Tommy Call's NFL Draft Big Board 1.0: Kyler Murray finds himself surrounded by defensive game changers

The prospect pool is set and draft season is officially underway

Tommy Call
January 15, 2019 - 6:23 am

Monday was the deadline for NCAA underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft — translation: the official start to the real draft season. Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy and Oakland A's prospect, only fueled the excitement with his Twitter announcement that he was entering the draft.

We’re currently in the middle of the East-West Shrine week, Senior Bowl practices begin next week and before you know it, we will be at the Combine. We will begin hearing more and more about the rise and fall of certain prospects before the first team hits the clock in mid-April. Before all that begins — we need to see where these prospects stand before formal evaluations start pouring in.

There isn’t much doubt when stacking up this draft class that it’s dominated by the defense — particularly the defensive line, a positive for the 49ers and Raiders as that’s an area of need for both. On the offensive side of the ball, this class has a wide range of big time playmaking wide receivers and athletic tight ends. The class isn’t like last year with quarterbacks though, with only two being ranked in my top-30 even with Murray’s declaration.

Big board disclaimer:

The players ranked are the players that I personally love — players that I have sat down and researched, watched live on TV or seen in person. Some players may be higher than what you’ve read, as some may be lower. This will change and fluxatiate on a weekly basis.

One thing that is glaring is the lack of small-school players. I haven’t gotten into much small-school film and research as it can be tough to come by in January. That will come soon, and with many such players competing in college all-star weeks, their names will rise quick. I broke the board into tiers, with my top-10, franchise changers, guys who I believe are first rounders, but need to go to the right fit and value prospects.

Now with no further ado, my 2019 NFL Draft Big Board 1.0:

2019 Overall Big Board

1. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

2. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

3. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

4. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

5. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

6. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

7. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

8. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

9. Devin White, LB, LSU

10. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

The top-10 is filled with can’t miss impact prospects.

These are guys who can essentially change the face of your franchise by being the player you want to build your team around. One thing you’ll notice is Quinnen Williams rising to No. 1 overall — get used to it. Williams has simply played too great for him to not get that type of respect.

He got Heisman votes for his dominant season and is the closest thing to a player of Aaron Donald’s caliber. Another guy I can’t shake is Jachai Polite from Florida. His pass rushing skills are so eye-popping I believe this kid has all the tools to be a 10-plus sack guy at the next level, and that’s not including his unbelievable motor. And if you’re questioning my rank of Murray — yes, he’s that good.

11. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

12. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

13. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

14. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

15. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

16. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

17. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

18. Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

19. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

20. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

I feel like this group could be the most polarizing group on my big board. It’s the group that is just outside the infamous “top-10” label. Even outside the top-10 this group is still extremely talented, but I’ll still need to see some things before they cement their final ranking on my board.

Surprising to some, Clelin Ferrell, who some people have ranked in their top five, falls to No. 16. Ferrell’s ranking is higher than I even expected, as I was a little low on him, but his performance in the college football playoff was hard to not get excited about. Ferrell could climb with a few solid workouts where he’s able to show off his combination of athletic ability and power.

Two guys I may be higher on than others are Taylor Rapp and Hakeem Butler. Rapp is an extremely versatile safety that can line up really anywhere on the field. He has size to line up in the box, but his coverage skills has been forgotten. Being on the west coast, I’ve had the chance to see Rapp play live several times, and each time I’m more and more impressed. He’s everything you want in a modern strong safety. With the right team that uses him correctly, he could be as a good as it gets. As for Butler he’s an electric deep threat with 6’6 size? Need to know anything else?

21. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

22. Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

23. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

24. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

25. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

26. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

27. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

28. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

29. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR, Oklahoma

30. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

This is a group of guys that I believe can all rise, a group of players that will have a lot of value at the end of the first round — particularly T.J. Hockenson from Iowa who could be overlooked for his teammate Noah Fant. Hockenson is an absolute mauler in the run game with all the athletic ability to be a big-time pass catcher. Remind you of anyone 49ers fans?

Devin Bush is in the middle of a murky linebacker class, but was a true banger for Jim Harbaugh’s defense the past few years— he may drop due to his size, but he can punch you in the mouth and run sideline to sideline with the best. All players in this tier present value, but could drop out of the top-30 with the rise of fringe players.

*Some Bonus Names To Know

Small School Standouts To Keep An Eye On:

Andy Isabella, WR, Umass

Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion

Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis

Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State

Sleeper Names To Know:

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington

Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State

Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech

Derrick Baity, CB, Kentucky

Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State

Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford

KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State

Chauncey Gardner-Williams, S, Florida

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