Matchup advantages in the passing game are more valued than ever, and with that in mind, scouts are salivating over one of the richest crops at tight end in league history.
Should gifted, if underutilized, underclassmen like Alabama's O.J. Howard and Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges join a senior class led by
Players are listed by name, position, school, year, height, weight and 40-yard dash time
A pesky ankle injury robbed Garrett of his trademark explosiveness in the showdown with fellow Big Board pass rusher
With 12 sacks last season, Allen was the most disruptive of Alabama's dominant defensive line a season ago. In fact, one of the reasons why
McDowell made waves in the preseason by announcing his plans to return to East Lansing unless he was projected "in the top three." He may be rethinking these plans with the reigning Big Ten champs currently on a three game losing streak. While the Spartans are down, McDowell's stock is not because of his combination of length, strength and agility offer exciting position and schematic versatility at the next level.
Fournette has slipped a few spots as he continues to battle an ankle injury and has watched fellow future NFL running back Derrius Guice put up Heisman-like numbers in his absence. At this point in the season, in fact, Guice is the Tigers' leading rusher with 402 yards and four scores compared to Fournette's 386 and two. Make no mistake, Fournette is an exceptional talent. Put simply, I believe he is the most exciting talent at the position since Adrian Peterson. Like Peterson, Fournette gets a lot of attention because of his rare combination of size, speed and power but his vision and agility are the stuff of legend, as well.
5. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame, rSoph, 6-4, 230, 4.84
Kizer is the most gifted draft-eligible quarterback prospect in the country with a prototypical blend of build, arm strength and functional athleticism. Intangibles -- pre-snap awareness and a calm demeanor -- scouts need to see are evident for this field general. He lacks consistency with just 17 career starts under his belt and teams will not overlook that Brian Kelly has produced just one NFL quarterback (2010 sixth-round pick
Michigan is loaded with NFL prospects and Peppers, just a redshirt sophomore, is the best of the bunch. Peppers is the latest in a new line of defensive 'erasers' capable of lining up at safety, linebacker or cornerback similar in style to recent first-round picks
With his easy agility, instant acceleration and soft hands, McCaffrey is a weapon of mass destruction as a runner, receiver and returner, warranting comparison to another former Pac-12 star,
8. Jamar Adams, S, LSU, Jr, 6-0, 211, 4.48
It is easy to mistake Adams for former LSU star
9. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama, Jr, 6-5, 327, 5.28
As his monstrous size implies, Robinson is a road-grader in the running game and he has proven surprisingly quick in pass protection this season, distancing himself from the rest of the pack as the top offensive lineman in the country. A former five-star recruit who has starred at left tackle since winning the job as a true freshman, Robinson is an easy NFL projection with top 10-talent. Teams will have to investigate his decision-making off the field, however, given his arrest in May on guns and drug charges. The charges were later dropped.
10. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, Jr, 6-2, 210, 4.64
Watson has guided the Tigers to a 6-0 start but troubling decisions with the ball and his struggles with shaky accuracy from inside the pocket are not what scouts want to see from a quarterback in his third season as a starter. Watson's slight frame and Clemson's relatively simple offense are other legitimate concerns. Watson's stock is slipping but he remains firmly in the first-round conversation at this point as he possesses exciting potential as a dual-threat quarterback and has proven his poise in big games.
11. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida, Jr, 6-0, 199, 4.52
Until this summer, Tabor's first name was Jalen, though his new name may provide a more accurate description of his game. Tabor teases with an exciting combination of size, fluidity and speed, standing out in coverage and as a gunner on special teams the past two years. After boasting about Florida's recent domination of Tennessee in the week leading up to their September 24 matchup, Tabor was beaten for a long touchdown, contributing to Florida's collapse. Tabor is one the nation's top smack-talkers but he usually backs it up. He was suspended (reportedly for a fight with a teammate) for Florida's season-opener but has three interceptions in four games since, including one in a close win over Vanderbilt.
12. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama, rSoph, 6-1, 198, 4.53
The son of former Alabama (and NFL) standout Bobby Humphrey, Marlon looks like a chip off the old block with his easy change of direction and acceleration. He's built well for a young player at a solid 6-1, 198 pounds and is an aggressive tackler, including in run support. Humphrey and true sophomore Minkah Fitzpatrick gives Alabama the best duo of cornerbacks in the nation.
Cook struggled out of the gate this season but has been dynamic since, accumulating over 200+ all-purpose yards and at least one score in each of the past three games, including rushing for a cool 150 yards and hauling a 59-yard touchdown pass in Saturday's upset of Miami. While not as big as Fournette nor as explosive as McCaffrey, Cook is a natural runner with excellent vision, agility and burst who projects nicely in today's pass-happy NFL.
Despite not starting until the fourth game of the season, Cunningham emerged as one of the most disruptive defenders in the entire country last year, earning First Team All-SEC honors with 103 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. He is following up last year's breakout campaign with 62 tackles, including 10.5 for loss this season, both most among all SEC defenders. Instinctive and aggressive in meeting and discarding blockers, Cunningham is well-suited to remaining inside at the next level but I believe that he's athletic enough to play outside, as well.
16. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Southern Cal, Jr, 6-2, 220, 4.52
The touchdown machine scouts thought we'd be seeing this year returned in Week 5 with the powerfully built Smith-Schuster hauling in seven passes for 123 yards and three scores against Arizona State. Highly competitive with terrific body control to make tough grabs look easy, Smith-Schuster is a potential No. 1 target in the NFL, but I have reservations about his straight-line speed.
17. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama, Sr, 6-6, 242, 4.57
Howard is the best tight end in the country even if he plays a relatively marginal role in the Alabama offense. He only has 13 receptions for 186 yards and a single score in 2016 but scouts saw what he could do when featured during last season's national title game against Clemson. His freakish combination of size, speed and strength make Howard a mismatch nightmare in the passing game and he's made major strides this season as a blocker.
With all due respect to the top-ranked Garrett, Lawson has been the best pass rusher in the SEC over the past month, already eclipsing his previous single-season high with six sacks so far this year. Finally healthy after missing 19 of 26 games over the 2014-15 seasons with a torn ACL and hip injury, Lawson is winning with a fearsome combination of initial burst, core strength and a relentless motor. He was voted the SEC's Defensive Lineman of the Week for his two sack (and forced fumble) performance in a road win over Mississippi State in Week 6.
According to Clemson coaches, Williams is in the same class athletically as former teammates
20. Desmond King, CB, Iowa, Sr, 5-10, 200, 4.53
King's eight interceptions last season generated most of his buzz and for good reason, as he showed terrific instincts, soft hands and a knack for making the big play at critical moments to earn the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. Average speed, however, led to King returning to his court as a senior and this could limit his stock in 2017, as well.
Best of the rest: 21.
24. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana, rSr, 6-4, 310, 5.09
25. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri, rJr, 6-3, 255, 4.74
30. Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh, Sr, 6-5, 300, 5.20