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2017 NFL Draft Positional Rankings


Quarterbacks:

1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

2. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

3. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech

4. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

5. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

6. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL)

7. Davis Webb, California

8. Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh

9. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

10. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M

 

Watson is the clear top quarterback and might be the best prospect in the entire ’17 class. Chad Kelly’s skillset, particularly his arm talent, gets him in the top-five, but teams need to feel comfortable with his character. DeShone Kizer looks the part, but he didn’t win at ND, and was even benched throughout last season.

 

Running back:

1. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

2. Leonard Fournette, LSU

3. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

4. Dalvin Cook, Florida State

5. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

6. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee

7. Wayne Gallman, Clemson

8. James Conner, Pittsburgh

9. D’Onta Freeman, Texas

10. Corey Clement, Wisconsin

 

Fournette is a better pure runner, but McCaffrey’s all-around game gets him the top spot; both are top-ten overall prospects. Joe Mixon has clear first round talent, and it’s sounding more and more like he will go there despite the major red flags off the field. Dalvin Cook’s performance at the Combine could cause him to slip. There are some nice power backs that should be available on Day 2 and Day 3 for teams that don’t get the top-four, and really anyone on this list (and even a few off it) could make a huge impact at the next level.

 

Wide receiver:

1. Mike Williams, Clemson

2. John Ross, Washington

3. Chris Godwin, Penn State

4. Corey Davis, Western Michigan

5. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

6. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

7. Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma

8. Chad Hansen, California

9. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington

10. Zay Jones, East Carolina

 

Mike Williams (size) and John Ross (speed) are basically opposites, and either one could be the first wideout off the board depending on what style player a team values more. I’ve been a fan of Chris Godwin’s since before he tore it up this offseason. Some lesser-known prospects that could become really good starters are Chad Hansen, Cooper Kupp, and Zay Jones.

 

Tight end:

1. O.J. Howard, Alabama

2. David Njoku, Miami (FL)

3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss

4. Jake Butt, Michigan

5. Jordan Leggett, Clemson

6. Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech

7. Gerald Everett, South Alabama

8. Adam Shaheen, Ashland

9. Michael Roberts, Toledo

10. George Kittle, Iowa

 

The tight end class is loaded, and Howard and Njoku are both elite prospects with well-rounded games that will get them drafted safely in the first round. Jake Butt would have been in that discussion, too, if not for his torn ACL from the Orange Bowl.

 

Offensive tackle:

1. Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

2. Cam Robinson, Alabama

3. Garett Bolles, Utah

4. Roderick Johnson, Florida State

5. Will Holden, Vanderbilt

6. Chad Wheeler, USC

7. Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh

8. David Sharpe, Florida

9. Antonio Garcia, Troy

10. Dan Skipper, Arkansas

 

Ryan Ramczyk is easily the number-one tackle in the class, as Cam Robinson has some maturity issues and might even kick inside to guard at the next level. Ramczyk should be ready to contribute from either left or right tackle after playing in a pro-style offense at Wisconsin. Garrett Bolles turns 25 in May, but could be a first round pick in a weak group.

 

Interior offensive line:

1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

2. Dion Dawkins, Temple

3. Dan Feeney, Indiana

4. Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh

5. Pat Elflein, Ohio State

6. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan

7. Ethan Pocic, LSU

8. Zach Banner, USC

9. Kyle Fuller, Baylor

10. Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia

 

Dion Dawkins is an intriguing option on Day 2 for NFL teams needing help at either guard or tackle. He played tackle at Temple, and seems like he could do it in the pros, but has been working on the interior in the pre-draft process. Most of these guys will probably go on Day 2.

 

Defensive line:

1. Solomon Thomas, Stanford

2. Jonathan Allen, Alabama

3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State

4. Caleb Brantley, Florida

5. Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama

6. Montravius Adams, Auburn

7. Ryan Glasgow, Michigan

8. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte

9. Carlos Watkins, Clemson

10. Davon Godchaux, LSU

 

Solomon Thomas will cause havoc in whatever system he ends up playing in. Jonathan Allen had a concerning Combine, but he’s still a solid pick in the early first round. Malik McDowell could be a steal in the late first based on his talent, but he could also amount to nothing in the league if he isn’t committed.

 

Edge rusher:

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

2. Taco Charlton, Michigan

3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee

4. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

5. T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

6. Carl Lawson, Auburn

7. Charles Harris, Missouri

8. Tim Williams, Alabama

9. Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova

10. Jordan Willis, Kansas State

 

Garrett is the top player in the Draft, and there are a bunch of talented pass rushers behind him. Taco Charlton profiles as a larger edge defender in the mold of Chandler Jones, while Derek Barnett is simply a technician when it comes to getting after the passer. T.J. Watt’s versatility should make a team take him in the first round, and Carl Lawson has an enormous upside if he can stay healthy.

 

Linebacker:

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama

2. Haason Reddick, Temple

3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

4. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

5. Jarrad Davis, Florida

6. Ryan Anderson, Alabama

7. Kendell Beckwith, LSU

8. Alex Anzalone, Florida

9. Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern

10. Ben Boulware, Clemson

 

Foster should be a beast on all three downs in the NFL, but it’s definitely concerning to hear that he can struggle with X’s and O’s. Haason Reddick is a new-era, prototype linebacker despite not even playing the position in college. Ben Boulware isn’t the best linebacker in the class like he believes, but I wouldn’t bet against him becoming a starter in the league.

 

Cornerback:

1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

2. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

3. Gareon Conley, Ohio State

4. Quincy Wilson, Floriday

5. Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson

6. Fabian Moreau, UCLA

7. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

8. Kevin King, Washington

9. Adoree’ Jackson, USC

10. Tre’Davious White, LSU

 

Cornerback is always difficult to rank because it really depends on the scheme for each individual team, and it’s even more difficult to rank them in a loaded class. Lattimore is the clear top guy, and his college teammate Gareon Conley has garnered first round consideration. Sidney Jones isn’t on the list because of his Achilles injury, but I would have no problem with a team taking him at the top of the second round; he’d be a great value for the Browns at pick 33.

 

Safety:

1. Malik Hooker, Ohio State

2. Jamal Adams, LSU

3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

4. Budda Baker, Washington

5. Desmond King, Iowa

6. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut

7. Marcus Williams, Utah

8. Josh Jones, NC State

9. Justin Evans, Texas A&M

10. Marcus Maye, Florida

 

Malik Hooker has centerfielder skills that are comparable to Ed Reed. Jamal Adams and Jabrill Peppers can both be great safeties, but Hooker’s playmaking ability and ball skills are something else. Desmond King was a cornerback at Iowa, and he can likely succeed at either corner (in a zone-based scheme) or safety in the NFL. 

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