Thomas Boyd/Associated Press
The three questions I get asked most often on Twitter are:
- 1) Are you on drugs!!?!?!?!
- 2) When are you updating your mock draft?
- 3) When are you updating your rankings?
Good news, friends. Today, I’m updating my rankings. On Tuesday morning, you’ll get a fresh Round 1 mock draft.
What goes into updating a big board? A lot.
Yes, it’s a mostly subjective ranking of players, but there is a lot of opinion-checking by talking to sources around the league. I am a one-man team, whereas most NFL teams have 15-plus scouts working on finding talented prospects. It would be foolish to ignore their opinions and trust only my own at this time of year.
After compiling my own list of 32 or more players, I fire it off to scouts and agents to ask who’s missing and who’s too high, but also to better get a feel for who to watch next.
This end-of-September board is far from a complete picture of how the 2019 draft class will look, but it’s a foundation toward an eventual board that will have over 400 players with full scouting reports and grades.
Let’s get into it.
One of my favorite things to do is divide the board into tiers. The top tier is for the best players, and like a pyramid, it should be smallest at the top. Below that is the middle of the top 32, with a solid group of good players. And finally, the base, which is the widest and features the most players.
Here’s how I see this year’s class breaking down.
1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
2. Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
3. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
4. Devin White, LB, LSU
5. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
6. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
7. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
8. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
9. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
10. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
11. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
12. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
13. Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
14. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
15. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
16. David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
17. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
18. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
19. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
20. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
21. Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
Gerry Broome/Associated Press
22. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
23. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
24. Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State
25. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
26. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion
27. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
28. Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky
29. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
30. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
31. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
32. Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
What else is happening this week?
- NFL draft prospect stock watch
- Rumors from around the NFL and NCAA
- Stick to Football podcast Tailgate Tour details
- Parting shots
—Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, a senior with his degree, announced this week he would transfer from the program after losing his job to freshman Trevor Lawrence. A source within the program told me Bryant was recently asked about switching positions to allow Lawrence to get on the field.
Sam Craft/Associated Press
Bryant, who started every game for Clemson last season at quarterback, opted not to change positions and has left the program. My evaluation on Bryant has always been as a non-quarterback with a likely change to wide receiver, a la Terrelle Pryor. NFL scouts also agree, per conversations with multiple sources this week.
—Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is one of the best players in the nation and has the traits of a future first-rounder. However, scouts cautioned this week that Simmons’ off-field concerns could torpedo his stock. Simmons was captured on video striking a woman before his time in Starkville. One scout went so far as to say “he won’t even be on the board for us.” As with others before him (such as Joe Mixon), it only takes one team to decide to draft Simmons. He could still be a first-rounder come April.
—Three weeks ago, Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill appeared as a “Stock Up” player in this column. He’s now looking for a new football home after Hokies dismissed him following their loss to Old Dominion. School officials issued a release saying Hill was dismissed “for not upholding the high standards that we have for our student-athletes at Virginia Tech.” Hill, a redshirt junior, has not made his future plans known.
—Top overall prospect Nick Bosa will be re-evaluated in November, his father told Ari Wasserman of The Athletic. Bosa underwent surgery for what was called a core muscle injury but is being called a sports hernia in scouting circles. No team polled about Bosa’s stock believed this injury or rehab would affect his status as the top player in the class.
Stock Up: Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert
In a losing effort against Stanford, Herbert solidified his status as the best quarterback prospect in the 2019 class. He’s accurate, athletic and has the size and strength teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback prospect. Herbert always looked like a bigger Jared Goff on tape, but his play this season resembles a bigger, more athletic Marcus Mariota. He’s the favorite to be the first quarterback drafted in April.
Stock Down: Missouri Quarterback Drew Lock
Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Lock and the Mizzou Tigers lost to Georgia last week in a game that highlighted some of the same issues that continue to pop up when discussing Lock as a prospect. He is a good athlete and does have a big arm, but his mechanics are wild (too many back-foot, fadeaway throws) and he isn’t overly accurate. Those who like traits over production will still see a lot to work with in Lock, but he’s a fringe Round 1 player.
Stock Up: Georgia Cornerback Deandre Baker
In the same game that exposed some of Lock’s issues, Deandre Baker once again showed he deserves to be in the conversation as a Round 1 player. He is smooth and smart in coverage, but he’s also tough and instinctive all over the field. His tackling skills and effort are some of the best in the 2019 secondary class.
Stock Down: Ole Miss Tackle Greg Little
The 2019 offensive tackle class was incorrectly billed as a top-heavy group, with three potential top-10 picks. One of those, Jonah Williams, is still up there. Two others, Washington’s Trey Adams (injury) and Little, have seen their stock drop. Little struggles with leverage and doesn’t show the twitch or agility to be a left tackle without reworking his technique. That pushes him outside of the top 20.
7. Will Earl Thomas be traded? No sources would go on record with an answer, but off the record, many believe it will happen before the NFL’s Oct. 30 trade deadline.
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
The reason, as one front office executive put it: “The Seahawks will eventually realize it’s better to get something for him than letting him walk in free agency and getting nothing.”
6. During Urban Meyer’s three-game suspension to start the season, many in the football industry came to admire interim head coach Ryan Day. Now there is a belief that Day will be offered a serious Power Five job after the season. Said one football operations executive at a major university: “The only way Ryan doesn’t get a job is if he’s the head coach at Ohio State next year. And I think that’s very possible.”
Day’s name was recently floated in NFL circles as an offensive coordinator candidate. Now it looks like he’ll get a bigger job.
5. It’s far too early to be talking about these players as NFL draft prospects, but as evaluators, we like to lay claim to prospects as early as possible. Go ahead and put Texas freshman safety Caden Sterns and Clemson sophomore receiver Tee Higgins on my team.
Sterns looks like Jamal Adams with more range. He’s the heart-and-soul of the Texas secondary as a true freshman. For Higgins, wait to see how his game takes off with Trevor Lawrence under center. Both players are future first-rounders.
4. Game balls for Week 4 of college football:
- Blake LaRussa, QB, Old Dominion: 30-of-49, 495 yards, 4 TD
- Jordan Ta’amu, QB, Ole Miss: 28-of-38, 442 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
- Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State: 22 carries, 200 yards, 3 TD
- J.J. Taylor, RB, Arizona: 27 carries, 284 yards, 2 TD
- Benny Snell Jr., RB, Kentucky: 25 carries, 165 yards, 4 TD
- Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon: 14 catches, 239 yards
3. Here are the college games you’ll want to scout this weekend:
- Syracuse @ No. 3 Clemson
- No. 12 West Virginia @ No. 25 Texas Tech
- No. 4 Ohio State @ No. 9 Penn State
- No. 7 Stanford @ No. 8 Notre Dame
- No. 19 Oregon @ No. 24 California
2. The Stick to Football Tailgate Tour continues this weekend from TCU, where we’re hosting our biggest tailgate yet before the Iowa State game. If you’re in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and want to check it out, details are on our Twitter page.
1. Stick to Football talks first- and second-year quarterbacks and stock up/down for the 2019 draft class this week, and we updated our top 25 college rankings on the Friday morning show. Check it out and subscribe if you haven’t already. We will also post a ton of behind-the-scenes content on our Instagram page.
Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.