The long wait for the NFL Draft finally ends on Thursday, when teams will begin adding rookies to their rosters in what is one of the most intriguing first rounds in recent memory.
Who the Cardinals will select first overall is a mystery, though the smart money continues to be on them selecting a quarterback for the second year running.
Kyler Murray remains the favorite to hear his name called first in a class in which the deeper talent is actually on the defensive side of the ball.
Here we look at where Murray stands among this year’s crop of quarterbacks, and rank the top five players at each position.
1. Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
2. Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
3. Drew Lock – Missouri
4. Brett Rypien – Boise State
5. Tyree Jackson – Buffalo
Concerns over height, frame and commitment to football aside, there is little to suggest baseball draft pick Murray cannot flourish as a dual-threat superstar at the pro level.
His running ability gives him the edge over Haskins, who exhibited superb development down the stretch of his lone season starting at Ohio State.
1. Josh Jacobs – Alabama
2. Miles Sanders – Penn State
3. Darrell Henderson – Memphis
4. Devin Singletary – Florida Atlantic
5. Trayveon Williams – Texas A&M
Some of have voiced doubts over Jacobs’ potential as a lead back at the next level after he split time with Damien Harris at Alabama. However, that means he enters the NFL without having taken the punishment many runners do in college, and his vision, burst and ability as a pass-catcher should make him an immediate pro contributor.
Sanders, who backed up Saquon Barkley for two years at Penn State, also has the benefit of being kept fresh and emerged with a tremendous showing at the combine.
1. Marquise Brown – Oklahoma
2. D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss
3. Deebo Samuel – South Carolina
4. A.J. Brown – Ole Miss
5. Riley Ridley – Georgia
Ignore worries over his foot surgery and his 5-9, 166-pound frame and just trust the tape with Marquise Brown, who boasts the speed, agility and route-running skills to be just as much of a dynamic weapon as his cousin Antonio. Metcalf’s otherworldly combination of size and speed will have plenty of teams drooling, though he still has plenty to learn as a route-runner.
1. T.J. Hockenson – Iowa
2. Noah Fant – Iowa
3. Jace Sternberger – Texas A&M
4. Irv Smith Jr. – Alabama
5. Dawson Knox – Ole Miss
Iowa stars Hockenson and Fant are the standout players in the tight end class, with the former’s outstanding play as a blocker putting him ahead of the monstrously athletic Fant. Sternberger has similar upside to Fant and does an excellent job of picking up yards after the catch.
1. Jawaan Taylor – Tackle, Florida
2. Jonah Williams – Tackle, Alabama
3. Garrett Bradbury – Center, NC State
4. Andre Dillard – Tackle, Washington State
5. Dalton Risner – Tackle, Kansas State
Taylor has been described as where inside pass rush moves go to die because of his impressive mobility and heavy hands that allow him to lock defenders down. Regardless of whether he plays tackle or guard, Williams’ self-professed tape addiction should see him continue to excel as a pro. Dillard allowed only 13 total pressures on a mammoth 722 pass-blocking snaps in 2018.
Interior Defensive Line
1. Quinnen Williams – Alabama
2. Ed Oliver – Houston
3. Jerry Tillery – Notre Dame
4. Christian Wilkins – Clemson
5. Jeffery Simmons – Mississippi State
A devastating disruptive force on the inside, Williams is one of two men in the discussion for best player in the draft. Oliver could have been in that conversation as well had he not been miscast as a nose tackle in college.
1. Nick Bosa – Ohio State
2. Josh Allen – Kentucky
3. Clelin Ferrell – Clemson
4. Brian Burns – Florida State
5. Montez Sweat – Mississippi State
Speed, power, flexibility and hand-technique, Bosa has all the tools needed to every bit as successful as elder brother Joey. It’s worth noting the top pick would be between him and Williams were it not for the saga around Murray and the Cardinals.
Allen has demonstrated dynamism as a pass rusher and in coverage, and Ferrell has an all-round skill set that is worthy of more hype than he has received.
1. Devin Bush – Michigan
2. Devin White – LSU
3. Blake Cashman – Minnesota
4. Mack Wilson – Alabama
5. Drue Tranquill – Notre Dame
Both Bush and White can do everything asked of a modern-day linebacker. They can run, cover, tackle and rush the passer. It is Bush, though, who is the more comfortable and fluid player in coverage.
1. Byron Murphy – Washington
2. Greedy Williams – LSU
3. Amani Oruwariye – Penn State
4. Sean Bunting – Central Michigan
5. Justin Layne – Michigan State
Murphy’s speed and coverage ability has led to him being regarded as a corner who can thrive regardless of defensive scheme. There has been criticism of Williams’ effort at times, but his performance against Metcalf last season was one of the most impressive of any cornerback prospect.
1. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida
2. Juan Thornhill – Virginia
3. Darnell Savage – Maryland
4. Nasir Adderley – Delaware
5. Taylor Rapp – Washington
There is a huge market in the NFL for versatile safeties, and Gardner-Johnson is a versatile as they come. He can cover the deep middle of the field, play in the box near line of scrimmage and cover receivers in the slot. Similarly, Thornhill projects well as a deep free safety but also has cornerback experience.