As we approach the 2018 NFL draft, I keep getting this type of question: "Mel, who do you like?" It's so tough to answer because I have to think about team needs, how each prospect fits into those needs and realistic draft positions.
Well, below is my version of an answer to that question, in which I annually give out my list of favorite prospects at every position. A reminder of how this works:
This is neither a list of the best players in the draft overall, nor guys I consider the best at each position. They're all good, and they're all going to be drafted, but they fit into a few separate categories. These are prospects whom I've:
Often rated higher than other evaluators within the draft media or team evaluators I discuss prospects with, or ...
Ranked higher in close debates within position groups, namely at quarterback, or ...
Just liked the way they play the game
In the end, these guys will probably just be considered "guys Kiper really likes." Here's the class of 2018, with projections on the round in which each will be drafted:
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Allen has been my guy all along. I'm not backing down now. He has checked all the boxes to be the No. 1 overall pick, and he's a perfect fit as the Browns' developmental franchise quarterback. Remember: He doesn't have to start in 2018. Tyrod Taylor can be the short-term answer. Allen has all the talent in the world to be a superstar quarterback down the road.
Projection: Top five.
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Chubb had a great college career, but teammate Sony Michel was better last season, and it looked like Chubb had lost some explosiveness after a severe knee injury in the middle of the 2015 season. Then Chubb went and lit up the combine, running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump, and he really impressed scouts. This is a big, 227-pound back who's going to break tackles and find running lanes. There are questions about his hands, but I think he can be a three-down player. He'll be a value pick on Day 2.
Projection: Second round.