Top prospects for 2018 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks rank high on the list

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Now that the 2017 NFL Draft has concluded, the scouting departments of each NFL team have turned the page to the 2018 draft.

While we have no idea now which teams could be selecting first in 12 months' time, we can forecast the players who could be in the conversation for the top pick.

The 2018 draft class should be stronger at quarterback and there are a handful of passers who could go in the first round, with a trio of signal-callers likely to be in the discussion for the first overall selection.

Here Omnisport's Ron Clements takes an early look at the 18 prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. 

1. Sam Darnold, QB, USC: Darnold will be among those considered for the top pick if he decides to come out. He threw for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a redshirt freshman.

2. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Kirk could be the top receiver in next year's draft class. He is undersized, but has excellent speed and is very elusive in the open field. He has 163 receptions for 1,937 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career so far. Kirk is also dangerous as a return specialist and has five punt returns for touchdowns.

3. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: Rosen, who will be entering his third season for the Bruins, is a strong-armed quarterback who has thrown for 5,585 yards with 33 touchdowns and 16 picks.

4. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: Some thought Allen would declare for the draft following his redshirt sophomore season. He threw for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his first season as a starter.

5. Arden Key, DE, LSU: Key was a first-team All-SEC selection as a sophomore after recording 12.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. He is an excellent athlete on the defensive front.

6. Derwin James, S, Florida State: James is another junior expected to declare next year, even after missing most of his sophomore season with a knee injury. He is an athletically gifted safety with supreme ball skills.

7. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: Wilkins made a big jump from his freshman to sophomore season, recording 13 tackles for loss last year and showcasing excellent burst off the snap.

8. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State: Lewis could be the highest-rated senior in the 2018 class. The reigning Big Ten defensive lineman of the year has 27.5 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks over his career.

9. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: McGlinchey will leave Notre Dame as a four-year starter and could be the first offensive lineman taken next year having regularly displayed sound technique and athleticism.

10. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama: Fitzpatrick was a first-team All-American as a sophomore after picking off six passes and returning two for scores. He also returned both of his interceptions as a freshman for touchdowns.

11. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: Sutton decided to return to SMU for his redshirt junior season after catching 76 passes for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns last year to earn first-team All-American Athletic Conference honours.

12. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner put up video game numbers as a sophomore and will look to prove himself as college football's top quarterback this season. 

13. Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State: Hubbard started as a true freshman in 2015 and, demonstrating the flexibility to play as a 4-3 or 3-4 end, has 16.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in two seasons.

14. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: Ridley will have to be more consistent as a pass catcher, but does have elite NFL ability. He caught 72 passes last year and has 161 receptions for 1,814 yards and 14 scores in two seasons for the Tide.

15. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas: A third-year linebacker who played in 22 games, starting 18, Jefferson could be the top linebacker of next year's draft class. Through two seasons he has 121 tackles, 16 for loss, and nine sacks.

16. Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State: In a draft class that may include Georgia senior Nick Chubb, LSU junior Derrius Guice and bruising Alabama junior Bo Scarbrough, Barkley could be the most complete back of the bunch and first one selected next year. Barkley ran for 1,496 yards with 18 touchdowns last season and caught 28 passes for 402 yards and four scores.

17. Da'Shawn Hand, DT, Alabama: It should be no surprise that Alabama could have multiple players taken in the first round of next year's draft and Hand has a chance to be one of the first defensive players selected. He enters his senior season with 11 career tackles for loss and seven sacks.

18. Deion Harris, CB, North Dakota: Almost every year there is an FCS player or two who sneaks into the first round. Harris could be that player next year. An excellent special teams player, Harris had five interceptions last season and has a chance to leave North Dakota as the school's all-time leader in pass breakups.