The best at each position in college football

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With our top 50 big board in the books, here are our positional rankings as the 2017 college football season is about to kick off. For NFL fans looking for players to follow while they watch on Saturday, this list should be a good start.

So without further ado, here we go:


The quarterback class in 2018 is extremely promising and deep as well. The depth is especially noticeable at the top where there are at least three players in the running to be the top pick next year (we’re talking overall), with another six to seven who have plenty of talent to merit a first round selection if all goes well. Obviously, there’s plenty that can go wrong from now until April 2018 with no guarantees, but this will be a truly promising season behind center in college football.

1. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

2. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

3. Sam Darnold, QB, USC

4. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

5. Lamar Jackson, QB/ATH, Louisville

Names worth watching

Luke Falk, QB, Washington State

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

Kyle Allen, QB, Houston

Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State

Austin Allen, QB, Arkansas

Running backs

Repeating the combination of 2017 with Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook is impossible but 2018 isn’t lacking for star power. It’s just the names aren’t quite households name just yet and there are lots of guys who need to prove they can sustain success, or in some cases stay healthy.

The upside in this group is massive but there are few sure things. Expect for the top guy on the list, Barkley should go very high and is a special talent.

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

2. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

3. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama

4. Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

5. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Names worth watching

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

Mark Walton, RB, Miami

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colorado

Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Wide receivers

This is an interesting class as many are tough evaluations coming from spread attacks and running limited route trees, while others are struggling with mediocre quarterback play.

It’s also a group mostly made up of speedsters. The title of best WR in the class is very much up for grabs as the 2017 season will determine a lot. With the abundance of playmakers in this group, there'll certainly be some intrigue throughout the year. The depth here is pretty noticeable too, as many more names could have been featured on this list, including a few local kids. Both Colorado and Colorado State boast really talented receiving cores made up of upperclassmen who could be big risers if they leave their mark in their final season.

1. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

2. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

3. Deon Cain, WR, Clemson

4. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

5. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

Names worth watching 

Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

Dante Pettis, WR, Washington

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Tight ends

The first class that’s significantly weaker than last draft's group is at tight end - which isn’t the worst indictment considering the ridiculous level of talent at the position a season ago. This group is lacking in phenomenal depth and upside but there are still tons of players who’ll be solid pros. The top two have the most interesting potential and with big years could warrant high picks, but mostly it's a workman's class made up of mostly day two picks and beyond.

1. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

2. Mark Andrews, WR/TE, Oklahoma

3. Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin

4. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

5. Adam Breneman, TE, Massachusetts

Names worth watching 

Marcus Baugh, TE, Ohio State

Christopher Herndon IV, TE, Miami

Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford

DeAndre Goolsby, TE/HB, Florida

Offensive tackles

The tackle group is much better than 2017’s group. As we have a legitimate franchise blind side protector in Williams here, and some kids with massive size added to high-level potential. With all that upside there's also some raw talent that'll need to be cultivated and will need to show more consistency this year. But there’s a lot more talent than a year ago, and that’s a good thing.

1. Connor Williams, OT, Texas

2. Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson

3. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

4. Chukwuma Okorafor, LT, Western Michigan

5. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Names worth watching

Trey Adams, OT, Washington

Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

Casey Tucker, OT, Stanford

Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State

Interior offensive line

The interior O-line might not get fans excited but these guys will try as we have some nasty finishers with good movement skills and explosiveness off the snap.

There are a couple players like Smith and Ivey who’ve already put up intriguing tape as guards, but will be asked to play tackle this season and could be big risers if things go well.

The center group isn’t too impressive right now but the guards are fairly intriguing here.

1. Braden Smith, OG/T, Auburn

2. Billy Price, OG, Ohio State

3. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

4. Martez Ivey, OG/T, Florida

5. Mason Cole, OT/C, Michigan

Names worth watching

Damien Prince, OG, Maryland

Cody O’Connell, OG, Washington State

Will Clapp, OG, LSU

Nick Linder, OC, Miami

Bradley Bozeman, OC, Alabama

Interior Defensive Line

We combine your conventional defensive tackles with defensive ends in a three-man front here and this group is really good.

The ACC dominates the top with some stout run defenders who possess great athletic skills. There are also a few guys who show great versatility and are asked to play both end and tackle in school. After that top group, there’s a lot of projection but also lots of high-level upside. This group as a whole could really shape out to be a strength of the class if some of the more talented kids put things all together in 2018. A scary thought.

1. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

2. Kentavius Street, DL, North Carolina State

3. Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State

4. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

5. Rasheem Green, DT, USC

Names worth watching

Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Greg Gaines, NT, Washington

Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Edge rushers

The outside pass rushing position is already a strength of this class with some truly elite talents. There aren’t very many big defenders here, as there are lots of hybrid end-linebacker players but the ability to create pressure on quarterbacks is what’ll make these young men all very rich in due time.

Every guy on this list - including on the watch list - could be selected in round one of next years draft and we wouldn’t blink an eye.

1. Arden Key, EDGE, LSU

2. Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College

3. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

4. Dorance Armstrong Jr., EDGE, Kansas

5. Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State

Names worth watching

Hercules Mata’afa, EDGE, Washington State

Porter Gustin, EDGE, USC

Trevon Young, EDGE, Louisville

Marcell Frazier, DE, Missouri

Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State


One of the more interesting and unique position groups of all here is the linebackers. The list features a perfect mix of cover guys with some talented undersized pass rushers, as well some who could be strong-side backers in a 4-3 or maybe even 3-4 outside linebackers. Athleticism is the common denominator here for all.

All these guys could go all over the place come April depending on how they blossom. There aren’t very many pro-ready guys in this group but lots of intriguing talents that’ll make NFL DCs fall in love with all the raw tools this group has.

1. Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas

2. Rashaan Evans, OLB, Alabama

3. Jerome Baker, WLB, Ohio State

4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB/EDGE, Oklahoma

5. Matthew Thomas, OLB, Florida State

Names worth watching

Marquis Haynes, OLB/EDGE, Ole Miss

Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin

Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech

Shaun Dion Hamilton, WLB, Alabama

Mike McCray, OLB, Michigan


Regional scouts in the southeast will get all the fun it seems this year, as Alabama is loaded with secondary talent and the ACC offers up several more studs. The top two (Alexander and McFadden) should be in the running for picks in the top half of the draft while the rest of the group has lots of upside to rise up into the elite picks.

There are several first round contenders here and don’t sleep on local product Isaiah Oliver, who might be a better athlete than Colorado’s two CBs from last year who are now in the NFL. He also possesses great size and ball skills. This group is loaded, similarly, though not quite as much as last year's group. That’s high praise.

1. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

2. Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State

4. Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech

4. Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama

5. Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma

Names worth watching

Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

Iman Marshall, CB, USC

Deatrick Nichols Jr., CB, USF

Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech


The safety class has a clear divide. The top three is made up of potential high first round picks who have the combination of size and cover skills that make them valuable commodities for the NFL, as they can be moved all around a formation.

After that, there’s a mix of solid if unspectacular defenders and some guys with nice talent and size who need to still put it all together.

It’s not the phenomenal group we saw last April but there’s still plenty of intrigue here.

1. Derwin James, SS, Florida State

2. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

3. Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS/CB, Alabama

4. Mook Reynolds, FS, Virginia Tech

5. Jordan Whitehead, FS, Pittsburgh

Names worth watching

Marcus Allen, FS, Penn State

Quin Blanding, FS, Virginia

Chase Hansen, SS, Utah

Armani Watts, FS, Texas A&M

Steven Parker, FS, Oklahoma

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