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Michigan leads schools with most talent in 2017 NFL Draft


We see small-school gems emerge each year, but for the most part, NFL scouts know which campuses they need to hit to see the nation's top prospects. This year's top destinations for personnel evaluators are no different than they have been for most of the last 10 years.


In fact, if all of the players from the 12 teams listed below are drafted, they would comprise nearly one-half of all selections next April. It's also possible that 50 of the 64 first- or second-round slots this year are to be filled by players from these schools, though it's more likely that a few of these prospects will end up being great values in the third round.

I've broken down each school's prospects into potential early (Rounds 1-2), middle (Rounds 3-4), and late (Rounds 5-7) selections. This is a preliminary view of their draft status, as there's a long way to go in the process. Teams' grades will be swayed over the next three months by intense film study, all-star game performances, the NFL Scouting Combine (medical, interviews, as well as the workouts), pro days, as well as conversations with college coaches and others familiar with the players.

Without further ado, here's my list of schools that are sending the most talent to the 2017 NFL Draft.

1. Michigan
These players were already in Ann Arbor when Jim Harbaugh arrived, and it's likely that they met their potential under the current coaching staff's tutelage. Ohio State had 12 players drafted last year, but Michigan might one-up its rival this year if most of the players listed below are selected. TE Jake Butt and WR Amara Darboh could easily be second-round picks, but might end up as outstanding pickups in the third round.

Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas

2. Alabama
The Tide couldn't quite finish off Clemson for their second straight championship, but as many as seven players from that squad have a chance to be first-round picks. That would be a record -- Miami currently holds the record with six in 2004. It's a top-heavy group, but teams will be pleased if Eddie Jackson and Dalvin Tomlinson slide to the third round due to injury (in Jackson's case) or depth in their position groups.

Early rounds: DL Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Reuben Foster, TE O.J. Howard, CB Marlon Humphrey, OT Cam Robinson, WR ArDarius Stewart, LB Tim Williams
Middle rounds: S Eddie Jackson (injury), DT Dalvin Tomlinson

3. LSU
It's another talent-filled draft class for the Tigers, who have had the second-most players selected in the draft since 2005 (72, only behind USC's 78). Jamal Adams and Leonard Fournette could give the school two top-five selections for the first time since 1960 (Billy Cannon, Johnny Robinson). Malachi Dupre and Davon Godchaux could prove to be excellent second- or third-round steals if team needs and the stacked underclassmen group prevent them from being called as early as expected.

Early rounds: S Jamal Adams, WR Malachi Dupre, RB Leonard Fournette, C Ethan Pocic
Middle rounds: LB Kendell Beckwith (injury), WR Travin Duval, DL Davon Godchaux, CB Tre'Davious White
Late rounds: OG Josh Boutte, TE Colin Jeter, DE Lewis Neal, LB Duke Riley

4. Clemson
The national champions have four potential first-rounders, though Carlos Watkins might be caught in a numbers game, making him a great second-round value. Wayne Gallman and Jordan Leggett will be finds in Rounds 3 if they don't hear their names called in Round 2. The school has had 10 players selected in a single draft once -- in 1983, when 335 players were selected in total. This year's group could match that total in a seven-round draft.

Early rounds: CB Cordrea Tankersley, DT Carlos Watkins, QB Deshaun Watson, WR Mike Williams
Middle rounds: RB Wayne Gallman, TE Jordan Leggett, WR Artavis Scott
Late rounds: LB Ben Boulware, C Jay Guillermo, S Jadar Johnson

5. Ohio State
The Buckeyes don't have as many prospects as other schools listed here, but the quality of the players available puts them in the top five. Noah Brown and Curtis Samuel are two of the more interesting prospects in the draft. Scouts are vexed by Brown's inability to be a regular target despite his obvious physical traits. Offensive coaches will be torn between valuing Samuel's versatility and questioning whether he has a true NFL position. I suspect someone will pick the former, ensuring at least a second-round selection.

Early rounds: S Malik Hooker, C Pat Elflein, CB Gareon Conley, CB Marshon Lattimore, LB Raekwon McMillan, WR Noah Brown, RB/WR Curtis Samuel
Late rounds: P Cameron Johnston, WR Dontre Wilson

Honorable mention

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

Early rounds: DT Caleb Brantley, LB Jarrad Davis, CB Teez Tabor, CB/S Quincy Wilson
Middle rounds: LB Alex Anzalone, S Marcus Maye, OT David Sharpe
Late rounds: DE Bryan Cox, Jr., DT Joey Ivie

Florida State
Early rounds: RB Dalvin Cook, OT Roderick Johnson, DE DeMarcus Walker
Middle rounds: WR Travis Rudolph, CB Marquez White
Late rounds: OG Kareem Are, FB Freddie Stevenson, WR Kermit Whitfield

Early rounds: QB Brad Kaaya, TE David Njoku
Middle rounds: WR Stacy Coley, CB Corn Elder, OG Danny Isidora
Late rounds: S Jamal Carter, S Rayshawn Jenkins, RB Joe Yearby

North Carolina
Early rounds: QB Mitch Trubisky
Middle rounds: RB Elijah Hood, CB Des Lawrence, DT Nazair Jones
Late rounds: C Lucas Crowley, WR Bug Howard, RB T.J. Logan, OG Caleb Peterson, OT Jon Heck, WR Ryan Switzer

Texas A&M
Early rounds: DE Myles Garrett, S Justin Evans, OT Avery Gennesy
Middle rounds: DE Daeshon Hall, WR Josh Reynolds, WR Ricky Seals-Jones
Late rounds: WR Speedy Noil, QB Trevor Knight

Early rounds: CB Adoree' Jackson, OG Damien Mama, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Middle rounds: OT Zach Banner, RB Justin Davis, OT Chad Wheeler
Late rounds: S Leon McQuay III, TE Taylor McNamara, WR Darreus Rogers, DT Stevie Tu'ikolavatu

Early rounds: S Budda Baker, CB Sidney Jones, WR John Ross
Middle rounds: CB Kevin King, LB Joe Mathis, DT Elijah Qualls
Late rounds: TE Darrell Daniels, OG Joe Eldrenkamp

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.



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