Every drill that could be done at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis has been done, which means we can now move on with our offseason. But while free agency is a little more than a week from taking center stage, the NFL Draft will soon follow and become our next offseason obsession.
With the future in mind, Peter King of SI.com’s The MMQB asked several coaches, general managers, and scouts to rank their 10 best draft prospects upon the Combine’s conclusion. Here’s what King lists as the consensus:
- Saquan Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
- Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC
- Bradley Chubb, Edge Rusher, North Carolina State
- Josh Allen, Quarterback, Wyoming
- Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma
- Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA
- Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back, Alabama
- Denzel Ward, Cornerback, Ohio State
- Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia
Mind you, this is a consensus of where coaches, general mangers, and scouts would rank the players and not where they expect them to be drafted. Still, it gives us a better idea of which players some decision-makers believe are at the top of the draft.
If you’re a Bears fan, you probably like what you see in this top-10. So much so, you might even be willing to overlook that this group lacks players at defensive end and receiver, which are the two biggest needs heading into the new league year.
And yet, we’re looking at four quarterbacks within the top six, which would be a best-case scenario for Chicago because it would leave a top-5 non-quarterback prospect available when the team goes on the clock with the No. 8 pick.
Depending on how the draft shakes out ahead of them, the Bears could conceivably be in line to draft Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, or Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. Each of those prospects ranks at the top of their respective position group. And in the case of Fitzpatrick, he can make a case for being the top prospect at several positions in the secondary.
The other most notable factoid from this is a lack of offensive skill position players checking in among the top-10.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is the only non-quarterback among offensive skill position players in the top-10. That could say something about the lack of top-end talent on the offensive side of the ball or that there is more value in finding offense-playing prospects later. It could also say something about the top-shelf defensive prospects. Perhaps it’s a little bit of something from each column. In any case, it’s quite notable that no running backs besides Barkley and no receivers (at all) made the cut.