Welcome to the first edition of NFL Draft Film Room, an editorial dedicated to college football’s brightest prospects that we'll follow all the way to the Draft in April.
For this first piece, we’ll be introducing the big players, with our initial thoughts on the best players that we’ve studied so far.
10 things we think we think about the 2017 NFL Draft going into the college football season…
There are never any certainties with the NFL draft, especially this far out before the season has even been played. After having studied extensively here are ten things we feel fairly certain about.
1. Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M is the best edge rusher we’ve seen in college football since Von Miller. 6-foot-5 260-pounds shouldn’t bend and move like he’s able to. He possesses an elite combination of athleticism, size, and skill level. He’s also the best prospect in the class in my opinion.
2. Southern California’s right tackle Zach Banner might be the biggest man we’ve seen on tape. Banner is massive and in the first-round conversation.
3. If Emmanuel Sanders isn’t re-signed, Corey Davis is the receiver all Denver Broncos fans will hope to land come April 2017. Watch Davis this year, he’s a phenomenal receiver, not a true burner but great at everything else, 6-foot-3 205-pounds don’t hurt either.
4. Washington's do it all secondary-ace, Budda Baker, is the best safety in this draft and it’s not even close. Baker is a great nickel defender who can do everything at the safety spot.
5. Christian McCaffrey is for real, not a media or fan hype creation, he’s a legitimate jack of all trades. A phenomenal football player (more on him in a second).
6. Sidney Jones, the Washington cornerback, will be a first- rounder even though few people are talking about him, mark my words, this guy is a baller!
7. Luke Falk is the real deal. He has some Jared Goff to his profile, but his football IQ and decision may even be at a higher level than Goff's. Falk’s consistency and continued progress on tight widow throws will determine the rest. His command of the offense gives him a Peyton-Manning-of-college-football feel.
8. Connor McDermont of UCLA is the third best left tackle prospect in the class behind the consensus top two; Rodrick Johnson or Cam Robinson. He’s the best in pass protection of the second-tier tackles in this class. McDermont and Banner are two of many ultra sized tackles in this class, 6-foot-8, and 6-foot-9 respectively.
9. Miami quarterback Brad Kaya reminds us of Teddy Bridgewater, a lot. Teddy had far better feet, while Kaya might have a more consistent arm at the same point in his career. Frame, killer instinct, arm talent are very similar.
10. Deshaun Watson, the Clemson Tigers QB, flashed true NFL ability in the national championship against Alabama last year. He flashes a bit of Marcus Mariota. If he can build on his success from a year ago, he should be the top signal-caller in the class and a top overall pick. The L.A. Rams and Philadelphia Eagles claimed that they traded for the top two picks 2016 partially because the 2017 QB class wasn’t promising, we're not so sure, it’ll be worth monitoring this season.
Local Prospect Focus
This week we’ll take a look at former Valor Christian star and Heisman finalist Christian McCafrey, as he’s one of the most interesting and divisive prospects in the 2017 class.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Eddy Mac’s son is the most versatile player we’ve seen in a while, a star RB, receiver, and returner.
The do it all player has patience and vision that really stood out.
McCaffrey has superb lateral quickness, his change of direction in the open field is a highlight waiting to happen. He really shines as a receiver running routes and returner because of this.
The former Valor star is a tough interior runner despite not being a huge back. He runs low with great pad level, has powerful legs and can churn out yards after contact.
CMac has good, maybe even great, change of speed and acceleration.
With his power, agility, and versatility he could be a matchup nightmare, particularly in coverage.
Comparisons to Reggie Bush will be endless, but he appears more similar to former Nebraska and now Detroit Lion Ameer Abdullah on tape.
McCaffrey doesn’t possess elite breakaway speed, he will get caught from behind in the NFL when running in a straight line.
While he’s a great receiver he could expand on his route tree, giving NFL scouts more confidence that he could be flexed out and used effectively as a de facto slot-WR.
Not small but he's not a big running back either.
Mileage could be an issue for McCafrey, especially if he's used as much in 2016 as he was in 2015.
McCaffrey might lack a specific position but is just a pure football player. He'll need a smart coaching staff that finds him touches in different roles. He's not a pure slot receiver or bell cow back.