NFL Hot Press: Scout Reviews the 2018 Defensive Prospect Rankings

Scout Reviews the 2018 Defensive Prospect Rankings

Updated May 24, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Early Look at the 2018 Defensive Prospects

During the spring months leading up to the NFL Draft, a few team’s area scouts are already working hard on the draft class of the next year even though it is more than a year away. The reason for that is their work is shared with National Football Scouting, which provides early watch lists and ratings for prospects heading into fall camp. Those select area scouts are on the road for college spring ball to help set up the scouting community to start on the next draft class in training camp.

Last week, caught up with one of these scouts to get some insight into the 2018 quarterbacks. This week we reached out to find about some defensive prospects who impressed this advance scout. Here’s what we heard.

“Off the top of my head, guys that I think will get first-round love come draft time include: Derwin James (FSU), Trent Thomspson (UGA), Dontavious Russell (Auburn), Malik Jefferson (UT), Sam Hubbard (OSU), Adonis Alexander (VT), Vita Vea (UW), Christian Wilkins (Clemson), Iman Mashall (USC), Kevin Toliver (LSU), Dre’Mont Jones (OSU), Tavares McFaddden (FSU), Josh Sweat (FSU), Andrew Brown (UVA) …. Ronnie Harrison and Matthew Thomas are wildcards because their physical talent is incredible. I’m not saying they’ll all-go there, but physically and off flashes, they’re clear first-round talents.

“Minkah Fitzpatrick is another. He’a prototype free safety this day and age, can drop over slot and play man, pro off hash, or roam as center fielder. Good size, speed, athletic ability, high football IQ, playmaker. 

“The quarterback class will push down guys who most years would go top five easy.”

Here’s a list of those players with their position and school. 

Derwin James, safety, Florida State
Trent Thompson, defensive tackle, Georgia
Dontavious Russell, defensive tackle, Auburn
Malik Jefferson, linebacker, Texas
Sam Hubbard, defensive end, Ohio State
Adonis Alexander, cornerback, Virginia Tech
Vita Vea, defensive tackle, Washington
Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle, Clemson
Iman Marshall, cornerback, USC
Kevin Toliver, cornerback, LSU
Dre’Mont Jones, defensive tackle, Ohio State
Tavares McFadden, cornerback, Florida State
Josh Sweat, defensive end, Florida State
Andrew Brown, defensive end, Virginia
Ronnie Harrison, safety, Alabama
Matthew Thomas, linebacker, Florida State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, Alabama