PRESEASON TOP 50 NFL PROSPECTS (5-1)

College and pro football are right around the corner. Let’s get ready by counting down the top 50 pro prospects for the 2017 class.

#5 Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Robinson might the hardest prospect to place going into the season. He certainly has the ability and potential of a starting LT for the NFL but hasn’t consistently dominated individually as much as you might look for in a top 5 pick. He has proven to be able to neutralize both speed and power rushers in pass pro but needs to work on his footwork. He has also proven the ability to open up holes at the line of scrimmage and get to the second level in the run game but doesn’t always finish his blocks with a nasty punch. His off-field issue this past spring while legally dismissed will not be forgotten quickly either. One thing that should not be discounted when evaluating Cam is the competition he has faced over the past two seasons. Garrett, Barnett, Harris, Neal, Lawson, Dodd, are just a few examples of NFL talent Robinson has competed against at his LT post. This of course is not including the star talent that he has faced in practice each season. Has the size, athleticism, experience, and talent to be drafted early and start right away at LT or RT.

#4 Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

There is a ton to love about Watson. When he laces up each Saturday he is a live highlight reel. He had a Heisman caliber sophomore season where he might of saved his best performance for last in the national championship game against Alabama. Watson has a lot of top flight targets to chose from and doesn’t seem to lock down on one, spreading the ball out consistently keeping defenses guessing. Watson has undervalued and underrated arm talent. Deshaun’s pocket awareness seemed to improve as the season went on. He is as dangerous in the open field as a runner as anyone at any position and has surprising power when he needs to push for an extra yard. Is he perfect? No. Are there some material concerns? Sure. While Watson does not play under center in a pro-style offense, lacks ideal height at 6’1, and may not have Aaron Rodgers level arm strength, there seem to be less questions about Watson than some of the other QBs drafted top of their class over the last couple years.

#3 Derek Barnett, Edge Rusher, Tennessee

Barnett’s freshmen and sophomore tape and production are scary good. His ability to use his leverage and hands against offensive tackles to get into the backfield is exceptional. He seems to find the ball carrier like a top poacher in hockey or soccer find the back of the net. While there will be other pass rushers drafted next spring who will have more sacks this season and will have more pass rush moves than Barnett, very few of those pass rushers will compete on 3 downs as well as Derek. He is a top tier pass rusher who is growing into an excellent edge defender against the run as well. Depending on the system of the team that drafts Barnett it wouldn’t be surprising to see him drafted as a 3-4 edge OLB or a RE in a 4-3.

#2 Leonard Fornette, RB, LSU

It just isn’t fair how good Leonard Fornette is. He has the pace to outrun your defensive backs and has the power to run through your front 7. He has the right combination of patience and explosiveness hitting the hole. Fournette has the elusiveness and field vision that cripples defenses. His rushing production last season (1,034 yards, 10 TDs, 5.5 ypc) is almost impossible considering he is playing against top SEC defenses every Saturday who have little to no fear of LSU’s passing game. Fournette doesn’t have a lot of film participating in the passing game but seems to have soft enough hands to make the catch before his elite athleticism takes over. RBs don’t often get drafted high in the modern-day NFL but it is hard to imagine more than 2 or 3 teams passing on Fornette.

#1 Myles Garrett, Edge Rusher, Texas A&M

Garrett might have the most explosive first step off the snap as football has scene since Dwight Freeney in his prime.Garrett, through his first 2 seasons playing in front of the 12th Man, has given SEC offenses nightmares. He has recorded 34 sacks and added 33.5 tackles for loss competing against some of the best offensive line talent in the country over those two years. Myles seems to have an instinctive ability and knack for the big play as well forcing fumbles and batting down passes. Garrett will be clocked in the 40 at the combine faster than some draft-able WRs will run. While Garrett won’t wow you with girth at 6-5 255lbs he seems to be strong enough to star at the next level. With that said if Garrett is drafted as a 4-3 end he would benefit from adding on a few pounds to ensure that he can hold his gap against physical NFL lineman for a 16 week season. If he is drafted in a 3-4 as a rush LB Garrett will have to prove not to be a liability in coverage. Such a big part of his success is beating OT’s off the ball using his quickness. Switching to a 3-4 might change that dynamic as well. Regardless of where Myles is drafted and what position he is projected to play it is hard to imagine him not being a premier pass rusher and being a consistent double digit sack-master.

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