The first full week of the college football season is in the books. The most noteworthy game of the week included 15th-ranked Houston upsetting perennial powerhouse and 3rd-ranked Oklahoma. Could Houston of all places wind up in the college football playoff now considering they won’t play a ranked opponent until November? It is possible. The current top 4 set for the playoff at this time includes Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and Ohio State. The current Heisman watch list includes Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Houston quarterback Greg Ward. Having given a brief recap of the first week, in no particular order which prospects should you keep your eye on in regards to the 2017 NFL Draft?
1. Davis Webb (California)
Earlier I did an original on Davis Webb and why he is probably better than Jared Goff right now. Many people are not aware of how good this guy really is. Webb caught my eye a couple years ago when he was with Texas Tech and exploded during the team’s Bowl game in 2013. Webb got lost in the moment due to an unfavorable coaching style in Texas Tech forcing him to transfer to Cal this past year. In week one vs. Hawaii, Webb looked like a future first rounder throwing for 441 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The 6’5? signal caller has a huge frame with a rocket arm that could skyrocket him up draft boards similarly to Paxton Lynch. Webb isn’t the most mobile guy in the world but he has a cannon and is probably a better quarterback prospect than Jared Goff. Jump on the Davis Webb bandwagon while you still can.
2. Chad Kelly (Ole Miss)
Chad Kelly is pretty simple to figure out. He is basically a much younger version of Brett Favre. Kelly is a Mississippi kid who is the epitome of a gunslinger. This guy is not afraid to throw an interception and plays the game with the fire every quarterback needs. On the downside, he is also a bit of a knucklehead that could cause him to plummet on draft day. He was kicked out of Clemson for a reason. In week one vs. Florida State, Kelly went 21-of-39, for 313 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Again this mediocre performance probably shouldn’t be any cause for concern considering he is getting adjusted to life without Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core.
3. Greg Ward (Houston)
Earlier I did a post on the University of Houston and how they can be national title contenders. Ward is the Houston quarterback who was a part of the upset against Oklahoma that was previously discussed. The interesting part about Ward is he is probably better suited to be a running back in the NFL. This guy is the ultimate duel threat college quarterback. The problem is he is a bit undersized at 5’11” and isn’t the most accurate passer either. If he plans on sticking at the position he is going to need a big senior campaign. His stellar performance at Oklahoma was a heck of a start to the season.
4. Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
Watson is my favorite to win the Heisman trophy this year and will likely become the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Watson’s superstar caliber performance during the 2015 National Championship game convinced me he is the real deal. Heading into 2016, Watson has the chance to win it in this year. His okay start against Auburn shouldn’t worry anyone, this guy is the best in the game at this time.
5. Nick Chubb (Georgia)
Well I don’t think there are any injury questions in regards to Chubb’s knee. Chubb tore through the UNC defense for 222 yards in week one leading the Bulldogs to the victory. New head coach Kirby Smart has turned Chubb into his version of Derrick Henry. At 228 pounds, Chubb figures to be a great goal line option in fantasy leagues next season as well.
6. Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)
Is there anything this guy can’t do? McCaffrey had a big day running the ball, catching the ball, and even in the return game. It has become clear Stanford’s tailback is much more than the next Danny Woodhead. Opposing defenses stack the box and game-plan specifically for McCaffrey and it still doesn’t even matter. This year’s running back class is loaded and could produce a record number of first round tailbacks. The problem is they are all underclassmen as the senior running backs simply do not compare.
7. Mike Williams (Clemson)
Williams missed most of the 2015 season due to a neck injury. Now healthy, Williams did nothing but prove his worth carrying the Clemson offense at times during the close win over Auburn. For most of the game Auburn doubled-teamed Williams and it still didn’t matter. At this moment, I would say Williams is the only lock to get selected in the first round. I would say a 9 catch, 174 yard day isn’t to bad for a guy who fractured his neck a year ago.