clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Comparing the 2017 and 2018 NFL draft classes by position group

Clemson v Boston College Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Each NFL draft has its own strengths and weaknesses. The 2010 class was loaded at defensive tackle, the 2014 wide receiver crop will probably be remembered as the greatest of all-time, and 2018 is regarded as the year of the quarterback. How do the 2018 prospects stack up against the 2017 class?

Quarterback:

Four passers were selected in the first two rounds last year - Mitch Trubisky, Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer. This year’s draft could match that total within the first dozen picks. 2018 has 2017 beat on the quality of top quarterbacks, as well as overall depth, by a wide margin. Advantage - 2018

Running Back:

Saquon Barkely, Sony Michel, Ronald Jones, Derrius Guice and Kerryon Johnson form an excellent top five, and the 2018 crop has more than a handful of intriguing power backs further down the board. Still, the 2017 class produced ten impactful rookie backs headlined by Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt. Advantage - 2017

Wide Receiver:

JuJu Smith-Schuster outperformed each of the three receivers selected in the first round last year. While 2018’s group of receivers may not possess as much elite talent, the depth and skillset diversity projected to be available in the second, third and fourth rounds is superior. Advantage - 2018

Tight End:

Both groups of tight ends are solid in their own right. Players such as Evan Engram, O.J. Howard and George Kittle allow 2017 to edge 2018’s Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert and Hayden Hurst in terms of both high end potential and depth. Advantage - 2017

Offensive Line:

Last year’s blockers developed a reputation as a below average group despite strong showings from Ryan Ramczyk, Pat Elflein and Dion Dawkins. Nevertheless, with Orlando Brown and Connor Williams at tackle, Quenton Nelson and Isaiah Wynn at guard, and James Daniels, Billy Price and Frank Ragnow at center, the 2018 group is better at every position. Advantage - 2018

Defensive Tackle:

Ten interior lineman were chosen before the end of Day 2 last year, but none were very impactful as rookies. The coming draft features interior penetrators and pocket collapsers including Maurice Hurst and Vita Vea. Advantage - 2018

Edge Defender:

No contest here. Myles Garrett, Derek Barnett, Takk McKinley, T.J. Watt, Carl Lawson, Deatrich Wise, Tyus Bowser and their 2017 classmates tower over the 2018 crop that is rather thin behind Bradley Chubb. Advantage - 2017

Linebacker:

Haason Reddick, Jarrad Davis and Reuben Foster are pitted against Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith and Rashaan Evans as first round linebackers. 2018 clearly has more top-shelf talent, which is enough to overcome better depth in 2017. Advantage - 2018

Cornerback:

The 2017 corner crop was billed as perhaps the best group ever and did not dissapoint. Marshon Lattimore, Tre’Davious White, Marlon Humphrey, Adoree’ Jackson and Desmond King all impressed as rookies. 2018 also boasts a solid group of cover men, but not enough volume or superstar potential to surpass 2017. Advantage - 2017

Safety:

Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick compare favorably to Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker at the head of the class. However, contributions from 2017 second rounders Marcus Williams, Eddie Jackson, Marcus Maye, Budda Baker, Josh Jones and Justin Evans provides the difference. Advantage - 2017