Over the course of the next six weeks, many college football players will announce their intent to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Many of these players have individual motivations for making such a decision, but it’s undeniable that there is an over-saturation of early entrees.
Below are names rumored to be considering/declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft as of November 29th, 2017 and some brief thoughts on each player.
Florida Gators DL Taven Bryan – As reported by Walter Football
I like this decision for Bryan, should it be formalized. Bryan generated a lot of positive momentum for himself on a team that underachieved in every sense in 2017. The Gators’ program will face a transition with new HC Dan Mullen coming home, some of that chance could get pretty uncomfortable.
Bryan looks to be one of the better interior defender prospects in the country based on his film, but not necessarily his box score.
Alabama Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley – As reported by Tony Pauline
This is a home run. Ridley is an aging prospect, but he will bring greater polish than we’ve seen from him in other years at Alabama. Another year with the Crimson Tide would yield more of the same frustrating results as a pass catcher. The film very clearly shows Ridley can run terrific routes and has an exception second gear to kick in when tracking the ball in the air.
Temple Owls RB Ryquell Armstead – As reported by Tony Pauline
I’d pass on this one. Armstead is listed at 5’11, 205 and doesn’t exactly have blue chip skills to play RB. The backs are always going to be quick to make the jump, as the tread on their tires lasts shorter than just about any other position on the field.
But Armstead plays at a small school, struggled this past season (just 3.9 ypc) and is entering into a loaded class. That can be a toxic mix.
Miami Hurricanes RB Mark Walton – As reported by Neil Stratton
I’m lukewarm on this jump, but I understand it. Walton had a terrific season before it was cut short with injury. And while coming off an injury, Walton is willing to stand on that tape and prove he’s healthy with the off-season circuit.
I wouldn’t expect Walton to land in the top 2 rounds, but he’s looking like one of those backs who teams can wait until RD3 (hi, Alvin Kamara) and still get terrific production.
Maryland Terrapins WR DJ Moore – As reported by 247 Sports
I am a huge fan of Moore’s game. Much like Calvin Ridley, the Maryland passing offense isn’t going to do Moore any additional favors with another season on site.
I’m absolutely for Moore flushing early and making the jump to the NFL, he’s a fun joystick player who can win as a RAC receiver and on special teams as a return player. Would be a strong mid-round value.
Texas Longhorns LB Malik Jefferson – As reported by Matt Miller
Jefferson hasn’t taken the huge leap many hoped to see ever since he walked onto campus as a highly prized recruit. Still a “point and shoot” defender, Jefferson is at his best when given a single task and being asked to execute. That’s fine, but it does temper his value; as I don’t feel very confident in his ability to play MIKE LB.
While Jefferson does have some issues as a player, his athletic profile is going to make him a popular name to project early.
Texas Longhorns OT Connor Williams – As reported by Horns 247
I think this is the safest early declare of the group. Williams is a star in the making, we were very fortunate to see him bounce back from the meniscus injury that took most of his Junior season. Williams should be a top 15 pick come next April, he’s a franchise LT who has proven the knee issue wasn’t especially serious by coming back to play at the end of 2017.
Florida State SAF Derwin James – As reported by Tony Pauline
Paralysis by analysis seems to be the name of the game with James. I’m still 100% in on him as a high end prospect. It makes plenty of sense for him to transition to the NFL, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Florida State right now and the team’s future with Coach Jimbo Fisher.