The NFL Draft is set to take center stage in the upcoming days, and teams are chomping at the bit to see who will help them reach the Super Bowl next February. With Super Bowl 51 now in the rearview mirror, preparations for the 2017 season are well underway. Teams that made a big splash in free agency are anxious to continue building, and those who did not are itching to give their fans something to be excited about. Although this draft lacks superior quarterback talent and depth, there is still a plethora of young, talented players with superstar potential.
One such player is projected number one overall pick Myles Garrett, out of Texas A&M. Garrett is a physical freak with out of this world attributes. The man can run, change direction, and finish tackles, all while maintaining a 6’7’’, 270-pound body. Whether it be Cleveland or some team who trades up for the top pick, whoever selects Garrett is getting an instant game changer who some are saying is reminiscent of the great Lawrence Taylor.
While there is no surefire quarterback in this year’s class, Mitch Trubisky from the University of North Carolina is making headlines for his “professional potential.” Draft experts are intrigued by his accuracy and footwork in the pocket, and believe that with the right coach and the right system he could blossom into a talented signal caller at the next level.
Although Deshaun Watson does not receive great marks from NFL scouts because of his inconsistent accuracy and smaller frame, I believe this young man could thrive as a professional. The Clemson product has what cannot be measured; heart and the will to win. Watson led his team through an up and down regular season to the NCAAF title game, where he engineered a gutsy game-winning drive over another dominant Alabama team with three seconds to go in a game. While his throws may not have been perfect at the combine, watch out for him late in games with the ball in his hands.
Where this draft really gets interesting is at the running back position. This year’s class is absolutely loaded. There are superstars Dalvin Cook, Florida State University, and Leonard Fournette, Louisiana State University, poised to make their presence felt right away. However, the running back who everyone should keep their eye on is Christian McCaffery. After several successful campaigns at Stanford University, McCaffery is generating interest as a late first round pick. What I believe sets him apart is his vision coupled with his quickness. While he does not have the physical prowess of a Fournette or a Cook, he has the ability to see the hole and hit the hole, especially on stretch run plays designed to develop over time on the outside. His skill set allows him to do so many things on the football field, and he has proven he can return punts at a high level as well. He may not go in the top ten, but we will all be hearing his name for years to come.
Lastly, a player getting media attention for his diverse skill set is the University of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. While I marvel at his freakish athleticism, I believe some team will overdraft this young man and come to regret it. In college, he could play all over the field because his athleticism made up for his lack of size. However, at the next level, when every player possesses unreal athleticism coupled with immense size, I believe his shortcomings will be apparent, and he will be exposed as an in-between player whose best value on the field is his ability to return punts. No matter who you cheer for, the draft is an exciting time, and we should all gear up for an entertaining few days.