The Best Prospects at the NFL Combine

The draft expert previews this week’s event.

draft
Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson is one of Mike Mayock's picks for the best player in the NFL draft. (Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Starting on Friday at 9 a.m., the NFL Network will show about 36 hours of live on-field combine coverage over four days from Indianapolis during the draft. Sports Illustrated talked to Mike Mayock, a draft expert, about what this weekend will hold. Mayock said that the quarterbacks are real and though there is media hype surrounding them that makes them sound a bit better than they actually are, but he still thinks “there are some franchise quarterbacks involved, but I also think it has been tempered somewhat by the availability of NFL free agents that typically aren’t out there.” According to Mayock, the two best players out there are Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. In the 18 drafts this century, only three guards have been picked in the top 10. But Mayock says that Nelson “loves football, lives football, and because of his work ethic, toughness, and natural ability unless he has an injury, I think this kid is going to be special.” After them, the best player could be Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. Mayock did say that receiver is a thin position this year, and recent classes have been terrible in the first round. Edge rusher and offensive line are also both thin.

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