It’s 2018, not 2008 or 1998 or 1988. The NFL is a passing league; wide receivers are up, running backs are down and Adrian Peterson ain’t walkin’ through that door.
However, in the 2018 NFL Draft, more running backs (three) were picked in the first round Thursday night than wide receivers (two). The only wide receivers were taken within three picks of each other near the bottom of the round with the Panthers drafting DJ Moore at No. 24 and the Falcons drafting Calvin Ridley at No. 26. And one of the three running Cheap Authentic NHL Jerseys backs was taken by… the Patriots.
The Panthers didn’t really know if either Moore or Ridley would still be available at No. 24; they Cheap Blackhawks Jerseys were both available. Carolina took Moore, largely because it absolutely needed him.
However, so did teams drafting as high as 16, where the Ravens’ original pick was. The Ravens traded down twice instead and came away with a tight end (Hayden Hurst) and a quarterback (Lamar Jackson) in the first round. The Bills ended up with that No. 16 pick, and passed on WR. The Cowboys at 19 did, too. The Titans traded up to 22… and also passed.
Below are my final Big Board and final position rankings for the class of 2018. I’m putting final in quotation marks because I’ll be making a few tweaks up until the draft begins (Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN app, in case you were wondering). I’ll be talking to more sources and adjusting my rankings based on what I hear. And remember, my Big Board is not a prediction of where prospects will be drafted, only where I have them ranked.
Notable: My Big Board goes to 300 prospects, and my position rankings cover more than 700. But it’s important to note that the cutoff for undrafted free agents starts around 35 for positions like wide receiver. That means approximately 90 wide receivers have grades that are nearly identical. In short: Players ranked from 150 to 250 on my board are similar. It’s splitting hairs.
Barkley is the best prospect in this draft. His testing numbers at the combine — 4.40 40-yard dash and 41-inch vertical — were elite at any size, much less a 6-foot, 233-pound back. Barkley plays with tremendous balance, a great lower body and quick feet. He’s a stellar runner both inside and outside the tackles, and he showed in 2017 that he’s a true three-down back. He had 54 catches after having 48 combined in his first two seasons at Penn State. Barkley is a special talent.