10. Corey Clement, Wisconsin
2016 rushing stats: 314 attempts, 1,375 yards, 4.4 YPC, 15 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 12 catches, 132 yards
Clement is a well-known prospect after a big season for a big-time program, but a lot of scouts think he’s an “unspectacular” runner. A better word to describe him could be “solid.” Clement was the workhorse for the Badgers with 164 yards against both Ohio State and Penn State, but both were close losses.
Where we’d take him: late third round
9. D’Onta Freeman, Texas
2016 rushing stats: 323 attempts, 2,028 yards, 6.3 YPC, 15 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 7 catches, 75 yards
After averaging 7.2 yards per carry on 95 attempts as a sophomore, Freeman took off in his first season as the starter by rushing for over 2,000 yards. Freeman has elite power for a prospect, but he has the looks of a one-dimensional player in the league; he needs to be drafted as an early-down pounder.
Where we’d take him: third round
8. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
2016 rushing stats: 196 attempts, 1,060 yards, 5.4 YPC, 12 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 10 catches, 106 yards, 1 touchdown
Perine has been among the most productive players in the country over the past three years, but his touchdowns have gone from 21 as a freshman to 16 as a sophomore to 12 this year, and his yards and yards per carry have fallen each year, too. Still, some of that can be contributed to the emergence of Joe Mixon, and it could end up benefitting Perine from a workload standpoint as he starts his NFL career.
Where we’d take him: early third round
7. Wayne Gallman, Clemson
2016 rushing stats: 232 attempts, 1,133 yards, 4.9 YPC, 17 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 20 catches, 152 yards
Gallman is heading to the NFL after going out a champion at Clemson, and he will be able to provide the toughness and competitiveness teams could be looking for this April. He needs to improve his vision between the tackles, but Gallman easily gets to the second-level when there’s a hole. He’s also caught at least 20 passes in each of his three seasons at Clemson.
Where we’d take him: late second round
6. James Conner, Pittsburgh
2016 rushing stats: 216 attempts, 1,092 yards, 5.1 YPC, 16 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 21 catches, 302 yards, 4 touchdowns
At six-foot-two, 240 pounds, James Conner is a beast on and off the field. After missing most of the 2015 season after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Conner beat cancer and returned to the field less than four months later. He wasn’t as productive as a runner this season, but 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore is hard to replicate at all, let alone having just beat cancer. However, Conner did greatly improve as a pass-catcher in 2016, boosting his already impressive draft stock.
Where we’d take him: mid-to-late second round
5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
2016 rushing stats: 187 attempts, 1,274 yards, 6.8 YPC, 10 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 37 catches, 538 yards, 5 touchdowns
Let’s get the off-field stuff out of the way immediately. It shouldn’t be brushed off by any means, but Mixon’s punching of a woman occurred as an 18-year old, and individual teams will have to decide if he’s truly changed or not through the interview process. On the field, Mixon is an all-around back that saw significant playing time at the expense of Samaje Perine.
Where we’d take him: mid second round (from a talent perspective)
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
2016 rushing stats: 103 attempts, 596 yards, 5.8 YPC, 9 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 40 catches, 392 yards, 4 touchdowns
Kamara’s career statistics don’t jump out by any means, but his tape sure does. Some people have wanted to put Kamara into the first round, but that might be a little bit of a stretch. He’s an explosive runner, but he has some durability concerns, and it won’t get easier to stay healthy at his size in the NFL.
Where we’d take him: early second round
3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
2016 rushing stats: 288 attempts, 1,765 yards, 6.1 YPC, 19 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 33 catches, 488 yards, 1 touchdown
Cook has elite acceleration that makes him a threat to take it to the house with just a small crease at the line of scrimmage, and the wrong angle by a safety will make a touchdown a sure thing. After carrying Florida State’s offense at times throughout his career, Cook will look to be a big part of an NFL offense.
Where we’d take him: mid first round
2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
2016 rushing stats: 253 attempts, 1,603 yards, 6.3 YPC, 13 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 37 catches, 310 yards, 3 touchdowns
The opinions on McCaffrey’s NFL prospects are surprising, with some people thinking he will be just a COP back and return man, but we think he could be the centerpiece of an offense. What happened over the past year that knocked McCaffrey down from the potential top-five pick that he was talked about being after his breakout sophomore year? Vision. Speed. Agility. Passing game. Return game. McCaffrey’s got it all, and the concerns about his size are unwarranted.
Where we’d take him: early to mid first round
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU
2016 rushing stats: 129 attempts, 843 yards, 6.5 YPC, 8 touchdowns
2016 receiving stats: 15 catches, 146 yards
Absolutely no one has concerns about Leonard Fournette’s size. The LSU superstar has been compared to Adrian Peterson, and could have been a first round pick coming out of high school. Fournette will not only be hard to bring down, but he will likely punish NFL defenders. Defensive backs that like to arm tackle will have no chance with the kind of speed and power that Fournette possesses.
Where we’d take him: early first round