In the past at NFL Draft Geek we’ve done various College Football Previews leading up to the start of the season. Instead of doing team previews and doing more college football analysis, we’ve gone back to what we do best which is highlighting prospects for the upcoming draft. Listed below are our thoughts on the ACC Prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft and the 20 best prospects within the conference.
Over the past couple of years the talent level that has come out of the ACC has continued to go up and even rivaled that of the SEC. Don’t look for that to change once again as this year’s ACC class is loaded with three top 10 prospects and all but one of their top 20 prospects come from our Top 100 (as of this writing).
Defense reigns supreme in the ACC and that starts right at the top with Florida State’s cornerback Tavarus McFadden. At 6’2 McFadden profiles as a press man corner which he does well using his speed and length to cover receivers but he’s much more than that. McFadden also has the quickness and reaction skills needed to play both off and zone coverage showing the ability to be a shut down corner. Jaire Alexander is the other top cornerback in this class and he thrives with fluid quick hips and explosive speed. Alexander uses that quick twitch ability to stick with receivers in and out of breaks and has gotten some Vernon Hargreaves comparisons.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 20, 2017
If there is one dominates these rankings it is defensive end where there is five edge rushers in the top 11. Harold Landry is the top guy who is blessed with explosive speed of the edge and the flexibility to bend the edge attacking and finishing sacks. Clelin Ferrell got plenty of attention during the college football playoff living in opponents backfields and at 6’5 he’s tough to mix. Clemson has pumped out edge pass rushers the past couple of years and if Ferrell can develop his technique to go with his athletic ability, he has top 10 overall potential. Outside of those two Josh Sweat is a former number one overall high school prospect while the duo of Chubb and Street gives the Wolfpack a fearsome tandem that should scare opposing tackles.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 6, 2017
Expect a big year out of Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins who should blow up when he’s able to play inside fulltime. Wilkins had to play end because of injuries and played well, but his quickness and strength translate better inside at his natural position where he can beat up on offensive guards. Outside of Wilkins there is more talent at tackle where Florida State has two talented run stuffers in Nnadi and Christmas along with Miami’s Kendrick Norton who can be a force in the middle disrupting the run and showing the ability to create penetration.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 14, 2017
Keep an eye on Derwin James who is getting a ton of praise and even being considered the best college football player in the country but he still needs to prove more to me on film. James is a freak athlete, but needs to show more coverage skills in 2017 after missing practically all of last year with an injury.
Offensive isn’t a deeply talented as in past years but there is still some ballers out there. Mitch Hyatt will be entering his third year as the left tackle for the Clemson Tigers. Hyatt needs to clean up some technique and balance issues but with his lateral quickness he has elite potential. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is fun to watch and an explosive playmaker but is still raw as a passer needing to show progress if he wants to be consider to be a first round quarterback prospect. At running back Miami’s Mark Walton is a smooth runner who can make quick cuts and elude defenders.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 3, 2017
Here are the top 20 prospects in for the 2018 NFL Draft in the ACC Conference.
1. Tavarus McFadden CB Florida State
2. Christian Wilkins DT Clemson
3. Harold Landry DE Boston College
4. Clelin Ferrell DE Clemson
5. Jaire Alexander CB Louisville
6. Josh Sweat DE Florida State
7. Derwin James SS Florida State
8. Bradley Chubb DE North Carolina State
9. Mitch Hyatt LT Clemson
10. Mark Walton RB Miami
11. Kentavius Street DE North Carolina State
12. Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
13. Derrick Nnadi DT Florida State
14. Kendrick Norton DT Miami
15. Deon Cain WR Clemson
16. Jordan Whitehead S Pittsburgh
17. Wyatt Teller LG Virginia Tech
18. Quin Blanding S Virginia
19. Demarcus Christmas DT Florida State
20. Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest