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Here is a list of my top five overall players in this NFL draft class. Keep in mind this does not mean this is exactly where I think each player should go. That obviously depends on a few other factors such as how valuable the position is and what the team needs. This list is who I believe are the best players at their position in this draft. If you are an Ohio State fan, fair warning you will probably be triggered by this list.
1) Quinnen Williams
Quinnen Williams is one of the best and safe draft prospects I have seen in a while. He is a rare mix of incredible strength, speed, and skill. He ran an amazing 4.83 in the 40-yard dash this past weekend at the NFL Combine after reportedly having a breakfast consisting of only Oreos. What a legend. With his speed and size of 6’3” and 303 pounds, he will be dominant in the NFL. Some people knock him for his underwhelming stats in the College Football Playoff Championship against Clemson, but if you watch the film he was disrupting plays and taking up double teams almost every single play, despite not having the most noteworthy stat line. The obvious NFL comparison here is Aaron Donald because of their shared ability to dominate the interior. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams go top two in the draft in April, and I think he will be giving offenses nightmares for years to come in the NFL.
2) Noah Fant
Noah Fant has really begun to make a name for himself in the pre-draft process and was one of the biggest stories at the combine. The 6’4” and 249 pound TE out of Iowa ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. For reference, Travis Kelce who was 6’5 and 255 pounds at the combine ran a 4.61. In addition, Fant had outstanding stats his final two seasons at Iowa putting up a combined 1000 yards and 18 touchdowns. There has been a lot of talk about the Patriots possibly acquiring him to be the successor to Rob Gronkowski, but I think Fant will be long gone when the Patriots pick at 32. Fant’s best NFL comparison is Kelce. They share a similar combination of size and athleticism. In today’s NFL, a mismatch at the TE spot can be very valuable, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team in the top 20 use their pick on Noah Fant.
3) Devin White
The ILB out of LSU finished with a combined 256 total tackles in his final two seasons in Baton Rouge. In both seasons, White finished in the top 25 of the country in total tackles. Since then, White has dominated the combine and has consistently been projected to go in the top 15 of the NFL Draft. White ran a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash this past weekend which was the best of any linebacker this year. For comparison, Roquan Smith (who many praised for his speed at the LB position in college) ran a 4.51 at last year’s combine. At 237 pounds White certainly also has the size to be successful at the position. The one knock on him is that his vision and football IQ isn’t quite there yet, but if he can land on a team with an elite linebacker coach such as the Dolphins and Brian Flores then he should be able to develop that part of his game. I see a lot of Deion Jones (another former LSU Tiger) in Devin White. Jones is one of the most athletic linebackers in the league and I think White will join him in that category. Regardless of if White is able to develop elite instincts, his raw talent and athleticism should be able to make up for a lot of his weaknesses, and I expect to see White go in the top 15 of the draft.
4) Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs can do it all. He is a big and fast back who can make guys miss in the open field, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he certainly can punch it in at the goal line. The former 3-star recruit had to work his way to a starting job in Tuscaloosa, and despite sharing time with Damien and Najee Harris this past season, he still managed to put up 900 scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns. In today’s NFL, I’m not sure the running back position is valuable enough to use a top 10 pick on Jacobs, but I think he will surely be one of the best backs in the NFL, so I don’t expect him to last long after pick #10. Jacobs reminds me a lot of Ezekiel Elliot because of his combination of size and speed and overall versatility as a running back. I think a good guess of where Jacobs could go in the draft is #22 to the Ravens to replace the recently cut Alex Collins.
5) Kyler Murray
Yes, I am a Kyler Murray believer. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is by far the best QB in the draft. Although Murray is very undersized, if he can throw above Oklahoma lineman and against defenses like Alabama and Texas then he can do it in the NFL too. In addition, he certainly does not lack arm strength. If you don’t believe me, go watch Murray’s 50-yard TD throw against Alabama in the CFP semifinal. That throw was made on the run and hit his receiver in perfect stride. Very few people in the world can do that. Kyler Murray is without a doubt one of the best runners at the QB position I have ever seen, possibly even more elusive than Michael Vick was. But even more than that, I think Murray is an incredible thrower. I don’t have any concerns with Murray’s talent. He can throw, he can run, he is smart, and he is a winner. The only concern I have with Murray is his durability at only 207 pounds. A lot of people compare him to Russell Wilson because of his small size and speed, but I see even more similarities with Patrick Mahomes. Not only are they both great two-sport athletes from Texas who dominated the Big 12, but I think Murray will make a lot of the same magical plays that we have seen Mahomes make in the NFL. With reports that the Cardinals are shopping Josh Rosen, I expect to see Kliff Kingsbury use the first overall pick on Murray.