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Kaboom! Magazine.com 2018 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Linemen, Defensive Linemen, & Linebackers

Kaboom! Magazine.com 2018 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Linemen, Defensive Linemen, & Linebackers

Every NFL football team’s Super Bowl dreams and ambitions start at the exact same place….THE DRAFT. Every year, thousands of the top college athletes make themselves available for 32 NFL teams to draft and become professional football players. This year’s draft class features some of the most talented and most controversial athletes in the leagues history. Kaboom! Magazine.com prepares you for the 2018 NFL Draft with our annual draft preview. We will showcase the best players at each position entering this year draft, as well as a lot of late round gems that can help your favorite team hoist the Lombardi trophy for many years to come. Today, we will be focusing on this year’s top offensive linemen, pass rushers and linebackers, predicting which new athlete we feel will have the best career in this draft class.

2018-NFL-Prospects-Offensive-Guards

Offensive Linemen:
Every game in the NFL is won or loss in the trenches and these offensive linemen will help any team walk away from the field with a W.

1. Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame):
McGlinchey is the consensus top offensive tackle for the 2018 NFL Draft and a likely top-20 pick. He has good athleticism on the edge with the feet to handle speed and good strength to sustain blocks. Unlike many finesse left tackles, McGlinchey is a quality run blocker who can get movement at the point of attack. He blocked well in 2017 and was a key cog in Notre Dame’s potent rushing attack.

2. Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame):
Nelson is the most talented and polished offensive lineman in the 2018 NFL Draft class, regardless of position. He also is the safest prospect in the draft class. Some team sources think that Nelson could be the best guard in the NFL early in his pro career and could be better than former Patriots All-Pro Logan Mankins. Some have higher grades on Nelson than they did on Mankins, David DeCastro or Brandon Scherff. Nelson dominated for Notre Dame in 2017, showing the ability to overwhelm defensive linemen as a run blocker and pass protector. He is a consensus elite prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. However, he might go behind lesser prospects in the draft just because he is a guard and many teams don’t value guards that high.

3. Kolton Miller (UCLA):
Miller has a shot at being a late first-round pick as he has lot of athletic upside and this is a weak year at the position with a lot of teams needing a tackle upgrade. If Miller does slip to Friday night, he probably will go very quickly in the second round. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Miller had a superb workout, showing rare quickness and athleticism to go along with his big size. He had a rough start to 2017, but was a decent blocker for Josh Rosen as UCLA’s left tackle. Miller has good length to him and the ability to stay on the edge in the NFL. However, he might be a better fit as a right tackle in the pros as he can have problems with speed rushes to the inside.

4. Isaiah Wynn (Georgia):
Wynn impressed scouts in 2017 as an excellent run blocker for the Bulldogs. He blocks with aggression and has a temperament that is hard to find in college blockers. In pass protection, Wynn was very dependable as well. He performed well at the Senior Bowl practices, but did not work out at the combine. Because he is shorter and doesn’t have ideal length, most sources think that Wynn could move to guard or center in the NFL. Wynn is just a natural football player who finds a way to get the job done, thus he might end be able to get by at left tackle. However, his best position as a pro could come at guard or center.

5. Billy Price (Ohio State):
Price impressed NFL evaluators, both with his work in fall training camp and in the games of the 2017 season. They say that Price plays within himself. They like his awareness and call him an above-average athlete. He isn’t overly fast or twitchy like the Pouncey brothers, but Price has movement skills and is better than average in space. The sources also like that Price handles big nose tackles well, which can be difficult for centers and is a hard-to-find talent. Teams are projecting Price to be a starting center in the NFL.

Sleeper Pick: Brandon Parker (North Carolina A&T):
Parker is a prospect who impressed area scouts during the fall. They thought he possessed developmental potential to be a starter in the NFL. They like his size and length to protect on the edge. Sources said that Parker had received some fourth-round grades, and that was before he had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. Sources in Mobile said that Parker put together a nice week and improved his chances of going on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft. He practiced well, showing his good skill set along with an impressive NFL body of height, length and weight.

2018 Draft Class Career Predictions:
Best Career: Quenton Nelson
Most Pro Bowl Selections: Quenton Nelson
Most Super Bowls: Quenton Nelson
Hall of Famers: None
NCAA Football: South Carolina at North Carolina State

Defensive Linemen & Linebackers:
This class is deep with talented pass rushers/run stoppers who can shorten a quarterback’s career at every snap and have a OL working at Home Depot at any moment.

1. Bradley Chubb (NC State):
Chubb is considered one of the elite prospects of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is a lock to be a top-10 pick, and the only reason he would slip out of the top five is because of quarterback-needy teams taking signal-callers. He is an excellent run defender. Chubb is a dangerous pass-rusher with a non-stop motor and a skill set that makes him a skilled quarterback hunter. Unlike many college players, Chubb has a repertoire of pass-rushing moves and developed technique. Chubb has active hands that he can use at the same time as his feet. He uses a rip move and can go up and under offensive tackles. Chubb uses speed around the corner and his power to bull rush through tackles. Chubb has natural speed to power that makes him very difficult to single block. His powerful hands are maybe his best trait as he uses that to shed blocks in the pass rush and ground game. Chubb dominated tight ends and was able to beat double teams during his senior year.

2. Roquan Smith (Georgia):
Smith was all over the field for the Bulldogs with a big presence in defending the run while also being a reliable contributor in pass coverage. The fast and instinctive Smith flies around the field, making tackles while also showing the ability to play in pass coverage. He has drawn comparisons to the Buccaneers’ Lavonte David and the Falcons’ Deion Jones. Smith amassed 137 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted in 2017. He is an instinctive linebacker who is a tremendous tacklers and is consistently around the football.

3. Vita Vea (Washington):
Vea is a special nose tackle prospect who offers more than Danny Shelton did coming out of Washington. Vea will be downgraded in the 2018 NFL Draft because of being a nose tackle, but he still is a special and rare player. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. He is a heavy nose tackle who is a rock against the run and can occasionally collapse the pocket in the pass rush. Vea totaled 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four passes batted in 2017. He has shown the ability to contribute somewhat in the pass rush while being big, strong, and having a burst at the point of attack.

4. Da’Ron Payne (Alabama):
Payne had 47 tackles, two sacks and a pass batted in 2017. He was superb, showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism. Payne was a tremendous run defender all year, shutting down his gap and keeping teams from running the ball on Alabama. When the Crimson Tide let him rush the passer, Payne demonstrated the ability to collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback as well. He was superb in the playoff games against Clemson and Georgia.

5. Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech):
Edmunds totaled 109 tackles with 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and three forced fumbles in 2017. He is a fast and physical linebacker who can help defenses in a variety of ways. Edmunds has the speed and size to rush off the edge in passing situations, yet also can play as a physical run defender in the tackle box. In the NFL, he could develop into being able to play middle linebacker as well as the outside. Edmunds should be a good fit as a 3-4 outside and inside linebacker. He is a very versatile player who could be adapted to a variety of positions in the NFL.

Sleeper Pick: Lorenzo Carter (Georgia):
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Carter had an excellent workout with a very fast time in the 40-yard dash for a big outside linebacker. Carter was improved as a senior while starting to play up to his athletic potential. He showed dangerous edge-rushing skills against Notre Dame and made a lot of big plays to help the Bulldogs win in South Bend. In 2017, Carter had 57 tackles with 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 7.5 tackles for a loss. Some team sources said they graded Carter as a third- or fourth-rounder, although the team that likes him enough to draft him could take him earlier.

2018 Draft Class Career Predictions:
Best Career: Roquan Smith
Most Pro Bowl Selections: Roquan Smith & Vea Vita
Most Super Bowls: Vea Vita
Hall of Famers: None