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Draft Blog: Which Players Are Among The Top-Tier Of Talent

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Who Are The Elite Prospects In This Year’s Class?

Every year there are a few players who are cast as the blue chip, or can’t miss, prospects of that class. These players project to perennial Pro-Bowlers and future All-Pros. The type of players that your grandma, who doesn’t watch football, could look at and see that they are a cut above the rest. This year, there are five players who are among that top-tier of talent.

Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss, Offensive Tackle

The best player in the draft, Laremy Tunsil has almost everything you want in an offensive tackle prospect. He has length, foot speed, consistency and a great punch. He can fit into any scheme and he may be the best offensive tackle to come out since Joe Thomas.

Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State, Running Back

If running back was valued as much as an offensive tackle or defensive end, Elliot would be in the running for the first overall pick. He is the most well-rounded running back to come out in some time and he is an extremely talented runner as well. Elliot can win with speed or power and he will almost assuredly be a 1,000-yard back to start his career.

Jalen Ramsey, Florida State, Safety/Cornerback

The most athletic player in this class, Jalen Ramsey looks like a bigger and more athletic Tyrann Mathieu. He is a playmaker that can line up all over the field. He is the most valuable chess piece in this draft and he will single handily improve a defense once he gets to his team.

Myles Jack, UCLA, Linebacker/Strong Safety

If it weren’t for a knee injury that caused him to miss most of last season and the fact that linebackers aren’t valued that highly, Jack could be in the conversation for the No. 1 pick. Jack is the best coverage linebacker to come out in the last few years and he is an athletic freak to boot.

Joey Bosa, Ohio State, Edge Defender

Quite possibly the most controversial player on this list, Joey Bosa is an elite talent. Analysts try to knock him for being near his ceiling and that he won’t be a 15 sack a year type of player, but take a look a Seattle’s Michael Bennett and try to not come away thinking that type of player isn’t worth a top-five selection. Bosa is dominant against the run and he can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks on a consistent basis.

Mid-Round Players Who Will Outperform Their Draft Slot

Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State, Defensive Tackle

The small-school defensive tackle is surely flying way under the radar right now. Javon Hargrave is an extremely athletic and powerful interior defender who will make a big impact as a nose tackle for some team. He plays with great quickness and pad level where he uses his unique lower body strength to explode into blockers, which allows him to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He could do better at locating the ball once he is in the backfield, but he should be able to clean that up in the NFL.

Paul Perkins, UCLA, Running Back

Paul Perkins is an electrifying running back who utilizes unique elusiveness to leave defenders grasping for air on a regular basis. He doesn’t have blazing speed or good power, but his vision, decision-making and ability to sync up his eyes and feet will make him an extremely productive player in the NFL.

Rashard Higgins, Colorado State, Wide Receiver

Rashard Higgins misses nearly every filter you look for in a wide receiver from an analytic standpoint; however, he should be the exception to the rule. The Colorado State receiver isn’t big or fast, but he is extremely savvy with his routes and he has fantastic hands. He may never be a No. 1 wide receiver, but you can bet that he will be an extremely productive No. 2 for someone.

Players To Stay Away From In The First Round

Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, Defensive Tackle

Robert Nkemdiche has a myriad of character concerns, but he doesn’t have the film to make it worth it to pick him in the first round. Sure, he has all the size and athleticism that you want, but he isn’t functional with his technique and he doesn’t have the motor to make up for his deficiencies.

Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, Offensive Tackle

Widely seen as the No. 2 offensive tackle in this draft class, you may want your team to stay away from Ronnie Stanley in the first round. He may have the athleticism and foot quickness you want, but he has severe limitations with his ability to deal with power and there have been reports that he isn’t the hardest worker. In the first round, you want a sure thing at offensive tackle, but a player who has work ethic concerns and a huge problem with power sure isn’t that type of player.

A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama, Defensive Tackle

A’Shawn Robinson is widely seen as a player with a much higher ceiling than his teammate Jarran Reed; however, when you really look into it, that doesn’t appear to be true. Reed was more productive in college and he is more athletic. Robinson is an extremely raw player who projects as merely a run stuffing interior defender. In a draft class filled with players who are already more advanced than Robinson in that area, he doesn’t deserve to be a first-round pick.

 


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com