We've reached college football bowl season, and we're one step closer to the 2018 NFL draft. In fact, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is a month away, on Jan. 15.
In this edition of my Big Board for next year's draft, I've added the Heisman Trophy winner for the first time, plus a defender from the SEC who has really had a strong season. There are a few other changes from 1 to 25, too.
A reminder about my Big Board:
I'm projecting to the NFL. This is about much more than stats. My projections are based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.
Speaking of size, what's listed here is provided by the schools. These numbers could vary greatly when players show up at the NFL combine. True height and weight matter a lot for almost every position.
Note: One asterisk denotes the player is a junior, and two asterisks denote the player is a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.
1. *Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Previous rank: 1
Barkley is a lights-out athlete with tremendous balance, a great lower body and quick feet. He had 1,728 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns in the regular season, and he rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and 1,076 yards as a freshman. Barkley (5-foot-11, 230 pounds) also will help in the passing game. He had 47 catches this season after having 48 in his first two seasons at Penn State combined. I think he'll run under a 4.4 40-yard dash and test well at the combine. Barkley could be a top-five pick in 2018, and he's going to get an elite grade from me.