It's never too early to take a look at the big board for the 2018 NFL Draft. A lot can change in the next year, but for now, let's run down what I believe are 32 of the most talented draft-eligible players in the country. We might have the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck on our hands ...
1. Sam Darnold, QB, USC – Big, athletic, strong-armed, tough, hard-working; the list goes on. Darnold would have likely been the first quarterback taken in the 2017 draft too.
2. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – He's versatile enough to be a force at defensive end but Wilkins' home is inside where his athleticism is off the charts.
3. Derwin James, S, Florida State – If Jamal Adams got some buzz as the No. 2 pick in 2017 (Jon Gruden stumped for him on ESPN), James surely will. He's the best safety prospect in years.
4. Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama – With all of those defensive linemen drafted from the Alabama roster in 2017, the runway is cleared for Payne to step forward. He will be a national household name very quickly.
5. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – I watched Barkley practice in person this spring and there's not a more sure thing in college football at running back. He's a coach's dream and he can do everything on offense.
6. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU – I've said it before: Guice is better than Leonard Fournette. It will be hard for him to get drafted higher than Fournette but he's ready to fully step out of his shadow this fall.
7. Connor Williams, OT, Texas – A dominating, athletic, physical force who started at left tackle from Day 1 as a freshman, Williams is as fun to watch as any skill player on this list.
8. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – He could have come out this year and been a pretty high draft pick but the extra year should catapult him into No. 1 overall conversation. Try to catch a game or two of Allen's this fall, if you can.
9. Arden Key, DE, LSU – After taking time away from LSU this spring, Key will be back as the scariest pass-rusher in college football. If he can answer off-field questions, he's a first rounder.
10. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama – He can play safety, corner or nickel. He is a special teams beast. He turns people over and scores points. Fitzpatrick is what every NFL team wants right now.
11. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame – Listed at 6-foot-8, 312 pounds, McGlinchey is the overpowering presence at tackle that NFL teams covet.
12. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA – If he can get fully healthy and stay that way, there's not a more pure thrower in this class. His unique, direct personality will be a very interesting draft storyline.
13. Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College – For two years Landry has been why Boston College has had one of the nation's best defenses despite a putrid offense. He flat gets after the quarterback. .
14. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia – People have forgotten how good Chubb was before injury and before running behind a bad offensive line. NFL teams haven't. I know of at least one team would have considered him in round one this year.
15. Vita Vea, DT, Washington – Washington's dominating defense last fall was due to a smothering secondary and a physical front. The 6-foot-5, 335-pounder was the foundation of that front.
16. Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah – The younger brother of former first round pick Star Lotulelei, Lowell is a three-time All-Pac 12 performer that's as consistent as any defender in the country.
17. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State – The Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2016, Lewis will get a lot of opportunity for splash plays because of how deep and talented Ohio State's line is around him.
18. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State – One of the most underrated players in America, Washington averaged nearly 20 yards per reception last year. He can stretch the defense vertically and run after the catch. With Mason Rudolph dishing him the rock, Washington — the top receiver on my list — is going to produce, again.
19. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame – Just a big, long, athletic lineman that has been trending up throughout his college career who could play several spots along the offensive line.
20. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State – In a league full of defensive line talent, Chubb could be the best in the ACC. Had 22 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks last season.
21. Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson – A true freshman starter at Clemson at left tackle, nobody has played more meaningful snaps over the last two years at offensive line than the rising junior out of the state of Georgia.
22. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State – He'll be the trigger man on one of the nation's most potent and high-flying offenses and he's got the size and arm talent to attract NFL scouts.
23. Ogbo Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma – After picking up eigh sacks as a junior, Okoronko looks like he's poised to take a big step forward as a senior. He's a linebacker that brings valuable pass-rush presence.
24. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama – A big-time hitter with range on the back end who has become one of the leaders of Alabama's defense. He'll be a spotlight player as a junior.
25. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech – A 6-foot-5 linebacker that runs and strikes with anyone in the country and he makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He had 18.5 tackles for loss last year and he's one of my personal favorite players in the country.
26. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State – After Ohio State has put out five first-round DBs in the last two years, I'm just going with the numbers here. Fortunately, I actually really believe in the kid and have since high school. He's going to have a breakout season.
27. Braden Smith, OT, Auburn – Speaking of guys I believe in, Braden Smith is my favorite bully in college football. He kicks out to tackle from guard this year so there will be some technique and adjustment to work through but he's got first-round upside at either position.
28. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State – He didn't have quite the breakout campaign that I thought he might, but it'd still be a good bet for Hubbard to become unblockable as a junior.
29. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M – After watching Adoree' Jackson get picked in the first round this year in part because of special teams, I think Kirk can bring that same kind of allure to the 2018 draft as a returner and receiver.
30. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas – There may not be a more talented linebacker in college football than Jefferson, but the light has to turn on for him and it needs to stay on. I'm betting Tom Herman can pull the best out of him.
31. Luke Falk, QB, Washington State – He looks the part of an NFL quarterback with a huge arm and plenty of toughness. He'll put up huge numbers — the caveat being that NFL teams hate Mike Leach's system.
32. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU – When you look at all the big-bodied wide receivers drafted in 2017, it's clear the direction NFL teams are moving. Sutton fits that bill at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and he had more than 1,200 receiving yards last season.