2018 NFL Draft Pre-Combine Rankings: Quarterbacks & Running Backs

2018 NFL Draft Pre-Combine Rankings: Quarterbacks & Running Backs

The 2018 NFL Draft is just a few months away and this year's class is filled with top-level talent. There is not a consensus #1 player yet, but that does not mean this is a weak draft. RPO's very own, Matt Nicrone, has put together his pre-combine rankings for each position.  In part 1(of 4), we rank the Quarterbacks and Running Backs. 


1 - Josh Rosen

  • College: UCLA
  • Size: 6’4” 218 lbs.

Rosen has excellent footwork, a good arm with probably the best mechanics in this class. However, his lack of leadership qualities and his off the field concerns do raise some red flags. With that being said, his talent outshines his negatives. He made a killing last season throwing touchdowns over 20 yards.

2 - Sam Darnold 

  • College: USC
  • Size: 6’4” 220 lbs.

Darnold is a good athlete with a great presence of mind when the play breaks down.  He’s an accurate passer with good footwork. His main concern is ball security. Darnold is fearless when it comes to making tough throws. He's excellent at avoiding pressure in the pocket and has the release to get throws off quickly. 

3 - Baker Mayfield

  • College: Oklahoma
  • Size: 6’1” 220 lbs.

Mayfield lacks the prototypical size of an NFL QB and has also shown immaturity at times. That being said, the 2017 Heisman winner possesses good accuracy and underrated arm strength. He’s a great teammate and extremely competitive. He has speed and elusiveness (unless he's being chased by the police) that will help him extend plays in the NFL. 

 4 - Lamar Jackson

  • College: Louisville
  • Size: 6’3” 200 lbs.

Jackson has elite playmaking ability and can break the big one with his legs or his arm. For the record, NO he will not be a wide receiver in the NFL. Durability is a huge concern as well as his ability to be successful throwing against NFL caliber defenses. The 2016 Heisman winner is one of the most polarizing players in this draft class due to his unique skillset. 

5 - Josh Allen  

  • College: Wyoming
  • Size: 6’5” 233 lbs.

Allen has a great skill set and size for an NFL QB. Has good mobility, can throw on the run and has produced with not much talent surrounding him. Easily should be the biggest boom or bust in this class at QB. We have Allen ranked lower than most because his collegiate completion percentage was 56.1%. That's not great. Allen has a cannon which will help him get drafted in the 1st round. Mel Kiper currently has him projected as the #1 pick.

6 - Mason Rudolph

  • College: Oklahoma State
  • Size: 6’5” 230 lbs.

Great size and stands in the pocket while doing a good job of letting routes develop. Ball placement and accuracy have been an issue on shorter routes while he puts a lot of air under his deep throws allowing his receivers to make plays.

7 - Luke Falk  

  • College: Washington State
  • Size: 6’4” 225 lbs.

Falk is able to get the ball out instantly and accurately on short throws. Throws accurate fades and back-shoulder throws. Often tends to stay away from deep balls. Arm strength inconsistency and durability are main concerns. 

8 - Mike White 

  • College: Western Kentucky
  • Size: 6’4” 225 lbs.

With a background in baseball as a pitcher, his arm strength is impressive. Good accuracy and thrives when well protected. When the pocket breaks down, has poor mobility and tends to struggle with delivery. 

9 - Logan Woodside

  • College: Toledo
  • Size: 6’2” 201 lbs.

Woodside has good coverage recognition and makes good decisions when throwing. He gives his receivers a chance to make a play. Has decent pocket awareness and mobility but needs to improve his mechanics. 

10 - Kyle Lauletta

  • College: Richmond
  • Size: 6’3” 215 lbs. 

Heralded by scouts as a team leader, Lauletta was elected team captain twice in college. Production saw major spike over the last two seasons. Lauletta has decent accuracy and mechanics but lack of arm strength is concerning. 

Running Backs

1 - Saquon Barkley 

  • College: Penn State
  • Size: 5’11” 223 lbs.

Barkley is as close to the total package as we have this year. Elusiveness, speed, vision, power, blocking and route running. He's an every-down back that has the ability to catch out of the backfield and can run routes well.  Could very well go number one overall. 

2 - Sony Michel

  • College: Georgia
  • Size: 5’11” 220 lbs.

Michel is a decisive runner with a good burst after making his cuts. He generates yards after contact and can deliver punishing hits at the end of his runs. He has great acceleration and really well-proportioned frame. 6 of his rushing touchdowns came from 16+ yards out. Michel is also a great vocal leader and 2-year team captain. 

3 - Ronald Jones 

  • College: USC
  • Size: 6’0” 200 lbs.

Jones has the elite explosiveness to elude open-field tacklers and the burst to separate in space. He's a big play talent with a chance to become an excellent pass catcher. 

4 - Derrius Guice 

  • College: LSU
  • Size:  5’11” 212 lbs.

The biggest question with Guice is can he return to form before his injury? When healthy, he runs extremely hard and shows great patience. Great athleticism allows him to break and spin out of tackles. However, he’s slow out of his breaks as a receiver and needs his reps to build momentum.  

5 - Kerryon Johnson

  • College: Auburn
  • Size:  6’0” 212 lbs.

Johnson runs with good burst and can hit the inside or accelerate to the outside with no problem. Although he is likely a three-down back, his frame may not allow him to take on the high volume carries on a consistent basis.  

6 - Nick Chubb 

  • College: Georgia
  • Size: 5’11” 228 lbs.

Chubb's low center of gravity and running style makes him a nightmare to tackle. Chubb isn't known for being elusive but does an excellent job of running through arm tackles with lower body strength.

7 - Rashad Penny 

  • College: San Diego State
  • Size: 5’11” 220 lbs.

Penny led the nation with 2,248 rushing yards and scored 23 touchdowns on 289 carries. Penny also caught 19 passes for 135 yards and two scores and scored twice on kickoff returns. He runs low to the ground, breaks arm tackles and often finishes with lowering his shoulder. Not a great pass protector and average hands. 

8 - Royce Freeman

  • College: Oregon
  • Size: 6’0” 234 lbs.

Freeman became the leading rusher in FBS history this season. His high number of career carries have seemed to have slowed him a little bit. Nonetheless, he’s an outstanding natural runner who runs through contact with great vision.  Freeman could step into a starter's role wherever he lands.

9 - Mark Walton 

  • College: Miami
  • Size: 5’10” 188 lbs.

An ankle injury requiring surgery caused him to miss the majority of last season. In 2016, Walton averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,117 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also had 27 receptions for 240 yards and a score.  He can make the first tackler miss and has the burst to create big chunk plays. Walton has great hands and is also good on wheel routes. Excellent with ball security, he hasn’t fumbled over his last 274 carries.

10 - Kalen Ballage 

  • College: Arizona State
  • Size:  6’2’ 227 lbs.

Ballage set the FBS record in 2016 by using his power and speed to score eight touchdowns against Texas Tech. Great route runner. He is a physical freak that can squat over 500 lbs and will likely set some records at the upcoming combine. A knock on Ballage (like most RBs his size) he runs too upright and hesitates to hit the hole at times. 

Don't agree with Nicrone's rankings? Tweet us @RPOpod!

Friday, we'll post part 2 of Matt's rankings. He'll break down this year's class of Wide Receivers and Tight Ends. You can follow Matt on twitter by tapping the button below!

RPO Podcast 74: Talking Free Agency... After Dark

RPO Podcast 74: Talking Free Agency... After Dark

Clay Travis Is Not Allowed To Be A Taylor Lewan Fan

Clay Travis Is Not Allowed To Be A Taylor Lewan Fan