By my count, about 12 players that were in the midst of their senior season in college at this time last year are set to start in their first career NFL game this weekend.
Not surprisingly, the Redskins are expected to start former Alabama star Jonathan Allen on their defensive line. His old teammate, tight end O.J. Howard, is expected to start for the Buccaneers. The Kansas City Chiefs started Toledo alum Kareem Hunt, a third-round pick, at running back with veteran Spencer Ware injured, and Hunt rewarded them with a huge performance, totaling 246 scrimmage yards -- the most in a player's first career game since the 1970 merger.
Who's in the next wave of prospects that will be starting for an NFL team a year from now?
We won't speculate about which underclassmen will be available in the 2018 draft, but I expect these five college seniors to be starting for an NFL club come Week 1 next year.
Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
Allen's athleticism and physical nature will earn him fans among NFL defensive coaches. It will put him in position to earn a starting role right away, too. The godson of NFL Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin has been a starter for the Nittany Lions since midway through his true freshman season, so he's learned how to get on the field early. Allen will be starting come Week 1 for whatever NFL team picks him in the top 50 overall selections in April.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
The Bulldogs have two very talented backs in Chubb and Sony Michel, and both might end up starting in the NFL. If Chubb can stay healthy, he'll be considered a feature back right out of the chute because of his combination of vision, power and quickness.
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
There are several future starting NFL linemen that I could have listed here, including Ohio State's Billy Price, Michigan's Mason Cole, and Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey. But I wanted to give some love to a non-Power-Five-conference player in Hernandez. He's listed at 6-foot-3, 330 pounds, which might be a bit lighter than what he's playing at right now. That size does not prevent him from being mobile in the run game, though. And, of course, he looks like a wall on feet when dropping back to protect his quarterback. He reminds me of former Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson, who has started for the Raiders since the opener in 2014, when he was a rookie.
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
All Kiser does is make tackles. He made 251 stops in the previous two seasons, including 14 sacks. Kiser recorded 7 tackles, including a sack, in UVa's season-opening win over William & Mary. He's thick, strong, active and instinctive. Kiser has also been a factor in pass coverage, breaking up seven throws in 2016. In short, he'll be starting for a 3-4 team immediately upon his arrival in the NFL.
Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
Landry's known for his pass-rush prowess, as he won All-American honors in 2016 after leading the nation with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Even if he doesn't rack up that many sacks in 2017 as offenses pay him extra attention, his relentless nature will allow him to find NFL quarterbacks. He's strong enough to play the run as a stand-up edge player, as well. His new defensive coordinator won't be afraid to start him right off the bat.