Published: April 25, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2017 at 02:54 p.m.

Mitch Trubisky, John Ross lead 2017 NFL All-Draft Team

When the 2017 NFL Draft kicks off in Philadelphia (April 27-29), a fresh wave of football talent will hit the league. But as of now, this rising class of prospects is still unattached -- leaving the players below free to join my 2017 All-Draft Team. The roster I've assembled includes a quarterback capable of starting as a rookie (for the second year in a row), plus game-changing defensive talent and a surprise at receiver.

26 Photos Total

  • Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina 26

    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

    Trubisky -- whose nickname is "Mr. Biscuit" -- had a breakout 2016 season after being a part-time backup in North Carolina for two years. He has outstanding accuracy, a quick release and good anticipation, and he throws a very catchable ball. In this exercise last year, I said I wouldn't be surprised if Carson Wentz started as a rookie, and I feel the same way about Mr. Biscuit this year.

  • Running back: Leonard Fournette, LSU 25

    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    Running back: Leonard Fournette, LSU

    An ankle injury impacted his 2016 campaign, but when fully healthy in 2015, Fournette ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's very strong and speedy, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield better than anyone thought. He's also built like a linebacker -- though he got his weight down to 228 pounds by LSU's pro day, he still has lots of power. He's a very early favorite to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.

  • Running back: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford 24

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Running back: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

    McCaffrey is a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses. Possessing great instincts as a runner, he can line up all over the field and carry the ball or catch it. After all, in 2015, he was the only FBS player to pace his team in both rushing (2,019) and receiving (645) yards. He's a very hard worker with great football character. McCaffrey will also block and can return kicks.

  • Wide receiver: John Ross, Washington 23

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: John Ross, Washington

    Ross -- who blazed a record-setting 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine -- has the speed to score on every reception. He tracks the deep ball well and will catch the ball across the middle. He also played four games at cornerback in 2014, showing his toughness. Ross needs to work on his route-running but has great run-after-the-catch ability. He can return kicks, as well.

  • Wide receiver: Curtis Samuel, Ohio State 22

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

    This might surprise some folks, but I think Samuel is going to be a heckuva player, a strong, fast presence who will grow into the position. He played both receiver and running back at Ohio State and has great speed and acceleration. The high-upside prospect can track balls and make plays in traffic.

  • Tight end: O.J. Howard, Alabama 21

    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    Tight end: O.J. Howard, Alabama

    Howard is a complete tight end who will block and catch. After staying in school another year to improve, he should start Week 1 in the NFL and play many years at a high level.

  • Offensive lineman: Cam Robinson, Alabama 20

    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    Offensive lineman: Cam Robinson, Alabama

    The three-year starter has long arms (35.5 inches), which is very important in determining the success of an offensive lineman, and big hands (10.5 inches). That's a great combination.

  • Offensive lineman: Garett Bolles, Utah 19

    Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

    Offensive lineman: Garett Bolles, Utah

    Bolles is an older player (24) who turned his life around after some off-the-field struggles in high school, hence the single year of major college football experience at Utah. He's tough, smart and athletic.

  • Offensive lineman: Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin 18

    Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

    Offensive lineman: Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

    Ramczyk's ascension is quite the story. Hardly recruited out of high school, he spent two years at Wisconsin-Stevens Point before transferring to Madison, ultimately launching himself into the first-round conversation. Though he played tackle in college, guard might be his best position in the NFL.

  • Offensive lineman: Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky 17

    Ray Carlin/USA TODAY Sports

    Offensive lineman: Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

    The four-year starter was a left tackle in college, but his best NFL position is probably either center or guard.

  • Center: Pat Elflein, Ohio State 16

    Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

    Center: Pat Elflein, Ohio State

    An outstanding competitor with great work habits and character, the Buckeye can play center or guard.

  • Defensive lineman: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M 15

    Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

    Defensive lineman: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

    Garrett has great explosion, long arms and all the traits needed to rack up double-digits in sacks on an annual basis. He's the kind of player who can change the course of a game with one play.

  • Defensive lineman: Solomon Thomas, Stanford 14

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Solomon Thomas, Stanford

    Thomas is strong, explosive and fast for a 273-pounder. He's a great worker and leader who can play end or inside. Like current Rams star Aaron Donald, he's so quick, it sometimes looks like he's jumping offsides even when he's not.

  • Defensive lineman: Jonathan Allen, Alabama 13

    Matthew Visinsky/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Jonathan Allen, Alabama

    Staying at Alabama for a fourth year paid off, as Allen went from a second-rounder in 2016 to a high-first-rounder in 2017. He's very smart, very quick and makes big plays -- when you watch tape, No. 93 is everywhere. He's got great character and is always hustling. Allen projects as an inside lineman.

  • Defensive lineman: Charles Harris, Missouri 12

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Defensive lineman: Charles Harris, Missouri

    He played better in 2015 than he did last season, but I think scheme changes might have had something to do with that. Though he doesn't have a ton of high-level football experience as a starter, he's got great character and projects as an end who will rack up sacks in the NFL for a long time to come.

  • Linebacker: Derek Barnett, Tennessee 11

    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Derek Barnett, Tennessee

    Barnett plays with great energy and great character, and he steps it up in big games -- he's the type of guy you love to have on your team. He's the ultimate competitor and never slows down. If he adds weight, he could play defensive end, but as of right now I see him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. In December, he broke Reggie White's Tennessee sack record.

  • Linebacker: Reuben Foster, Alabama 10

    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Reuben Foster, Alabama

    Foster, who had a lot to overcome in life, goes hard on every play. He has everything needed to excel at his position in the NFL except potentially size -- I'm not sure how he'll hold up against bigger people.

  • Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Florida 9

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Florida

    Very competitive with great instincts, Davis can play all three 4-3 linebacker positions. He ran a noteworthy 4.56 40 at 238 pounds at his pro day.

  • Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State 8

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

    Lattimore is long, fast and has the quickness to be a shutdown corner. He has very good ball skills, very good hands and is an outstanding tackler.

  • Cornerback: Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado 7

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Cornerback: Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

    Awuzie has great quickness and the toughness to play the position. The four-year starter is capable of also playing slot corner and possibly even safety.

  • Safety: Jamal Adams, LSU 6

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Safety: Jamal Adams, LSU

    Adams, who ran a 4.45 40 at his pro day, was only burned 33 percent of the time in 2016 and was not called for pass interference or holding once. His father, George, was a first-round pick by the Giants in 1985.

  • Safety: Malik Hooker, Ohio State 5

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Safety: Malik Hooker, Ohio State

    Hooker returned three of seven interceptions for touchdowns. Though he doesn't have a lot of experience, the tough, competitive Hooker has long arms, big hands and great upside.

  • Kicker: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State 4

    Young Kwak/Associated Press

    Kicker: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State

    An outstanding kickoff man who notched 96 field goals in four years, Gonzalez should play many seasons in the NFL. He has good leg strength and 50-plus-yards range.

  • Punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho 3

    Young Kwak/Associated Press

    Punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho

    The best punter at the combine led the nation with 47.8 yards per punt as a freshman. His kicks have excellent hang time. He can also kick off and kick field goals.

  • Kick returner: Adoree' Jackson, USC 2

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Kick returner: Adoree' Jackson, USC

    The cornerback is a great athlete with very good hands and explosiveness on kick returns.

  • Long snapper: Colin Holba, Louisville 1

    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Long snapper: Colin Holba, Louisville

    Holba played in the Senior Bowl and worked out at the combine. He's got good size and coverage ability, and the ball comes back very fast.

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