Dak Prescott (Cowboys) -Prescott was never supposed to see the field in 2016, or maybe ever. Most had him pegged as a backup at best that would struggle to make an NFL roster. Now, he may ascend into a top 10 QB in 2017.
Ezekiel Elliot (Cowboys) – The Cowboys had one heck of a draft class in 2017, snagging the top QB and top RB. Elliot got some help from the best offensive line in football sure, but he is the real deal.
Jordan Howard (Bears)- After losing Matt Forte the Bears didn’t lose a beat. Howard performed nearly as well as Elliot on an offense where he was the main threat.Howard is a well-rounded weapon that will be the bell-cow of the Bears offense for years to come.
Michael Thomas (Saints)- Thomas stepped into a dynamic offense in New Orleans and gave Drew Brees the type of big, physical, athletic weapon that he hasn’t had since Marques Colston was in his prime.
Sterling Shepard (Giants) – Odell Beckham Jr finally has himself some help in New York. Shepard’s quickness and agility must be respected and he will eventually develop into a great open field weapon.
Hunter Henry (Chargers)- Henry is already one of the top young TEs in the league. He is stepping into some very big shoes once future Hall-of-Famer Antonio Gates retires, but he has already done some great things on the field.
Taylor Decker (Lions) – Decker was a phenomenal pick for the Lions. He allowed only four sacks and displayed incredible athletic ability and technical proficiency. The Lions have a great young LT for years to come.
Jack Conklin (Titans) – What Conklin lacks in technical skill he makes up for with a mean streak in the run game. Conklin will never be your #1 pass protector but he will pave the way for RBs for many years.
Laremy Tunsil (Dolphins) – Tunsil fell into the Dolphins lap and played admirably inside. His future is bright at Left Tackle.
Joe Thuney (Patriots) – It doesn’t seem fair that the Super Bowl winning Patriots continue to hit on mid-late round picks like Thuney, who gave up only 2 sacks after being picked in the third round
Cody Whitehair (Bears) – Whitehair was an incredibly versatile OL coming out of college that likely could have played all 5 OL position, but as a Center, he is already one of the best in the league.
Interior Defensive Linemen
DeForest Buckner (49ers) – Physically there may not be a more impressive rookie from the 2017 crop. Buckner was a rare bright spot on the 49ers defense.
Chris Jones (Chiefs) – Jones stepped in and immediately become one of the leagues most intimidating interior pass rushers. Though he only recorded 2 sacks, he provided a lot of push up front
Maliek Collins (Cowboys) – Collins was an excellent value for the Cowboys. As a 3rd Round pick, he recorded 5 sacks. Collins is an athletic phenom with unlimited potential.
Leonard Floyd (Bears) – Floyd was one of the most well-rounded EDGE rushers in the draft class with the ability to play EDGE and off the ball. He is already giving NFL tackles fits.
Joey Bosa (Chargers) – Bosa is already one of the leagues best pass rusher, period. He has an unlimited repertoire of pass rushing moves and he is one of the best athletes in the draft class.
Off Ball Linebackers
Deion Jones (Falcons) – Jones was generally considered undersized to play LB, but in the NFL he proved that size isn’t everything. Jones offers the Falcons a nice chess piece on defense that is athletic enough to run with anyone
Jatavis Brown (Chargers) – BigBoardDraft’s own Tyler Dickson called Brown a “poor man’s Myles Jack” in the pre-draft process. He was one of only a handful of people who expected Brown to become what he is: a jack of all trades that fits perfectly on the Charger’s defense.
Darron Lee (Jets) – Lee is another athletic LB that was considered to be undersized. He struggled significantly more than Jones but was still able to rack up over 70 tackles.
Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars) – Before the draft, there were many analysts who considered Ramsey the top overall prospect in the draft. They may be correct. In a league where rookie CBs often struggle, Ramsey flourished, containing some of the games top WRs.
Brian Poole (Falcons) – Ramsey was head and shoulders above the other rookie CBs but in terms of pure value Poole may top all the other CBs in the class. As an undrafted FA, he racked up nearly 60 tackles and an interception on a squad that made the super bowl.
Keanu Neal (Falcons) – Neal was a physical force that sparked a smash mouth attitude on the Falcons defense. Known as little more than a big hitter coming out of Florida, Neal displayed a highly developed skill set for Atlanta.
Karl Joseph (Raiders) – Joseph suffered a knee injury his final season at West Virginia and flew a little bit under the radar. He recovered nicely and provided the Raiders secondary a dynamic playmaker that they desperately needed.
Will Lutz (Saints) – Lutz had a respectable season for the Saints connecting on over 82% of his attempts. He even drilled a 57-yard field goal against the Falcons, but he will have to compete for a job in 2017.
Riley Dixon (Broncos) – Dixon had a decent season for the Broncos. He had averaged nearly 46 yards per punt and kept 28 inside the 20
Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) – Hill was one of the most dynamic playmakers on the field this season and may well become the best return man in the league. Expect him to play significantly more snaps on offense this season.