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Hello everyone, and welcome to the fourth article in our NFL Draft series! Here is a look at the other three to reference:

2017 NFL Draft Series: Intro | Team Previews 1-16 | Team Previews 17-32

I’m getting more and more excited as the days go by, as we are getting closer and closer to the first night of the draft, which is only a few weeks away! Like I mentioned up top, this is the fourth article in our series, keep your eyes peeled for MB’s article that will be out in the coming days, discussing Quarterbacks and Tight Ends of this year’s draft class.

“Well Zach,” you might say, “it seems like Matt got the better end of the deal here!” In this scenario, you would be right. Tweet at him. Let him know this isn’t right.

Alright, enough chatter. In this post, we’ll just review the best of the best at the two positions, looking at where they would best fit in potential teams, and what it all means for your drafts come fall.

Let’s get to it!

Running Backs

Leonard Fournette, LSU

Coming into the 2016 CFB season, hopes were high for Fournette to be a strong candidate for the Heisman trophy along with some pretty high hopes for the rest of the LSU team. Well, to say that the season was a letdown would be an understatement. Throw in an ankle injury and 2016 is a year to forget for the 22 year-old. However, his future is looking very bright. Fournette absolutely excelled at his LSU pro day a little while back to build off of a strong showing at the combine. Teams aren’t scared one bit, and you can bet that we’ll hear his name quickly come draft night.

Fournette profiles as the typical downhill runner; a threat to score on any rushing play. He’s a very explosive, yet also elusive runner that, behind a good offensive line, can do some real damage. Although he only caught 15 balls for 146 yards in his final year, I’m sure he’d be very comfortable on passing downs. The only downside for Fournette used to be his durability (due to ankle concerns) and weight issues, but we saw how much he has shed at his Pro Day, so those concerns aren’t valid anymore.

Possible landing destinations include Jacksonville, Carolina, or possibly Tampa Bay, but I highly doubt he’ll slip that far. If he falls to the Jaguars, I would expect a pretty sizable workload, as they haven’t gotten much from Ivory or Yeldon.

Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Let’s take a look at Cook’s numbers from his final year at Florida State: 6.0 yards per carry for 1,765 yards and 13 TD’s, with 33 receptions for 488 yards. If you were to ask a majority of writers, analysts, and the common folk, I would guess a majority of them would have either McCaffrey or Fournette as the best running back prospect in this year’s draft, but if you were to ask me, I would say that I believe Cook is the best of the best.

Cook has unbelievable speed, and vision, and it’s clear that working under Running Backs coach Jay Graham has gifted us another Devonta Freeman. The only downside to Cook is the fact that he has had some fumbling issues that have plagued his whole college career. This is a big issue for some Coaches, so we’ll have to see if any pass them up, but Cook’s upside may force many to overlook this issue.

Some possible landing spots are the same three as above, but now with a greater chance of Cook landing to Tampa Bay. If that is the case, I truly believe Cook offers top-30 upside. It’s a great fast-paced, young offense that fits his skillsets as a runner.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

McCaffrey, like Fournette, had a disappointing 2016 campaign (in comparison to his Heisman-worthy 2015 season), but looks to have a very bright future in the NFL. The interesting thing about McCaffrey is that he might double as a wide receiver, or at the least, one of the best catchers out of the backfield in the NFL. He’s been training with former WR Brandon Stokley, and all signs point to him having a very big impact in the NFL as a route-runner. That would be very cool, but also a tad bit disappointing as he is a very talented runner as well.

Aside from his fantastic 6.3 yards per carry and other great numbers as a runner and receiver, he’s also been known to be an excellent leader and teammate both on and off the field. That may not be the most important thing in the world, but it could definitely have an impact on the selection process if a team views him and say, Dalvin Cook.

Again, the same three teams I mentioned, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Jacksonville are all in play, but now, with the possibility of him doubling as a wideout, any team is in play to take McCaffrey

Honorable Mention: Alvin Kamara, Tennessee and Marlon Mack, South Florida

I wanted to briefly give you guys these two names to keep in the back of your mind when the draft comes. As of now, it’s tough to say where Kamara and Mack will end up, because they aren’t Round 1 guys. If they land in a favorable spot, MB and I will cover it on our recap article or the Razzcast.

 

*Note* – I’m not going to dive too deep into the mess that is Joe Mixon, but I want to briefly cover it. If I had my way in life (which sadly, I do not, or the Bruins would be up 2-0. Seriously, how did they blow that?), Joe Mixon would never play another down in the NFL. Unfortunately, it looks like he may. According to multiple sources across the league, teams are removing him from their big boards. However, some franchises believe that his talent is too good to pass up. However, it’s anyone’s guess on who those teams are. Just get it in your head that he very well be selected at some point in this draft, and that his impact in fantasy come the fall may very well be felt. But it’s anyone’s guess on what will happen with him.

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams, Clemson

Williams profiles as one of the more dangerous red-zone playmaker in this year’s draft class. A lot of comparisons have been made about Williams and Mike Evans, and they would definitely be correct in the sense that Williams’ yards-after-catch skills are very similar to Evans’. After a great season and an even better National Championship game, the future is bright for Williams and he is definitely shaping up to be a first rounder.

Some possible landing spots for the Clemson grad could be Tennessee, Arizona, or Baltimore. Any landing point of these three is very appealing, and Williams could definitely make an impact on fantasy rosters come fall, albeit likely in a WR3 or FLEX spot

John Ross, Washington

Let’s face facts. Tehol is 10 times the writer I am, and I am 10 times lazier than he is. Also, as a devout fan (at the time of this writing) of the Washington Huskies, I figured I would bring him on to share his knowledge of Ross. You’re welcome.

Tehol: I refer to John Ross as “Show and Blow” after witnessing him making one move and toasting the opposition more times than I can count in 2016. You can use him as a runner and should immediately be top-3 kick and punt returner in the NFL. Tavon Austin was even a top-10 pick and doesn’t have the size, downfield skills, or speed of the best Husky wide receiver since my good friend Reggie Williams. Mike Williams would be tough for me to pass up but I believe that other than Williams, Ross has the most upside in this draft. Did you forget that at one point he played corner? Dude is a freak . If I was running an NFL franchise, I’d grab Ross in the top 15 overall, and that’s a drug and alcohol free decision.

If that passage doesn’t bring tears to your eyes then you aren’t human.

Some possible landing destinations for Ross could be Cincinnati, Tennessee or Dallas, though I doubt he’ll slip that far. The ideal point for me out of those three would be the Titans, as he’ll definitely make a quick impact there in their young offense without any real threats for a workload. The issue with Cincinnati is that he’ll be forced to share time with Green, Eifert and Bernard out of the backfield. No thanks.

Corey Davis, Western Michigan

From his writeup a few weeks back, you could definitely get the impression that MB is a pretty big fan of Davis, and he isn’t alone in that department.

Davis profiles as a long, fast and athletic receiver. In his final season at Western Michigan, he caught nearly 100 balls for 1,500 yards and close to 20 TD’s. In a descriptive sense, he’s a lean, mean, fighting machine, with some quite explosiveness that you can see whenever he first jumps off the line. He does a fantastic job of stretching the field, a talent a lot of teams seem to need nowadays. If you haven’t seen Davis play, think of Julio Jones or a young Demaryius Thomas.

Any teams listed above for Williams and Ross are in play for Davis, but I don’t believe he’ll be a top option in the first round. Honestly, my gut tells me it’ll either be Dallas or he’ll fall to the second round. If the latter is the case, he’ll lose some value, but either way, he’ll look to be a late-round, high-upside flier in drafts come fall.

 

Honorable Mention: Curtis Samuel, Ohio State and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Southern California

Again, just like the guys above, I want to give you guys these names to keep an eye out for. They may very well be first round picks, but it isn’t too likely that will occur. However, if they land in a favorable spot, Matt and I will be the first to let you all know.

 

Alrighty guys, thank you so much for keeping me company. Keep your eyes peeled for MB’s fire analysis on the Quarterback and Tight End position groups in the coming days. As always, if you have a question or comment about anything said in this article, or just want to say hello, please don’t hesitate to leave one below.

Go read a book.

 

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