May 17, 2024

Predicting the All-Pro talents from the 2017 Class

With a number of intriguing and talented prospects in the 2017 draft class, here are the players that can reach All-Pro potential.

Photo courtesy of OSU athletics

From a talent prospective, the 2017 NFL draft class as a whole presents one of the more impressive groups in recent memory. While valuable positions such as quarterback and offensive tackles offers an underwhelming list of prospects, the pass rushers and defensive backs in the class are considered to be historically talented.

But will the 2017 class become one of the best of all time? One way to determine this comes from the amount of All-Pro selections earned by a class. For instance, the 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2007 classes are considered some of the best over the last 20 years, as each class earned at least 30 All-Pro selections. In more recent times, the 2011 class could eventually go down as the best ever (it already has 23 All-Pro selections).

So which players from this 2017 NFL Draft will go on to earn an All-Pro selection, and what will the total be?  Here are predictions for which prospects will receive an All-Pro selection during their NFL careers.

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

For a tight end prospect, it’s rare to find a player such as O.J. Howard who offers such a complete skillet entering their rookie season. While Howard’s strengths in the pass game weren’t fully taken advantage of in Alabama’s offense, his abilities as a blocker exhibited the added value he can bring to an NFL offense. At the next level, I have the upmost confidence the team who drafts him will incorporate a number of ways to involve him in the passing game. Think of a more athletic version of Greg Olsen. That’s worthy of a top 10 selection. Depending on the offense he ends up with, there’s little doubt Howard will be competing at an All-Pro level sooner than later.
Prediction: 3 All-Pro Selections

Jamal Adams, S, LSU

The strong safety label for Adams has led some to wonder how valuable Adams can be at the next level given the position is one of the least important in the NFL. Those critics don’t give Adams the credit he deserves, as his skill set presents a player who can dominate at the line of scrimmage or in coverage. He may not possess the range of Hooker, but Adams is the more complete prospect and will certainly be a difference maker at the next level. With the number of ways Adams can effect a game defensively, don’t be surprised if he starts receiving All-Pro votes early on in his career. Some have compared him to Eric Berry, who’s earned three All-Pro selections, but I believe he’s a better prospect.
Prediction: 3 All-Pro Selections

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Garrett is pretty much a lock to go No. 1 overall. With that comes the expectations of performing at an All-Pro level on a season-to-season basis. While the talk of him being a generational talent is a bit exaggerated, he’s clearly the best player in the class. He may not reach the production level of a Von Miller type, but expect Garrett to notch multiple double digit sack seasons. Combine that with his contributions as a run defender, Garrett should enjoy a handful of seasons deserving of All-Pro votes. While earning votes is not the same thing as earning the accolade, expect Garrett’s name to appear on at least one All-Pro team.
Prediction: 3 All Pro Selections

Malik Hooker S Ohio State

Many have compared Hooker to an Ed Reed/Earl Thomas type of difference maker. While he may not live up to those ridiculous expectations, Hooker’s ceiling is very high. He still has room to grow, but give him a few years and there’s little reason to doubt Hooker can become one of the great ball-hawking safeties in the league. Last season at Ohio State, he recorded seven interceptions. If he duplicates that number at the professional level, Hooker will certainly earn All-Pro recognition.
Prediction: 2 All-Pro Selections

Jordan Willis DE Kansas State

While he’ll certainly need to refine some aspects of his game before he begins performing at an All-Pro level, the college production and athleticism make for a very intriguing pass rushing prospects. According to Pro Football Focus, he totaled 80 pressures as a senior. He then followed that up with a combine performance that set most of his athleticism numbers near the 100 percentile among EDGE prospects. If Willis can land in a scheme that loves to take advantage of athletically freakish defensive ends, there’s little reason to doubt he’ll become a double digit sack guy and an All-Pro vote receiver. Some have compared his game to Michael Strahan, who earned four first team All-Pro selections. While he may not reach that level, don’t be surprised if Willis makes multiple All-Pro teams before it’s all said and done.
Prediction: 2 All-Pro Selections

Reuben Foster LB Alabama

Has anyone had a worse pre-draft process than Foster? While that may cause him to fall on draft day, there’s no questioning Foster’s talent and what he has to offer at the next level. As a run defender, Foster is unquestionably the most disruptive linebacker in the class. He also offers adequate coverage skills. Not only was he the leader of an historically good Alabama defense, but he possesses the instincts and athleticism for that role to translate to the next level. For those worried about his pre-draft issues, I’m personally okay with my linebacker being a bit of a crazy ass. Expect prime Foster to somewhat resemble the production of a Patrick Willis type. That is worthy of multiple All-Pro selections.
Prediction: 2 All-Pro Selections

Corey Davis WR Western Michigan

Opinions vary on whether Corey Davis, Mike Williams, or John Ross is the top receiver of this class. Unfortunately, Davis’ ankle injury limited his chance of proving himself during the pre-draft process. That’s ok. He’s still my No. 1 wide receiver and surely there will be many NFL teams who agree. At 6-foot-3, Davis is a dynamic weapon who’s proven he can win in several areas as a receiver, in addition to being dangerous after the catch. Given Davis is capable of being the focal point of an NFL team’s passing attack, expect Davis to eventually become one of the top wide-outs in the league, leading to at least one All-Pro selection.
Prediction: 2 All-Pro Selections

Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State

Questions over his lack of experience (one year starter at Ohio State) and hamstring issues have some skeptical. Yet, that one year of tape is quite impressive and scouts are oozing over his traits and production. After dominating during his one year as a starter, Lattimore is expected to be the first corner off the board, and could potentially be a top 5 pick. Combine his coverage and ball skills with his athleticism, Lattimore should fit any NFL defensive scheme as a team’s No. 1 cornerback. Given the hamstring issues don’t continue, expect Lattimore to earn multiple All-Pro selections.
Prediction: 2 All-Pro Selections

Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford

For some reason, skeptics worry McCaffrey can’t fit the role of an every down back in the NFL. That is blasphemy, as he did that for two straight seasons in Stanford’s pro-style offense. Given his dynamic skill set, expect McCaffrey to enjoy multiple seasons of 2,000 plus all-purpose yards. He may not possess the size of Le’Veon Bell, but expect him to enjoy a similar role at the next level. McCaffrey can be a difference maker in both the run and pass game and that versatility makes him an extremely valuable weapon in today’s NFL. Don’t be surprised if McCaffrey breaks the NFL’s record for all-purpose yards in a season.
Prediction: 1 All-Pro Selection

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image courtesy of OSU Athletics

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