Top 10 Potential Prospects In The 2017 NFL Draft


The 2016 NFL draft culminated last weekend, which means it is time to look forward to the 2017 NFL draft. It is still extremely early, probably too early, but this draft class appears to have a lot of firepower at the top.

Without further ado, let’s take an extremely early look at the top 10 potential prospects in the 2017 NFL draft.

1. Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson

Deshaun Watson might not be the best football player in the 2017 NFL draft class, but his position value and overall talent put him at the top. Watson is an athletic and intelligent quarterback who makes a ton of plays for the Clemson offense. He isn’t perfect, and he needs to improve off last year, but he is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.

2. Myles Garrett, Edge Defender, Texas A&M

If Myles Garrett was in the 2016 NFL draft, he would have easily been the best prospect. Garrett has otherworldly talent and he checks all the boxes. The Texas A&M defensive end has an explosive first step and unreal bend to get around the edge. Despite being a young prospect, he already has the body type of an NFL player. He still needs to work on some counter moves and his hand use against the run, but his pass-rush potential is off the charts.

3. Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State

Leonard Fournette gets all the hype, but Dalvin Cook is the best running back in this stacked class. Cook has an amazing mix of vision, speed and elusiveness, which allows him to break big run after big run. Despite his size, Cook also plays with surprising power. He has some off-field concerns, but Cook is clean on the field. He would have rivaled Ezekiel Elliott for No. 1 running back in this year’s draft class.

4. Cam Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

If it wasn’t for Laremy Tunsil, Cam Robinson would have been the best offensive tackle in college football last year. Robinson has been a big-time talent since he got to Alabama and this year should seem him take another step. Robinson is a fluid mover in space with an undeniable mean streak. He is a dominant run blocker and a very adept pass-blocker. He could be the most dominant force in college football this season.

5. Desmond King, Cornerback, Iowa

If Desmond King entered this year’s draft, he would have been an easy first-round pick. King is a physical and fiery cornerback who can play in any scheme. He went back to school to round out his game, which should make him even more pro ready. King and Florida’s Jalen Tabor will battle it out for top cornerback in next year’s draft class, but King has the edge at the moment.

6. Carl Lawson, Edge Defender, Auburn

Carl Lawson is the most complete edge defender in college football right now. Lawson is the only player to make things hard on Laremy Tunsil with his speed and powerful hands. Lawson isn’t a one-trick pony as he knows how to vary his pass rush and he is extremely effective against the run. If it wasn’t for his injury history, Lawson would challenge Garrett for the best edge defender in next year’s class.

7. Tim Williams, Edge Defender, Alabama

While Myles Garrett is the best prospect and Carl Lawson is the most complete player among the edge defenders, Tim Williams is the best pure pass-rusher. He doesn’t have the size of the other two, but he has the speed, power and technical nuance to get past any offensive tackle in college football. He came off the bench last year and had double digit sacks. This year, he could put up insane numbers in a starter role.

8. Juju Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, USC

Juju Smith-Schuster has the size, speed and ability to be the best wide receiver prospect in the last couple of years. He is a menace in the open field with the ball in his hands and he is a threat to take the ball into the end zone from anywhere on the field. He can win above the rim and in the short game. He is a complete wide receiver.

9. Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU

This year, Jalen Ramsey was the top safety in the draft and next year Jamal Adams will try to get similar hype. He is a playmaker in every sense of the world. He has the ability to play in the box or deep. If he keeps developing, he could be an Earl Thomas-esque talent.

10. Raekwon McMillan, Linebacker, Ohio State

While Ohio State had an embarrassment of riches last year, linebacker Raekwon McMillan flew under the radar. Nevertheless, he was an elite member of their defense and the best linebacker on their squad. McMillan is an incredible run defender with the instincts and the take on ability to play in any scheme.

Other Players to watch: Leonard Fournette (LSU, RB), Samaje Perine (Oklahoma, RB), Christian McCaffery (Stanford, RB) Brad Kaaya (Miami, QB), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech, QB), Adoree Jackson (USC, CB), Nick Chubb (Georgia, RB), Malachi Dupree (LSU, WR), Jalen Tabor (Florida, CB), Jonathan Allen (Alabama, DL)

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