Nate Geary’s 2017 NFL Draft Big Board 1.0 ‘Top ten’

01/14/2017
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No quarterbacks in the top ten

Although the football season isn’t technically over, it is for the Bills, and their fans are back to the all-too-familiar state of nostalgia. The 2017 NFL draft is still well over three months away, but it’s never too early to get familiar with the top prospects, especially because the Bills will have a crack at one of the top 10 players in the draft.

Many people believe the Bills are “close.” If that’s true, whomever the Bills take with the 10th overall pick is crucial to their ability to finally get over their 17-year playoff-less hump. Having said that, you’ll notice there are no quarterbacks in my top 10. DeShone Kizer, DeShaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky will all fall outside of the top 10 on my big board.

Keep in mind these are extremely early rankings, and players ranked 3-15 have room to maximize their draft stock in the next 3 months with the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and pro days still to come.

 

  1. Myles Garrett – DE – (Jr.) Texas A&M

Height: 6’5, Weight: 260, 2016 Stats: 10 games, 33 tackles, 15 TFLs, 8.5 sacks

Garrett didn’t play a full season in 2016 due to an ankle injury, but his length and athleticism have made him the most complete defender in this draft. You can make the case for Leonard Fournette to be the most talented player in this draft, but when it’s time for the combine and Garrett puts his 40-yard dash, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, and 3-cone drill numbers on the board, the Browns won’t possibly let him slip through their fingers.

 

  1. Leonard Fournette – RB – (Jr.) LSU

Height: 6’0 Weight: 230, 2016 Stats: 7 games, 129 att., 843 yards, 8 TDs

Fournette and the aforementioned Myles Garrett played through injuries and disappointing final seasons at LSU and Texas A&M, respectively. His 1,953 rushing yards paired with 22 touchdowns during his sophomore season are what has scouts excited. Although he may not be drafted in the top 5, he’s undoubtedly one of the most talented players in this year’s draft.

 

  1. Reuben Foster – ILB – (Sr.) Alabama

Height: 6’0, Weight: 245, 2016 Stats: 15 games, 60 tackles, 13 TFLs, 5 sacks

Many will say his Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen deserves the number three spot, but following the National Championship Game performance where Foster had 12-total tackles, including a tackle for loss and a sack, he gets the nudge here. Foster’s SEC caliber speed and athleticism will allow him to flourish as a 3-down inside linebacker wherever he goes.

Video courtesy of NFL Nostradamus

 

  1. Jonathan Allen – DE – (Sr.) Alabama

Height: 6’2, Weight: 295, 2016 Stats: 15 games, 33 tackles, 16 TFLs, 10.5 sacks

Allen played on the nation’s most talented defense and followed up a strong junior season at Alabama where he posted 14.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks with an equally impressive senior campaign. Allen is steady and aggressive, and he will likely find success in the NFL as a 3-4 defensive end.

 

 

  1. Jamal Adams – S – (Jr.) LSU

Height: 6’1, Weight: 210, 2016 Stats: 12 games, 43 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

Adams is the top ranked defensive back in this draft, and his playmaking ability mirrors that of a former LSU Tiger Tyrann Mathieu. His ability to play with speed from sideline to sideline makes him one of the most coveted players in this draft. I think he’s a perfect pick if he somehow falls to 10th overall, but I find that scenario highly unlikely.

 

 

  1. Dalvin Cook – RB – (Jr.) Florida State

Height: 5’11, Weight: 205, 2016 Stats: 13 games, 288 att, 1765 yards, 19 TDs

Cook and Florida State started the season slowly, but as soon as Cook got rolling so to did the Seminole offense. Cook’s top end speed and ability out of the backfield as a receiver are traits that make him a young quarterback’s best friend. This is a rare year in the modern NFL — one in which you could potentially see three running backs taken in the first round.

 

  1. Solomon Thomas – DE – (RS-So.) Stanford

Height: 6’3, Weight: 275, 2016 Stats: 13 games, 40 tackles, 14 TFLs, 8.5 sacks

 Thomas is a youngster, but he was a huge reason Stanford was able to turn around this season’s tough start. He’s probably best suited to play 3-4 defensive end, but he has the versatility to play outside and inside in 4-3 schemes.

 

  1. Mike Williams – WR – (Jr.) Clemson

Height: 6’1, Weight: 220, 2016 Stats: 15 games, 98 rec, 1,361 yards, 11 TDs

Williams is the first wide receiver revealed in my top 10, and he certainly makes a case for best offensive player in this draft. His ability to high point the ball and make acrobatic catches make him a terrific prospect. He was able to come back from a gruesome neck injury in 2015, and would definitely look good opposite Sammy Watkins, another dynamic Clemson alumnus.

 

  1. Jabrill Peppers – S – (Jr.) Michigan

Height: 6’0, Weight: 210, 2016 Stats: 12 games, 46 tackles, 13 TFLs, 1 INT

Peppers is probably the best ‘athlete’ in this draft, but it’s also the reason he likely falls out of the top 10 come draft day. His size would suggest Peppers can play safety in the NFL, but he’s neither a finished, nor a well-defined, product, having spent time on both sides of the ball at Michigan. He’s an interesting prospect for the Bills at 10, but I think there will be more finished products still available.

 

  1. Cam Robinson – OT – (Jr.) Alabama

Height: 6’6, Weight: 330, 2016 Outland Trophy Award Winner

Robinson has some off the field concerns, but he’s the best offensive lineman in this draft. Although tackle is a position of need for the Bills, they also need explosive talent, and Robinson certainly won’t bring that element if drafted.

Video courtesy of @OLineScout

 

Follow me all offseason long @NateGearyWGR on Twitter for updates to the Big Board following the NFL Combine and offseason workouts. I’ll also be breaking down the top 5 quarterback prospects in the “film room.”


 


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