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NFL Draft Big Board: A live look at the best receivers in the country in an updated top 50

Andre Simone Avatar
October 13, 2018

It’s time to update our 2019 NFL Draft Big Board after some live scouting and a whole lot of movement on the board through the first half of the college football season.

Following are some notes from a great draft matchup with plenty of prospects from last weekend, Arizona State at Colorado, plus the biggest risers on our board with an eye for prospects that would fit nicely with the Denver Broncos and a new update to our top-50.


The best from 2019 versus 2020’s best

N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Harry was the main attraction in our live scouting trip up to Boulder, and it was clear why as he’s long and has natural hands. What stood out against the Buffs was Harry’s ability to use his body to box-out opposing defensive backs and some underrated skills as a route runner.

With his long 6-foot-4 frame and strong hands, he has a massive catch radius and is a natural at snatching passes away from his body. Early on he terrorized Colorado in one-on-one looks, as he’s just an impossible receiver to match up with.

The most enticing skill he has is his speed and quickness which he’s shown off on special teams this year while returning punts. When he gets the ball he’s a phenom who can shake you out of your cleats and take off for big gains.

Colorado made a point of stopping him in the second half and his impact was limited as the Sun Devils QB, Manny Wilkins, lacks the arm to challenge tight windows, but in spurts Harry’s talent was obvious.

Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Only a true sophomore, Shenault isn’t eligible this year but as a 2020 prospect, he’s becoming a national story and a Heisman contender as he leads the nation in receiving yards per game.

The Buffs phenom is built like a brick house at 6-foot-2 and 22o pounds and he’s simply impossible to bring down in the open field, as he scored four touchdowns against the Sun Devils.

Whether as a receiver or runner, with five designated direct snaps, he was impossible to stop scoring for touchdowns on the day.

Shenault has terrific size and strong hands, if he can develop into a sharper route runner—for now, he runs a pretty basic route-tree—he’ll be unstoppable, or even more unstoppable than he already is.

You’ll seldom see a more dominant runner with the ball in his hands at that size. From my live look, I’ve already got Laviska penciled in as a top-10 prospect in next years draft as potentially the best prospect to come out of the state this millennium. Talk about hype.

Dark horse QB

Steven Montez, QB, Colorado

Colorado’s junior starting quarterback wasn’t the main attraction from a scouting perspective but looked much improved, primarily due to his decision making, as he was smart taking what the defense gave him, striking on deep throws in single coverage and throwing the ball away when nothing was there.

With prototypical size and arm strength added to some eye-popping production this year, Montez has all the tools and is starting to put himself on the draft radar.

Against Arizona State, he showed nice touch on his deep throws and plenty of arm strength while also flashing improved accuracy on short throws.

To take his game to the next level and rise into the national scene as a big-time prospect, Montez must now check off the final box in his development and show his ability to work off his secondary reads—he’s mostly operating off-his first read right now—and show accuracy in tight windows.

If he can do that in the next two months, expect his stock to rise significantly. Regardless, he’s certainly become an intriguing QB to follow from a draft perspective.

Other notable performances

Casey Tucker, OG, Arizona State and Drew Lewis, LB, Colorado

Tucker is a former five-star recruit who’s a graduate transfer from Stanford where he played as an offensive tackle. The Sun Devils have moved him to left guard and he seems to be thriving, as he was devastating blocking for the run, regularly pulverizing defenders and getting to the second level with ease.

Tucker is a power blocker with great size who can be in the top 100 pick conversation now that he’s showing some enticing skills as a guard. In the right system, he can be a nice draft prospect.

Lewis, on the other hand, is a scrappy undersized linebacker who’s a jack of all trades and has benefitted greatly with a move to outside linebacker this year. He’s a terrific blitzer, doesn’t back down from blockers, and a good athlete with a nose for the ball who made a ton of plays in the game.

He’s undersized at only 220 pounds but makes up for it with his tenacity and instincts. If he can continue to show off his versatility and mobility he should catch the NFL’s eye as well.

Big Board update

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon & Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Maybe the most noteworthy riser on our board is Herbert, who’s taken our preseason quarterback rankings and created clear separation from the pack, as he’s elevated his game while others have fallen off.

Oregon’s quarterback has always had the natural gifts but he’s now flashing an NFL arm in tight windows, as he’s played his best in his last two starts showing improved poise, timing, and accuracy.

A good athlete with plenty of size and arm talent, Herbert’s starting to put things together, letting the ball out quicker, scanning the entire field, and showing a nice combination of touch and zip.

Given the lack of other high-end prospects behind center, Herbert’s a serious candidate to be drafted first overall and is our most prominent riser on our board in this second version—he’s now 10th on our board.

More than rising up the board, Ohio State’s first-year starter Haskins has burst onto the scene with some outrageous numbers and promising accuracy in the Buckeyes quick-hitting spread system.

He has the size and arm talent but still hasn’t shown too many throws in tight windows or off his secondary reads, and likely would benefit from going back to school. However, given the lack of talent at QB after Herbert, Haskins could easily capitalize on a weak class and declare early where it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get overdraft based on need and upside.

If he can show more on tape, especially under pressure, as OSU’s schedule will have premier matchups coming up, his stock could skyrocket. 

Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama

Thompson was only a part-time starter in the Tide’s crowded defensive backfield in 2017 and showed flashes of outrageous talent in the college football playoffs last year. In a full-time role, he’s taken off showing rare range in coverage, athleticism to fly downhill, and promising ball skills as he can jump out the building.

Thompson already has two interceptions and five pass breakups this year and he’s a big help against the run game as well. He projects as a complete defender with game-changing ability as a single-high safety, a rare commodity in today’s NFL.

For defenses built to replicate Seattle’s Cover-3, he’ll be a hot commodity and looks firmly in the top-15 conversation right now.

Yodney Cajuste, LT, West Virginia

Always a personal favorite, Cajuste is big and athletic and has had a nice first half of the season in an explosive, fast-paced offense.

His upside is tremendous and he’s become a real contender to be the first or second tackle taken in a very strong 2019 draft class. It’ll be interesting to see how the still-raw blocker fairs as the conference schedule intensifies but so far he’s shown nice improvements and has endless talent as a blindside protector.

Like Thompson, Cajuste looks well on his way to go in the top-15 picks in next year’s draft.

Scary DL talent

The strength of this draft class is in the defensive trenches with five of our top seven ranked players on the d-line and 21 in our top 50. That’s an outrageous number.

Strengthening the class we’ve seen several edge rushers and interior lineman rise up the board so far with a few standouts.

Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery has great length and has been a terror penetrating inside as he leads a phenomenal Irish defense. Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat has an electric first step and has been special this season too, wrecking havoc in opposing backfields, while Florida’s Jachai Polite has produced a ton on a deep Gators line and seems to only be scratching the surface with an elite combination of length, bend, and first step explosiveness.

Others like Miami’s Gerald Williams III have also risen up the board in what projects to be an otherworldly group up front.

Good thing the offensive line class is better than it’s been in years past because this injection of defensive talent will only make things harder for the big uglies trying to keep quarterbacks clean.

Top-50 Big Board

1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

2. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

3. Andraez ‘Greedy’ Williams, CB, LSU

4. Devin White, LB, LSU

5. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

6. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

7. Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

8. Jonah Williams, LT, Alabama

9. Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama

10. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

11. Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

12. Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

13. Zach Allen, DL/DE, Boston College

14. Yodny Cajuste, LT, West Virginia

15. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

16. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

17. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

18. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

19. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

20. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

21. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

22. Joe Jackson, EDGE, Miami

23. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

24. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

25. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

26. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

27. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

28. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

29. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

30. Austin Bryant, EDGE, Clemson

31. David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

32. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

33. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

34. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

35. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

36. Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

37. Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma

38. Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon

39. Marvell Tell III, FS, USC

40. David Sills, WR, West Virginia

41. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

42. Deebo  Samuel, WR, South Carolina

43. Taylor Rapp, SS, Washington

44. Johnathan Abram, SS, Mississippi State

45. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

46. Gerald Williams III, DT, Miami

47. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

48. Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

49. Te’von Coney, ILB, Notre Dame

50. Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford

Just missed the cut

Elgton Jenkins, OC, Mississippi State

Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

Anfernee Jennings, OLB, Alabama

Devin Bush, OLB, Michigan

Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA

Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan

Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn

Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri


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