2017 NFL Draft
David Shaw leads his 2017 NFL draft-ridden team into battle on opening night (Roger Chen/The Stanford Daily)

There are many NCAA schools riddled with NFL talent on their rosters. Each player has the sparkle in his eye and the hope of hearing his name called in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 27th. The reality is, not everyone can be selected during the 2017 NFL draft. Today, I break down the NFL talent from the University of Stanford.

Stanford University

Stanford has six prospects that have a chance to hear their name called during the 2017 NFL draft. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each player.

Solomon Thomas – DL/DE

2017 NFL Draft
Solomon Thomas has a non-stop motor when rushing the quarterback (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Height: 6’3″
Weight: 273 lbs.

In two seasons at Stanford, Solomon Thomas recorded 24.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Scouts are most interested in how versatile he is. He is able to shed blockers and anchor the interior for run support as well as rush the passer from both the inside and outside. Here is a look at Pro Football Focus’ chart on Thomas:

Despite how well Pro Football Focus graded him, his greatest characteristic is unmeasurable: unrelenting motor.

One director of scouting for an unnamed AFC team told NFL.com,

 “He’s damn good. I don’t think he gets drafted as early as you do because he’s not big enough for inside and he’s not as long as you like on the outside. You have to figure out where you will play him, but he won’t stop. He’s going to be really productive.”

Despite the lack of true size, he has an unrelenting motor. I do think he gets selected high. Look for the San Francisco 49ers to take Thomas early in the first round (2nd overall). Combine Thomas with Arik Armstead (DE- 2015 17th overall pick) and Deforest Buckner (DE- 2016 7th overall pick) and you make one scary pass rushing unit for the foreseeable future.

Player Comparison: Aaron Donald

Christian McCaffrey – RB

2017 NFL Draft
Christian McCaffrey zipping through the opposing Colorado defense (Cliff Grassmick/The Daily Camera)

Height: 5’11″
Weight: 202 lbs.

Christian McCaffrey is the ultimate four-down back. Not only can he stay on the field as a running back for all three downs, he can also line up as a wide receiver, and return punts/kickoffs.

Last season, he carried the football 253 times for 1,603 yards (6.3 YPC) and 13 touchdowns while being hampered by a nagging hamstring injury. He also reeled in 37 passes for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns. Not to mention he additionally had a net yard return average of 26.4 on kickoffs and 9.6 on punt returns.

When asked about Christian McCaffrey, one AFC Pro Personnel Director told NFL.com,

“I’ll bet his draft grades are going to be all over the place because some teams will see him as a complementary back and others will see him as a multi-touch guy. Teams who run a lot of three and four wide looks will like him because he can run those inside zone plays out of the gun and they can also motion him out of the backfield and just try and mismatch him.”

Christian McCaffrey is the most complete running back in this 2017 NFL draft class. He can run the football between the tackles 15-20 times a game as well as tally 4-5 receptions. Not to mention how many punt/kickoff returns he can handle.

Look for McCaffrey to get selected in the middle of the 1st round by the Detroit Lions (21st overall). In 2015, the Lions drafted Ameer Abdullah hoping he would serve as an every-down back, but it has not worked out. McCaffrey would be a great addition to any team, but especially for the Lions – a team he could have an immediate impact for.

Player Comparison: Brian Westbrook

Other Standford Players

Michael Rector (WR) – Early/Mid 7th round (226th overall) – Seattle Seahawks
Dallas Lloyd (SS) – Mid/Late 7th round (243rd overall) – Houston Texans
Francis Owusu (WR) – Undrafted
Conrad Ukropina (K) – Undrafted