Matt LaPan’s 2018 NFL Draft Offensive Positional Rankings

The 2018 NFL Draft is already creating a lot of buzz, and the 2017 college football season has not even started. The quarterback class is the talk of the preseason, but offensive positions are loaded in the 2018 draft.

Names such as Sam Darnold, Derrius Guice, Calvin Ridley and more are already becoming household names, and all hold rankings inside my top-50 overall rankings. Now it is time to go position by position on offense, breaking down the strengths of each group ahead of the season.

Quarterbacks

Casper Star Tribune

After a lackluster quarterback group in 2017, the 2018 NFL Draft is loaded with quarterback talent. The class is led by Redshirt Sophomore Sam Darnold – even with the reports that he might consider a return to USC after the 2017 season.

Darold is not a runaway favorite, however. Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and others all have their supporters placing them at the top of the list. Both Allen and Rosen have strong arms and good accuracy, which could vault them to the top of the list by the end of the college football season. Do not sleep on Mason Rudolph or Luke Falk. Both quarterbacks are flying a bit under the radar, but bring big pro potential.

After three quarterbacks came off the board in the 1st Round in 2017, that number could see a jump in 2018.

  1. Sam Darnold – USC

  2. Josh Allen – Wyoming

  3. Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State

  4. Josh Rosen – UCLA

  5. Luke Falk – Washington State

Running Backs

USA Today

The age of the running back is upon us. After two consecutive years of loaded running back classes, the 2018 NFL Draft class does not disappoint. At the top of the class, many have a hard time choosing between Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice. Both backs are extremely talented, elusive and explosive – but Barkely gets the nod for now. His complete running style will likely see him in the discussion for a top-10 pick.

That does not mean Guice cannot overtake Barkely. He is a violent, big, explosive back who has great feet. He will likely also garner top-10 consideration come next spring, much like former backfield mate Leonard Fournette did in the 2017 NFL Draft.

In other years, Bo Scarborough might garner more attention, but he sits further down the pack in 2018. He should still garner huge NFL attention.

As for Nick Chubb, he should have a chance to regain his impressive form from before his gruesome knee injury. His return in 2016 was promising, and he is on pace to have an impressive showing in 2017 along with Sony Michel.

  1. Saquon Barkley – Penn State

  2. Derrius Guice – LSU

  3. Bo Scarborough – Alabama

  4. Nick Chubb – Georgia

  5. Royce Freeman – Oregon

Wide Receivers

Zimbo.com

Wide receiver is a position that is going slightly underrated heading into the 2017 season – but the clear-cut number one receiver is Cortland Sutton of SMU. He has the size (6-4, 215 pounds) speed and abilities to be a true number one in the NFL. He has totaled 19 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and is on track to put up another monster season.

There is no need to sleep on the rest of the pack. Deon Cain is another big body who should explode onto the scene in 2017 after the departure of Mike Williams in the 2017 NFL Draft. Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk are both high volume receivers that show strong hands and the willingness to take the ball over the middle while still having explosive tendencies. Finally, James Washington is a deep threat that should draw interest from a lot of top teams in the 2018 NFL Draft.

  1. Courtland Sutton – SMU

  2. Deon Cain – Clemson

  3. Calvin Ridley – Alabama

  4. Christian Kirk – Texas A&M

  5. James Washington – Oklahoma State

Tight Ends

Madison.com

After seeing three tight ends go in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 2018 class has a lot to live up to. There are no O.J. Howard’s in this year’s class, but there are talented, two-way tight ends in the class. Tony Fumagailli burst onto the national scene at the start of last year with a monster game against LSU and displays solid fundamentals in both the run and pass game, he still has a lot to prove, but leads this class.

Mike Gesicki was a big part of Penn State’s strong 2016, hauling in five touchdowns along the way. He is a very solid blocker and could push to the top spot with some improvements to his footwork.

The surprise of the group comes form Massachusetts – yes a UMass tight end makes the cut. Adam Breneman is a former Penn State player who was highly recruited coming out of high school. Injuries plagued his career, but he is extremely talented as a receiver and was impressive in 12 games with the Minutemen. As a move tight end, he could open some eyes – even if he plays for a team that has struggled to get on track in UMass.

  1. Tony Fumagalli – Wisconsin

  2. Mike Gesicki – Penn State

  3. Mark Andrews – Oklahoma

  4. Adam Breneman – Massachusetts

  5. DeAndre Goolsby – Florida

Offensive Tackles

Pro Football Weekly

The offensive tackle class in the 2017 NFL Draft saw just two 1st round picks and zero in the top-20. That will change as offensive tackle is one of the strengths of the 2018 NFL Draft class. Currently, five tackles rank in my top-50, with three appearing in the top-20 players. Connor Williams leads the way. The hulking tackle from Texas has the size, footwork and power to be a starting left tackle at the next level.

Not far behind is Mike McGlinchey –  a massive Notre Dame tackle that could very easily take over the top spot. He plays with a nasty demeanor in the run and pass game – dominating opponents in all phases. He and Williams will battle for the top spot from now until the 2018 Draft.

Orlando Brown, Mitch Hyatt and Martinas Rankin all sit just behind the top two, but all have the opportunity to hear their names early in the draft. All show good pass set fundamentals and power. The tackle position took a year off, but is back with a vengeance in the 2018 NFL Draft.

  1. Connor Williams – Texas

  2. Mike McGlinchey – Notre Dame

  3. Orlando Brown – Oklahoma

  4. Mitch Hyatt – Clemson

  5. Martinas Rankin – Mississippi State

Interior Linemen

BlueAndGold.com

The interior line often goes under appreciated, but that should change in the 2018 NFL Draft. Quentin Nelson joins teammate Mike McGlinchey as one of the top-50 players on my big board. He is a massive guard who brings plenty of punch and power. He could be coveted by a contending team as he is already ready to step in as an NFL starter. The same can be said about center Mason Cole. The Michigan lineman has tremendous footwork and can step in and anchor a line from day one. He should garner a lot of attention as the 2017 season goes on.

There is likely not going to be a ton of names from the interior line called early, but names such as Nelson, Cole, Crowder and others should be called on opening day of the 2018 NFL season.

  1. Quenton Nelson – OG – Notre Dame

  2. Mason Cole – C – Michigan

  3. Tyrone Crowder – OG – Clemson

  4. Damian Prince – OG – Maryland

  5. Martez Ivey – OG – Florida