Top 2018 NFL Draft Defensive Back Prospects
1: Derwin James, FSU - James is a freak athlete that is this year’s version of Jabrill Peppers. He’s an in the box safety in the NFL but he has the elite athleticism to shut down tight ends from the safety spot, which is rare. I expect him to be the first defensive back off the board and a top ten selection.
2: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama - Fitzpatrick is this years best cover safety and could probably log some minutes in the NFL as a cornerback, although not a very good one. His versatility and athletic ability will attract teams to him and he should easily be a top 15 selection.
3: Jordan Whitehead, Pitt - Whitehead isn’t the same prospect he was coming into this year but hs is still very good. He has the ability to play either safety spot in a variety of schemes and should be capable of starting early. Top 45 selection.
4: Stephen Roberts, Auburn - Roberts has come out of nowhere this season in the eyes of many NFL talent evaluators. A converted cornerback prospect, Roberts always had good range but this season he has really started solidifying his upfield game and is looking like a more complete safety. He should be selected in the second round.
5: Ronnie Harrison, Alabama - Harrison is a popular selection in Mock Drafts at the moment but that is more an indication of ALabama’s recent success in the NFl draft. Harrison is a very good strong safety prospect and should start immediately. He is limited in scheme, however, and is unlikely to be selected in the top 30 selections but he should be off the board by the middle of the second round.
1: Denzel Ward, Ohio State - What he lacks in prototypical size, Ward more than makes up for with athleticism and consistency. His tape is every bit as good as Latimore and Conley’s tape from 2017. He should be the first cornerback drafted and a top 15 selection.
2: Brandon Oliver, Colorado - Oliver is the best player you’ve never heard of, most likely. He is a true shutdown corner who is also capable of playing against the run. When I watched him live he really popped and stood out for the entire game. Like Ward, his tape is as clean as the two highly drafted Buffalo cornerbacks from a year ago, and I expect him to go in the top 25.
3: Carlton Davis, Auburn - A powerful cornerback that is suited for several systems, Davis has the size and speed to stay with larger receivers across the field and the recognition to make plays in zone. A fearless tackler and big hitter, defensive coaches will fall in love with Davis. He’s a top 30 selection.
4: Kevin Toliver, LSU - Tolliver might be the best cover cornerback in this class, but he’s a tad shorter than his counterparts, save Ward. He’s more of a cover man than a run stopper but he can start from day 1 and should be a first round selection.
5: Jaire Alexander, Louisville - Highly ranked coming into this season Alexander has had his ups and downs and has probably stabilized to his proper ranking in the eyes of scouts. Though he could still rise he is still a developmental prospect in some ways. He should be a top 40 selection.