The 2018 College Football season is now underway and as players enter their final seasons on campus before making the next step to the NFL, I figured I could give you a quick cheat sheet on who the best names are from around the country. Keep in mind, I haven't watched everyone, but here are the 25 seniors out of the 108 I've studied who have impressed me the most going into the 2018 season.
1. DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
His athleticism and competitive toughness both pop off the tape and I was happy to see him make the transition inside to tackle last year after playing defensive end earlier in his career. Projects best as a one-gap tackle in the NFL.
2. DE Jalen Jelks, Oregon
Twitched-up pass rusher is dripping with potential thanks to his combination of size and athleticism. Played a bit out of position as a mostly interior player in 2017, so there's certainly some projection here. Must get stronger and better with his hands but ceiling is sky high.
3. WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
A versatile game-breaker who can line up in a number of spots and impact the game. I like him most from the slot but believe he can play outside as well. Would love to see him get even better as a route runner because he'll never be a contested-catch weapon but he's got starting traits in the NFL.
4. DT Daniel Wise, Kansas
Out of position as a 3-technique but this kid is a fun football player. Stout at the point of attack with a high motor, he's good with his hands and has just enough pass rush value to be worthy of being a three-down player. I like him most as a nose-shade defensive tackle or even as a 5-technique in a 3-4 scheme. He can play on my team any day.
5. RB Damien Harris, Alabama
He's not flashy but he's very effective in a phone booth as well as out in space. Has good vision, can make people miss, and is really solid on third down. Won't be a home run hitter but should hit plenty of doubles as a primary ball carrier in an NFL backfield.
6. T Trey Adams, Washington
Has NFL size and athleticism to be a starter at left tackle. I'd like him to get a bit better with his hands in pass protection and his lack of visible power is a bit disconcerting. As long as he's healthy after knee surgery, he should be an early starter on the left side.
7. OL Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Not as flashy as Adams, but an athletic, tough, smart, versatile lineman with a high floor as a swing backup but the ceiling to be one of the top guards in football. If he can continue to develop his body and become stronger and more powerful, he's going to be a top-50 pick and an early NFL starter.
8. T Derwin Gray, Maryland
He certainly looks the part. If he can learn to be more consistent with his pad level, I think he has the ability to be a rock-solid starter on the left side. Strong and athletic for a big man and someone who can be molded. I like him best in a phone booth.
9. DL Zach Allen, Boston College
A smart, stout lineman with the versatility to play multiple positions or schemes. For odd fronts, he fits in great as a 4i- or 5-technique defensive tackle in a 3-4 scheme. That's where I'd value him most. For 4-3 teams, he is a base defensive end who can flex inside if needed on passing downs. High upside.
10. CB Michael Jackson, Miami
A big kid with pretty good ball skills that will carry him a long way. I wish he played more to his size and I want to see more reps of him being challenged vertically, but I think he's got intriguing tools. I see his ceiling as a strong starter on the outside for a team that values size with his floor being a matchup player in the slot in a team's dime subpackage.
11. OL Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
A grinder who doesn't always look pretty but is very effective in everything he does. A methodical pass protector with an NFL frame and the ability to put on more weight. Not a perennial Pro Bowl talent but he'll be a solid starter. Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat said he was the best tackle he faced in 2017 - and that's saying a lot when you look at who he went up against.
12. CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
I don't think he'll ever be viewed as a true "shutdown corner," but he's a starter in the league and would be viewed as a solid No. 2 guy on the outside. Physical tools are pretty good and he's got a feel for routes developing around him. Size is a concern and I'd like to see him play the ball more consistently downfield.
13. LB T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
Smart enough and instinctive enough to be a three-down player in the NFL. I think his best fit is as a 4-3 SAM or MIKE as well as a 3-4 MIKE. Lack of top-end athleticism is a bit of a concern but he makes up for it in a number of other ways. Solid tackler who navigates through traffic to the football. Really smart, instinctive player in coverage.
14. LB Germaine Pratt, N.C. State
An aggressive, fast-flow linebacker with the toughness and instincts needed to be a starter in the NFL. He's not exactly what I envisioned as a former safety playing in the box but the tools are there to be a very good player. Excited to see him in his first year as a full-time starter in 2018.
15. G Garrett Brumfield, LSU
Has some athletic limitations but there's a ton to like with this kid off just one year's worth of film as a starter in the SEC. He's strong, heavy-handed, smart, and plays with a mean streak. Has starting upside at guard and should be a rock-solid player for a long time.
16. DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
A strong run defender with scheme versatility and the athleticism to impact the game as a pass rusher. He still has a ways to go with his overall pass rush plan and I'd like to see him get even bigger and stronger. I like him most as a nose tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Love how violent he is with his hands.
17. LB Te'Von Coney, Notre Dame
His flashes are very good as an athletic kid who can come downhill as well as play sideline to sideline. He sees things quickly in the run game and has the requisite physicality for the position in the NFL. Size is a bit of a concern and I'd like to see him improve in coverage but he has starting ability in the NFL.
18. WR DaMarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
Not a high-end starter but he's a vertical threat who can make plays down the field. I like the way he works in different releases against press coverage and he flashes pretty good ball skills. Need more consistency from him in the quick game. Vertical threat on the outside.
19. RB LJ Scott, Michigan State
Physically, he's got the ability to be a starter in the league. I love his vision and he's a mule who can carry the load when needed. Athletic upside is a question mark and I want to see him make the first man miss more consistently, but he has a high floor as a situational power back.
20. QB Drew Lock, Missouri
The physical tools are there for him to become a good starting quarterback in the NFL but patience will likely be required. Big, strong, and athletic, but getting through pro-style reads is a question mark right now and he can be a bit erratic as well. Excited to see him in a new offensive scheme this fall.
21. S Juan Thornhill, Virginia
A talented defensive back with corner skills and free safety athleticism. I'm anxious to see his transition to the safety spot this season. Has shown flashes against the run but he'll see the ball from a completely different angle this year. Potential to be very good and I could see him as a "riser" throughout the process.
22. LB D'Andre Walker, Georgia
His best role is as a SAM linebacker in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. A "jack of all trades"-type of prospect as opposed to being a pure pass rusher off the edge. Strong run defender and savvy coverage player who will likely never be a Pro Bowl talent but will be a valuable piece on an NFL defense. This is a tough, smart football player.
23. WR Tyre Brady, Marshall
A big kid with deceptive speed, outstanding hands, and natural ball skills. He needs to clean things up as a route runner and can be sharper with his releases, but he can absolutely be a starting receiver in the NFL on the outside with his ability to win at the catch point.
24. S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
A "toolsy" project at the safety spot who may have his best football ahead of him. Athletically, he has all of the traits of a starter in the deep half. Great athlete with a competitive streak who really looks the part. Eye discipline is a concern and he needs to be a more consistent tackler in 2018. Excited to see another year's worth of film on him.
25. DT Isaiah Buggs, Alabama
He's not like most Alabama defensive linemen. Buggs is a bit undersized and is more quick than he is powerful, but his technical skill set speaks more to a run defender than a pure pass rushing disruptor on the inside. I like him most as a one-gap nose tackle but feel he could play a number of roles in any scheme.
Fran Duffy is the producer of the Emmy-nominated "Eagles Game Plan" show which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to alsocheck out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcaston the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on Apple Podcasts.
Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging, and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices, and opponents.