The Lions haven’t yet played their first game, but it is never too early to start evaluating players for the NFL draft. Nobody knows at this point if the Lions will be picking 1st or 32nd, so this article simply evaluate players who are some of the best at their positions. This article will focus on the running back position. The three running backs that are widely believed to be the best draft prospects for 2017 are LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. So here we go…
Draft Prospects for 2017 – The Running Backs
Leonard Fournette – LSU
You can’t have a conversation about the running backs in college football and not mention Leonard Fournette. Fournette is one of the most talented players in college football regardless of position. At 6’1″ and 235 pounds, he is bigger than most running backs, however he still has plenty of speed to outrun most defenders. When watching an LSU game the first thing that jumps out is how physical Fournette’s running style is. He runs with great power, breaking through arm tackles and always keeping his feet moving after making contact with defenders. Fournette also displays great vision. He can read his blocks well, and when he identifies the hole he has the ability to burst through it. And although Fournette loves to show of his ability to bulldoze over defenders, he also has enough elusiveness to make guys miss. Fournette’s main weakness is his ability as a receiver. He does have the ability to catch the ball, but he needs to polish up his skill as a route runner. Leonard Fournette is as close to a sure thing as there is as a draft prospect to be taken early in the first round of the NFL draft.
Dalvin Cook – Florida State
Florida State’s Dalvin Cook is a draft prospect who gets things done in a different way than Fournette. At 5’11” and 213 pounds, Cook relies on his speed to make big plays. Dalvin Cook is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Cook also has the ability to make moves to make guys miss without have to lose too much of his speed. He also has good vision as a runner. Dalvin is a pretty good receiver out of the back field, and is also a decent pass blocker. Cook’s main weakness is he doesn’t have the raw power of a guy like Fournette, which hurts his ability as a short yardage back. Cook is a player with the big play ability that teams look for in their running back.
Christian McCaffrey – Stanford
Lastly, Christian McCaffrey out of Stanford is a guy who has generated a lot of buzz so far in his career. At 6’0″ and 201 pounds, McCaffrey is one of the most electric players in college football. What stands out about McCaffrey is his ability to help his team as a runner, receiver, and as a return man. He is an all-purpose yards machine. He has good speed, and great elusiveness. He is almost impossible to stop when he gets into the open field. The main weakness in McCaffrey’s game is his ability as a pass blocker, he shows the willingness to do it, but needs more experience and polish to do it effectively. His ability as a receiver will help him when it comes to getting noticed by NFL teams. McCaffrey may not have the frame to be an every-down back in the NFL, but he is one of the top draft prospects for 2017 who can make big plays and do many things well.