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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

The 2017 NFL Draft is tomorrow and here is GameDaySportsBlog.com’s ranking of this year’s crop of players. Of course, you could just use Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay as your reference. After all, it’s not like they thought Jamarcus Russell would be a star, or the same for Trent Richardson. It’s not like they claimed that RGIII and Andrew Luck would be equally great. I know I disagreed with them on all of these. And I even claimed Dak Prescott was the 2nd best QB in the draft last year. But, no, trust McShay and Kiper instead.

Quarterbacks –

  1. Mitch Trubisky UNC
  2. DeShone Kizer ND
  3. Deshaun Watson CLEM
  4. Patrick Mahomes II TTU
  5. Brad Kaaya MIAMI

This quarterback class is an absolutely interesting group. Mitch Trubisky is a solid prospect and worthy of a top-10 pick. His size, ability to run an offense, and his production without turning the ball over is something teams look for in their franchise leader. DeShone Kizer has arguably more skills than Trubisky but he only played a year and a half at Notre Dame and was even benched last season for the burning ship that was the Fighting Irish in 2016. Still, Kizer has the size and the arm to lead an NFL offense. A player who might not have the size many teams look for is Deshaun Watson. But the former Clemson Tiger is a proven leader and was ultra-productive in an offense where he used both his arm and his legs. Patrick Mahomes II is an interesting prospect because he comes from an “air raid” system that doesn’t produce pro quarterbacks. He was successful in running that offense, but he is still a huge question mark for NFL teams. Meanwhile Miami’s Brad Kaaya is a quarterback from a pro-style system, and was very productive in that system. He does however lack the size and needs to gain serious weight to play in the National Football League.

Running Backs –

  1. Leonard Fournette LSU
  2. Dalvin Cook FSU
  3. Christian McCaffrey STAN
  4. Joe Mixon OU
  5. Alvin Kamara Tenn

This is the best running back class in recent memory. Leonard Fournette is arguably the best player in the draft and the most violent runner we have seen since Adrian Peterson came out of Oklahoma in 2007. And while the LSU rusher is the best prospect in the draft Florida State’s Dalvin Cook was the best offensive player in college football last year. Christian McCaffrey is another fleet footed back who can also line up in the slot and play a major role on special teams as well. Joe Mixon is the most controversial prospect out there, but his talents and proven production should outweigh something he did 4 years ago, apologized for, and already was punished on behalf of. Alvin Kamara is a player that many are sleeping on, and has the potential to be a really good offensive player in the NFL. All of these running backs have great feet, arguably better than any running back who came out last season (including Ezekiel Elliot), and the versatility they bring adds even more to this already outstanding group of runners.

Wide Receivers –

  1. Mike Williams CLEM
  2. Corey Davis WMU
  3. John Ross WASH
  4. JuJu Smith-Schuster USC
  5. ArDarius Stewart BAMA

This top-5 group of wide receivers features a bunch of different talents and styles. Former Clemson Tiger Mike Williams brings the size and the physicality to fight for 50-50 balls. Corey Davis and JuJu Smith-Schuster are your classic possession receivers who put up good numbers in college. John Ross is the explosive deep threat in the mold of DeSean Jackson, while ArDarius Stewart is the most physical and tough receiver of the bunch.

Tight Ends –

  1. OJ Howard BAMA
  2. Evan Engram MISS
  3. Jake Butt MICH
  4. Jordan Leggett CLEM
  5. David Njoku MIAMI

Alabama’s OJ Howard could be a top 10 pick in tomorrow’s NFL Draft. Howard is that athletic and talented. Unfortunately, his production didn’t meet his talent while in Tuscaloosa, and that might worry some teams. Evan Engram on the other hand was a very productive player for the Rebels and his talent is worthy of a 2nd round pick. The same goes for Jake Butt, who played in a pro-style offense while in Ann Arbor, and was extremely productive for Jim Harbaugh. Jordan Leggett was a solid receiver who will be a great tight end in the Jordan Reed mold, but not quite as athletic as the Pro Bowl Redskin. David Njoku is athletic as Reed, and more athletic than any tight end in this draft, but he is more a large receiver than any kind of blocker. He is a threat as a receiver, but such a bad blocker and in-line tight end that he is not a true threat as a tight end.

Offensive Linemen –

  1. Ryan Ramcyzk WIS
  2. Garrett Boles UTAH
  3. Cam Robinson BAMA
  4. Taylor Moton WMU
  5. Dion Dawkins TEM

This is arguably the weakest O-Line class the NFL has seen in decades. This group is without a future pro bowl type talent and arguably not a single OL goes in the first dozen picks, which would be the 1st time since 2001. Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramcyzk and Utah’s Garrett Boles are the best of the bunch and definitely have the talent to start in the NFL and be solid players, but neither is worthy of a top-10 pick. Following them is Cam Robinson, who despite his massive size and Alabama’s scheme that fit his style so well, was never the best lineman on the Tide roster. He could be another DJ Fluker type of player. Both Taylor Moton and Dion Dawkins are athletic players who have solid feet, but they played against lower level competition in non-power-5 conferences. In any other draft they would be around the 9th and 10th best linemen in the draft, however in this class they are top-5 players at the position.

Defensive Ends –

  1. Myles Garrett aTm
  2. Solomon Thomas STAN
  3. Derek Barnett TENN
  4. Charles Harris MIZZ
  5. Taco Charlton MICH

Stating the obvious, Myles Garrett is the most likely player to be selected 1st overall. His athleticism and physical stature make him a basic lock for that top spot, and rightfully so. Stanford’s Solomon Thomas is a versatile player who would do best at 5-technique (strong-side defensive end), but could move and play well anywhere across the line. Derek Barnett is a player that I believe is one of the most underrated prospects in the draft despite being considered a 1st round pick by nearly every “draft guru”. Fellow SEC lineman, Charles Harris, is a disruptive force and a true pass-rusher with the size to also stop the run. Taco Charlton was a stud in Ann Arbor, and his physical talents translate well to the NFL, but he will need to be more productive than he was at Michigan. Still, the big defensive end will end up in the first round because his talent demands it.

Defensive Tackles –

  1. Jonathan Allen BAMA
  2. Chris Wormley MICH
  3. Malik McDowell MSU
  4. Montravius Adams AUB
  5. Carlos Watkins CLEM

Outside of the running backs, this position group has the most talent of any group of prospects in the draft. There was no player in college football better than Jonathan Allen last year, and he would have had my Heisman vote. He is a disruptive force at a position of importance in the NFL. Chris Wormly is another excellent inside presence who produced well for a stout Michigan defense. Malik McDowell is arguably the most talented defensive prospect not named Myles Garrett, and Montravius Adams is another 1st round type talent, who just lacked productive numbers while at Auburn. Carlos Watkins is an extremely talented and athletic 300 lbs. player who could anchor the interior of a defensive line.

Linebackers –

  1. Reuben Foster BAMA
  2. Jarrad Davis UF
  3. Haason Reddick TEM
  4. Zach Cunningham VANDY
  5. Raekwon McMillan OSU

I said this 3 years ago when I first saw film on him, that “Reuben Foster is the best defensive player I have ever seen in high school”. I stick by that assessment of the Tide defender as his play on the field is unlike any linebacker we have seen in some time. His football IQ might not be on the level of Luke Kuechly, but he is very instinctual, and he brings the lumber on nearly every hit. Mel Kiper Jr. just called Florida’s Jarrad Davis a lock for the 1st round, and that is because the physical and tough nature of his game is what NFL teams need to stop strong running games. Haason Reddick is a player who dominated the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine with his length and athleticism. Zach Cunningham is a smart, tough player who was the heart & soul of a surprisingly strong Vanderbilt squad. He is the kind of player that you would assume is the perfect player for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Former Buckeye Raekwon McMillan is a physically talented player who hits hard and defends the run well, and if he can sell a team on his physical traits then he too will make his way into round #1.

Cornerbacks –

  1. Quincy Wilson UF
  2. Marshon Lattimore OSU
  3. Gareon Conley OSU
  4. Jalen Tabor UF
  5. Kevin King WASH

A lot of “draft gurus” have different rankings at this position group, however this writer is better than those guys, granted who’s not better than Mel Kiper Jr. This cornerback class isn’t like others, in that it does not have a single “can’t miss” prospect, but instead has a bunch of solid players and athletes. Quincy Wilson takes the top spot because he was the best corner in college football last season and his lead up to the draft this offseason has been impressive as well. Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore isn’t far behind him, as he is physically exactly what you want in a corner; as is his fellow Buckeye backfield mate Gareon Conley. Florida’s Teez Tabor is arguably the best corner getting off the bus, or in other words, no corner looks more like the sure thing just looking at him. He is tall, thick, and has long arms allowing him to look like a thicker Richard Sherman. He produced well, even outplaying former 1st-rounder and teammate Vernon Hargreaves III. Kevin King is a smaller corner but his physicality and grit that he plays with makes him a top-5 corner.

Safeties –

  1. Jamal Adams LSU
  2. Malik Hooker OSU
  3. Jabrill Peppers UM
  4. Budda Baker WASH
  5. Marcus Maye UF

This position group is headlined by former LSU Tiger Jamal Adams, who some have claimed is not only the best safety in this year’s draft, but the best overall player in the draft. Adams is almost guaranteed to be a top-5 pick. Behind the future All-Pro is Malik Hooker, who albeit is very talented, has very little experience. But in that one year of starting for Ohio State Hooker picked off seven passes and looked like a true centerfielder at safety. And while Hooker is a prime candidate for free safety, the next three prospects are better fit to play strong safety in the NFL. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is a tweener, but with his athleticism and knack for doing whatever is needed he will be a good one in the NFL. Both Washington’s Budda Baker and Florida’s Marcus Maye are tough strong run support type safeties, however neither is bad in coverage and both are looking to go early on the 2nd day of the draft to a team that needs help stopping the run.

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