NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah is one of the most respected draft experts in the country. His “Move the Sticks” podcast is a year-round favorite, and his voice becomes even more influential during draft season.
On Monday, Jeremiah released his initial big board, ranking the top 50 prospects eligible for selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. The noteworthy talent evaluator will update these rankings throughout the next few months, but it’s still interesting to see where things stand before the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine.
It’s important to note that this is not a mock draft, but merely a display of which players Jeremiah thinks are best. That means that Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, Jeremiah’s second-ranked player, is not a projection of who the San Francisco 49ers will take with the No. 2 pick.
Be sure to follow Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks. Here are seven takeaways from his evaluations.
“This is an elite talent with all-pro potential,” Jeremiah said.
2. Jeremiah has three defensive backs in his top five, two of which are from Ohio State. Hooker and Buckeyes cornerback Marshon Lattimore rank second and third, respectively. LSU safety Jamal Adams claims the No. 4 spot.
3. Leonard Fournette is the top-ranked offensive player at No. 6 overall. LSU’s running back has been projected as a first-round pick since he posted 1,953 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns as a true sophomore for the Tigers in 2015.
“He can be a workhorse back immediately,” Jeremiah said.
4. Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Clemson’s Mike Williams are the consensus top two receivers in this year’s draft. Some analysts have Williams ranked first, others have Davis. Jeremiah essentially has them tied. Davis just edged Williams on the big board as they ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.
“Davis is an excellent player with both a high floor and a high ceiling,” Jeremiah said of Davis.
And of Williams: “He should be a true No. 1 receiver very early in his NFL career.”
6. Alabama leads the way with seven players on Jeremiah’s big board: DT Jonathan Allen (No. 5), LB Reuben Foster (No. 7), TE O.J. Howard (No. 18), linebacker Tim Williams (No. 38), OT Cam Robinson (No. 40), CB Marlon Humphrey (No. 45) and OLB Ryan Anderson (No. 47).
7. Rankings of other notable college football stars:
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – 11
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey – 25
Washington WR John Ross – 27
Michigan S Jabrill Peppers – 33
Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt – 34 (yes, that’s J.J. Watt’s brother)
USC CB Adoree’ Jackson – 37