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NFL Draft Top 50 Big Board

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Purposefully disrespecting your favorite college team...

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft is two months away and that means it’s time to start finalizing grades and rankings. The ongoing NFL Combine will have a role in altering athleticism scores in my numerical grading system, but it’s good to have a baseline established.

With that in mind, I’ve finalized my pre-Combine top 50 big board. Some important notes concerning how this was constructed:

  • I tried to watch all of the top consensus players first, but there will inevitably be some “late risers” that have slipped through the cracks. In all, over 100 players were graded as part of this process.
  • Each prospect with a grade has at least three games of film watched and has been scored on a number of factors relative to their position to formulate their numerical grade.
  • Athletic scores were estimated and will be finalized after the Combine or that players Pro Day. So there’s some wiggle room to improve/decline.
  • Positional value has not been weighted.
  • Quarterbacks will not be represented on this board. In my final board I keep them separate anyway as their value is much different from any other position.
  • Red asterisk = Major medical flag.

Without further adieu, let’s start with the players that have received preliminary first round grades. There aren’t many, only 17 in total, which isn’t uncommon with how stringent NFL scouting departments are with their grades.

Alabama’s Quinnen Williams wound up as my top graded player since I switched to numerical grading by just edging out Quenton Nelson. Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons’ torn ACL complicates matters, which will ultimately move him down the board. There’s still chatter that he could still go in round one due to his top 10 talent.

The board is top heavy with talent at offensive tackle, which is a good thing for the Philadelphia Eagles as there is depth throughout. Tackles typically don’t slide, but if they start to get into the teens, the Eagles might have some decisions to make regarding how aggressive they’ll be in acquiring Jason Peters’ heir apparent.

Among players that I’ve already written up in a positional preview, Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson received the biggest boost. After digging even further into his film, there’s not much he can’t do. That free safety/strong safety/nickel versatility, improved play from year-to-year, and athleticism means there’s very little left to knock down his score.

Here’s the rest of the top 50 big board:

This is the area where a lot of the targets linked to the Eagles are featured. This includes a pair of Clemson defensive lineman in Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. Another edge defender is right in with that group as Jachai Polite has a chance to move himself up to the first round if he tests as expected but at a higher weight. His 242-pound frame can handle extra weight and has in the past (playing at 270 two years ago), but does it sap his supreme burst and bend? That question may or may not be answered at the Combine (Update: Weighed in at 258). Keep a close eye on his stock.

Update: Obviously the Eagles’ interest in the top edge defenders will likely change as it’s been announced that Brandon Graham will be back in green.

Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson carries the lone “major medical flag” in this group due to his long injury history. He’s suffered a broken leg, broken bone in his neck, and a torn ACL, cutting short three of his seasons as a Sooner.

A lot of the players in this group were featured in my positional previews for safeties, interior defensive linemen, and running backs. All the context you need regarding the reasoning for their grades are in those articles.

Players that just missed the cut that the Eagles’ may be interested in are Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield, Iowa State running back David Montgomery, and Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders among others.

Agree? Probably not. Disagree? Let me hear about it, or create your own. Not all big boards are created equal. That goes for draftniks, NFL teams, and gentle readers alike. More updates to come as we work our way through the NFL Draft process!