With the college football season officially over, many of the top players in the country are now going to shift their focus to the NFL draft.
The Clemson Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 in the national championship game, ending the college football careers for many future first-round picks. Of course, this is just one step in the long process that includes All-Star showcases, the combine, pro days and more.
These events will lead to some major changes in stock, but it's never too early to speculate about what will happen on the first day of the draft. Here are the latest predictions for the first round with a look at some of the players who just showed what they can do on the national stage.
|1||Cleveland Browns||Myles Garrett||DE||Texas A&M|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Deshaun Watson||QB||Clemson|
|3||Chicago Bears||Jonathan Allen||DE||Alabama|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leonard Fournette||RB||LSU|
|5||Tennessee Titans (via Rams)||Jamal Adams||S||LSU|
|6||New York Jets||Teez Tabor||CB||Florida|
|7||San Diego Chargers||Ryan Ramczyk||OT||Wisconsin|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Malik Hooker||S||Ohio State|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Derek Barnett||DE||Tennessee|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Mitch Trubisky||QB||North Carolina|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Reuben Foster||ILB||Alabama|
|12||Cleveland Browns (via Eagles)||DeShone Kizer||QB||Notre Dame|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Jabrill Peppers||S||Michigan|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings)||Mike Williams||WR||Clemson|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||Cam Robinson||OT||Alabama|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||Corey Davis||WR||Western Michigan|
|17||Washington Redskins||Tim Williams||OLB||Alabama|
|18||Tennessee Titans||John Ross||WR||Washington|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Dalvin Cook||RB||Florida State|
|20||Denver Broncos||O.J. Howard||TE||Alabama|
|21||Detroit Lions||Marlon Humphrey||CB||Alabama|
|22||Miami Dolphins||Solomon Thomas||DE||Stanford|
|23||New York Giants||Malik McDowell||DT||Michigan State|
|24||Oakland Raiders||Marshon Lattimore||CB||Ohio State|
|25||Seattle Seahawks||Mike McGlinchey||OT||Notre Dame|
|26||Houston Texans||Takkarist McKinley||OLB||UCLA|
|27||Green Bay Packers||Sidney Jones||CB||Washington|
|28||Pittsburgh Steelers||Quincy Wilson||CB||Florida|
|29||Atlanta Falcons||Desmond King||CB||Iowa|
|30||Kansas City Chiefs||Christian McCaffrey||RB||Stanford|
|31||Dallas Cowboys||Taco Charlton||DE||Michigan|
|32||New England Patriots||Jarrad Davis||OLB||Florida|
San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
There will always be debate over who is the best quarterback in the class, and this year will be no different. Mitch Trubisky has upside with his throwing ability but is still raw. DeShone Kizer is a serious dual-threat quarterback but has been inconsistent in his career.
Deshaun Watson has his faults, most notably with turnovers, but he is a special player.
The Clemson star finished with 420 passing yards and three touchdowns, plus 43 rushing yards and a touchdown, in the national championship game against one of the best defenses in years.
He also showcased his intelligence on the field, per Chad Reuter of NFL.com:
Deshaun Watson changed the protection there, moving Leggett inside. He's running this offense, folks.— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) January 10, 2017
Throughout his career, though, Watson has shown the ability to put the Tigers on his back and make plays with both his arm and his legs. With his skill at reading a defense, he should be able to make a quick transition to the NFL.
While the Cleveland Browns need a quarterback, it's hard to pass on a generational player like Myles Garrett. This leaves the San Francisco 49ers the ability to grab their quarterback of the future in Watson.
Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Defensive linemen don't often get noticed on a football field, but Jonathan Allen changes that perception. The All-American is seemingly always around the ball and usually in the opposing backfield.
He has a rare combination of strength, athleticism and instincts that gives him an advantage to make plays all over the field, not just when the play comes to him. This skill set also allows him to earn stops against the run as well as put pressure on the quarterback.
NFL teams have to be careful with defensive linemen who fit better in either a 3-4 defense or a 4-3; Allen can play in the interior in either system. With the Chicago Bears, he can be a 5-technique who can play right away and instantly upgrade the entire defense.
It's clear the Bears need a quarterback with Jay Cutler likely on his way out, but Allen is a safe pick who should help fix a defense that was decimated by the run last season.
New Orleans Saints: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
A linebacker is often considered the quarterback of the defense, which requires some leadership abilities. This should not be a problem for Reuben Foster, who has earned some high praise from his head coach.
"He actually cares a lot about not just how he does or plays, but he also assumes a leadership role and how he affects other people," Alabama coach Nick Saban said, per Marq Burnett of SEC Country. "That comes to a large degree in how much you care about others. That's one of the reasons that he is a very popular guy. He's a got a great personality."
Of course, Foster is also an impact player on the field with his ability to cover virtually sideline to sideline. He is strong in coverage if needed while also more than capable of blitzing into the backfield and earning a tackle for loss.
Although middle linebackers have been devalued a bit in recent years, Foster likely won't last past the first half of the first round thanks to his upside and ability to make an immediate impact.
The New Orleans Saints need help at just about every level of the defense after allowing the second-most points in the NFL, and the Alabama product will be the best player available on that side of the ball.
Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Rookie Carson Wentz showed solid flashes during his rookie season, but the Philadelphia Eagles didn't provide him with much help in the receiving corps.
While the team has used high picks on Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor in recent drafts, both struggle with consistency when it comes to simply catching the ball. The Eagles need to give Wentz someone he can trust down the field.
This is where Mike Williams comes in as a big target at 6'3" with strong hands.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller broke down the player's strengths:
WRs don't have to run 4.3 to separate. Mike Williams is like Alshon Jeffery in that he separates with frame/length/route-running https://t.co/y9SvMJrCKS— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 3, 2017
He showcased this ability in the national title game with eight receptions for 94 yards, including a handful of impressive catches.
Williams can become a go-to option for Wentz, especially near the end zone where he can win jump balls. The Clemson receiver finished with 11 touchdowns on the season after missing almost all of last year with a neck injury.
He should be able to give the Eagles exactly what they need going into 2017.
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