Mel Kiper's Big Board: Ranking top 2018 prospects

Darnold falls, Rosen rises on Kiper's latest Big Board (1:35)

Mel Kiper joins SportsCenter and explains why he dropped USC's Sam Darnold to fifth on the Big Board and why he rated UCLA's Josh Rosen as the top quarterback. (1:35)

In this edition of my Big Board for the 2018 NFL draft: seven new entrants from my last update, which means some big names dropped off. There's also some new top-ranked prospects at a few positions, plus my No. 1 tight end makes his debut.

A reminder about my Big Board:

  • The write-ups here won't change much week to week.

  • I'm projecting to the NFL. This is about much more than stats. My projections are based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.

  • Speaking of size, what's listed here is provided by the schools. These numbers could vary greatly when players show up at the NFL combine. True height and weight really matter for almost every position.

Note: One asterisk denotes the player is a junior, and two asterisks denote the player is a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.

1. *Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Previous rank: 1

After back-to-back underwhelming games on the stat sheet, Barkley is no longer the Heisman favorite. But that doesn't affect his NFL prospects. He is a lights-out athlete who shows tremendous balance with a great lower body and quick feet. He rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 1,076 yards as a freshman. He has 1,368 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns this season. Barkley (5-foot-11, 230 pounds) also will help in the passing game; he has 39 catches this season after having 48 in his first two seasons at Penn State. I think he'll run under a 4.4 40-yard dash and test well at the combine. Barkley could be a top-five pick in 2018, and he's going to get an elite grade from me, barring injury.