Top 25 CFB teams with most NFL talent in 2017: Nos. 1-5

Editor's note: NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein is previewing the 2017 college football season by counting down the 25 teams with the most NFL-caliber talent, concluding today with teams ranked 1-5. Click through the tabs above to see the rest of the rankings.

In compiling this list of the most talented college teams, I weighed each team's roster with an emphasis on identifying players who are likely to be draftees in 2018, or in future years. Teams with prospects who are among the most talented in the game were bolstered in the rankings.

5. USC

Players to watch: WR Deontay Burnett, QB Sam Darnold, DE Rasheem Green, OLB Porter Gustin, TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, RB Ronald Jones II, CB Iman Marshall, LB Cameron Smith, OG Viane Talamaivao, S Marvell Tell III

The outlook: Sam Darnold is getting all of the media attention, and he probably deserves it for his outstanding redshirt-freshman campaign. If he follows it up with another strong year complete with production and wins, his draft stock should be fully solidified. Scouts are excited by the potential of Ronald Jones II at running back, and the same goes for Iman Marshall on the defensive side. Marshall is a big hitter who could be a corner or safety at the next level.

4. Washington

Players to watch: OT Trey Adams, LB Keishawn Bierria, QB Jake Browning, RB Lavon Coleman, NT Greg Gaines, RB Myles Gaskin, WR Dante Pettis, S Taylor Rapp, DT Vita Vea, LB Azeem Victor

The outlook: The secondary will need to reload after sending three second-round defensive backs to the NFL. The defense has pro talent on the first and second levels with DT Vita Vea leading the pack. The big man is a powerful run stuffer who has impressive range. LB Keishawn Bierria is a little undersized for the middle, but he's a tough playmaker, and Azeem Victor could hear his name called on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) next spring. Offensively, Jake Browning will get national attention, but Trey Adams and Dante Pettis are the best players on that side of the ball.

3. Clemson

Players to watch: WR Deon Cain, OG Tyrone Crowder, DE Clelin Ferrell, RB C.J. Fuller, LT Mitch Hyatt, LB Kendall Joseph, DT Dexter Lawrence, WR Hunter Renfrow, S Van Smith, DE Christian Wilkins

The outlook: Clemson has had at least one player drafted in the first round for five straight drafts, and the Tigers have produced eight picks who have gone in the first or second round over the last three years. Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Deon Cain are the team's top prospects, based on what I saw on tape, but I know that DE Clelin Ferrell is included in that group by many. He should get his chance to vault up the boards, given how Clemson has cranked out edge rushers. Cain and Hunter Renfrow are battle-tested and talented.

2. Alabama

Players to watch: CB Anthony Averett, LB Rashaan Evans, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, WR Robert Foster, DE Da'Shawn Hand, RB Damien Harris, S Ronnie Harrison, QB Jalen Hurts, WR Jerry Jeudy, OLB Christian Miller, DT Da'Ron Payne, RB Bo Scarbrough, RT Jonah Williams

The outlook: The defense is loaded with quality talent. Da'Ron Payne is a monster in the making, but players like Anthony Averett, Da'Shawn Hand, Christian Miller and Rashaan Evans could see their draft stock rise dramatically if they can play to their potential this season. Wideout Calvin Ridley is the headliner on offense, but the running back and wide receiver spots are full of depth. Right tackle Jonah Williams will head into the season as one of the best linemen in the conference as just a sophomore.

1. Ohio State

Players to watch: LB Jerome Baker, TE Marcus Baugh, LB Dante Booker, DE Nick Bosa, WR Parris Campbell, DE Jalyn Holmes, DE Sam Hubbard, DT Dre'mont Jones, LT Jamarco Jones, DE Tyquan Lewis, C Billy Price, CB Denzel Ward, RB Mike Weber

The outlook: Ohio State is beating Alabama at its own game, loading up on talent for its defensive front. Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard and Dre'mont Jones are the most talented players in the group, but make no mistake -- they are rolling two-deep with draftable talent up front. The secondary is reloading but incomplete at this time and the same can be said for wide receiver, but LBs Jerome Baker and Dante Booker are exceptional athletes ready to take big strides this season. Offensively, scouts are excited about Billy Price and Jamarco Jones up front.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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