Most draft seasons I’ll have at least a top 200 big board for you by draft day, but I’ve got a little perfectionist in me, and it didn’t feel right to rank players out to 200 without having properly studied all the prospects that would have been included. Being hired in February meant a little bit of a late start for me on studying this class, but next year you can expect all of this draft content to be ramped up to another level.

A couple things that are important to note about my grading process and my Top 150 Big Board so you don’t start your weekend overly triggered (maybe you still will):

• I model my grading scale after the approach of NFL teams, which means it is stingy. Most NFL teams have less first-round grades and smaller overall boards than those you see in the media. I’m not one of those analysts who will have 25 first-round grades and 40 second-round grades. The reality is that most players who attempt to make it in the NFL will not, and many that we project to be among the best at their position never get there. We all wish it wasn’t so, but that doesn’t stop it from being a reality.

As a result, my grading scale is pretty strict. Here’s the breakdown and color coded key:

Can’t Miss Grades – BLUE – Prospects that I believe will be among the very best at their position group by their third year in the NFL.

First-Round Grades GREEN – Prospects that I believe will be excellent starters in the NFL.

Second-Round Grades Purple – Prospects that I believe will range from very good-to-good starters in the NFL.

Third-Round Grades – GOLD – Solid starters, sometimes with significant upside that has yet to manifest itself consistently on the field, who will at their floor be important role players in the NFL.

Fourth-Fifth-Round Grades – RED – Grades range from Spot starters/solid role players at their ceiling (4th) to backups/special teams value (5th) in the NFL.

• My board does NOT account for positional value at all, other than obviously excluding kickers, punters and long snappers because I don’t know how to scout them. For example, I have five running backs with a second-round grade in this class, but I probably wouldn’t ever take a running back until later in the draft unless he was a Round 1-caliber, dynamic space player and receiver.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Oregon QB Justin Herbert – Photo by: Getty Images

So although a quarterback like Oregon’s Justin Herbert may be further down this board than most, it just means I think he’ll be a solid starter in the NFL (third-round grade definition), not that I wouldn’t take him until Round 3 as a team because quarterbacks have a higher positional value. A solid starter at quarterback is obviously worth way more than a great starting running back. My Big Board just doesn’t account for that because I’m not an NFL team and I don’t need to stack my board like one. So read between the lines there.

Also, every year the majority of my grades fall in the third-fourth round range. It’s important to understand realities with these prospects, and that is that most of them range from “solid starters to backup/special teams” caliber players during the course of their careers. Very few venture into the “good-to-very good starter” territory, and even fewer into the “elite” territory, so it’s important to me to make sure my grades reflect that. I’m not into spraying and praying and giving half the class a first or second round grade.

Now you are free to hate on me from a place of understanding – rather than ignorance. Enjoy!

  1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
  2. Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
  3. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
  4. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
  5. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
  6. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
  7. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
  8. Isaiah Simmons, Avenger, Clemson
  9. Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
  10. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
  11. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
  12. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
  13. Ashtyn Davis, S, California
  14. Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
  15. Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
  16. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
  17. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
  18. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
  19. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
  20. Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
  21. A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
  22. Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
  23. Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
  24. Michael Pittman, WR, USC
  25. Antoine Winfield, S, MInnesota
  26. Josh Jones, OT, Houston
  27. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
  28. K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
  29. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, AZ State
  30. Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
  31. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
  32. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
  33. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
  34. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
  35. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
  36. Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
  37. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
  38. Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
  39. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
  40. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
  41. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
  42. Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
  43. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
  44. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  45. Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU
  46. Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
  47. Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
  48. Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
  49. K’Von Wallace, CB, Clemson
  50. Josh Uche, LB/EDGE, Michigan
  51. Marlon Davidson, IDL, Auburn
  52. Lloyd Cushenberry, IOL, LSU
  53. Zack Moss, RB, Utah
  54. Robert Hunt, IOL, Louisiana-Lafayette
  55. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
  56. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
  57. Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
  58. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
  59. Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, App St
  60. Jordan Elliott, IDL, Missouri
  61. Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
  62. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  63. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
  64. Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis
  65. Ben Bredeson, IOL, Michigan
  66. Damien Lewis, IOL, LSU
  67. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
  68. Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
  69. Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
  70. Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
  71. Willie Gay, LB, Mississippi St
  72. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
  73. Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
  74. Jonah Jackson, IOL, Ohio State
  75. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
  76. Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
  77. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
  78. Brandon Jones, S, Texas
  79. Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
  80. Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi St
  81. Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
  82. Amik Robertson, CB, LA Tech
  83. Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue
  84. Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA
  85. Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
  86. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
  87. Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State
  88. Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
  89. Michael Onwenu, IOL, Michigan
  90. Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
  91. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
  92. Geno Stone, S, Iowa
  93. Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
  94. Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
  95. Davon Hamilton, IDL, Ohio State
  96. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  97. Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
  98. Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
  99. Julian Blackmon, S, Utah
  100. L’Jarius Sneed, CB, LA Tech
  101. Austin Jackson, OT, USC
  102. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
  103. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
  104. Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
  105. Ben Bartch, IOL, Saint Johns
  106. John Reid, CB, Penn State
  107. Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  108. Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
  109. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
  110. Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky
  111. Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
  112. McTelvin Agim, IDL, Arkansas
  113. John Hightower, WR, Boise State
  114. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
  115. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
  116. Matt Peart, OT, UCONN
  117. J.J. Taylor, RB, Arizona
  118. Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU
  119. Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
  120. Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
  121. Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
  122. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
  123. Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
  124. Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State
  125. Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
  126. Kenny Robinson, S, WVU
  127. Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
  128. Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
  129. Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
  130. Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech
  131. Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
  132. Dane Jackson, CB, Pitt
  133. Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
  134. Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State
  135. Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
  136. Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
  137. Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
  138. Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island
  139. Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
  140. Jason Strowbridge, IDL, UNC
  141. Rashard Lawrence, IDL, LSU
  142. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
  143. Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
  144. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
  145. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt
  146. James Lynch, IDL, Baylor
  147. Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
  148. Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
  149. John Simpson, IOL, Clemson
  150. Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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1 year ago

I would move Jeudy up to the Can’t Miss category. Great Route Runners rarely fail.
Derrick Brown should be GREEN. Unless his work ethic is poor, he will warrant a 1st round grade as he is today, plus he has room to grow. His upside is Jerome Brown or Gerald McCoy type of player.

1 year ago

jon, thanks for awesome insight, love all your articles, clearly a stud at your analytics. I played at UD, as OLB in mid 80’s when we beat Temple at UD, and Coach Bowles told of the story when BA made them practice Sunday morning after losing to us. (Rich GANNON was our QB and unbelievable QB in college). BA commented: “If you can’t play on Saturday then will practice/play on Sunday”. Anyway, would love your insight or article/comments on GM and Coaches actual philosophy and your experience on NFL teams drafting in regards to actually taking best player available over… Read more »

1 year ago

Pretty good list, the only exception is that I would have rated Isaiah Simmons as a blue chip prospect, I think he will have an excellent NFL Career if he is put at one position and gets to shine. However, he might be the kind of player you can use an 3 different positions like in College where he excelled. Love for him to drop to 14 but I don’t see it unless we move up for him, which I doubt.

1 year ago

Solid list, and I’m nitpicking, but I’d have Thomas as a Green. I can’t see him as a purple. I think he has the highest floor of all the tackles

1 year ago

Did a couple of Mocks with your list. First, list BPA 14- Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama 45- Ashtyn Davis, S, California 76- Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina 117- Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota 161- Geno Stone, S, Iowa (did not make it this far in the next mock) 194- Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty 241- No one Whoa, way too many WRs Mock 2 – I did not draft a WR since too many went in Mock 1 14- Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina 45- Ashtyn Davis, S, California 76- Terrell Burgess, S, Utah 117- Zack Moss, RB, Utah 161- John Reid,… Read more »

1 year ago

I’ve come to respect your opinion on Jedrick Wills being the best OT by watching more of his games. He’s great at handling everything teams have thrown at him including stunts, speed rushes, and power rushes. He seems to be well prepared to handle every defensive end he faces. His footwork is great.

1 year ago

Basically if we can one of the top five tackles and Helaire From LSU in the second we’ve had an incredible first two rounds

Reply to  revfish
1 year ago

Well you could be very happy because both are projected to late in their round. So Jones will be there are 14 and CEH at 45. I said could because Licht is in charge … fill in the rest of the sentence ….

Reply to  revfish
1 year ago

I think this is very plausible. Go back to Feb 25th at the Combine. Bruce Arians said a lot of things that day that turned out to be true. 1. Wanted Brady 1st and Rivers 2nd before Jamies. 2. Wanted to get back JPP, Shaq and Suh. 3. Perriman was not going to be on the team. 4. Brate would need to take a pay cut.

He also said that they have 6 offensive lineman with high grades and that they wanted as a priority a pass catching back.