In less than a week the next wave of NFL stars will gather in Indianapolis for the annual NFL Combine, showcasing their otherworldly skills in front of general managers, coaches and scouts.Potential draftees will do their best to make an impression on the brain trusts of NFL franchises and earn themselves either a selection in the draft or an invitation to training camp next season.It seems that every year we hear about how talented that particular draft class is and this year is no different. Let’s take a look at who will be making immediate impacts on the gridiron next season.
The defensive end/edge defender has become one of the most coveted positions in the game thanks to the likes of Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney.The next name in the line of great pass rushers is Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett stands 6 foot 5 inches, weighs in at 270 pounds and has scouts drooling over his speed for a man of his stature.Many have compared Garrett to a Jevon Kearse with more speed. From catching some of Garrett's highlights over the past two seasons I would have to agree with that comparison. The guy is a monster and will no doubt be the No. 1 overall pick.
Another position that teams have taken more notice of in the draft in recent years is running back. For a while teams had no intentions of drafting a running back in the first round unless he was a can’t-miss guy. Ezekiel Elliott changed that perception with a breakout rookie season for the Dallas Cowboys last year.Zeke went No. 4 overall in the 2016 draft and though this year's running back class is strong, I do not see a running back going in the top 5 picks. I can tell you that LSU’s Leonard Fournette will be the first running back taken and he will go in the top 10.Fournette has everything you would want in a power running back and is being compared physically to Adrian Peterson. The one knock on Fournette is his durability, but expect to seem him steamrolling and juking defenders when he does hit the field in 2017.
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A couple other running backs looking to raise their stock at the combine Clemson’s Wayne Gallman, Toledo’s Kareem Hunt, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel. And I could not go without mentioning some of this draft’s top quarterback prospects. Though there are no Andrew Luck’s or Carson Wentz’s in this draft, there are a couple guys who could find themselves in a starting role within a couple of seasons. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is currently ranked as the top rated quarterback by most experts and that says a lot about the quarterback talent in this draft. The ceiling is not very high for Trubisky and the team that takes a chance on him will have to wait a couple years to see whether he pans out or not.
At the end of the day, the NFL Draft Combine is a place for players to raise their stock - performing exercises and drills that will supposedly translate to the level of play in the NFL. We all know that there are guys that have performed well at the Combine and amounted to nothing in the NFL. So I don’t think it’s the best gauge for players. But it is definitely entertaining to see how athletic and dynamic players are becoming.