Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.

Or, at least, that’s what it usually is. But, this week, since it’s draft week, we’re going to do things a little bit different.

In this week’s Cover 3, I’m giving you all my final “Big Board” plus all of my positional rankings for the 2018 NFL Draft. As some of you may know, not only do I cover the Buccaneers for Pewter Report year-round, but I also host an NFL Draft podcast five days a week, 52 weeks out of the year. This draft stuff isn’t just something I study because it’s an element of my Buccaneers coverage — although that is certainly part of it. Researching, evaluating and enjoying the journey these kids go on from being college students to professionals in their field of football is something I really do love, and is actually how I got my start in this business.

This week truly is a second Christmas week to me. Later this weekend we’ll finally get some clarity on the speculation we’ve been reading about and determining for ourselves for the past four months — and even beyond that for those crazy enough to care about the draft year-round. It’s a weekend full of “Oh my gosh, there’s no way they just did that,” and of course some “I told you so” phrases from all who pay attention. We here at Pewter Report will be doing a live streaming videocast for all three days of the draft, so you can be sure to hear some of those and more from us as the draft unfolds.

Below is my final big board of the Top 100 players in this draft class, in order, based on the talent of the individual. Now, did I get to all 1,000 eligible prospects? Of course not. But, I did my best to get to as many of the players I believed will have an impact on the league for foreseeable future. This is not Bucs-specific, but it certainly can be used as a baseline to judge which players were good choices (from my point of view) if they become Buccaneers. In addition to my Top 100, on the next two pages I also have my positional rankings with some commentary on a few of the highlights from that positional group. Fit does matter for some of these players, and i’ll explain that a bit as we go through each position.

So, picture this as me throwing off the curtain. Here’s my Top 100 players in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Big Board: Top 100

  1. Quenton Nelson, OG, Note Dame
  2. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  3. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  4. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  5. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  6. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
  7. Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College
  8. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  9. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  10. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  11. Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
  12. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  13. Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
  14. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
  15. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
  16. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
  17. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
  18. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  19. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
  20. Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
  21. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
  22. Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
  23. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
  24. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  25. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
  26. Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
  27. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
  28. Ronald Jones, RB, USC
  29. Connor Williams, OT, Texas
  30. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
  31. Billy Price, C, Ohio State
  32. Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
  33. Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  34. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
  35. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
  36. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
  37. Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
  38. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
  39. Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
  40. James Daniels, C, Iowa
  41. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
  42. Fred Warner, LB, BYU
  43. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
  44. Austin Corbett, OG, Nevada
  45. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  46. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
  47. D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
  48. Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia
  49. Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
  50. Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
  51. Kemoko Turay, DE/OLB, Rutgers
  52. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
  53. Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
  54. John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
  55. Tyrell Crosby, OG, Oregon
  56. Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
  57. Kyzir White, S, WVU
  58. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
  59. Jalyn Holmes, DT, Ohio State
  60. Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
  61. Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
  62. Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
  63. Genard Avery, DE/OLB, Memphis
  64. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
  65. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
  66. Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
  67. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
  68. DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
  69. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
  70. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  71. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
  72. Brian Allen, C, Michigan State
  73. Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
  74. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
  75. Deshon Elliott, S Texas
  76. Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
  77. Kentavius Street, DE, N.C. State
  78. Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
  79. Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
  80. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
  81. Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
  82. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
  83. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
  84. Braden Smith, OG, Auburn
  85. Mark Walton, RB, Miami
  86. Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
  87. Andrew Brown, DT, Virginia
  88. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
  89. Foley Fatukasi, DT, Uconn
  90. Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
  91. Arden Key, DE, LSU
  92. M.J. Stewart, CB, UNC
  93. Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
  94. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
  95. Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
  96. Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
  97. Nyheim Hines, RB, N.C. State
  98. Brian O’Niell, OT, Pittsburgh
  99. B.J. Hill, DT, N.C. State
  100. Auden Tate, WR, Florida State

The strongest position groups in the draft are interior offensive tackle, running back and linebacker. I also found myself really liking some of the safety players in this class, too – didn’t expect that as much.

Click to the next page to see me breakdown each position.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Cody
3 years ago

Literally been waiting all day for this. Can’t wait to read it. #Blessed

FLBoy84
3 years ago

Great stuff Trevor. Thanks for all the time and effort you put in, it really shows in your analysis. You already have the signature hair, Kiper may need to watch out.

Schwifty9
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
3 years ago

Can’t understand why you would want that honestly. Unless you want to be the new king of the hack frauds.

TBAtlas
3 years ago

Quite a lot of work here, cool. Don’t forget to keep a recording of Day 3 this year! I wanted to hear some of Riley’s insights last year but was sad I couldn’t find it on Pewter Report’s videos on youtube :(

Pepsi
3 years ago

ah so im not the only one thinking that if Barkley is an option at 7, then Guice would be as well..

BadgerW4
3 years ago

Not to belabor the point, Trev, but what time is the youtube stream starting tomorrow? Want to be sure to catch all of the good times with you and Scott, and of course the grumpiness of Mark.

jerseybucsfan
3 years ago

Tremendous piece of work!

vtrantb
3 years ago

Trevor, Can you help me understand the minds behind some of these GMs? Why would a team like the Jets trade away a fortune to draft an unproven QB talent when they could have gotten a Garapollo for a 2nd round pick? So could the Bills and Dolphins. Worse yet why would the Patriots consider trading up and give at least 2 first round picks to replace Garapollo when they already had Brady’s future replacement? Essentially giving up at least 2 first rounders for a second rounder from the 49ers? What I’m I missing here? No one in the media… Read more »

vtrantb
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
3 years ago

All I can say is John Lynch is a genius. He stole Garapollo from the Pats. I would take a guy that has been around Brady and under the tutelage of Belichek than any unproven rookie in the draft given the high failure rate.

SaskBucs
Reply to  vtrantb
3 years ago

First of all, no way Belichick trades Jimmy G to any AFC team, let alone the Jets! A tough division in the NFC out west makes sense to the NE brass I’m sure.

Second of all, the QB market being what it is, the Pats couldn’t afford him for much longer.

Third of all, …I am out of alls but those reasons are enough and you are right about it being a great trade by Lynch for the 49ers.

Dean Olson
3 years ago

Been a big fan of the LoND podcast since last year, you and Jon are doing some great stuff and getting into a great rhythm, keep it up. Truly appreciate the content you guys put out there for us each and every day. Couple questions on the board: 1) How much do you and Jon influence one another in your evaluations? Curious just because you have a lot of similarities (Guice, Barkley, Landry, Rosen) that aren’t as common elsewhere. Obviously, you have big differences, too (Shepherd and Griffin) but curious whether doing the podcast together has an impact on your… Read more »

Pete Wood
3 years ago

If this ranking is right, then everybody is seriously overvaluing Barkley and undervaluing the other Chubb. I hope this ranking is right and I hope nobody uses it but Bucs.

Getting the second best RB in the draft in the second round? I can live with that.

Pete Wood
Reply to  Pete Wood
3 years ago

Yikes! Guice is ranked number one. Missed that. Wow.

Wausa
3 years ago

Very well written and strong analysis Trevor. I really enjoyed your article and I can tell you put a ton of work into it.

fredster
3 years ago

Vtrantb I think its money/salary cap issue. They won’t have to pay even first rd pick 27 million per year right away or sign to almost 150M deal like Garapollo got.

MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
3 years ago

Great work Trevor. I really, really want Shaquem Griffin on the Buccaneers.

flashgordon
3 years ago

I just checked out Will Hernandez for the first time(up to now the only positions I’ve explored thouroughly for this years draft are Dt/De/Hb). I see Will beating Vea and the other Dt’s.

I don’t see Saquan as a once in a generation talent. . . there was a recent interesting argument for a Cb in Isaia Oliver; but, I’d still prioritize O and Dline where we can.

e
e
3 years ago

Be careful, Trev… You would end up over at One Buc Place as Mini-Meathead. I wonder how you can Scott differ in your evaluations?

geno711
3 years ago

Trevor I am with you on love for receiver Anthony Miller.

So here are some interesting numbers:
5/21/96 Allen
4/14/95 Mayfield
2/10/97 Rosen
7/17/95 Rudolph
6/5/97 Darnold
1/17/97 Jackson

So 3 of these 6 QB’s will be younger than Jameis when comparing their age at the time they were drafted. Do we give Rosen the most break because he is the youngest?

vtrantb
3 years ago

All I can say is John Lynch is a genius. He stole Garapollo from the Pats. I would take a guy that has been around Brady and under the tutelage of Belichek than any unproven rookie in the draft given the high failure rate.

Devasher
3 years ago

Trevor, I agree with your elevated values on Harold Landry and Rosen but I find it interesting that you have Derwin James as high as 4th overall. With a value like that for a SS you’re pegging him to be the next Ronnie Lott, and I’m pretty sure Lott, the guy who had a finger cut off rather than miss a game wouldn’t have skipped his final college bowl game, pro day drills and a workout prior to the NFL Draft. Lott also didn’t lose 6 games in his USC career total, let alone in one season. I’m pretty sure… Read more »

plopes808
3 years ago

Another great read Trev! Thanks for putting in the work for us. No matter what we do tomorrow, it seems we almost can’t go wrong. Our positions of need all seem to be pretty stacked this draft. I also look forward to rereading this article after Saturday to get a good idea of what we’ve added.