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The NFL is a pass happy league so the one thing you can never have enough off is guys to defend against it. With teams playing a lot of 11 personnel, it is very important that you have guys that can cover. In the 2017 NFL Draft, there were 17 defensive backs picked in the top 100 and that should tell you something. Here my top 10 defensive backs who are coming out this year. These 10 players in the 2018 NFL draft will be impact players at the next level

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama – The Jim Thorpe Award winner will follow a long line of Alabama defenders into the NFL. He has the overall size and speed to succeed at the next level. His willingness to cover and hitting ability makes him the top defensive back in this class. Fitzpatrick is the top defensive back in the 2018 NFL draft.

Derwin James, Florida State – This guy has a great overall skill set. He covers the entire field, tight ends, and even the slot receiver. His hitting ability is just as good as Fitzpatrick. He won’t last past pick 12.

Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State – While he was at Florida State, Jimbo Fisher knew how to recruit. McFadden has the prototypical size (6-2, 200 lbs.) and can cover all over the field. I would like to see him be more physical at the line of scrimmage though.

Denzel Ward, Ohio State – Ward is a very good athlete who has really long arms and good ball skills but he needs to trust his eyes. Sometimes he peeks into the backfield too much and his lack of bulk is something that worries me.

Josh Jackson, Iowa – Jackson is a very good athlete. He has a great frame and can play man coverage extremely well. His best game of the season came against Ohio State when he picked off J.T. Barret three times. This guy is my sleeper pick.

Isaiah Oliver, Colorado – Another good corner that is not a household name. Oliver can play man or zone coverage well which will be a plus for him at the next level. He uses his long arms to break up passes. One big skill that he shows is great recovery speed. He plays in the PAC-12 where he faces a lot of NFL talent receivers so the transfer of skill isn’t a concern.

Jaire Alexander, Louisville – Great athlete with elite speed but he needs to work on his tackling.

DeShon Elliot, Texas – This guy reminds me a lot of Oklahoma’s Roy Williams. He is 6-1 and 208 lbs. He will come downhill and hit you but his coverage skills could use some development and sometimes that aggressiveness he plays with tends to get him in trouble. Overall, I love his game and he could be a Kam Chancellorlike enforcer at the next level.

Quenton Meeks, Stanford – Meeks is a solid corner who plays with good technique and is a willing run defender. He also has very good ball skills.

Armani Watts, Texas A&M – Watts has decent size for an NFL safety and he is a good cover man but must work on his tackling.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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