In what has become an annual tradition, here's the too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.
The quick audit on last year?
Not too bad!
Joey Bosa was at No. 1, and a number of other early picks were close by. Jared Goff was my No. 1 quarterback, Jalen Ramsey was my No. 1 option in the secondary and the top three tackle prospects were Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin, just the way I ended up. It could always be worse.
A couple of notes on what you see below:
1. I'm not going to be too scouting heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed at this point.
2. I also have (too-early) rankings across every position group done and will publish those next week.
With that said, here you go.
An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2016 season. Two asterisks denotes a redshirt sophomore.
1. *Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M Aggies
The value of guys who can apply consistent pressure in a pass-happy league has never been higher -- did you catch the Super Bowl? -- and Garrett is that long edge monster all teams covet. He has 24 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss in two seasons.
2. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama Crimson Tide
On a per-snap basis, Williams is as disruptive as any player in America, and I think he would have easily been a first-rounder in the 2016 draft. The question is whether he can be as dominant when he's playing more snaps.
3. *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU Tigers
Big, bruising, fast ... but let's keep an eye on the mileage. Fournette is a dynamic talent, that rare running back who generates excitement for teams drafting in Round 1. But he carried 300 times last season and is at 487 carries in two years. Will LSU use him up?
4. *Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson Tigers
Had he been available for the 2016 draft, Watson could have challenged Jared Goff to be the first quarterback taken. Sure, he's a gifted mover (1,105 rushing yards in 2015), but Watson is a very good passer; he can drive it down the field and displays consistent accuracy and touch.
5. *Jamal Adams, S, LSU Tigers
I had his dad, George, in the 1985 draft guide, and Jamal might be even better. He was the top safety in the country as a high school senior and has continued to dominate at LSU. He plays with tenacity and aggressiveness. He can cover, attack the line and has good ball skills.