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, beginning today with teams 21-25 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.
Players to watch: LB Joey Alfieri, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, C Jesse Burkett, WR Trenton Irwin, DE Dylan Jackson, OLB Peter Kalambayi, RB Bryce Love, CB Quenton Meeks, DT Harrison Phillips, S Justin Reid, TE Dalton Schultz
The outlook: The Cardinal secondary is full of quality talent and is spearheaded by cornerback Quenton Meeks, who has the size and ball production to excite NFL teams. Meeks has to prove he can run with the speedy wideouts. The defensive line has next-level potential in Harrison Phillips and Dylan Jackson. Offensively, TE Dalton Schultz is one of the best pro prospects at his position, while center Jesse Burkett is right there behind him. RB Bryce Love is a little undersized, but more than capable of taking on some of the overall workload shouldered by Christian McCaffrey in the past.
Players to watch: OT Tyrell Crosby, LB Troy Dye, RB Royce Freeman, C Jake Hanson, DE Henry Mondeaux, WR/KR Charles Nelson, DT Scott Pagano, LB Jimmie Swain
The outlook: Royce Freeman was hampered by injuries last season, but he's been incredibly productive as a three-year starter. He has an outstanding combination of size and speed that should get him drafted inside the top two rounds. The rest of the offense is fairly soft from a talent standpoint. The team's most talented defender might be true sophomore Troy Dye, who was one of the most productive freshman in the nation last season.
23. Virginia Tech
Players to watch: CB Adonis Alexander, S Terrell Edmunds, LB Tremaine Edmunds, CB Brandon Facyson, LB Andrew Motuapuaka, WR Cam Phillips, CB Greg Stroman, OG Wyatt Teller
The outlook: The strength of this team on the field and in the world of draftable prospects lies on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerbacks Brandon Facyson and Adonis Alexander have the size and length that NFL teams love. Alexander's tape shows an excellent athlete who is still learning to maintain his coverage. The Edmunds brothers -- Tremaine and Tyrell -- should become the stars of the defense this season and I see Tremaine as a potential NFL star if he maintains his current pace.
22. Washington State
Players to watch: DT Daniel Ekuale, QB Luke Falk, OT Cole Madison, WR Tavares Martin, Jr., DE Hercules Mata'afa, RB Jamal Morrow, OG Cody O'Connell, LB Peyton Pelluer, RB Gerard Wicks, RB James Williams
The outlook: Luke Falk is the clear-cut top talent on this team with a chance to find himself drafted in the first round. Cody O'Connell is a massive guard with Day Two (Rounds 2-3) potential and the Washington State trio of running backs are all talented, multi-dimensional players. Washington State's defense has been able to turn opponents over quite a bit in the past few years, but the talent on that side of the ball is very average by NFL standards.
21. West Virginia
Players to watch: S Dravon Askew-Henry, LB Al-Rasheed Benton, OG Kyle Bosch, RB Justin Crawford, QB Will Grier, RB Kennedy McKoy, WR Ka'Raun White, S Kyzir White
The outlook: West Virginia has been cranking out NFL talent in the secondary and once again, the Mountaineers have a couple of studs at safety in Kyzir White and Dravon Askew-Henry. Talented Florida transfer Will Grier takes over at quarterback and he has a chance to be explosive in Jake Spavital's offense. Keep an eye on former Mountaineer Kevin White's little brother, Ka'Raun. He's not as talented as big brother but has a shot to play in the league.