Rankings, predictions for 2018 preseason All-American teams

By Anthony Gimino,
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock passes the football in the third quarter against Missouri State on September 2, 2017 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock passes the football in the third quarter against Missouri State on September 2, 2017 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

This is the time of the year when college football magazines and websites churn out preseason lists and rankings, and is doing it with a twist.

We surveyed our staff, including senior analysts Dane Brugler and Rob Rang, to come up with an All-American team that is based solely on NFL talent. Set aside college production from too-small, too-slow players; we're celebrating the future Combine freaks who have the physical traits to fit the pro prototype.


Here is the preseason All-American team (* denotes underclassman):


Quarterback -- Drew Lock, Missouri

He looks the part and shows exciting accuracy on intermediate and deep passes, possessing easy velocity and accuracy.

Running backs -- Damien Harris, Alabama; Bryce Love, Stanford

Harris might be overtaken by more gifted athletes at running back, but his burst and balance are reminiscent of former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, a 2011 first-round pick. For Love, the question will be his durability after a heavy workload as a junior, when he was banged-up for the second half of the season.


Wide receivers -- A.J. Brown, Ole Miss*; N'Keal Harry, Arizona State*

Brown accelerates smoothly and bounces off would-be tacklers to consistently generate yards after the catch, offering the NFL an Anquan Boldin-like playing style. Harry, like Brown, came to college with an NFL-caliber build, able to overpower defensive backs at the catch point.

Tight end -- Noah Fant, Iowa*

Of his 30 receptions last season, 11 went for touchdowns. At 6-foot-5, 241 pounds, he's in that sweet spot to create mismatches no matter who is covering him.

Center -- Dalton Risner, Kansas State

He'll be at left tackle for the second consecutive season, but he first earned honors as a center as a freshman.

Guards -- Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin; Ben Powers, Oklahoma

Benzschawel has started the past 30 games at right guard for the Badgers, who probably have the best offensive line in the country. Powers is a mauler on a veteran line that will help clear the path for a stacked Sooners backfield.

Tackles -- Jonah Williams, Alabama*; Greg Little, Ole Miss*

Being a left tackle at Alabama automatically puts Williams on the conveyor belt to the early part of the draft. Little has been living up to his high school ranking as the top tackle in the 2016 class.



Defensive ends -- Nick Bosa, Ohio State*; Clelin Ferrell, Clemson*

Bosa is becoming every bit as good as his brother, Joey Bosa, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ferrell still seems to be scratching the surface after two years in which he has made 30.5 tackles for loss, including 15.5 sacks.

Defensive tackles -- Ed Oliver, Houston*; Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Is Oliver the next Aaron Donald or the next Ndamukong Suh? Some might end up preferring Clemson man-child Dexter Lawrence to Wilkins, but each will hear his name called early.

Linebackers -- Devin White, LSU*; Anfernee Jennings, Alabama*; Devin Bush, Michigan*

White plays like the former running back he is, mixing excellent stop-and-start quickness with vision and anticipation and closing speed to be a true thumper. Jennings is coming back from a knee injury, but there is no question he is the next stud from Alabama's fertile linebacker corps. Bush plays the middle for Michigan, but he'll be a force on the outside in the NFL.


Cornerbacks -- Greedy Williams, LSU*; Michael Jackson, Miami

LSU defensive backs seem to do well in the NFL, and Williams is coming off a season in which he intercepted six passes and broke up 16. Jackson picked off four passes last season to get his share of time with the Turnover Chain.

Safeties -- Taylor Rapp, Washington*; Jaquan Johnson, Miami

Washington secondary coach Jimmy Lake has opened an NFL pipeline from Seattle, and Rapp is at the head of a group of defensive backs that is probably the best in the country. Johnson is another in that ball-hawking Hurricanes secondary.

Special teams -- Kicker Matt Gay, Utah; punter Jake Bailey, Stanford; long-snapper Payton Jordahl, Minnesota; punt returner Richaud Floyd, Missouri*; kick returner Deebo Samuel, South Carolina



QB -- Jarrett Stidham, Auburn*

RB -- Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma*

FB -- Winston Dimel, grad transfer

WR -- David Sills V, West Virginia

WR -- Parris Campbell, Ohio State

TE -- Tyler Petite, USC

C -- Alec Eberle, Florida State

OG -- Michael Jordan, Ohio State*

OG -- Nate Herbig, Stanford


OT -- Mitch Hyatt, Clemson

OT -- Trey Adams, Washington


DE -- Raekwon Davis, Alabama*

DE -- Rashan Gary, Michigan*

DT -- Dexter Lawrence, Clemson*

DT -- Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State*

LB -- Shaquille Quarterman, Miami*

LB -- T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin

LB -- Josh Allen, Kentucky

CB -- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida*

CB -- Tie: Amani Oruwariye, Penn State; Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State*; Julian Love, Notre Dame*

S -- Khaleke Hudson, Michigan*

S -- Andrew Wingard, Wyoming


K -- Austin Seibert, Oklahoma

P -- Mitch Wishnowky, Utah

Snapper -- Ben Makowski, Purdue

PR -- Diante Johnson, Toledo

KR -- Tony Pollard, Memphis*

Honorable mention (appeared on a first-team ballot): Georgia WR Riley Ridley; Alabama OG Ross Pierschbacher; Alabama LB Christian Miller; Notre Dame LB Te'von Coney; Georgia CB Deandre Baker, USC S Marvel Tell III.

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