There are less than two weeks until the National Football League Draft. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each posted what their “grade A” drafts would be if they played GM for every team in the league. You can find Kiper’s here and McShay’s draft here. McShay also posted his “tiered rankings” of NFL prospects in the 2018 draft.
Only running back Saquon Barkley, offensive guard Quenton Nelson and defensive end Bradley Chubb graded out in McShay’s tier-one. No Alabama players cracked it.
Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick ranked among the eight tier-two players by McShay. A tier-two player is “a notch below the elite class but still considered a plug-and-play starter with high-level potential. Worthy of a top-15 pick most years.”
Both McShay and Kiper have Fitzpatrick slipping to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the seventh pick.
Defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and linebacker Rashaan Evans are in McShay’s tier-three group of players. Tier three players are considered starters who are the best values in the bottom half of the first round.
McShay ranks Ridley as the 16th best player in the draft, but has him going ninth overall to the San Francisco 49ers. Kiper has him going 16th overall to the Baltimore Ravens.
Payne goes 13th to the Washington Redskins in Kiper’s mock, while McShay projects him 17th to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Evans, the final player in McShay’s third tier, is mocked 22nd overall to the Buffalo Bills. Kiper has him going 19th to the Dallas Cowboys.
Safety Ronnie Harrison is the lone Alabama player in McShay’s tier-four. A tier-four player “Grade out as future good NFL starters. Second-round value,” according to McShay.
McShay thinks highly of Harrison, projecting him to be the final pick of the first round, to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kiper has Harrison as a mid-second round pick, going 54th to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cornerback Anthony Averett and running back Bo Scarbrough come in as tier-six players in the draft. A tier-six player, “Project as future solid starters but they need time to develop, have limited upside or come with baggage. Third-round value.” There are 43 players on the tier-six list.
Averett is a third-round pick by both McShay and Kiper in their mock drafts. Kiper mocks Averett 68th to the Houston Texans while McShay has him reuniting with Ridley in San Francisco at the 74th pick.
Neither McShay or Kiper have Scarbrough going in the first three rounds, which should not be surprising with the running back depth in the draft class.
Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand is not ranked on McShay’s list nor is he selected in the first three rounds of his mock, but Kiper has Hand mocked 69th to the New York Giants.
The 2018 NFL draft will be held on April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.