The NFL draft prospects who graded the highest in 2017

Barkley's journey to top NFL prospect (0:54)

Witness Saquon Barkley's hard work and transformation from an undersized kid to mega NFL prospect. (0:54)

Draft evaluation has long depended on the eyes of scouts -- who focus on traits, measurables and off-field assessments -- while on-field production is often a secondary component. But since Pro Football Focus started grading every snap of every college football game in 2014, early returns show that how well a prospect plays in college does project well to the NFL.

While it isn't as simple as taking the top-graded players and projecting a direct translation to the next level, it is a good starting point for evaluation when paired with traditional methods.

Here's a look at the top prospects who graded the highest on the field in 2017, and how they'll translate in the NFL.


Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Overall grade: 95.2

Mayfield has been in another league when it comes to throw-for-throw production, owning the top two season grades in the four years since PFF started tracking data. He's the most accurate quarterback in the draft, and has the arm strength and natural playmaking ability to succeed at the next level. Mayfield led the nation with an adjusted completion percentage of 80.6 last season and had the best grade from both a clean pocket and when facing pressure. No matter how the numbers are split, Mayfield sits at or near the top. That type of production makes him a high-end first-round pick.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Overall grade: 89.4

Jackson had the highest rushing grade among quarterbacks in each of the past two seasons. He's capable of making "NFL throws," but has to improve his throw-for-throw accuracy.