Myles Garrett seems to be the popular choice to become the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. But will the Texas A&M pass rusher become the best player in this draft?
Cal quarterback Jared Goff was the first overall pick of the 2016 draft. But Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, a fourth-round selection, won NFL Rookie of the Year honors. The first pick is not always the best pick. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the first overall pick of the 2015 draft. But Georgia running back Todd Gurley, the 10th overall pick, went on to win Rookie of the Year honors.
So who from the Class of 2017 will go on to have the best NFL career? That’s the subject of this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll. We’re offering up eight options, including the top-rated players at eight positions. It’s your call – who will have the best career:
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina. Talk about a rapid rise. Trubisky started only one season for the Tar Heels before opting to skip his senior year to turn pro. But in that one season he completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,748 yards with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He’s 6-2, 222 pounds and leaves North Carolina with an 8-5 career starting record.
Leonard Fournette, HB, LSU. Fournette set a school record with 1,953 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in 2015 and entered 2016 as a Heisman Trophy favorite. But ankle injuries limited him to seven games and only 843 rushing yards. Like Trubisky, Fournette opted to skip his senior season and hopes to give an NFL team an Ezekiel Elliott-type of impact in 2017. He goes 6-0, 240 pounds and runs the 40 in the 4.5s.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. Williams played three seasons at Clemson but spent four years on campus, wearing an injury redshirt in 2015 after he suffered a broken bone in his neck in the season opener. He became DeShaun Watson’s go-to guy on the way to a national championship in 2016, catching 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. He goes 6-3, 218 pounds and runs in the 4.5s.
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. Howard was a rare starter as a true freshman for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in 2013, and he went on to become one of the most prolific pass-catching tight ends in Alabama history. Howard caught 38 passes as a junior and 45 more as a senior, leaving Alabama with 114 career receptions for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns. He goes 6-5, 251 pounds and runs in the 4.5s.
Forrest Lamp, OT, Western Kentucky. Lamp started 51 games in his college career at both guard and tackle, and his polish shows. Over his last three seasons, Lamp’s blocking has helped Western Kentucky win 31 of its 41 games, including three bowl games. He didn’t get the recognition of some of the big-school blockers, but his attention will come on draft day when he projects as a Top 15 pick. He goes 6-3, 309 pounds.
Myles Garrett, pass rusher, Texas A&M. A five-star recruit who became a five-star player at Texas A&M Garrett collected an SEC freshman-record 11 sacks in 2014, 11 ½ more as a sophomore and 8 ½ as a junior before deciding to skip his senior season to turn pro. He was a two-time All-America from the same school that produced Denver’s Pro Bowl pass rusher, Von Miller. But Garrett is bigger than Miller at 6-4, 272. He runs in the 4.6s.
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. The stats may not be there, but the measureables certainly are. Lattimore redshirted as a freshman in 2014, then was limited to seven games as a sophomore because of hamstring injuries. He became a starter and a star as a junior in 2016, intercepting four passes and earning first-team All-Big Ten acclaim. He elected to give up his remaining eligibility to turn pro in this draft. He goes 6-0, 193 pounds and runs in the 4.3s.
Jamal Adams, S, LSU. His progression as a player was clearly visible. Adams became an SEC all-freshman selection in 2014, a second-team All-SEC choice in 2015 and first-team All-SEC pick in 2016 before deciding to skip his senior season to turn pro. He intercepted four passes as a sophomore and one as a junior and collected 209 career tackles at LSU. He goes 5-11, 214 and runs in the 4.3s.