Top 25 CFB teams with most NFL talent in 2017: Nos. 16-20

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, continuing today with teams 16-20 in his rankings. 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.

20. Northwestern

Players to watch: TE Garrett Dickerson, OT Blake Hance, S Godwin Igwebuike, RB Justin Jackson, T Tyler Lancaster, WR Flynn Nagel, S Kyle Queiro, QB Clayton Thorson, WR Solomon Vault, CB Keith Watkins

The outlook: Justin Jackson and Garrett Dickerson are both talented seniors who should have highly productive 2017 campaigns before hearing their name called in the draft. However, Clayton Thorson intrigues me most after studying him on tape this summer. Thorson is the guy who could end up generating the most buzz in scouting circles from this team. Godwin Igwebuike is the best prospect on the defense, and the return of the talented Keith Watkins from a knee injury will help bolster the secondary.

19. Texas

Players to watch: QB Shane Buechele, LB Breckyn Hager, LB Malik Jefferson, WR Collin Johnson, DB P.J. Locke III, C Zach Shackelford, OG Patrick Vahe, RB Chris Warren III, LB Anthony Wheeler, OT Connor Williams

The outlook: Over the last six years, the Longhorns have had just two players drafted in the first two rounds and there hasn't been an offensive lineman drafted since tackle Tony Hills in 2008 (fourth round). Now, Connor Williams is one of the top tackles in the nation and center Zach Shackelford is an emerging talent. Scouts are intrigued by Chris Warren's size and talent at running back, but Collin Johnson is the skill player to watch in the future. On defense, Malik Jefferson is a stud athlete but needs his production to match up with his ability.

18. Arkansas

Players to watch: DE McTelvin Agim, QB Austin Allen, DB De'Andre Coley, WR Jared Cornelius, OG Hjalte Froholdt, LB Dre Greenlaw, NT Bijhon Jackson, OT Colton Jackson, S Josh Liddell, CB Ryan Pulley, C Frank Ragnow, CB Henre' Toliver

The outlook: It's hard to tell how many truly first-tier prospects the Hogs have, but it is clear that they have quality talent at a variety of positions. The secondary is loaded with four starters who should all find themselves in an NFL camp at some point. Junior Ryan Pulley had great ball production last season and both safeties are quality talents. Austin Allen is a little small, but he's gutsy and takes his shots down the field. Frank Ragnow is a rock-steady center who will play on Sundays.

17. Oklahoma State

Players to watch: WR Marcell Ateman, OT Zachary Crabtree, S Tre Flowers, RB Justice Hill, WR Jalen McCleskey, S Ramon Richards, QB Mason Rudolph, WR James Washington, DE Tralund Webber, OG Larry Williams

The outlook: The talent for the Cowboys rests primarily on offense this season. Mason Rudolph took a big step forward last year as a draft prospect and he has such a great rapport with the ultimate 50-50 ball winner, James Washington. Those two should hit it big again in 2017. Both will play on Sunday. Outside of those two guys, Oklahoma State has some talented young players who will be counted on to rise to their level of talent and become more productive this season.

16. Oklahoma

Players to watch: TE Mark Andrews, OT Orlando Brown, FB Dimitri Flowers, LB Caleb Kelly, QB Baker Mayfield, DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, S Steve Parker, OG Ben Powers, CB Jordan Thomas

The outlook: Baker Mayfield has size limitations that could hinder his pro potential, but he has talent and is the type of gamer who could find his way onto an NFL field. The offensive line is going to be Oklahoma's strength and the left side of it -- manned by Orlando Brown and Ben Powers -- is a mauling factory. Brown is one of the top players at his position. Mark Andrews has been underutilized, but has impressive pro potential. The defense lacks a sure-fire stud, but Sooner insiders believe sophomore Caleb Kelly could grow into it. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is a little tight, but very productive.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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