Can you believe the 2017 draft is next week? Time for another edition of my favorite prospects in the class. A reminder of how this works:
This is neither a list of the best players in the draft overall, nor guys I consider the best at each position. They're all good, and they're all going to be drafted, but they fit into a couple of separate categories. These are prospects who I've:
Often rated higher than other evaluators within the draft media or team evaluators I discuss prospects with, or ...
Ranked higher in close debates within position groups, namely at quarterback, or ...
Just like the way they play the game
In the end, these guys will probably just be considered "guys Kiper really likes." That's a pretty nebulous designation, but in this business you hear it often. So here's the Class of 2017, with projections on the round in which each will be drafted:
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: This kid is just entertaining -- he has no conscience when it comes to throwing the football. Now, that means he'll throw some picks (he had 25 over the past two seasons), but he'll also throw some 60-yard touchdown bombs. Mahomes (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) is not going to dink and dunk down the field like a lot of spread quarterbacks; he'll throw it downfield early and often. Over the past two seasons, he had 137 completions that went for 20 yards or more, which ranked No. 1 in FBS (likely first-round pick Deshaun Watson was No. 2 with 129, and 2018 prospect Mason Rudolph was No. 3 with 120). Projection: First round, maybe as high as Arizona at No. 13.