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2017 NFL Draft: Final Positional Rankings

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After hours of watching film, assessing athletic-testing numbers, and a few other things... my big draft project is here.

Ok, here they are... my 2017 NFL Draft Position Rankings. Basically, I spent as much time as reasonably possible every night on this “project” for the past few months... mostly watching film then adjusting my rankings accordingly.

Not all positions have the same amount of players ranked. I didn’t assign round value, and the end of a positional ranking doesn’t mean I think no other players are “draftable,” it’s just where I decided to stop for that spot.

I tried not to list more than 17 or so prospects for any particular position. A few prospects are listed at multiple positions.

(*I was late watching Rayshawn Jenkins and Eddie Jackson, so my safety rankings are slightly different from what I published last week.)


Quarterback

  1. Deshaun Watson
  2. Mitchell Trubisky
  3. Davis Webb
  4. Patrick Mahomes
  5. Nate Peterman
  6. DeShone Kizer
  7. Jerod Evans
  8. Chad Kelly
  9. Josh Dobbs

I know, I know. The draft community doesn’t like Webb too much. I do. I think he has really good downfield accuracy, and I saw some quality pocket movement. His final few games weren’t the best, but I like what he brings from a “refined tools” standpoint. He does tend to be a tick late with some decisions though. Kelly was extremely hit or miss for me. In some games, he looked like a Round 2-type quarterback. In other games, he could barely complete a pass. If Watson played in a more complex offense at Clemson, he’d be worth a Top 10 pick in my estimation, and the same goes for Trubisky if he started more than 13 games.


Running Back

  1. Joe Mixon
  2. Dalvin Cook
  3. Christian McCaffrey
  4. Marlon Mack
  5. Leonard Fournette
  6. Aaron Jones
  7. D’Onta Foreman
  8. Alvin Kamara
  9. Kareem Hunt
  10. Tarik Cohen
  11. Samaje Perine
  12. James Conner

Yes, Mixon has enormous off-field issues. On the field, he’s Ezekiel Elliott-esque with more downfield speed and better receiving ability. Zeke was a better prospect, but it’s close. Cook’s film is tremendous but the poor combine scares me. McCaffrey is going to make like 4,205,300 missed tackles in his career and he can run between the tackles. Fournette... well, I think he’s Todd Gurley. You decide if that’s a worth a Top 10 or even Top 5 pick. As you can probably tell, I prefer running backs who can avoid contact with their burst, speed, and agility over the ones who look for contact or are repeatedly doling it out.


Wide Receiver

  1. Mike Williams
  2. Corey Davis
  3. Chad Hansen
  4. Carlos Henderson
  5. Jalen Robinette
  6. John Ross
  7. Jerome Lane
  8. Josh Malone
  9. Chad Williams
  10. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  11. Robert Davis
  12. Ish Zamora
  13. Isaiah Ford
  14. Zay Jones
  15. Mack Hollins
  16. Josh Reynolds
  17. Taywan Taylor
  18. Trent Taylor

Starting at the bottom... Trent Taylor > Ryan Switzer. He’s much more effective after the catch. In the middle of my receiver rankings is a cluster of lesser known pass-catchers I really like. Robert Davis has Josh Gordon ability. Chad Williams reminds me of Kenny Stills. Ish Zamora’s game as a striking resemblance to Martavis Bryant, he’s just a little less consistent than Bryant was as a prospect. While I think Zay Jones can be a solid No. 2 in the NFL, his evaluation was just so difficult because he was force-fed the ball on a plethora of gimmicky short passes at East Carolina. Carlos Henderson was a ridiculously dynamic YAC wideout at Louisiana Tech, but I don’t think he’ll be as outstanding with faster defensive backs around him in the professional ranks. Lastly, Mike Williams and Corey Davis were neck and neck. I gave Williams the edge due to his better high-pointing ability.


Tight End

  1. O.J. Howard
  2. Evan Engram
  3. David Njoku
  4. Michael Roberts
  5. Gerald Everett
  6. Jake Butt
  7. Jordan Leggett
  8. George Kittle
  9. Bucky Hodges

Howard is my No. 2 player in the entire class. He’s that good and that complete of prospect. If I drafted Evan Engram, I’d forget trying to play him at tight end. He has serious wide-receiver skills and severely lacks as a blocker. Michael Roberts is a sleeper who’s a red-zone monster and has surprising quicks in the open field.


Offensive Tackle

  1. Cam Robinson
  2. Ryan Ramcyzk
  3. Antonio Garcia
  4. Garrett Bolles
  5. Taylor Moton
  6. Jermaine Eluemunor
  7. David Sharpe
  8. Dion Dawkins

My favorite prospect in this group — based on where he’s likely selected — is Antonio Garcia. Sure, you want him to be a little bulkier, but super-athletic, light-footed offensive linemen with a strong punch and steady balance typically thrive in the NFL. Cam Robinson could probably become a nasty guard and shows some Cyrus Kouandjioian strengths and weaknesses as an offensive tackle.


Offensive Guard / Center

  1. Forrest Lamp
  2. Dan Feeney
  3. Pat Elfein
  4. Isaac Asiata
  5. Ethan Pocic
  6. Kyle Fuller
  7. Danny Isadora

Lamp is the only offensive lineman I gave a first-round grade. He’s Zack Martin-esque, put him at left guard, and you don’t have to worry about that position for the next seven years. Pass pro, finding linebackers at the second level, he does it all. Feeney’s pass-protection is sound, mainly due to a sturdy anchor and quick feet. That’s important in today’s NFL. Teams will love Pocic’s versatility. I think he’d struggle as a 6’6” center though.


Defensive Line

  1. Solomon Thomas
  2. Jonathan Allen
  3. Malik McDowell
  4. DeMarcus Walker
  5. Caleb Brantley
  6. Carlos Watkins
  7. Dalvin Tomlinson
  8. Chris Wormley
  9. Ryan Glasgow
  10. Deatrich Wise
  11. Larry Ogunjobi

Solomon Thomas is a one-gapping extraordinaire with explosive burst, and an impressive array of pass-rushing moves. If he goes 100% on all his snaps instead of on, like, 80% of them, he can be an All-Pro in the NFL. If Allen stay healthy, look out. He’s as polished as they come on the interior. Same goes for McDowell, although I think his immense height will always hurt him. Ryan Glasgow is the Kyle Williams of this group — no, not because he’s white — he just routinely beats interior offensive lineman to the football. It’s amazing to watch, really. Williams is much more explosive, but Glasgow is a strong and smart defensive tackle.


Edge-Rusher

  1. Myles Garrett
  2. Charles Harris
  3. Derek Barnett
  4. Jordan Willis
  5. Tim Williams
  6. Daeshon Hall
  7. Tyus Bowser
  8. Taco Charlton
  9. Derek Rivers
  10. Carl Lawson
  11. Takk McKinley
  12. Tarell Basham
  13. Trey Hendrickson
  14. Ifeadi Odenigbo

To me, this edge-rusher group underwhelmed a bit. I went in thinking it was one of the better outside pass-rusher classes in a while, but I see a lot of Round 3 - Round 5 guys who’ll be good, not great pros. Why’s that? Almost all of them lack pass-rushing moves, and I didn’t see any “freaky” benders. The best counter in the class — out of anything Garrett has in his arsenal — may be Tim Williams’ inside rush, yet all he has is that and an average speed rush. My darkhorse is the mammoth and athletic Daeshon Hall, who looks like Garrett, his former teammate, on the field and has somewhat similar athleticism and length. Jordan Williams tested like a Top 10 pick, however his film didn’t do it for me. Not enough production that came strictly from athleticism or pass-rushing refinement.


Off-Ball Linebacker

  1. Reuben Foster
  2. Haason Reddick
  3. Zach Cunningham
  4. Blair Brown
  5. Jarrad Davis
  6. Raekwon McMillan
  7. Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  8. Duke Riley
  9. Jayon Brown
  10. Jabrill Peppers

The linebacker formulate the most underrated group in in this class. From Foster to McMillan, I think you have six quality, potential Pro-Bowl type talents. Speaking of Foster... he’s. a. missile. Reddick is like Jamie Collins with Thomas Davis’ athleticism, and Blair Brown is Eric Kendricks 2.0. Duke Riley and Jayon Brown are the “small” coverage linebackers teams will love in nickel packages.


Cornerback

  1. Tre’Davious White
  2. Gareon Conley
  3. Chidobe Awuzie
  4. Marshon Lattimore
  5. Cordrea Tankersley
  6. Howard Wilson
  7. Kevin King
  8. Sidney Jones
  9. Rasul Douglas
  10. Shaq Griffin
  11. Ahkello Witherspoon
  12. Desmond King
  13. Marlon Humphrey
  14. Fabian Moreau
  15. Jourdan Lewis
  16. Jabrill Peppers

Obviously Conley is dealing with some major legal stuff right now, but on the field, he’s the second-best cornerback in this class. Long, fast, twitchy. Ahkello Witherspoon is an awesome specimen for the cornerback spot and super-athletic, but, yikes, his tackling is atrocious. Kevin King is a similar prospect, he’s just more reliable as a tackler and has the same length. Desmond King and Fabian Moreau are comparable, savvy zone cornerbacks with quick route-recognition skills. I think Jabrill Peppers would be best as Tyrann Mathieu-esque “blitzing” slot cornerback in the NFL. The sleeper here is Shaq Griffin. He has sub 4.40 speed and knocked down quite a few passes in his final two seasons at UCF. He’s a dynamic athlete too.


Safety

  1. Malik Hooker
  2. Obi Melifonwu
  3. Marcus Williams
  4. Jamal Adams
  5. Xavier Woods
  6. Delano Hill
  7. Justin Evans
  8. Marcus Maye
  9. Rayshawn Jenkins
  10. Josh Jones
  11. Budda Baker
  12. Tedric Thompson
  13. Nate Gerry
  14. John Johnson
  15. Eddie Jackson
  16. Malik Golden
  17. Jabrill Peppers

I assume you how I feel about Jamal Adams by now. Hooker and Williams are the turnover-makers of this group, and Melifonwu was made in a Gatorade Sports laboratory or something. He provides so much versatility at his size and with his physical gifts... and he has great range to boot. Rayshawn Jenkins is the sleeper here. He’s all over the field and plays with intense aggression. Oh, and Delano Hill is the safety you want if you loved Melifonwu but missed on him in Round 1 or Round 2.