Oh man, I can't wait for this list to backfire in about eight months.
But, in all seriousness, I have really enjoyed diving into the prospect pool of the 2019 NFL Draft more than I have for any other class during a summer scouting look. There are a lot of guys to get excited about overall, and I've even identified some of "my guys" that I seem to be higher on than most as we enter into the most glorious time of the year -- football season.
With that, here is my initial top 50 players for the 2019 NFL Draft. This list will surely change plenty over the coming months, but these are the names I think you need to know -- of the guys I've been able to watch so far -- as prospects approach what could potentially be their final audition for the next step towards their NFL dreams.
50. David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
I like Edwards, but I don't love him. I think he shows sound technique, but I also feel like he struggled to mirror defenders and stay in front of them. If he struggles at that in college, how will he fare in the NFL? He's a decent right tackle, but I have my reservations.
49. Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Smith only caught 23 passes last year, but five of them were touchdowns and a handful of those were very impressive. He's a 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end who can play on the line and off. It was a small sample size of success last year, but he caught my eye more than a few times.
48. Dre'Mont Jones, EDGE, Ohio State
Jones is an interesting study. Amongst a stacked Ohio State defensive line over the last few years, Jones has a counter not many interior defensive linemen have: speed. Jones is great at changing direction and giving interior offensive linemen fits moving laterally. But, what he boasts in speed he can sometimes lack in size and strength, and he has a tendency to get bullied once offensive linemen get a hold of him. Unique, but needs the right D-Line to compliment.
47. Matt Colburn II, RB, Wake Forest
Colburn is one of "my guys" it seems in the early draft process. He's had an interesting journey in college football, first committing to play at Louisville, then having his scholarship offer pulled, then losing the job at Wake only to re-gain it because he was clearly the best back they had. At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, he has a little Doug Martin to him.
46. Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon
Jelks doesn't get much love being the big, tall, athletic edge guy who plays in the Pac-12. However, his 15 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks last season officially put him on our radar. He's a huge edge player at 6-foot-6. An improved year could have the early rounds in the draft calling his name.
45. Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson
Clemson's defensive line gets all the headlines, but there's a player behind them that I seem to like more than most. Kendall Joseph is a smart, athletic linebacker who will do just fine in the NFL. I don't see him being a first round player, but a solid Day 2 guy nonetheless.
44. Michael Jackson, CB, Miami
Jackson has the size and the length to play outside corner at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, and though he's smooth, he's not as explosive of an athlete as the guys higher on this list -- or at least, that's what it seemed like last year. If he shows even more confidence and some hidden athleticism this year, the NFL will covet him.
43. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Rapp had some very nice highlights over the last two years at Washington. He's played single-high roles and he's come up big in tackling near the line of scrimmage. I peg him to be more of a strong safety type just because I don't think he's quite the athlete you need in the NFL as a true free safety. But he's a good, smart player on the back end.
42. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Brown was quarterback Baker Mayfield's main deep threat wide out last season, but I think he showed more than just straight-line speed on nine routes. I think he has the ability to be a true mismatch weapon with his speed both vertically and laterally as a 5-foot-10, 170-pound slot receiver.
41. Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
Hill is an interesting evaluation to me. With already over 2,500 rushing yards in two season at OSU, there isn't much left for him to "prove". He's a smaller, shifty back at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, but he has nice balance through contact too. Question is, can he be a between-the-tackles guy at all in the NFL?
40. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Noah Fant is getting Top 20 love from some of the other scouts on this site, and maybe I'm overthinking things, but I’m just not as pumped about him. He's a great pass catcher, no doubt. But I’m not sold on him as a complete blocker, and if you're just a receiving tight end and you're not as athletic as David Njoku or Evan Engram, you won't be a first round guy, to me. I think Fant is a Day 2 guy right now. We'll see how much more well-rounded his game gets in 2018.
39. Will Grier, QB, WVU
Ah, Will Grier, my prodigal son. As a Florida alumnus, it was rough watching the talented Grier move on from Florida years ago, but he's done well for himself. Grier has a big arm and a desire to make the big plays with it. His decision making can be spotty, at times, but he'll put up big numbers once again in Dana Holgorsen's offense in his final season.
38. Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, UNC
I seem to be the only one at The Draft Network this high on UNC's go-to playmaker Anthony Ratliff-Williams. I think he's a receiver who can play inside and out with size, speed and natural athletic ability. I'm expecting big things from him this year. He had one of the highest yards-per-catch averages in the nation last season.
37. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
I'm not a big believer in the hype of Clemson's defensive line right now, but Wilkins is still one of those guys who I can definitely see playing in the NFL for awhile. I don't think he's the athlete or earth-mover on the inside to make him a Day 1 pick, but he'll be a solid Day 2 selection for any team.
36. Myles Bryant, CB, Washington
At just 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, Bryant is a perfect player for today's NFL that emphasizes nickel formations. His long speed and short area quickness make him an ideal slot defender, and those guys without a doubt have a chance to get drafted relatively high.
35. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Lock is a big wild card for me. The arm speaks for itself. I've seen him hit guys nearly 70 yards down the field in stride. But the slow feet, the odd pocket presence, the one-read offense that he was in last year and the 54 percent completion percentage all scares me. That's a lot that has to change for the next level. He still needs a much-improved year in those areas.
34. Scott Frantz, OT, Kansas State
Simply put: this guy is strong. Frantz will throw punches at you with his hands and anchor down with his feet to make himself a wall on the left side in the way of defenders and the quarterback. He sometimes has an issue recovering if he doesn't get that first good contact on a defender, but overall I think he's a very solid left tackle.
33. Rashard Lawrence, IDL, LSU
Lawrence has some of the fastest hands in the west -- the SEC West, that is. When you combine his quick, strong hand movement with his 6-foot-3, 300-pound frame, you're talking about an ideal 3-tech interior defensive lineman.
32. Robert Landers, IDL, Ohio State
Landers, like his teammate Dre'Mont Jones, is interesting. Landers has the build of a nose tackle, but he has the skills of a 3-tech defensive tackle. He's great off the snap, and can really disrupt a pocket early. But he sometimes struggles to anchor, where you would hope nose tackles do not. How Ohio State plays him could be telling, but any athletic big man is worth a look.
31. Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
This interior offensive line class isn't shaping up to be anything like the one we just scouted for the previous draft season, but Wisconsin's Tyler Biadasz seems to be the best of the bunch. He's an athletic center who can move very well for his size. He's a consistent blocker, but he's just not what I would call a "bully". Limited strength might hurt his stock, but he's still shaping up to be one of the best interior guys in the class.
30. Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan
I'm a big fan of Devin Bush. I think he shows good instincts for the linebacker position. I also think that, where he isn't as 0-to-60 in acceleration as some might like, his straight line speed and speed to the sideline is adequate once he gets going. Perhaps a tad limited, but I still like what he brings to the table.
29. Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
I really wanted to like Lewerke more than this. I really did. He throws with touch and anticipation so well. He just wasn't consistent enough with it -- and that gives me uneasy Connor Cook flashbacks. With improved accuracy and consistency, though, Lewerke could be a first round quarterback.
28. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
One quarterback right after the other. I have Herbert slightly ahead of Lewerke because the consistency issues I have with Herbert are slightly less fatal as a prospect. I think Hebert is a little more in control of his mental mistakes and missed throws. It's tight race between those two for QB2, but it also shows I'm not too bullish on any of these quarterbacks at this point.
27. Trey Adams, OT, Washington
I think Adams is a solid left tackle prospect with a big body to go along with good talent. I just wish he had more of mean streak to him. In the run game he doesn't seem to be an eraser or a finisher. He's a finesse left tackle, which is still plenty useful in the NFL at his size of 6-foot-7, 330 pounds.
26. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
N'Keal Harry is a determined outside wide receiver. He reminds me a lot of Dez Bryant. I don't think he has the top-end athleticism of Bryant, but the will he has to go up and get a ball -- even snatch it away from defenders -- is Dez-like, I think. That's an outside receiver skill that will always be coveted.
25. Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State
Ah, yes, my QB1. Francois is my guy going into the 2018 season. I thought he showed incredible poise and good mechanics for just a redshirt freshman two years ago before tearing his patellar tendon early last season. It's now a comeback story for Francois. I'm excited to watch it.
24. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
The NFL loves their mismatch guys, and Deebo Samuel is shaping up to be that next highly-coveted mismatch player headed to the league. With good feet, precise route running and strong catch-point ability, Samuel can be put at all three receiver spots and succeed in some form or fashion.
23. Levonta Taylor, CB, Florida State
I remember watching Levonta Taylor in the Under Armour All-American game coming out of high school and thinking this guy was going to be a problem for college wide receivers. Taylor is fast, quick, athletic and technical. But he's only 5-foot-9 (maybe 5-foot-10 in cleats). He does so many other things well, though, so you have to be a fan.
22. Rashan Gary, IDL, Michigan
Gary is an interesting case this season because his skillset of being more explosive in a straight line and turning speed into power is better suited for an interior player. However, he cut weight this offseason to stay as an edge defender. He'll play edge this season, but it's worth noting how he wins to see where he best translates to the NFL.
21. Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss
Dawson Knox is a man with not a lot to show on tape, but a ton to love in what-could-be this season. First of all, he's a very willing blocker. He shows active feet and a strong punch when blocking in-line. He's also quite the athlete down the field, though Ole Miss doesn't have to use him much with all their receiving weapons. I'm not sure how much action Knox gets this season, but I hope it's quite a bit more than a year ago. I liked what I saw.
20. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
I liked Sweat as an edge defender when I watched him, but I didn't like him as much as a handful of guys I have ranked in front of him. He's a big guy at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, so the size box is fully checked off. Can he out-produce some of the guys I have in front of him? That's the question for me.
19. Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
Jennings brings a mean streak to edge play, and I really like that from him. He's not the most bendy pass rusher, but I think his motor and aggressiveness make up for it when collapsing a pocket.
18. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
I have been waiting for Harris to be draft eligible for, like, two years. He is just as steady as they come. I love his build, he absorbs contact very well and he has the willingness to be a third down guy. He's not super fast, but he's fast enough. He's C.J. Anderson in the best way.
17. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I'll admit, D.K. Metcalf might be too low on this list, but I have to go with my gut to start the season. Metcalf's potential is high as a 6-foot-3, 225-pound outside receiver. He's explosive in and out of routes, and can be strong at the catch point with good breakaway speed for his seize.
16. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
If you ask me, Oruwaryie is a first round outside cornerback. There are things he needs to work on, like consistency with his hands in press coverage, but I see that more of just an experience thing rather than a lack of ability thing. I think he checks all the boxes for an outside cornerback.
15. Juquan Johnson, S, Miami
My fellow Locked On NFL Draft podcast co-host Jon Ledyard might be sleeping on Miami's Jaquan Johnson, but I am not. I think Johnson brings instincts, ball skills and big hits to the safety position. I think he has the ability to play free safety and strong safety.
14. Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami
Another Miami Hurricane high on this list? I'm all in on the potential of Ahmmon Richards, for the time being. His athletic ability is off the charts, but he has to be more consistent with his catching. If he can fix his bad case of the drops from last year, he's a first round wide receiver.
13. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Deionte Thompson's skillset deserves to be higher on this list. The problem is we just haven't seen much of it. He only started two games last season, but in those contests he showed flashes of the next prototypical single-high safety in the NFL. This kid has great range, and is never afraid to come up and lay the wood.
12. Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
Anderson comes into the year as my RB1, and it's hard to argue with that -- even with how much I like Damien Harris. Anderson just has such a good combination of speed, power, vision, pass catching and pass-blocking ability at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds. He might be the only back who has a chance at the top 20 in this class.
11. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Williams might not be my top offensive tackle going into the season, but he's still projected to be a top 15 player. Williams put some great tape out there last season against some of college football's best pass rushers. He has good size, athleticism and technique to be a first round player.
10. Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Kelvin Harmon joins this list as my top wide receiver headed into 2018. I'm somewhat reserved about just how athletic he is, but he's a catch point master and loves making plays through contact. I think he's polished enough as a route runner, and where he might lack slightly in separation ability he makes up for in catch-point determination.
9. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns has the chance to be one of the top names in this draft class. At 6-foot-5, he's shown flashes of the rare speed-build-bend combo that NFL teams love. If he can get his weight up, he might end up being a top 5 pick.
8. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
In a linebacker class that still has plenty to prove, Mack Wilson looks like the guy with the highest ceiling. Due to Alabama being the defensive player factory that it is, Wilson hasn't had much playing time. But when he's been out there he's shown athleticism, instincts and the size to be a high pick in the draft one day.
7. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
I've gone back and forth on just how high to rank Clelin Ferrell, but even though I have my reservations about just how flexible and fast he might be off the edge, at the very worst he's a good all-around 4-3 defensive end who can rush the passer, stop the run and has the size to do anything you ask of him. Whatever he proves this year is a bonus onto his first round projection.
6. Jeffery Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State
At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Simmons is a monster in the middle who wins with great strength and surprising athleticism for a man his size. He's a bit raw in terms of his pass rushing ability, but when that light turns on in his head and he knows what to do, few can block him. He has potential to be a top 10 force in this class.
5. Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Most have Alabama's Jonah Williams as the top tackle in this class, but for now I'll say that honor belongs to Dalton Risner. People are saying he might be a guard, and if he is he'd still be a damn good one, but as one of the highest graded tackles in all of college football last year, I say leave him on the edge. He's big, quick, technical and smooth.
4. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
A 6-foot-1 cornerback who showed ball skills, man-to-man ability, savviness and instincts for the position as just a redshirt freshman last year? Yep. I'll take that guy. If last year was Williams' starting point as a prospect, he has the future of a top 10 player.
3. Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama
To say that God doesn't make many like Raekwon Davis would be an understatement. 6-foot-6, 305 pounds with legit athletic ability to get to the passer. Davis doesn't let his big frame allow him to lose the leverage battle nearly as much as you'd think, and his strength on the interior is unreal. He's already one of the best run defenders in the class. The question of how high he can go in terms of selection just depends on the pass rusher we see in 2018.
2. Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston
It's been a long time coming, but here we are talking about Ed Oliver as a draft-eligible college football player. Oliver has an astounding 38.5 tackles-for-loss in his first two seasons of college football, which is on pace to be the most tackles-for-loss in NCAA history. Oliver is a bit undersized, but he makes up for it with strength, athletic ability (both laterally and up the field), violent hands and a motor that can go for days.
1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
It's not often that you get one top 3 NFL Draft pick from a family line. Now imagine two. That's the scenario for Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Chargers' defensive end Joey Bosa, as he enters his first draft-eligible season. Nick boasts many of the same physical traits his brother did while at Ohio State, and due to the draft class around him, the little Bosa (ha) might go even higher than his brother did.