C

 Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 

Jerome Baker is an athletic linebacker who could play well in coverage in the pros. That’s the good news pertaining to his draft stock. The bad news is that Baker hasn’t really lived up to expectations. There was a ton of hype surrounding Baker entering 2017, and I slotted him toward the end of the opening round of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft several months ago. However, I’ve dropped him to the third frame since, as his play in 2017 was just above average. Perhaps his upside will intrigue a team enough to take him in the second round, but it seems as though Baker should have returned to Ohio State to improve his draft stock. 

Grade for declaring: C+ 

 Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Height: 5-11. Weight: 185.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

Mike Hughes had a terrific season for undefeated Central Florida, and he’s absolutely correct to declare early. He’s selling high on his draft stock, and he’s also avoiding a coaching change. Hughes, a speedy cover cornerback with quick feet and return ability, is seen in NFL circles as a second-round prospect. However, as Charlie Campbell noted, some evaluators believe Hughes could ultimately be chosen in the first round if he tests well at the combine because of the demand for corners. 

Grade for declaring: A- 

 Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami
Height: 6-3. Weight: 318.
Projected 40 Time: 5.23.
Projected Round (2018): 3-5 

Kendrick Norton has played well for Miami the past two seasons. He was expected to have a breakout 2017 campaign, but that never happened, as he continued to play around the same level. Norton probably should have returned to school so he could have that great year, but this decision isn’t a poor one. Norton has a chance to sneak into the third round as long as he has a strong pre-draft process. 

Grade for declaring: C+ 

 Christian Sam, ILB, Arizona State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 237.
Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Christian Sam missed most of 2016 with a leg injury, but bounce back with a strong 2017 campaign. He was one of the most productive linebackers in the country, racking up 127 tackles and three sacks. Despite these great stats, Sam is just a third-day prospect because of size and athleticism limitations. I don’t think another year at school could’ve improved his draft stock as much as a great showing at the combine. If he posts strong workout numbers, he could potentially climb into third-round consideration. At the very worst, he projects as a solid backup and core special-teamer in the pros. 

Grade for declaring: B- 

 R.J. McIntosh, DE/DT, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 293.
Projected 40 Time: 4.98.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

R.J. McIntosh had an exceptional season and is doing the right thing by selling high on his draft stock. He’s an extremely disruptive interior presence who can generate consistent pressure on the quarterback and also play well against the run. McIntosh will intrigue all teams, as he can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4. I don’t think it’s out of the question that McIntosh will ultimately be a first-round pick, though the most likely outcome is for him to be chosen at some point Friday night. 

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Van Smith, S, Clemson
Height: 5-11. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Van Smith played very well during Clemson’s championship run in 2016, but didn’t take the next step as expected this past season. He was solid, but not special, and as it stands now, he’s just an early- or mid-Day 3 prospect. Smith probably should have returned to school, but this isn’t nearly as horrible as some of the other decisions made today. 

Grade for declaring: C- 

 Du’Vonta Lampkin, NT, Oklahoma
Height: 6-4. Weight: 335.
Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 

The Sooners had big plans for Du’Vonta Lampkin in 2018, but he didn’t care, apparently. He made the decision to bolt for the pros, which is absolutely shocking. Lampkin has barely played college football; he missed time in 2016 and 2017 because of suspensions. Lampkin could’ve greatly bolstered his draft stock in 2018, but he’ll be lucky to be drafted as it stands now. This is a huge mistake on his part. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Kahlil McKenzie, DT, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 325.
Projected 40 Time: 5.17.
Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 

It’s extremely difficult to understand this decision. Kahlil McKenzie is just a late-round prospect. There’s a coaching change at Tennessee, but it sounded like McKenzie was set to earn more playing time in 2018, which would’ve helped his draft stock. Plus, McKenzie didn’t need the money; he’s the son of Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders’ general manager. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 198.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 

Tarvarus McFadden has terrific talent, which is why he was once a first-round prospect in our 2018 NFL Mock Draft. However, his tape hasn’t matched his ability, as he’s gotten torched deep on too many occasions. Scouts and team sources told Charlie Campbell that they believe McFadden should returned to school. McFadden thought otherwise, and will likely be penalized for it. He’ll probably be chosen in the third round, but could sneak into the second frame. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
Height: 6-1. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

This doesn’t seem like the best decision. Jessie Bates has been a solid safety for Wake Forest, while doubling as a kick returner. He’s good enough to be chosen early on Day 3, but that’s about it. Just a redshirt sophomore, Bates should’ve gone back to school to improve his game. 

Grade for declariGrade for declaring: 

 Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
Height: 6-4. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 5.24.
Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 

Harrison Phillips was a senior, but still declared for the draft early because he had one more year of eligibility remaining as a result of a 2015 injury. 

Phillips’ decision makes sense. He’s a senior, so it’s understandable why he’d want to turn pro. He stuffs the run well, but needs to work on his pass-rushing ability despite registering 7.5 sacks in 2017. There’s concern about how that’ll translate to the pros. The good news for Phillips is that he can play in the 4-3 and 3-4, so there will be interest in him as early as the third round. 

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Dorance Armstrong Jr., DE/OLB, Kansas
Height: 6-4. Weight: 241.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 

Dorance Armstrong accumulated just two sacks in 2017 after logging 10 the year before. He was not at fault for this lack of production, as he saw double teams on virtually every play. With no other competent players around Armstrong, teams could simply focus on him, easily neutralizing him as a result. I’m not sure Armstrong could’ve improved his draft stock with another year in Kansas, as it would’ve been the same old story again next season. He needed to get away from the Jayhawks’ dreadful program as quickly as possible. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Arden Key, DE, LSU
Height: 6-5. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2018): Top-10. 

Arden Key is one of the most dynamic players in the 2018 NFL Draft now that he has declared. However, he’s coming off a rocky season. He missed some time early on because of shoulder surgery, and he was overweight as a result. He eventually returned to form and thrived, but then missed time late in the year with another injury. Despite all of this, as well as some off-the-field concerns, Key is still expected to be a top-10 pick because of his amazing talent level. Thus, it makes sense for him to declare early. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Jeff Holland, OLB, Auburn
Height: 6-2. Weight: 249.
Projected 40 Time: 4.76.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 

Projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker, Jeff Holland is an excellent pass-rusher, but happens to be a big liability in run support. Perhaps returning to school would’ve helped him in that regard, solidifying his standing as a second-round prospect for 2019. Holland will likely slide into Rounds 3-4 in the 2018 NFL Draft. That said, he’s coming off a strong year, so returning to school could’ve hurt his stock with injuries and/or regression, so I think this is a fine decision. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Tim Settle, NT Virginia Tech
Height: 6-2. Weight: 335.
Projected 40 Time: 5.18.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

There already were two massive nose tackles in this draft class who move extremely well for their size in Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea. Tim Settle is now the third. Despite weighing 335 pounds, Settle was disruptive as a pass-rusher, logging 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks as a mere redshirt sophomore. He also was dominant versus the run. Settle has tons of potential, so it’s a bit of a shame that he didn’t wait until 2019 so he could be a first-round pick. He’ll likely be taken on Day 2 as it stands now, though a terrific combine could change things. 

 JoJo Wicker, DE, Arizona State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 273.
Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 

JoJo Wicker is nothing more than a late-round prospect. As a second-team All-Pac-12 player, he logged six sacks in 2017. He could’ve improved his draft stock by going back to school without hurting it very much. I’d give this decision an “F” if it weren’t for the coaching change, but even still, it seems like a bad decision. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee
Height: 6-0. Weight: 193.
Projected 40 Time: 4.51.
Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 

Rashaan Gaulden is likely to be a late-round prospect, so it’s fair to wonder why he’s declaring. Gaulden can at least say he’s bolting for the pros because of the coaching change at his school, and that might make sense. However, Gaulden could’ve improved his stock with another year at Tennessee. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Height: 6-1. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Carlton Davis is a potential first-round pick, as he’s a talented cornerback with good size (6-1). He can have some trouble covering deep threats, but he’s still good enough to be chosen late on Thursday night. Some teams we’ve spoken to have him graded as a late first-rounder, while others think he’ll go on Day 2. Either way, Davis’ decision to declare is a good one, as he’d be more likely to hurt his draft stock with an injury than help it by returning to Auburn. 

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Height: 6-1. Weight: 192.
Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
Projected Round (2018): Top 25 Picks. 

There was no reason for Joshua Jackson not to declare. He’s coming off a tremendous season, highlighted with a three-interception performance against Ohio State. Jackson’s stock has never been higher, so it’s good that he’s selling high on it. Jackson could be the first cornerback chosen this April, which is what I have happening in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft. Jackson only risked damaging his draft stock by returning to Iowa, so he’s making a great decision by declaring. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas
Height: 6-3. Weight: 238.
Projected 40 Time: 4.68.
Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 

Once upon a time, Malik Jefferson was a first-round pick in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft. That was just a projection of his talent, but he hasn’t lived up to it during his time in Texas. Sources have told Charlie Campbell that they’re concerned about Jefferson’s love of football, which would explain why he’s been a disappointment as a college player. 

Jefferson should return to school to prove the critics wrong. With a terrific 2018 campaign, he could reemerge as a potential first-round prospect. As it stands now, he’ll be fortunate to go on Day 2, as there are concerns about his ability in coverage on top of worries about his passion for football. 

Grade for declaring: C- 

 D.J. Reed, CB/KR, Kansas State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 188.
Projected 40 Time: 4.41.
Projected Round (2018): 3-4. 

D.J. Reed has incredible speed, and he was highly productive for Kansas State this past season, logging 13 passes defensed and four interceptions. He also doubled as an electrifying kick returner. 

Reed stands a good chance of being a third-round pick. At the very worse, he should be chosen early on Day 3. Thus, his decision to declare for the NFL Draft makes sense. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Vita Vea, NT, Washington
Height: 6-5. Weight: 332.
Projected 40 Time: 5.20.
Projected Round (2018): Top-15 Pick. 

Men as big as Vita Vea shouldn’t be able to move like he does. Yet, he’s not only a monstrous run-stuffer, but also a potent interior pass-rusher. Vita Vea had a tremendous finish to his season, shining in the postseason exhibition game against Penn State. 

Vea is selling high on his draft stock by declaring for the NFL Draft, which is something that all prospects should do. He’s certain to be a top-15 pick, and it shouldn’t shock anyone if he’s chosen in the first 10 selections. 

Grade for declaring: A+ 

 Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin
Height: 5-11. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 

Nick Nelson was highly productive at Wisconsin, logging 20 passes defensed in 2017. However, there will be questions about how he translates to the NFL, as Nelson is a bit undersized and not fast enough to compensate for the lack of height. He’ll need a strong performance at the combine to quell concerns. 

That said, I think Nelson’s decision to declare is fine. He had a great year, so I don’t know how much he could improve his stock by going back to school. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Andre Smith, ILB, North Carolina
Height: 6-0. Weight: 240.
Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
Projected Round (2018): 5-FA. 

Andre Smith said that going to North Carolina was the best decision of his life. Declaring for the draft, however, is a pretty poor one. 

The best-case scenario for Smith is that he turns out to be a mid-round pick. The worst-case scenario is that teams are scared off by his knee injury, and he goes undrafted as a result. Smith hurt his knee in the second game of the season, and he missed the rest of the year as a result. Smith should have returned to school and proven to teams that his knee isn’t an issue. Unfortunately, some teams may not have him on their draft boards because of health concerns. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Hercules Mata’afa, DE/OLB, Washington State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 255.
Projected 40 Time: 4.90.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

This is a strange decision, to say the least. Hercules Mata’afa is going to have to make a positional change in the NFL. He played defensive tackle for Washington State, but will have to move to outside linebacker in the 3-4, or perhaps serve as a rotational edge-rusher in a 4-3 scheme. Mata’afa can get to the quarterback, but he projects as a third-day prospect, so it’s unclear why he has opted to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Height: 6-5. Weight: 266.
Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Sam Hubbard has the natural talent and athletic ability to be a top-15 pick. However, he hasn’t lived up to his potential. He played very well in 2016, but was a disappointment this past season. He’s shown some great flashes, but has performed inconsistently. 

That said, Hubbard was terrific in the postseason exhibition game against USC, as Charlie Campbell detailed in the College Football Game Recaps. This could help Hubbard, a fringe first-round prospect, sneak into the end of Day 1. I think Hubbard’s choice to declare is a fine one, but the case could have been made for him to return to school, play up to his ability and be selected in the top 15 picks of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Breeland Speaks, DE/DT, Ole Miss
Height: 6-3. Weight: 285.
Projected 40 Time: 4.79.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4.
 
Breeland Speaks had a terrific finish to his 2017 season, so he’s capitalizing on that by declaring early. It seems like a solid move. Speaks could be taken as early as the second round, and he could’ve damaged his draft stock by returning to school and perhaps regressing in 2018. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Height: 5-11. Weight: 188.
Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

Jaire Alexander is selling low on his draft stock, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing because he could still be a first-round pick. However, Alexander has barely played this year because of knee and hand injuries. He performed well when he was on the field, but there might be some health concerns with him. Alexander could be a sure-fire first-round choice with a strong 2018 campaign, but perhaps he’ll get there anyway. Then again, he might be relegated to the third round because of those worries. 

Grade for declaring: B- 

 Frank Ginda, ILB, San Jose State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 245.
Projected 40 Time: 4.82.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Frank Ginda is an undersized linebacker with length concerns. He’s currently slated to be an early day-three selection. However, Ginda is a freak athlete who should be able to post amazing numbers at the combine. If so, teams might consider him to be a third-round option. Ginda topped Division I-A with 173 tackles in 2017, so he had nothing to prove by returning to school. 

Grade for declaring: B- 

 Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
Height: 6-5. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
Projected Round (2018): 3-4. 

Like Matthew Thomas, Josh Sweat has decided to skip the Independence Bowl to focus on preparing for the 2018 NFL Draft. And like Thomas, Sweat appears to be making a mistake. 

Sweat has the potential to be a second-round pick, but his collegiate career has been plagued by inconsistency and injury. I would’ve liked to have seen Sweat return to school to prove that he can stay healthy and be productive every game. Instead, he could fall into Day 3. 

Grade for declaring: C- 

 Matthew Thomas, ILB, Florida State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 227.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Matthew Thomas is skipping the heralded Independence Bowl and the amazing tradition that comes with it to prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft. 

It’s difficult to understand this decision. Thomas has talent – once upon a time, I had him slotted in the first round of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft – but he has poor instincts and awareness, which is why he’s being graded as a third-day prospect. Skipping a game doesn’t really matter for top prospects, but Thomas needs to help his draft stock as much as possible, so sitting out wasn’t the best idea. 

 Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 240.
Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 

Leighton Vander Esch had an incredible season, and it came out of nowhere. He barely played in 2015 and 2016, but exploded this past year. He’s now seen as a second-day prospect. 

I’m not quite sure about Vander Esch’s decision to declare, however. I don’t have a huge problem with it, but he could’ve bolstered his draft stock and improved to first-round consideration with a strong 2018 campaign. Vander Esch is excellent versus the run, but needs to keep improving his coverage skills. Perhaps he’ll end up in the opening round anyway, but his lack of playing experience might be an issue for some teams. 

Grade for declaring: B- 

 J.C. Jackson, CB, Maryland
Height: 6-1. Weight: 193.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 

J.C. Jackson is an extremely talented player who would probably be in first-round discussion if it weren’t for a myriad of off-the-field problems. He was shot at in 2014, and then charged with armed robbery the following year. He’s been clean since, however, so he could sneak into the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His decision to declare is a solid one, as his stock is pretty high right now, plus he can avoid further trouble in college.

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
Height: 5-11. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.45.
Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 

Jordan Whitehead looked like a possible first-round pick heading into the 2017 season. However, he had a bit of a down year (though not a poor one), and he was suspended for a few games. Whitehead is likely to be chosen on Day 2 of the draft now, so it’s odd that he would sell low on his stock. I don’t hate this decision, but Whitehead certainly could’ve waited, especially given that he’s only 20. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Jack Cichy, ILB/OLB, Wisconsin
Height: 6-2. Weight: 233.
Projected 40 Time: 4.77.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Jack Cichy looked like he was going to be a second-day pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but he tore his ACL in August and missed the entire 2017 campaign. Cichy, a tough run defender, could’ve taken a medical redshirt and returned to Wisconsin, but he has opted to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft instead. 

I think you could make a case for Cichy to go either way. Returning to school and rehabbing his draft stock could’ve helped him. However, going to the pros will allow him to be in an NFL strength-and-conditioning program, and that could be beneficial for the long term. 

 Holton Hill, CB, Texas
Height: 6-1. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

Holton Hill is a talented cornerback who would’ve had a good chance to be a second-day pick if it weren’t for his character issues. Hill, however, has been suspended on numerous occasions for multiple failed drug tests. 

It’s disappointing that Hill declared. It would’ve been nice for him to prove to teams that he can remain clean for a year, but he enters the NFL with a huge red flag attached to him. He’s really going to have to convince a team to take a chance on him. 

Grade for declaring: 

 Derwin James, S, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 211.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2018): Top-10 Pick. 

Derwin James announced that he will skip his postseason exhibition, I mean, bowl game and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. Both decisions were no-brainers. James is a rare talent and will almost certainly be a top-10 selection. I have him going 10th in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft

As for the bowl game, there’s no reason for James to risk injury in meaningless action. He won’t be hurt by this, as the two players who sat out last year, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, were chosen third and eighth overall, respectively. 

Grade for declaring: A+ 

 Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Height: 6-0. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Isaiah Oliver has seen his draft stock skyrocket throughout his impressive 2017 campaign. I’ve recently slotted him into the first round of my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, and I suspect he’ll remain there most weeks. 

There can’t be any complaints about Oliver declaring. He’s selling high on his draft stock, so why not bolt for the pros? 

Grade for declaring: 

 Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Height: 6-4. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 4.99.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Charlie Campbell first reported that Taven Bryan would declare for the 2018 NFL Draft in the NFL Hot Press section of the site. NFL decision-makers have raved about Bryan, so it wouldn’t surprise to see him chosen on Thursday night. However, he happens to be raw, so he could conceivably slip into the second round. Had Bryan waited a year, he could’ve been chosen in the middle of the first round, but he also could have ruined his draft stock with an injury, so I can understand why he would bolt for the pros. 

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Derwin James, S, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 211.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2018): Top-20. 

Tony Pauline has reported that Derwin James will declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. This is a logical, expected move by James, who is seen as a highly probable top-10 prospect. This is obviously a good decision on James’ part, and even better, there are reports that head coach Jimbo Fisher could take another job this offseason. 

Grade for declaring: A+ 

 Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Height: 6-5. Weight: 332.
Projected 40 Time: 5.20.
Projected Round (2018): 1-3. 

I wouldn’t have recommended Vita Vea for declaring for the draft at the beginning of the year, but he’s done a great job of pressuring quarterbacks this season, answering some of the lingering questions about him being one-dimensional. Vea should be chosen in the first round, though it’s not a guarantee. Still, his stock is high, so coming out of school early is the right move. 

Grade for declaring: B+ 

 Josh Allen, ILB/OLB, Kentucky
Height: 6-5. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Josh Allen played extremely well in 2017, so it’s a surprise to see him return to school. I’m not completely against it, but I hope he doesn’t suffer an injury next year to hurt his draft stock. He could end up regretting this choice.

If all goes well, however, Allen will surely be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Allen has great size, speed and athleticism, and he also has the versatility to play multiple positions. Sources Charlie Campbell has spoken to have compared Allen to a hybrid of Leonard Floyd and Zach Cunningham, as he can play in coverage and also rush the quarterback effectively on the edge.

Grade for returning: 

 Zach Allen, 3-4DE, Boston College
Height: 6-5. Weight: 285.
Projected 40 Time: 4.79.
Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 

Zach Allen returning to school is a bit of a surprise because he enjoyed a terrific season. He had a decent chance of sneaking into the first round. However, I don’t hate the decision, since Allen could emerge as a top-20 choice for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Grade for returning: B- 

 Porter Gustin, DE/OLB, USC
Height: 6-5. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
Projected Round (2018): 3-5. 

Porter Gustin is a talented pass-rusher, but we didn’t get to see him play very much this past season. Thanks to toe and biceps injuries, Gustin appeared in just four games in 2017. Gustin probably would’ve been a second-round prospect if it weren’t for the injuries, but he likely would’ve fallen to Day 3 under the current circumstances. Returning to USC was a smart move, as Gustin will have an opportunity to prove that he can stay healthy next year.

Grade for returning: 

 Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 4.95.
Projected Round (2018): 2-3 

Dre’Mont Jones really could’ve gone either way. Jones’ stats in 2017 weren’t very good, but they didn’t properly illustrate how disruptive he was. Jones looked like he would be a second-round pick, so it would’ve been fine had he declared. However, returning to school makes a lot of sense as well, as he could emerge as a first-round prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Grade for returning: 

 Dontavius Russell, DT, Auburn
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 5.00.
Projected Round (2018): 2-4. 

Dontavius Russell has a first-round skill set, but he disappointed for most of the year. He didn’t play poorly, but he was just unimpressive until late in the season when he caught fire, generating plenty of heat on opposing quarterbacks. He probably would’ve been a second-day selection had he declared. By going back to school, he can improve his draft stock and perhaps become a first-round choice in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Grade for returning: B+

 Cameron Smith, ILB, USC
Height: 6-2. Weight: 245.
Projected 40 Time: 4.80.
Projected Round (2018): 3-4. 

Cameron Smith is coming off a productive season, but coverage concerns make him a third- or fourth-round prospect. As a result of this, Smith is making the right decision to return to school in order to improve his draft stock. Smith is also just 21 in March, so he’s still relatively young for being a rising senior.

Grade for returning: 

i

ContactUs.com
close
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonMonk's RSS FeedMonk's RSS FeedMonk's RSS Feed