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2017 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions, Top Prospects After CFP Championship

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 8:  Jonathan Allen #93 of the Alabama Crimson Tide on the field during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on October 8, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 49-30.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2017

With the close of the college football season, many fans will continue turning their attention even more so toward the 2017 NFL draft in April.

While a general consensus exists about the top players in this year's draft class, the rankings are bound to fluctuate following the various predraft events and showcases over the coming months.

Below is a mock for the first round, followed by brief breakdowns for five of the best stars available. 

First-Round Mock Draft
PickTeamPlayerSchool
1Cleveland BrownsMyles Garrett, DETexas A&M
2San Francisco 49ersTim Williams, LBAlabama
3Chicago BearsDeShone Kizer, QBNotre Dame
4Jacksonville JaguarsJamal Adams, SLSU
5Tennessee Titans (from Rams)Jonathan Allen, DEAlabama
6New York JetsMitch Trubisky, QBNorth Carolina
7San Diego ChargersCam Robinson, OTAlabama
8Carolina PanthersLeonard Fournette, RBLSU
9Cincinnati BengalsJabrill Peppers, LBMichigan
10Buffalo BillsCorey Davis, WRWestern Michigan
11New Orleans SaintsReuben Foster, LBAlabama
12Cleveland Browns (from Eagles)Quincy Wilson, CBFlorida
13Arizona CardinalsJalen Tabor, CBFlorida
14Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings)Mike Williams, WRClemson
15Indianapolis ColtsDerek Barnett, DETennessee
16Baltimore RavensTakkarist McKinley, LBUCLA
17Washington RedskinsZach Cunningham, LBVanderbilt
18Tennessee TitansCordrea Tankersley, CBClemson
19Tampa Bay BuccaneersTaco Charlton, DEMichigan
20Denver BroncosRyan Ramczyk, OTWisconsin
21Detroit LionsCharles Harris, DEMissouri
22Miami DolphinsO.J. Howard, TEAlabama
23New York GiantsDalvin Cook, RBFlorida State
24Oakland RaidersMalik McDowell, DTMichigan State
25Houston TexansRaekwon McMillan, LBOhio State
26Green Bay PackersSidney Jones, CBWashington
27Seattle SeahawksRoderick Johnson, OTFlorida State
28Atlanta FalconsDesmond King, CBIowa
29Pittsburgh SteelersCarl Lawson, LBAuburn
30Kansas City ChiefsMarshon Lattimore, CBOhio State
31Dallas CowboysDavid Njoku, TEMiami
32New England PatriotsChristian McCaffrey, RBStanford
Draft order via NFL.com

      

Top 2017 Prospects

Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 24:  Jonathan Allen #93 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 19-14 win over the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Myles Garrett will likely be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but Jonathan Allen is making a strong case to be the top defensive end in this year's draft class.

Allen finished this season with 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, and he helped add a different dimension to Alabama's defense. Rarely have the Crimson Tide boasted pass-rushers as good as Allen and Tim Williams.

Alabama came up short against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship, and Deshaun Watson threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. But that doesn't erase everything Allen has done.

Allen doesn't have quite the same ceiling as a pass-rusher as Garrett does, but he's a more versatile defensive lineman and a better run defender. The Crimson Tide star offers the total package, and he should be a lock for the top five.

     

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 12:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorb
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Some questioned whether the Dallas Cowboys reached when they selected Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in 2016. Then Elliott ran for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns in his rookie year, building a possible MVP candidacy.

Elliott's great year is further evidence that a great running back more than validates a first-round selection, even though teams can strike gold at the position in later rounds.

Leonard Fournette's college career ended in underwhelming fashion. He skipped LSU's bowl game, and injuries limited him to seven games.

Even a poor junior year can't diminish Fournette's immense potential. He possesses the ideal blend of speed and power to become an every-down NFL back. Like Adrian Peterson during his time with Oklahoma, Fournette was a man among boys sometimes with the way he overpowered opposing defenders.

It's a shame college football fans got only one season to really enjoy Fournette as his best, but watching him run through NFL defenses will be fun all the same.

     

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

With the absence of a can't-miss quarterback, Garrett has emerged as the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns. On Dec. 11, ESPN.com's Adam Schefter spoke to a source who said the Browns have an "astronomical grade" on the Texas A&M defensive end.

That could be subterfuge by Cleveland to drive outside interest in trading for the first overall pick, but the Browns own the No. 12 selection as well, so there's little sense in moving out of the top spot.

In October, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller spoke to an SEC scout who raved about Garrett's abilities: "You have to realize he's up to 275 pounds now. To be able to dip, bend and accelerate the way he does at that weight? It's rare. He's a generational talent."

The same scout also described Garrett as "a healthy, hardworking Jadeveon Clowney."

Adding Garrett to a defensive line that already includes Danny Shelton and Emmanuel Ogbah would be a scary sight for opposing teams in the AFC North.

      

Jamal Adams, S, LSU

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 19:  Jamal Adams #33 of the LSU Tigers reacts during a game against the Florida Gators at Tiger Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Florida won 16-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Safety isn't the most coveted position on defense, but it's a testament to Jamal Adams' talents that he's rated so highly.

ESPN.com's Todd McShay identified Adams as the one player he likely valued higher than the general consensus: "He hasn't gotten a ton of love nationally, but he's one of the most complete players in this draft class. He has everything you want—intelligence, toughness, ball skills and explosive tackling ability. Plus, he's a really good leader."

Adams bucks the "box safety" label that can dog those at his position during draft time. He's a dynamic defender who can guard against the pass as well as the run.

His work in pass coverage will prove particularly valuable. Adams will be able to line up against the kind of athletic tight ends who are giving NFL coaches fits—a trait that will ensure he's the top safety off the board this spring.

     

Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In a first-person piece for the Players' Tribune, Mitch Trubisky announced he will enter the 2017 NFL draft: "After a lot of prayer and thought, I have decided to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. This has been the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. But no matter what happens next, I know I'll never experience something as special as being a Tar Heel.

Trubisky has all of the tools to become a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL quarterback: He was an accurate passer—68 percent completion rate in his only season starting at North Carolina—he boasts above-average arm strength and he's mobile enough to buy time in the pocket in the face of a pass rush.

Of course, spending a top-five pick on a quarterback with only one year of starting experience in the FBS is risky. For every Cam Newton, there's an Akili Smith.

Not to mention, there's no guarantee Trubisky will make the most of the tools at his disposal. Blake Bortles seemingly has everything necessary to be one of the league's best quarterbacks, and he has had an uneven first three years in the pros.

In a deeper QB class, Trubisky might have slipped to the second round. Since he's one of the best available, though, some team will almost certainly take a leap of faith and select him in the top 10.

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