The 2016 college football season is less than two months away, and the anticipation is building for what should be a fun year highlighted by very talented draft-eligible players.
Pro Football Focus published their list of the nation’s top 101 players, and while they conditioned the ranking as not being an NFL draft projection, the names that appear at the top of the list are some of the 2017 NFL draft’s top prospects.
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey earned PFF’s top billing and is their favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. It’s not all that shocking considering the astonishing performances he put on display almost every week in 2015. McCaffrey isn’t the top running back prospect for the NFL draft at this point in early stages of draft season, but that could change with another astronomical season and strong scouting combine performance.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M’s freakishly talented pass rusher, ranks second-best, and for good reason. He’s been compared to players like Julius Peppers because of his combination of size and athletic ability. Simply put, he’s the country’s best pass rusher and it’s not even close. The NFL loves guys who can sack the quarterback, and if Garrett puts together the kind of year everyone is expecting, he will be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick in 2017.
The first quarterback on the list is Clemson’s DeShaun Watson, who ranks sixth overall. Watson is the favorite to be next year’s top pick in part because of the value of the quarterback position, but also because of how naturally gifted he is as a dual-threat player. His game compares favorably to Titans QB Marcus Mariota, who was the second pick of the 2015 NFL draft.