This 2017 NFL draft class has an insane amount of depth so let’s take a look at who is left and who could make waves in 2017.
#5 – Nick Fitzgerald – QB – Mississippi State
Nick Fitzgerald is 6′ 5″, 229 pounds and just might be Dak Prescott 2.0 in 2017. Despite a terrible start to the season, Fitzgerald managed to improve and played some big games close in defiance of his borderline incompetent defense. Fitzgerald put up 1,375 rushing yards (T-20th FBS) and a meager 2,423 passing yards (65th FBS) in 2016. If Fitzgerald can marginally improve his passing game then I believe that he is set for a senior season that could have people talking about him playing on Sundays.
#4 – Saquon Barkley – HB – Penn State
Saquon Barkley avoided the media spotlight during 2016 despite racking up 1,496 rushing yards (14th FBS) and 18 rushing TDs (T-7th FBS). Barkley averaged 5.5 YPC and isn’t afraid to put the team on his back with 272 carries last season. If Penn State can find a win against Ohio State on October 28th – Barkley will be finding himself in the playoffs with a lucrative first round draft pick going into 2018.
#3 – Derrius Guice – HB – LSU
Derrius Guice is the most recent workhorse bred by LSU. I don’t know what they are feeding those boys down in Cajun territory but whatever it is, its working. Guice put up an insane 252 rushing yards against Arkansas and 285 rushing yards against Texas A&M. Guice was splitting carries with top NFL prospect Leonard Fournette and still managed to rack up 1,387 rushing yards on the season. Guice is the embodiment of LSU’s mascot with his vision, speed, and power and he is going to rock the SEC in 2017.
#2 Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
There is no doubting Lamar Jackson’s freakish athletic ability and his impressive 2016 season. Jackson had a total of 51 touchdowns – 30 passing and 21 rushing – and 1,571 rushing yards (10th in the FBS). Jackson began to face criticism after three major losses in a row to Houston, Kentucky, and LSU but I don’t believe it is anything to worry about. Jackson was only a sophomore and his weaknesses can be addressed in the offseason. Jackson won the Heisman Award in a landslide, receiving 80% of the votes and was responsible for embarrassing Florida State in his 63-20 victory. I look forward to seeing what Jackson can do in 2017 and if he will declare for the draft at the end of it.
#1 Sam Darnold – QB – USC
Sam Darnold has more potential going into 2017 than any other player out there. The freshman from Capistrano Beach, California put up 3086 passing yards and 31 TDs despite only starting in 10 games. USC always has potential to be a great team due to their success in recruiting and now they have the most critical piece to any team, a quarterback. USC has a very favorable schedule next year and I believe that eyes will be on Darnold early as a Heisman favorite.