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2018 NFL Draft: Biggest takeaways from Mike Mayock Top-100 big board

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Mayock recently released his annual Big Board, here are some of the top observations.

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With the NFL Draft just around the corner, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock recently released his top-100 Big Board. Mayock is one of the most respected draft guru’s in the industry so his opinion of players is often heavily scrutinized. Here are how his top-15 stack up:

  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  2. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  3. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  4. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  5. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
  6. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  7. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  8. Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame
  9. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  10. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
  11. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  12. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
  13. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
  14. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
  15. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Other notable rankings include: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (42 overall), Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa (44 overall), and Ronald Jones, RB, USC (60 overall).

Right off the bat, Mayock drops a bombshell moving Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey into the top-ten. While the two-year starter is widely viewed as the best player at his position in the draft, he is often projected to be drafted in the middle of the first round. Perhaps the reason Mayock placed him into the top-ten is that the offensive tackle held his own last season when he faced off against Bradley Chubb who ranks third on Mayock’s board.

Another player that the NFL Network analyst has ranked higher than most is Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans. The senior playmaker is one of the most physical tacklers in the entire draft, but he has struggled to stay healthy and was hampered by a groin injury in 2017. If he falls to the second round, the Raiders would have to consider him with their second round selection.

Perhaps the most surprising observation is that First-Team All-American Maurice Hurst does not appear on the Big Board until 42 overall. On the field, the Michigan defensive tackle is a top-ten talent, but a heart condition that kept him from competing at the NFL Scouting Combine could drive him down draft boards. While Hurst was cleared to compete at Michigan’s Pro Day, Mayock is obviously still concerned about his health concerns.

Coming in at 44 overall is Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson who many believe to be the top cornerback in the 2018 NFL Draft. He led the nation with 8 interceptions, 17 pass breakups, and allowed a passer rating of just 31.3 on 89 throws into his primary coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Jackson is an absolute ball-hawk, but his run defense is a liability which could explain his dropping on Mayock’s board.

Last but not least, Ronald Jones appears as the sixth-highest rated running back slotted at 60 overall. It is no secret the running back class is the strongest in this draft, but it is still shocking to see Jones ranked so low as one could argue he deserves to be in consideration for the third tailback to come off the board behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and LSU’s Derrius Guice.

It will be interesting to see how Mayock’s rankings compare to those of actual teams as the NFL Draft commences on Thursday night.