The 2017 NFL Draft is just three weeks away, and multiple players have heard their names being moved up and down NFL teams’ big boards based on varying reports.
Missouri defensive end Charles Harris and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey are the latest two prospects to be climbing draft boards, and are now reportedly considered top 10 talents by at least a few teams after being projected as late first to early second-round prospects.
#Missouri DE Charles Harris.
At least 2 teams view him as Top-10 talent. I believe (as of now) he’ll be taken in the Top-20. Maybe higher.
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) April 6, 2017
Here’s one for Wednesday night. Heard from multiple front office execs over last few days. Feeling is now Christian McCaffery goes Top 10.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) April 6, 2017
The Tigers 6-foot-3, 253-pound pass rusher recorded 136 tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss, 18 sacks, and five forced fumbles in three seasons in the SEC, and has high upside potential at the next level with the ability to be an edge rusher in either a 4-3 or 3-4 base defense.
While Harris is surely a coveted talent that has drawn plenty of interest in the lead up to the draft, the real question is where he ranks among other edge rushing prospects. Clearly Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett is in a class of his own in this year’s draft, but alongside Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Michigan’s Taco Charlton, and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley it may just come down to preference and scheme.
Thomas is expected to be the second defensive end off the board, but it will only take one team to believe in Harris for him to end up in the top ten. The Missouri pass rusher has drawn comparisons with eight-year NFL veteran pass rusher Connor Barwin, and has an explosive first step and the athleticism teams look for in a cornerstone pass rusher.
There is surely no shortage of talented pass rushers in this year’s draft that can have an impact in Week 1 of the 2017 season, but there may be no weapon more versatile in this year’s class than Stanford’s star running back.
McCaffrey was originally projected to be the third running back off the board after LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, but is reportedly quickly moving up NFL teams’ big boards and has likely leapfrogged Cook as the second running back due to his abilities as a ball carrier, receiver, and return man.
The 5-foot-11, 202-pound running back broke Barry Sanders’ 27-year-old single-season NCAA record for all-purpose yards in his sophomore year, and amassed 3,922 rushing yards, 1,206 receiving yards, and scored 33 total touchdowns in three seasons in Palo Alto.
The Denver Broncos have already been rumored to have first-round interest in the Stanford running back, and McCaffrey also recently had a visit with the Carolina Panthers, who hold the No. 8 overall selection, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.
The Cardinal running back may lack the size NFL franchises look for in a prototypical back, but his vision and elusiveness should allow him to find success at the next level. McCaffrey’s ability to motion out to wide receiver and return punts and kickoffs surely boost his overall value, making him one of the top prospects to watch as it gets closer to April 27.