While the Super Bowl is fast approaching, the fanbases who are hoping for their team to turn it around to reach the Super Bowl have once again started focusing on the 2017 NFL Draft. Throughout the whole College Football season, we’ve watched some of the most talented players in the country showcase their abilities to help their teams win, ultimately ending with the Clemson Tigers beating the Alabama Crimson Tide for the College Football Playoff Championship. Now with the season over, I think it’s time to see how things have changed from Big Board 1.0 to now Big Board 2.0. But before we get into Big Board 2.0, let’s go back and see what he had in Big Board 1.0 from the Preseason in August.
Big Board 1.0
10. Christian McCaffery, Stanford
9. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
8. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL)
7. Juju Smith-Schuster, USC
6. Teez Tablor, Florida
5. Jamal Adams, LSU
4. Malik McDowell, Michigan State
3. Leonard Fournette, LSU
2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Let’s make a few observations from this now. Well first off let me apologize for about 50% of this Big Board for being mostly hype. Highlighted by Brad Kaaya and Juju Smith-Schuster who completely disappointed me this past year, never should’ve warranted consideration. Looking back Kaaya was all projectable with nothing really to go on to make you think he can get to that point. Smith-Schuster, I have no idea what happened, I completely whiffed on that one. Teez Tabor wasn’t even the best CB on his own team, and while I still have hope for Malik McDowell, he really didn’t have the same impact this year as he did last year for Michigan State.
I always feel it’s important to look back at what we’ve said before to reflect in order to learn from any mistakes we might make on prospects to see what we missed in order to find that in another prospect. Throughout this process I’ve rewritten Big Board 2.0 numerous times after finding out what I missed and finding it in other players. With that said, we’re going to start with #10 going all the way to my #1 prospect and at the end I’ll reveal, “The Next 10” who didn’t make the Top 10, but are in my Top 20.
11. DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
12. WR Mike Williams, Clemson
13. WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
14. CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
15. CB Sidney Jones, Washington
16. TE OJ Howard, Alabama
17. S Budda Baker, Washington
18. CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
19. CB Adoree Jackson, USC
20. S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Just a few quick thoughts on my “Next 10”. Solomon Thomas probably should be in my Top 10, but I’ve seen only his Bowl game vs. North Carolina, I’m not gonna sucker myself in. There seems to be a lot of CB depth in this class as evidenced by the 4 CBs in my next 10. Marshon Lattimore from OSU really stands out as the top guy with his quickness and ability to move on his feet. I know its controversial to have a TE who really didn’t have the production you look for in college be this high, but every time Alabama called on OJ Howard, he came through. He’s a great blocker and I think at the next level we’ll be asking ourselves how was he not utilized at Alabama. For the WRs, it’s really a toss up for me who I like more. Because of how clutch he was in the National Title game, I’ll give the edge to Mike Williams, but I like Corey Davis’ upside much more. Lastly with the Safeties, Budda Baker will probably go in Rd 2, and while still a bit early in the process, what I’ve seen on Baker looks like a Top 20 pick. As for Jabrill Peppers, the #20 ranking is all based on upside. Peppers has the ball instincts to be an effective SS in the NFL, but with his elite athletic ability, I see him more in the FS mold. As I’ve said, Peppers reminds me of Seattle SS Earl Thomas, who honestly can play either FS/SS. Peppers will need work, but the talent is there.
For those wondering, Mock Draft 1.0 will be released immediately following the Combine. While I’m a fan of Mock Drafts, I think it’s silly to do them in January before the draft process takes effect. Plus for those new to my NFL Draft articles, I only do 3 Mock Drafts. One is immediately following the Combine, the second is the beginning of April after the majority of Free Agency has happened so team needs can be more accurately charted, the last is obviously Draft week. I assure you that these Mock Drafts will be unlike any you’ve seen as let’s say I think sometimes way too outside the box.
The Road to the Draft in Philadelphia, PA is on and all I can say is I’m ready for Draft Season!