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Andrew Aziz’s NFL Draft Big Board + Positional Rankings

Syndication: USA TODAY Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Big Board

Tier 1a

1. Aidan Hutchinson — Edge Rusher

2. Evan Neal — Alabama

3. Derek Stingley Jr — LSU

4. Ikem Ekwonu — North Carolina State

Tier 1b

5. Nakobe Dean — Georgia

6. Chris Olave — Ohio State

7. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner — Cincinnati

8. Jameson Williams — Alabama

9. Drake London — USC

10. Devin Lloyd — Utah

11. Jordan Davis — Georgia

Tier 2

12. Tyler Linderbaum — Iowa

13. Garrett Wilson — Ohio State

14. Kyle Hamilton — Notre Dame

15. Kayvon Thibodeaux — Oregon

16. Travon Walker — Georgia

17. Trevor Penning — Northern Iowa

18. Jermaine Johnson — Florida State

19. Charles Cross — Mississippi State

20. Zion Johnson — Boston College

21. Kenyon Green — Texas A&M

22. George Karlaftis — Purdue

23. Treylon Burks — Arkansas

Tier 3

24. Trent McDuffie — Washington

25. Devonte Wyatt — Georgia

26. Kenny Pickett — Pittsburgh

27. Roger McCreary — Auburn

28. Quay Walker — Georgia

29. Jahan Dotson — Penn State

30. Andrew Booth Jr — Clemson

31. DeMarvin Leal — Texas A&M

Tier 4

32. Boye Mafe — Minnesota

33. John Metchie III — Alabama

34. Daxton Hill — Michigan

35. David Ojabo — Michigan

36. Skyy Moore — Western Michigan

37. Malik Willis — Liberty

38. Brian Robinson Jr — Alabama

39. Lewis Cine — Georgia

40. Kaiir Elam — Florida

Tier 5

41. Breece Hall — Iowa State

42. Kyler Gordon — Washington

43. Arnold Ebiketie — Penn State

44. Christian Harris — Alabama

45. Bryan Cook — Cincinnati

46. Jaquan Brisker — Penn State

47. George Pickens — Georgia

48. Chad Muma — Wyoming

Tier 6

49. Khalil Shakir — Boise State

50. Cameron Thomas — San Diego State

51. Alec Pierce — Cincinnati

52. Kenneth Walker III — Michigan State

53. Tayor Jones — UConn

54. Logan Hall — Houston

55. Sam Howell — North Carolina

Tier 7

56. Christian Watson — North Dakota State

57. Jeremy Ruckert — Ohio State

58. Daniel Faalele — Minnesota

59. Kyren Williams — Notre Dame

60. Kyle Phillips — UCLA

Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks

1. Kenny Pickett — Pittsburgh

2. Malik Willis — Liberty

3. Sam Howell — North Carolina

4. Matt Corral — Ole Miss

5. Desmond Ridder — Cincinnati

6. Carson Strong — Nevada

7. Jack Coan — Notre Dame

This isn’t a particularly strong class, but Pickett is a viable #1 who can start and be effective in his rookie year. Willis, Howell, Corral and Ridder are all quarterbacks who operated a spread/option hybrid offense that won’t do them many favours in terms of their transition to the NFL. Corral and Ridder have trouble consistently making accurate throws, especially on outward breaking routes. Howell isn’t perfect either, but demonstrates great poise under pressure and toughness. Malik Willis has a very strong arm and has a high ceiling that is worth taking a shot on. All in all, it’s not a strong group, but there is talent and the right environment can be all it takes for some of these guys to shine in the NFL.


Running Backs

1. Brian Robinson Jr — Alabama

2. Breece Hall — Iowa State

3. Kenneth Walker III — Michigan State

4. Kyren Williams — Notre Dame

5. James Cook — Georgia

6. Isaiah Spiller — Texas A&M

7. Rachaad White — Arizona State

While there isn’t a true #1 running back in this class, there are a lot of quality players who will be taken on day 2 and many of whom will become quality players and starters in the NFL. Robinson possesses great translatable skills that I think will make him a great running back in the NFL and Kenneth Walker possesses most of those same abilities; they are tough hard runners who pack a punch and deliver the blow instead of taking it. James Cook is one of my sleepers and someone I think will be a very good player sooner rather than later.


Receivers

1. Chris Olave — Ohio State

2. Jameson Williams — Alabama

3. Drake London — USC

4. Garrett Wilson — Ohio State

5. Treylon Burks — Arkansas

6. Jahan Dotson — Penn State

7. John Metchie III — Alabama

This is one of the strongest receiver classes I’ve seen in awhile. The top 4 players all have a legitimate claim for the #1 spot. Olave and London are incredible route runners with London having a size advantage and Olave having a speed/athleticism advantage. Williams has incredible speed and explosiveness and his ACL tear shouldn’t deter teams from taking him early. Wilson separates extremely well and has great top end speed. All are stars, but don’t sleep on Burks or Metchie. Burks has tremendous versatilty, a great built and speed, whereas Metchie would easily be in the top 5 if it weren’t for his injury.


Tight Ends

1. Jeremy Ruckert — Ohio State

2. Jake Ferguson — Wisconsin

3. Charlie Kolar — Iowa State

4. Trey McBride — Colorado State

5. Jelani Woods — Virginia

6. Cade Otton — Washington

7. Greg Dulcich — UCLA

This is a weak overall class, with no player expected to be taken in the top 40, but guys like Ruckert, Kolar and Ferguson offer good value and could be good impactful players in their rookie year. Ruckert and Ferguson are good Big 10 guys who have shown to be well rounded tight ends with good size and strength so that’s why they are my top tight ends.


Offensive Linemen

1. Evan Neal — Alabama

2. Ikem Ekwonu — North Carolina State

3. Tyler Linderbaum — Iowa

4. Trevor Penning — Northern Iowa

5. Charles Cross — Mississippi State

6. Zion Johnson — Boston College

7. Kenyon Green — Texas A&M

This is a special offensive line class. Neal reminds me of Jonathan Ogden and Ikem Ekwonu has power hands and is a tremendous run blocker. Linderbaum looks to be the next great center with tremendous technique and speed off the line. Penning is as mean as it gets and has the tape to back it up and the last three guys (Cross, Zion and Green) all are tremendous players who would be #1 in certain years.


Edge Rushers

1. Aidan Hutchinson — Michigan

2. Kayvon Thibodeaux — Oregon

3. Travon Walker — Georgia

4. Jermaine Johnson — Florida State

5. George Karlaftis — Purdue

This is a very strong edge class and while Hutchinson is the clear #1 of the group, the next 4 guys are expected to be impact players within the first two years of their career. Walker may not necessarily be an edge rusher, but I’m certain teams will play him there a lot even though he has interior defensive line and outside linebacker reps. Thibodeaux and Johnson are long explosive defensive ends with high ceilings. Karlaftis is a thicker, big bodied end who can play as 3-4 3 tech if needed, and I love his ferocity at the point of attack.


Interior Defensive Linemen

1. Jordan Davis — Georgia

2. Devonte Wyatt — Georgia

3. Perrion Winfrey — Oklahoma

4. DeMarvin Leal — Texas A&M

5. Phidarian Mathis — Alabama

It’s hard to pass up a guy who is 6’6, 350 and runs a 4.8 and moves like a 290 pounder; that’s Jordan Davis. After him, there’s a drop off and while the class isn’t strong, Davis should be carrying the class for years to come. Wyatt, Winfrey and Leal all offer end of first round value and I expect one of them to splash in year 1 as 3 techs.


Off-Ball Linebackers

1. Nakobe Dean — Georgia

2. Devin Lloyd — Utah

3. Quay Walker — Georgia

4. Christian Harris — Alabama

5. Damone Clark — LSU

Dean and Lloyd are two incredible prospects, but I give the edge to Dean because of his instincts and IQ, things that are incredibly tough to teach. His speed and range is incredible too. Lloyd can do it all and will probably be a Pro Bowl player in the NFL too. Walker is a distant 3rd place because he isn’t as strong in coverage or as rangy as the top 2, but he should carve out a nice role in the NFL.


Cornerbacks

1. Derek Stingley Jr — LSU

2. Ahmad Gardner — Cincinnati

3. Trent McDuffie — Washington

4. Roger McCreary — Auburn

5. Andrew Booth Jr — Clemson

Stingley and Gardner are two incredible talents. Both are physical, have attitudes and have started since their freshman years. Both should be stars in the NFL. There’s a drop off after them with McDuffie, McCreary and Booth, all of whom should go in the 1st round with all different skillsets.


Safeties

1. Kyle Hamilton — Notre Dame

2. Daxton Hill — Michigan

3. Lewis Cine — Georgia

4. Bryan Cook — Cincinnati

5. Jaquan Brisker — Penn State

It’s the Kyle Hamilton draft and then there’s a big drop and I love Daxton Hill but Hamilton’s size and range not only make him a great free safety, but I expect him to get a lot of reps in the box as a linebacker. Cine has good potential and there are many other good value picks in the middle rounds, but whoever gets Kyle Hamilton is getting a versatile stud who will be in the conversation for defensive rookie of the year.


*Author’s Note: Only top 5 for rankings on defense as most of my focus on depth players and players with middle round grades was on offensive players.