This is my 3rd year doing this and this is the least amount of 1st round talents. That said, there are some very good players at the top. It's once you get past those first few names where teams will have to reach for players in my opinion. The difference between this article and previous "1st round player" articles is this time I'm going to compare every player to a Kanye West song. I'm not going to argue with anyone who doesn't like Kanye, so you can skim through the names and just call me an idiot for not having a player on this list like "bigger" analysts. Those same analysts also had guys like Jarvis Jones, Dion Jordan, and Eric Fisher as top 5 talents. Enjoy!
Three top-tier talents
To me, there are 3 top-tier talents in the draft.
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Stylistically, his ceiling can be Charles Woodson for the Packers. I went back and watched some of him to confirm this and he can make plays all over the field ala 2009 Woodson. You can read more here
From a Kanye standpoint Ramsey is "Blood on the Leaves" from "Yeezus." He's just always angry. He's always spazzing out. But in a great way, though much like I expect Ramsey's career to be, his the whole song is intense.
Side-note: If you've never got caught singing the outro of this song by someone driving next to you then we are not the same.
Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
He is special. I like him more than last years top running back, Todd Gurley. You're nitpicking when you watch Elliot start coming up with flaws. Usually the conversation starts with "well you can't take a running back blah blah blah." Because guys who move the chains, flip field position, keep your offense ahead of schedule, and score touchdowns are bad. Got it.
Because there's so few flaws Zeke is "All of the Lights." The song is as close to perfect as it comes. Sure, we could've gone without the Fergie verse at the end, but that's ignoring the first 4 minutes of greatness.
Deforest Buckner, DL, Oregon
I'm not going to tell you anything about Buckner that I haven't told you before.
Easiest song choice ever. Number 3, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." No one man should have all that POWER.
Seven strong starters
These next 6 names I wouldn't say are "elite" or "blue-chip" players but I think can be strong starters right away.
Larmey Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Wrote about Tunsil and this song makes perfect sense tying it into that piece. "Blame Game." It's sooooo good but has this giant wart at the end in whatever Chris Rock is doing. Jerome and I went into pretty good depth on what Tunsil's wart is in that piece. Still, he's still very good and will likely play for a long time.
Shaq Lawson, Edge Rusher, Clemson
Lawson reminds me of a diet version of Terrell Suggs. He proves that you can win as a pass rusher with your hands ala Tambi Hali as well and not just speed off the edge. He's a powerful player that plays to the whistle and is a great run defender. He played more 5 and 4 technique this year and was very good at it. That speaks to his versatility.
From a song standpoint, "I Wonder." He's not a speed rusher and that's normally what we gravitate to. I wonder if we are underrating him because he's not flashy as a player. He's a damn good one, though.
Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State
I don't think Bosa can be the centerpiece of a defense. I do think he can be a day 1 starter and contribute at a high level to a defense. He's a robin, not a batman. Bosa is "Everything I am" from Kanye's "Graduation." Who you're drafting today is more than likely who you are getting for his entire contract. That's not a bad thing.
Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
3 of the 7 names are probably going to make you scratch your head so hard it looks like you're trying to get lice out. I understand any hesitation however I'm very confident that they will all turn out studs. The first head-scratcher is Karl Joseph. It might seem stupid to list him as the 6th best player in the draft but I value playmakers and game changers. He's my favorite player in the draft. If there are 5 plays and you make 4 and make a mistake on 1, I'm willing to forgive you.
As far as what song he is, it's "Flashing Lights." Flashing Lights is excellent as a song but it still manages to get overlooked for whatever reason. That's Joseph. Also, when he hits you you'll see flashing lights.
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
About 2 months ago I said Doctson could be this years Allen Robinson. Would you take Robinson in a weak draft in the top 10? I would. He is so smooth and makes the most acrobatic catches look effortless. Sure, he can be a little more physical and can be better after the catch.
I could go a few different ways here but based on his leaping ability Doctson is definitely "Touch the Sky." Everything about the song is superb from Just Blaze slowing down the Horns to Lupe's verse. Much like Docton's game.
Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State
I don't know what position he is. He could probably hang at left tackle if need be. More than likely he'll kick inside due to his below average arm length and weight. Who gives a....watch him play. He's incredible. Even with his size issues, he anchors so well after longer defensive lineman initially get into him. He moves well. He's smart. He understands angles. He just doesn't get beat. He would be the one lineman in the draft I would want on my team.
With size limitations Whitehair is an easy comparison to "Father Stretch My Hands." You wish it was longer, but as soon as you hear the beat drop and the "beautiful morninggggg" you know it's going to be everything. That's what Whitehair is. Metro Boomin' never disappoints and neither does Whitehair.
Mike Thomas, WR, Ohio State
I'm willing to bet a couple years from now we will look back at Thomas like a learning point when evaluating. Imagine Thomas in Baylor. Even if we don't go to that extreme, imagine if he was force fed the ball like Michigan State did Aaron Burbridge. His numbers would be astronomical. He really suffered from poor QB play.Thomas is a fantastic route runner with above average athleticism and has some surprising burst for a 6'3 212 pound receiver. He's my favorite receiver in the class. I had him for 2 drops on 47 targets and he also plays the ball well in the air. I'm a fan.
Thomas is "Who Gon Stop Me" from Watch the Throne because other than his QB or himself, there wasn't any defensive back stopping him. This song fits Thomas because he has a certain arrogance about him that I love, too.
Sterling Sheperd, WR, Oklahoma
The receiver run continues for 2 more players. Shepard is the best route runner in the class and eventually the NFL will learn that size doesn't matter at the position if you're constantly open. It also doesn't hurt to have a 41.5" vertical.
The small receiver wave won't die. If Shepard was 2 inches taller he'd be recognized as a 1st round lock. If "Waves" was 2 minutes longer it might be the best song on TLOP. Shepard still is a 1st round pick and "Waves" still might be the best song on the album.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
He's really good at football and he ran by plenty of SEC receivers to where I never really felt like his speed was an issue. He has the "my ball mentality" when it's in the air and he is very good at positioning himself and shielding the defender off as well. But looking back through history 4.63, the time he ran the 40 in, is the magic number. If he didn't have an issue separating underneath I would look past that but this wasn't the case.
Best is yet to come
There are 2 players that I have ranked higher than many because I feel like we haven't seen their best football yet. Even if these 2 plateau, I think you're getting very good starters. If both of these players hit, you're looking at building blocks for the franchise.
Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
From a "win" standpoint, Jones had 2 of the most productive games from any lineman I've watched. Jones is a "Monster", but could and will be so much more. He has games like Nicki Minaj's verse where you're like "whoa" for several plays in a row. Then he'll throw out some Jay-z verse quality plays. All in all, this title is fitting for Jones.
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Decker is so much better than he's been given credit for.
That's my take on Decker.
Decker has gotten his butt kicked throughout his career from playing early and having to learn the hard way. I'm fine with that. He's gone "Through the Wire" and because of this I'm convinced it has made him a better prospect. The car accident Decker went through was Khalil Mack as a freshman. Decker has a shot to be the Kanye of now if he puts it all together.
The Greatest player of our generation
Myles Jack, Edge Rusher/LB/S/CB/RB/Financial Advisor/Chef/Life connoisseur
He is one of the more interesting cases in the draft. From an athletic standpoint he's on another level. The consensus seems to be that he has the highest ceiling of any player. I think he's good, but there are too many examples of him not being "that guy."
Jack is the 2nd player to get 2 songs. Hypothetically, or even in the draft land, Jack is "Jesus Walks." He can do anything. He's the greatest of all time.
Realistically, he's "Highlights" from TLOP. You have 3 of the most talented artists on the planet. Expectations are so high, but something is missing. The song is about Kanye celebrating his achievements, and that's what we do with Jack. Even though we don't get a verse from Young Thug, even though Kanye is really just ranting and name dropping without any sort of subject matter, the song still manages to be ridiculously good. That can be Jack, but he's not there yet.
The lone gem
The position I like to watch the most as well as the position I'm most comfortable evaluating is a little underwhelming this year. It does have 1 prize at the top and that's William Jackson. Jackson has the rare ability at the position to locate the ball while "staying in phase" with the receiver. He also is very good at coming downhill and through routes. He can struggle a bit with change of direction but his route recognition hides this. He is the 1 guy I think can develop into a number 1 corner in this draft. He reminds me of Aqib Talib a little bit. Big, strong, physical athlete that can run and find the ball and doesn't mind hitting. He is aggressive and can make plays on the ball.
Jackson is a gem, even though he's from a smaller school. He's a "Diamonds from Sierra Leone." Jay-Z said "the pressures on but guess who ain't gonna crack" and that's Jackson. He comes up big in the biggest moments of the game. He can make plays.
That's it. Before you ask, yes I have watched so and so, and I have reservations about him and don't think he's worth a 1st round pick in a vacuum. More than likely there's one glaring issue about them and I just can't get behind investing this highly in them.