We’re a couple of weeks away from the draft, so this is a preliminary list of the top 5 players at each position in this year’s draft. At least, it’s my opinion of the top players. I’m still sorting through videos, and I’ve gotten to all the players yet, but you have to start somewhere. The list will change the closer we get to the draft especially after the combine.
2017 Top 5 NFL Prospects Position Breakdown
- Mitch Trubisky North Carolina
- Patrick Mahomes II Texas Tech
- Deshone Kizer Notre Dame
- Deshaun Watson Clemson
- Jerod Evans Virginia Tech
Surprise: After watching Mahomes play some games, he almost became my #1 quarterback. His poise under pressure really shows since he is constantly being harassed in the backfield.
Could Rise: Deshone Kizer makes all the throws, so after the combine he could move up the board. It kills me to watch his indecisiveness.
Could Fall: Jerod Evans is ranked much lower on most ranking sites, but I love the way he takes over the game. He’s the best runner of the quarterback class, but he makes too many bad throws.
- Dalvin Cook Florida State
- Leonard Fournette Louisiana State
- Alvin Kamara Tennessee
- Christian McCaffrey Stanford
- Joe Mixon Oklahoma
Surprise: Christian McCaffrey at #4? How can he be that low? Well, he is a great player, but he is not going to be a great pure running back. I see him as more of a receiving threat. Possibly a WR.
Could Rise: Christian McCaffrey easily could rise at the Combine. I fully expect him to interview well and show off his high football IQ. Add that to his toughness and physical skills, he might end up as high as #2.
Could Fall: Joe Mixon’s off the field situation could cause him to plummet down the board. The NFL already left him out of the combine which gives anyone there a chance to shine.
- Mike Williams Clemson
- Corey Davis Western Michigan
- Cooper Kupp Eastern Washington
- John Ross Washington
- JuJu Smith-Schuster Southern California
Surprise: Cooper Kupp at number three is probably the biggest surprise here. He had to move up after his solid performance at the Senior Bowl.
Could Rise: John Ross easily could jump up the board. He is a fast receiver with good route running ability, but he is a small which could leave him closer to 5 than 1.
Could Fall: JuJu Smith-Schuster easily could fall off the list. This WR class isn’t like the past couple of years, but JuJu starts a long list of quality receivers even if they aren’t going to be superstars.
- OJ Howard Alabama
- David Njoku Miami
- Jordan Leggett Clemson
- Evan Engram Ole Miss
- Jake Butt Michigan
Surprise: Jordan Leggett deserves to be listed this high on every list, but he tends to end up between 6-10 on most lists. He was a huge playmaker for Clemson but was overshadowed by Watson and Williams.
Could Rise: David Njoku is already #2, but high profile draftniks list him at number one. Between his big play ability and Miami’s history of churning out great tight ends, he could be the first TE off the board.
Could Fall: Jake Butt might not stay on this list by the time the draft rolls around because the depth of tight ends in this draft is crazy. A couple guys from smaller schools might step up.
- Cam Robinson Alabama
- Ryan Ramcyk Wisconsin
- Garett Bolles Utah
- Taylor Moton Western Michigan
- Roderick Johnson Florida State
Surprise: Roderick Johnson making the top 5 is the closest thing to a surprise on this list. He is part of a group of mediocre talents that round out this class.
Could Rise: Garett Bolles has the best chance to move up on this list. It would take an impressive combine and pro day, but Bolles could make it to the top of this list.
Could Fall: Ryan Ramcyk seems to be filling the trendy need to overthrow Cam Robinson as the top tackle, but Ramcyk looks like a RT to me. How high can you really draft a guy to play on the right side?
- Forrest Lamp Western Kentucky
- Dan Feeney Indiana
- Ethan Pocic Louisiana State
- Dion Dawkins Temple
- Pat Elflein Ohio State
Surprise: Pat Elflein gets a raw deal on several of the lists that I’ve seen. People love to hate on centers in the draft, but every year one guy separates himself from the pack. This year it’s Elflein.
Could Rise: Ethan Pocic has the versatility to make a move up the board. He played every position on the line during his college career which makes a depth asset immediately if nothing else.
Could Fall: Dan Feeney gets the job done, but the potential ceiling is higher from several players below him. If those guys put on a show at the combine, he might take a tumble.
- Myles Garrett Texas A&M
- Solomon Thomas Stanford
- Derek Barnett Tennessee
- Charles Harris Missouri
- Takkarist McKinley UCLA
Surprise: Solomon Thomas is a player that I really like. #2 might seem too high, but he’ll be productive from anywhere on the line from 3 to 9 technique.
Could Rise: Takkarist McKinley could put up big sack totals at the next level. His raw athletic talent will be enough for him to be good at the next level. A little coaching and he’ll be an All Pro.
Could Fall: Solomon Thomas might be the most likely to fall down this list. Like I said, I really like this guy, but the talent listed below him could easily jump over him.
3-4 DE/4-3 DT
- Jonathan Allen Alabama
- Malik McDowell Michigan State
- Caleb Brantley Florida
- Chris Wormley Michigan
- Carlos Watkins Clemson
Surprise: I don’t think there is a surprise on this list. I think places 2-4 could shift around a little, but these guys seem to be pretty standard.
Could Rise: Of the 2-4 guys, I could see Wormley jumping up the most. Allen won’t lose the top spot, but Wormley can move up to #2 since he can play across the entire line.
Could Fall: Carlos Watkins could fall off the list, but it won’t drop too far down the list. Larry Ogunjobi could take this spot over.
- Reuben Foster Alabama
- Haason Reddick Temple
- Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt
- Jarrad Davis Florida
- TJ Watt Wisconsin
Surprise: TJ Watt making the list could be seen as a surprise, but his last name, athleticism, and his ability to play inside and outside lifts him above other players to get on the list.
Could Rise: Jarrad Davis could move right up behind Reuben Foster. He gets knocked for being undersized, but he is an explosive, instinct driven player.
Could Fall: The praise for Zach Cunningham keeps piling in, but he has a deficiency in an important area for linebackers, tackling. He misses too many tackles and fails to attack the ball carrier with conviction.
- Marlon Humphries Alabama
- Marshon Lattimore Ohio State
- Teez Tabor Florida
- Sidney Jones Washington
- Tre’Davious White Louisiana State
Surprise: Marlon Humphries at #1 might look foolish, but I love his size and coverage ability. He needs to improve his ball location skills on deep balls because he will get beat too often.
Could Rise: Adoree Jackson isn’t on this list, but his stunning abilities with the ball in his hand might impress me enough to move up and onto this list.
Could Fall: Teez Tabor speed might drop him down on this list. He’s a big, skilled corner, but his speed might not make the cut at the next level. He played way off to much in college. The pros will eat that up.
- Malik Hooker Ohio State
- Jamal Adams Louisiana State
- Budda Baker Washington
- Obi Melifonwu Connecticut
- Jabrill Peppers Michigan
Surprise: Listing Baker over Peppers and Melifonwu might not be popular. His size is questionable, but he’ll smack a running back in the mouth. He’s the best man coverage safety in the draft.
Could Rise: Jabrill Peppers is football player, but he played all over the field in college. How will his skill set translate to the NFL? There is no question he is talented, but can he play one position at a high level?
Could Fall: Jamal Adams’ lack of ball skills and tendency to cheat up on play action are among his faults. He’s a great overall player, but the three guys behind him are nipping at his heels.