News

QBs, Saquon Barkley headline notable underclassmen preparing for NFL Draft

Posted Jan 16, 2018

Monday was the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft

The Browns, owners of the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, will have plenty of options to add talent to their roster this spring.

And with Monday's deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft in the books, we have a better idea of who might fall where this April.

Here's a closer look at some notable players going pro:

Quarterbacks: In a group largely dominated by talented underclassmen, USC's Sam Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen are widely viewed as top five picks. Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, and Josh Allen are also projected to be top-round picks.

Josh Allen, Wyoming

Sam Darnold, USC

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Josh Rosen, UCLA

Running backs: Considered by some as the best offensive player in the draft, Penn State's Saquon Barkley was the 2017 Paul Hornung Award winner, given to the nation’s most versatile player. He ran for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns and caught 54 passes for 632 yards and three touchdowns this past year. Meanwhile, LSU's Derrius Guice and Auburn's Kerryon Johnson were two of the SEC's better backs, as both ran for more than 1,250 yards.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Derrius Guice, LSU

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn

Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

Wide receivers: The best receivers in this year's draft class are mostly underclassmen. Alabama's Calvin Ridley and SMU's Courtland Sutton are considered top-15 picks while Christian Kirk, Auden Tate and Deontay Burnett could be Day 1 or Day 2 players.

Deontay Burnett, US

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

Calvin Ridley, Alabama:

Courtland Sutton, SMU

Auden Tate, Florida State  

Tight ends: This year's group of tight ends isn't quite as deep as 2017, but Oklahoma's Mark Andrews​ might be the best of the bunch. The junior caught 62 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns this past season and finished with 22 touchdowns in three years.

Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

Dalton Schultz, Stanford

Offensive linemen: ​In a position dominated by upperclassmen, Oklahoma's Orlando Brown (son of former Browns tackle and late Orlando Brown Sr.) could be one of the group's first players off the board. The All-American left tackle protected Baker Mayfield's blindside and helped the Sooners advance to the College Football Playoffs this past season.

Orlando Brown, Oklahoma

Will Clapp, LSU

James Daniels, Iowa

Kolton Miller, UCLA

Maea Teuhema, Southeastern Louisiana

Defensive linemen: While N.C. State senior defensive end Bradley Chubb will likely be a top-five pick, LSU's Arden Key and Ohio State's Sam Hubbard are intriguingly versatile edge rushers. In the interior, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne was a force for the Crimson Tide and Florida's Taven Bryan has drawn comparisons to J.J. Watt.

Taven Bryan, Florida

Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

Arden Key, LSU

R.J. McIntosh, Miami

Da'Ron Payne, Alabama

Tim Settle, Virginia Tech

Vita Vea, Washington

Linebackers: Georgia junior Roquan Smith is considered the best linebacker in this year's draft. In three seasons, Smith made 252 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

Jerome Baker, Ohio State

Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tec

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Malik Jefferson, Texas

Roquan Smith, Georgia

Cornerbacks: Iowa's Josh Jackson led the nation with eight interceptions while Ohio State​'s Denzel Ward made 15 pass breakups. Both emerged as potential first-round picks in the process.

Jaire Alexander, Louisville

Carlton Davis, Auburn

Donte Jackson, LSU

Josh Jackson, Iowa

Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Safeties: ​Minkah Fitzpatrick was arguably the best player on Alabama's top-ranked defense. The versatile junior did it all in his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, amassing 171 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, nine interceptions, 24 pass breakups and five sacks.

Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Derwin James, Florida State

Ronnie Harrison, Alabama

Justin Reid, Stanford

Recent Headlines