Leonard Fournette leads the way for a talented group of 2017 NFL Draft hopefuls from LSU
Now that the 2016 NFL Draft has concluded, we might as well move on to 2017, right? After all, it's never too early to look at where the SEC's best players will further their careers.
This year, the SEC had 51 players drafted. For the 10th year in a row, the SEC led the way among its Power Five brethren (Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, Big 12). The SEC has proven time and time again that it has the most talented players in the country. But will that streak continue in 2017?
Power Five Conference 2017 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch
ACC I Big 12 I Big Ten I Pac-12 I SEC I Notre Dame
Here is an early look at the top 25 NFL Draft prospects (in alphabetical order) out of the SEC for 2017.
Jamal Adams, S, LSU (Jr., 6-1, 211)
As a sophomore in 2015, Adams started all 12 games for the Bayou Bengals and earned second team All-SEC honors. Before that, Adams was a consensus freshman All-American. He should be poised and ready to make the jump to the NFL.
Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama (Sr., 6-3, 294)
It’s no surprise that Allen is projected to be at least a top-10 pick in 2017. He probably would have been taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft if he had entered his name. In the fall, Allen should be able to fine tune his skill set, which will benefit him greatly this time next year.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (Jr., 6-3, 257)
Tennessee’s top prospect, Barnett, made his name known early in Knoxville with 20.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks as a true freshman. Opposing offenses tried to double-team him more in 2015, but Barnett still managed to finish third in the SEC in sacks.
Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU (Sr., 6-2, 252)
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (Jr., 5-10, 220)
After a gruesome knee injury in the Tennessee game cut Chubb’s 2015 season short, he took a backseat to LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry. Now, Chubb looks ready to make a triumphant return this fall. Pro teams are hoping for Chubb to get back to the level of production he was at before the injury.
Tony Conner, SS, Ole Miss (Sr., 6-0, 215)
Going into last season, Athlon had Conner listed as a first team All-American. He was nearly a unanimous preseason first team All-SEC selection. Unfortunately, injuries hampered Conner from being very productive. He has a chance to improve his draft stock this fall.
Travin Dural, WR, LSU (Sr., 6-2, 203)
Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss (Sr., 6-3, 227)
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama (Sr., 6-1, 240)
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (Jr., 6-1, 230)
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (Jr., 6-5, 262)
Garrett has wreaked havoc on SEC offensive lines since his arrival to College Station two years ago. Now, not only has he gotten bigger, but he has improved his speed and agility. As one of the most purely talented players on the board, Garrett is expected to be taken early in the first round.
Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M (Sr., 6-6, 260)
Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri (Jr., 6-3, 255)
Mizzou’s defense, which has been the strength of the team under Barry Odom, is led by Harris. As a sophomore, Harris earned second team All-SEC honors. He has played in every game in his career at Missouri and has been the key factor in the Tigers’ defensive success.
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama (Sr., 6-6, 242)
Eddie Jackson, SS, Alabama (Sr., 6-0, 194)
Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss (Sr., 6-2, 215)
Skai Moore, OLB, South Carolina (Sr., 6-2, 218)
The Gamecocks haven’t had much going on defense the past couple seasons, but Moore has done his job and then some. The senior linebacker was a team captain for South Carolina last season and led the team with 111 tackles. That was the second-highest total recorded by a Gamecock in the last 25 years.
Lewis Neal, DE, LSU (Sr., 6-2, 264)
Greg Pyke, OG, Georgia (Jr., 6-6, 313)
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama (Jr. 6-6, 327)
Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State (Sr., 6-2, 207)
With Dak Prescott slinging passes, Mississippi State has had a handful of productive receivers, but arguably none more so than Ross. Now that Prescott is gone, it will be interesting to see how head coach Dan Mullen uses Ross on offense this fall. He is shifty and will probably be desired in the slot as next year’s draft approaches.
Dan Skipper, OT, Arkansas (Sr. 6-10, 326)
Without a doubt, Skipper will be the tallest tackle at the Scouting Combine next year. He has been a key piece in opening holes for Arkansas’ punishing and productive running game. Skipper blocks well into the whistle. Although pass blocking isn’t the strongest part of his game, he won’t be too hard to develop. His reach certainly won’t be a concern.
Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee (Sr. 5-11, 186)
Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida (Jr., 6-0, 191)
At this point in time, Tabor is probably the most highly touted cornerback prospect out of the SEC. He has had the luxury of playing opposite of Vernon Hargreaves III for most of his career. This fall will be Tabor’s time to prove that Hargreaves wasn’t the only talented pass defender for the Gators.
Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU (Sr., 5-11, 191)