With the 2017 NFL Draft just around the corner, I give you my final big board. For the record, this list does not represent the top players in respect to the Detroit Lions, but the top players overall. Anyway, let’s begin.
1. Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
2. Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
3. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Lattimore comes with an injury history, but shot down worries about a possible pulled hamstring during his second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His lack of experience doesn’t worry me because he has all of the traits you want in a No. 1 corner. The kid can flat out ball.
4. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster could slide due to suffering multiple concussions, along with his incident at the combine, but he is a top-5 talent regardless.
5. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Elite range with enormous hands.
March 24, 2017
6. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
7. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
8. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
9. Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Expect Reddick to be off the board before 21st overall. Despite making a position switch, Reddick is a fast learner with elite athleticism and versatility.
10. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
More experience than his counterpart and one could argue that he had an even better 2016 than Lattimore. Conley is extremely fluid with great movement skills, but will need to make better use of his hands.
12. Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
I’ll let those with more inside information decide what type of person Malik is, but I know he’s a fantastic athlete with a ton of upside. If his issues are corrected, he has All-Pro potential.
13. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
14. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
15. Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
16. Obi Melifonwu, S/CB, Connecticut
Obi is not just a workout warrior. He’s got some solid tape to back up the otherworldly measurements. We’ve seen teams get rewarded big time for drafting raw, high-potential prospects in recent past (see: Byron Jones).
17. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
18. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Achilles injuries suck, but I felt conflicted on how far to drop Jones on my board. I still think he’s a top-15 talent, but he will undoubtedly fall to the second round or later.
19. Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
20. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
21. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
22. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
23. Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
24. T.J. Watt, EDGE/LB, Wisconsin
Whether he’s an off-ball linebacker or sticks his hand in the dirt, T.J. Watt is a ridiculous athlete, even more so than his brother (and has the same work ethic), but three separate knee injuries is what pushes his stock down to this range.
25. Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
26. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
27. Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
Moreau had to undergo surgery after tearing his pectoral muscle, but should be ready to go midway through preseason. I love his physicality and patience in press coverage along with his athleticism and experience in both zone and man coverage. To me, he’s a top-5 corner in this class.
28. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
29. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
30. Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
31. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis absolutely killed it during his pro day and moves into first-round consideration. His aggressive demeanor on the field gets the best of him at times, but he’s easily one of the best three-down linebackers in the draft.
32. Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
33. Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
34. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
35. Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
36. Marcus Williams, S, Utah
Williams will be turning 21 in September and has arguably the best range of any deep safety in the class not named Malik Hooker. He tested off the charts at the combine overall, but his 43.5 inch vert is especially absurd.
37. Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston
38. Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
39. John Ross, WR, Washington
40. Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
Even without the character concerns surrounding him, Mixon has more flaws on the football field than people are willing to admit. I see a guy who plays smaller than his listed size with too much hesitation as an inside runner. His skills as a receiving back are undeniable, however.
41. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Trend analysis shows that it’s very unlikely for a CB who tested the way Tabor did to succeed in the NFL, so I cannot, in good conscience, keep him as high as I would have liked on my board. Tabor is a zone only corner that wins with his smarts and ball skills on the field.
42. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
43. Caleb Brantley, DL, Florida
44. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
There is so much to like about McCaffrey, but I’m not buying into the talks of him being a top-15 prospect. While it’s obvious that he can succeed in a zone-blocking scheme, I think that’s where he’s limited and see him moving laterally too often upon contact. That said, put him in a ZBS or as a slot receiver and he’s going to thrive.
45. Josh Jones, S, NC State
46. Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
47. Taylor Moton, OG, Western Michigan
48. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana
49. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
50. Carlos Henderson, WR, LA Tech
51. Ethan Pocic, OC/OG, LSU
52. Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
Burst and long speed isn’t there, but tested well in agility drills. Wilson is quick to plant and drive in off-man coverage and shows good closing speed. He has the length and ball skills to challenge taller wide receivers and plays bigger than his listed weight.
53. Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
The narrative surrounding Samuel is that he blew up the combine, but aside from his bench press and 40-yard dash, his numbers leave a lot to be desired. His poor agility scores suggest to some teams that he may be better suited at running back.
54. David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
55. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
56. Pat Elflein, OC, Ohio State
57. Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
58. Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
59. Dalvin Tomlinson, DL, Alabama
60. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
61. Kevin King, CB, Washington
The first round talk needs to stop here. It’s much easier to change directions when you know where to go (i.e. 3-cone drill) versus reacting to a slant route and planting and driving out of your backpedal. King offers great size and athleticism, but is still extremely raw and is going to get abused on in-breaking routes as a rookie.
62. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
63. Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
64. Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Gallman doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of the better backs in this class. He’s a tall, powerful and patient runner who is constantly churning his legs for the extra yard or two and is a capable blocker and pass catcher.
65. Bucky Hodges, WR/TE, Virginia Tech
66. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
67. Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh
68. Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
69. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
70. George Kittle, TE, Iowa
71. Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
72. Jeremy Cutrer, CB/S, MTSU
Cutrer has fantastic tape, but played at a measly 168 pounds. His story is tragic and he’s had to overcome homelessness and starvation after Hurricane Katrina’s effects. Put him in an NFL weight program, and I think he can turn into a special player.
73. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
74. Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
75. Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
If it weren’t for his awful character issues, Ishmael Zamora would have more national recognition as one of the top receivers in this year’s class. He’s a second-round talent with undraftable character.
76. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
77. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
78. Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida
79. Nico Siragusa, OG, San Diego State
80. Jermaine Eluemunor, OG, Texas A&M
Eluemunor has only 13 college starts under his belt but moves extremely well for a 330-pound offensive lineman. He’s strong and has a ton of upside on the interior.
81. John Johnson, S, Boston College
82. Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
83. Desmond King, S, Iowa
84. Budda Baker, S, Washington
85. Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan
Wormley is an interesting case where the play speed doesn’t quite match up with his testing speed. While some believe Wormley is a 4-3 base end, I believe he is best served as a 5-tech that can kick inside on pass rushing situations.
86. Chad Hansen, WR, California
87. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
88. T.J. Logan, RB, UNC
89. Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah
90. ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
Stewart made a smart decision by not participating in agility drills at the combine and during his pro day because he has poor COD (change of direction) and often decided to run out of bounds or take wide turns upfield on WR sweeps.
91. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
92. Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
93. Marcus Maye, S, Florida
94. Rasul Douglas, CB, Virginia
95. Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
Roberts is a reliable target with MASSIVE hands. In fact, he has the largest hands of any tight end known since 1999. He is inconsistent as a blocker, but shows flashes of dominance as an in-line TE. Roberts also finished 2016 with 16 touchdowns and will be a nice red zone threat at the next level.
96. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami (FL)
97. Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
98. Jaleel Johnson, DL, Iowa
99. Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
100. Joe Mathis, EDGE, Washington
101. Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
102. Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
One of the few 3-techs in this draft that I’d feel confident taking in the first four rounds. Adams has a chance to step in Day 1 as a rotational pass rushing DT and has the burst off the line of scrimmage to consistently disrupt the passer.
103. Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU
104. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
105. Andreas Knappe, OT, Connecticut
106. Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
Kupp lacks burst off the line of scrimmage and has below average long speed, but has extremely quick feet and soft hands and will be a reliable chain mover and third down target for someone. Let us pray that he does not end up in Green Bay, which would be a perfect fit for his skillset.
107. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
108. Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
109. Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
Hill is a favorite of mine. While he doesn’t have elite top end speed to bounce it outside or give you many home run plays, he’s incredibly efficient as a runner and displays great vision behind a poor offensive line. He reminds me of David Cobb with better vision and more upside.
110. Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
111. Carlos Watkins, DL, Clemson
112. Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
113. Tarell Basham, EDGE, Ohio
Basham is receiving a ton of praise and is moving up on a lot of boards, but I don’t see it. He lacks strength and is often the last player to react off the snap for Ohio’s defense. With that being said, he has plenty of other traits to hang your hat on, like his length and athleticism, for instance.
114. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
115. Matthew Dayes, RB, NC State
116. Larry Ogunjobi, DL, Charlotte
117. Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
118. Daeshon Hall, EDGE, Texas A&M
119. Vincent Taylor, DL, Oklahoma State
120. Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
121. Corn Elder, CB, Miami (FL)
Hurricane fans will tell you Elder is the best corner ever (I’m speaking from experience), but despite his admirable game film, he’s simply too small and too unathletic to play anywhere other than the slot. He could make some team happy looking for a starting nickel in the fourth or fifth round.
122. Josh-Harvey Clemons, S, Louisville
123. Tanoh Kpassagnon, EDGE, Villanova
124. Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
125. D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
I’m not sure where the whole “D’Onta Foreman is a great pass protector” came from. Pro Football Focus claims he didn’t give up a single pressure in pass protection, yet it took me less than three minutes to find a couple of plays where he was solely responsible for a pressure or two. Foreman is big and fast, but plays smaller than his size and struggles in pass protection.
126. Jonnu Smith, TE, FIU
127. Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
128. Duke Riley, LB, LSU
129. Elijah Qualls, DL, Washington
Qualls is an interesting prospect and one the Lions may look at as a possible 3-tech. He weighed in pretty heavy at the combine, but tested well and looked explosive for his size.
130. Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
131. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
132. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (FL)
133. Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
134. Trey Hendrickson, EDGE, FAU
135. Chase Roullier, OG/OC, Wyoming
136. Tarik Cohen, RB, NC A&T
137. Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
138. Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
139. Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
140. Davis Webb, QB, California
141. Ryan Anderson, LB/EDGE, Alabama
142. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee
143. Marlon Mack, RB, USF
144. Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU
145. Hunter Dimick, EDGE, Utah
146. Dylan Cole, LB, Missouri State
147. DeMarcus Walker, DL, Florida State
148. Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF
149. Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin
150. Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson