And just like that the 2018 Draft is in the books, it sure was one hell of a draft – the most interesting draft in a while. For the third time ever five quarterbacks were taken in the first round, all of which will make significant impacts on their teams right away. So now that behind us it is time to dive right into the 2019 draft – which wont be quarterback top heavy like this year.
- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State: Just like his brother Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, is my number one defensive player in the 2019 draft – and at this point the best prospect who will be coming out – barring injury. Having him one was easy for me considering the importance of his position in the NFL today – teams are built on the quarterback and getting after the quarterback. As a sophomore Bosa had 16 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, yes 8.5 – he finished second among edge defenders. Coming out of high school Bosa was a 5 star prospect, since joining the Buckeyes he has done nothing but live up to that hype. People should expect this kid to be a top 5 pick next year while being argued for the number one prospect.
- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: Clemson has by far the deepest defensive line this upcoming season and Dexter Lawrence is the ring leader. Over the past two or three years Clemson has put out a number of top prospects along the defensive front. Lawrence unlike Bosa is more of your traditional nose tackle, standing at 6 foot 4 inches, 340 pounds – don’t let those numbers fool you from what little I’ve watched so far this guy is a freak athlete. His numbers this past season are very pedestrian (2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) but his traditional nose tackle presence allows other members of the defensive line to wreck havoc – which I could potentially see Lawrence moving down my rankings the more this upcoming college season picks up. Because of his size and unreal athletic ability Lawrence will be argued as a Top 5 pick for the foreseeable future.
- Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss: You’ll be seeing many names being thrown around as the top offensive tackle in this upcoming draft, but make no mistake Little is number one amongst the bunch. Little is 6 foot 6 inches, 332 pounds, and has the quickest feet out of the other tackles projected to be in this class – with that size and ability to beat a pass rusher off the ball, people will fall in love with this guy. Again Little, is atop my board as a tackle prospect and is in the Top 5 overall prospects – this will obviously evolve over time.
- AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss: Can we get a damn skill position in this Top 5 please? Is there anyone out there? Yes, yes there is and his name is AJ Brown out of Ole Miss. Forget about LaQuon Treadwell this guy right here in Brown was one of the most productive receivers in the country last year, he had a come out party his sophomore year. He caught 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns, he led the SEC in those categories while finishing 10th nationally in receiving yards. Brown is 6 foot 1 inch, 225 pounds he his built like a rock while also combining great strength an speed- this will help him be physical with the many great corners in the NFL today.
- Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan: As you can see the 2019 draft is going to be all about skill position with a focus on pass rushers and offensive line. But come next April Im sure there will be a nice mix of quarterbacks as well. Gary was ranked 32nd among edge defenders last year as a sophomore, he had 11.5 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks. He will be alongside Chase Winiovich who will also be a top draft prospect going into next year as well (watch out Big Ten quarterbacks). Because of Maurice Hurst’s departure for the 2018 draft (Raiders selection fyi) Gary’s window for opportunity will open for even more production. A few amount of players at this position have the opportunity to rush the passer with a 6 foot 5 build that can overpower most offensive tackles in the country.
There is no doubt about it this list will change and evolve over the next year, but to get all your feet wet when it comes to warming up to prospects for 2019 – this list will give you a great head start. Enjoy what your team has done in the 2018 draft, a lot of teams faired well this year – the 2019 draft will be here before you know it.
Written by Michael Barry, creator of Into the Draft.