Bradley Ylitalo’s Scouting Notebook: 2018 Superflex First Round Mock

Bradley Ylitalo

It’s a strange year in the National football league. I’m absolutely loving it. Let me list off the division leaders in the NFC at this point. Think back to the beginning of the season and understand how crazy this has all been.

Is Green Bay leading the NFC North? No. Even without Sam Bradford or Dalvin Cook, Minnesota is. Is Dallas leading the NFC East? That would be Philadelphia. Surely Atlanta is winning the NFC South? Nope. It’s New Orleans, led by their defense. Well, we can always count on Seattle to be cruising along in the NFC West, right? Wrong again. It’s Los Angeles being led by “rookie bust” Jared Goff and a re-inspired Todd Gurley.

While the AFC has been a bit more predictable with consensus favorites Pittsburgh and New England leading their divisions respectively, the conference has not been void of its own surprises. Beginning in the East, the New York Jets were supposed to be a 3-13 team, but they are already 3-4, New England was supposed to be a 14-2 team, and they are already 5-2. Take a look at the West and you’ll see a popular AFC championship pick sitting at 3-4 in Oakland, while a Chiefs team led by the offense and not the defense stands with five wins and just two losses. Both the AFC North and South are perhaps the least surprising in all the NFL with the Steelers and Browns looking like their normal selves in the North and the South being a completely jumbled mess of bad to semi-good teams with the Titans and Jaguars tied at the top.

As we near the beginning of the second half of the NFL season, all I can encourage you to do is enjoy it. It’s gonna be a wild ride down the home stretch, all we know right now is that nothing is clear.

The Rest of the Running Back Class

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Last edition we discussed and broke down the talents of Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, and Ronald Jones, this week we will take a look at the rest of a talented running back class.

Let’s begin with the two backs that own the Georgia Bulldog backfield and dominate the SEC. Both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are legitimate NFL prospects while being totally different players. In a classic lightning and thunder combination, Sony Michel (lightning) shines a bit brighter than Chubb as a draft prospect.

The 5’11 Senior has yet to be a true number one back for Georgia but shows a lot of NFL promise due to his tremendous athleticism. His power is definitely concerning and could hold him back from ever being a workhorse back, but at the very least, Michel should be a speed back with ample upside at the next level.

Let’s move on to Nick Chubb, who was the seventh-ranked running back in the class of 2014 and as a true freshman earned All-SEC honors for the Bulldogs. Although his NCAA career stats are very strong, his NFL future doesn’t appear to be so bright. Like I said with Michel perhaps not becoming a franchise back because of his power, I don’t like Chubb’s chances of becoming that kind of back very much at all, because of his athleticism. Chubb runs hard and has the necessary strength to be a formidable power back in the NFL, and also has the patience and vision that could make him a bona fide contributor.

Another SEC powerhouse has a pair of future NFL backs – that would be Alabama, with Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. Harris is the kind of player that will make headlines at the combine, while Scarbrough may simply be the better football player.

All you need to know about Harris is the fact that he is an absolutely exceptional athlete, with sprinter speed being the headline. He doesn’t quite have the quickness or agility to match his speed, but if he can improve his vision just a bit he will very well be a big play back in the NFL.

Bo Scarbrough is a little more well rounded. A five-star recruit and the second-ranked athlete in the class of 2014, I was extremely excited to watch the tape on the 6’2, 228 pound RS Junior. Aside from the accolades and resume for Scarbrough, I really liked what I saw from him on film. His game revolves around his power and short area quickness that has me enthusiastic about his future. His patience and technique as a runner need work, but overall it’s hard not to like Scarbrough.

How about Rashaad Penny? Maybe a little less flashy and exciting than the rest of the class, this kid is a stud in terms of draft prospects. Built on vision that’s about as good as I’ve seen, and solid agility and acceleration, Penny definitely has the tools necessary to be a franchise back. I’d like to see him become better in the “three down” areas of receiving and blocking, but he has a great chance of becoming a starter even as a rookie.

Let me introduce you to the two W’s, Mark Walton, and Akrum Wadley. Walton could easily be viewed as the best receiving back in the class, and also has tremendous patience between the tackles. As for Wadley, this kid has a really solid, all-around game. I don’t know if he has any elite traits he can truly build upon, but with no true weaknesses, it’s easy to see him earning touches throughout his career.

We’ve gone through a long list and were finally to Stanford standout Bryce Love. Love has arguably been the best player in all of college football this year and could easily end up winning the Heisman. He’s a really good athlete with breakaway speed and sound vision, I just need to see more from him in terms of technique and power.

Mid-Season Top Ten RB Rankings

1) Saquon Barkley, Penn State

2) Derrius Guice, LSU

3) Ronald Jones II, USC

4) Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

5) Sony Michel, Georgia

6) Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

7) Damien Harris, Alabama

8) Mark Walton, Miami

9) Bryce Love, Stanford

10) Akrum Wadley, Iowa

Fan Poll Question: Superflex Round One Mock


1.01) Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State

Barkley is a generational talent, and as I talked about in last editions mock draft, no matter the league type or team needs, this kid has to be the pick.

1.02) Derrius Guice, RB LSU

I could be talked into going WR in a PPR format, but for now, give me Guice who could very well become a true RB1.

1.03) Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama

Ridley should be considered the top PPR WR prospect, so getting him at 1.03 is a good haul.

1.04) Courtland Sutton, WR SMU

You’re betting on the upside with Sutton here, but you can make an argument he’s the best WR draft prospect in this class.

1.05) Sam Darnold, QB USC

The first QB goes off the board here, Darnold has every tool you need to be successful. He could be starting for you from year one.

1.06) Josh Rosen, QB UCLA

Rosen is pro ready talent wise, just needing to cut down on the interceptions before he takes on the NFL. He should be a solid starter for years to come.

1.07) Ronald Jones II, RB USC

An electrifying athlete with tremendous potential, Jones has a great chance of becoming a franchise back. Your near-contending team would be getting a great boost with the USC standout.

1.08) Deon Cain, WR Clemson

Cain has a great chance at becoming a number one target and could become one of the league’s best in the red zone. The talent drop from Sutton (1.04) to Cain (1.08) isn’t far at all.

1.09) Josh Allen, QB Wyoming

Allen may not even start for his NFL team in year one, but the upside is there. You’re taking a chance on him becoming elite.

1.10) Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M

Kirk is a great athlete who can create separation with his route running as well, he could become a high reception target.

1.11) James Washington, WR Oklahoma State

You’re taking a chance that Washington can transition from the Oklahoma State offense to the far different NFL, but if he can make the conversion rather seamlessly, he’s got all the talent you need.

1.12) Dante Pettis, WR Washington

Pettis is a playmaker for Washington and that shouldn’t change at the next level, he’s a nice pick at the end of the first round.

*Prospects to Consider

Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State

Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State

Sony Michel, RB Georgia


1.01) Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State

The obvious pick here. In standard formats especially, you might be tempted to tank for this kind of talent.

1.02) Derrius Guice, RB LSU

An easy number two if you ask me, Guice should be a workhorse back throughout his career.

1.03) Courtland Sutton, WR SMU

Sutton could become a touchdown machine and great all-around receiver, The SMU product is a nice fit at 1.03 in standard.

1.04) Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama

Who knows if Ridley will ever be a high touchdown guy, but he should get his fair share of 1,000-yard seasons. If you don’t need a WR, heavily consider Darnold or Jones II here.

1.05) Sam Darnold, QB USC

Quarterbacks aren’t always easy to pick in the top five of your drafts, but Darnold has both the floor and ceiling as a prospect that makes him worth it.

1.06) Josh Rosen, QB UCLA

Rosen should go in the top ten when the NFL draft rolls around, expect him to go anywhere from 4-6 in your superflex drafts for now. He’s been very productive in college, and could easily continue that in the NFL.

1.07) Ronald Jones II, RB USC

Jones would be an absolutely terrific pick here at 1.07, I’m taking him all day every day if he’s available at this point.

1.08) Deon Cain, WR Clemson

Like Sutton, Cain should be a great standard WR with the touchdown production he should get. Not far off from Ridley and Sutton, you’re getting a great value at 1.08

1.09) Josh Allen, QB Wyoming

Allen will be viewed as a controversial pick here, but if he figures it out he’ll give you a whole lot of value at the QB spot. NFL draft wise I actually have Allen ranked over Rosen, I’d be happy to get him at 1.09 here.

1.10) Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State

Penny may not be a great pass catcher but he can sure carry the rock. In standard formats, he should be a hot commodity come to the end of the first round.

1.11) Sony Michel, RB Georgia

Along with Penny, Michel sneaks into the first round in standard formats because of his potential to become a lead back. With his athleticism, he’s got a shot to become a star.

1.12) Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M

Kirk isn’t having a fantastic junior season for the Aggies, but the athleticism and complementary tools he contains point to a successful NFL career.

*Prospects to Consider

Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State

James Washington, WR Oklahoma State

Dante Pettis, WR Washington

Well, that wraps up this week’s edition of “Bradley Ylitalo’s Scouting Notebook”, feel free to shoot me a question on Twitter (@NFL_Drafthub), I’m always happy to interact with football fans. Be on the lookout for next week’s poll as to which fan question we will cover! See you next time!