NFL Draft: Analyzing 2018’s Top DBs
Now with the front 7 wrapped up, it’s time to move on to the final installment of the positional rankings. Last year was a great year for cornerbacks and safeties. My article stretched to about 20-25 players that were worthy of a pick in the 1st 3 rounds. In that draft 25 DBs were taken, 8 in the 1st round, 9 in the 2nd round. Obviously, teams recognize the importance of a good secondary. So, without further ado, let’s get right into the top 10 DBs in the 2018 NFL Draft. (Players listed are in order of my rankings)
Minkah Fitzpatrick – S – Alabama
I’m a big fan of Minkah. He can play deep safety, box safety, and slot CB. He’s a good athlete and a good tackler with good instincts. He likes playing in the box close to the ball. If he was a straight CB, he’d probably be the 4th best CB, but as a Safety, he’s #1, at worst #2. He’ll be selected in the 1st 14 picks and in my opinion, should be gone by pick 7.
Derwin James – S – Florida State
If you don’t have Fitzpatrick as the #1 DB in the draft, you probably have James on that top spot. James is a better athlete than Fitzpatrick, but he hasn’t shown the ability to take the ball away like Minkah. He’s about 20-25 pounds bigger and probably just as fast, so you can probably try to do more things with James.
Joshua Jackson – CB – Iowa
This will be a surprise to most, as almost everyone has Denzel Ward as the #1 CB. However, Ward bats and gets his hands on the ball, Jackson, a former WR, actually gets takeaways. Some will question his speed to cover #1 WRs, but in all honesty, there are less than 5 CBs in the entire league that you would leave with a top 5 WR.
Denzel Ward – CB – Ohio State
Ward is coming from the DB factory also known as Ohio State. With 3 members of the secondary last year and then a couple more in previous years, it has become pretty known that if they stand out at Ohio State, they will stand out for your secondary. Ward has the speed and ball awareness that teams covet in the draft.
Justin Reid – S – Stanford
Reid is one of those guys that won’t get the publicity of Fitzpatrick or James, but he is not too far behind them. I expect him to go in the early to mid-20s and be a solid Safety for a long time. He has good awareness, solid speed, and good hands. Also helps that he has the right bloodlines as his brother started at S for the 49ers last year.
Jaire Alexander – CB – Louisville
The top end of this years DB class is very debated. Enter Jaire Alexander. There are more than a few respected guys that said he will be the #1 CB in this year’s draft. He has the perfect size and speed combination that you like for a CB. He also has the ball skills to take the ball away. No matter how to rank the top 3 CBs, I think all will be for good players.
Mike Hughes – CB – UCF
I love what Hughes showed last year, the biggest issue, that’s about all you can judge him on. He only played 2 years and only started for 1 year. He is mostly based on what people project him to be rather than what he has actually shown. Very green and will need to be developed, but good traits.
Isaiah Oliver – CB – Colorado
Oliver is a tall CB that also has a great size/speed combination. He has long arms and good hands. The probably with him is he is not great at changing directions and he’s a little too passive. To be a good CB in the league, you’ve got to have a swagger to you.
Ronnie Harrison – S – Alabama
Harrison is an in the box Safety that doesn’t make too many mistakes. He’s a big safety and a big hitter who’s a sound tackler. He’s a little too aggressive in coverage, which can lead to big plays, but play him near the line and you should be okay.
Carlton Davis – CB – Auburn
Davis is a big press CB that has the speed to stay with anyone deep. His speed sometimes is his downfall as he’s more fast than quick. He can get beat on short routes and isn’t great at changing directions. For a big guy, he’s not a great tackler and he can get a bit grabby when beaten.
This year’s DBs group is not as good as last year. The top end isn’t as high and the depth isn’t nearly as good. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some special players in the class. Fitzpatrick, James, Jackson, Ward, and Alexander still would have been 1st round picks last year. With the league going more and more towards a passing league, DBs have never been more important than they are now. These are the guys to help your team become a championship contender. With that said, on to the 2018 NFL Draft.