2017 NFL Draft Mid-Season All-Americans - Offense


 2017 NFL Draft Mid-Season All-Americans - Offense


This Mid-Season All American Team only includes draft eligible players with the selections being made with an eye towards those that have improved their draft stock for the 2018 NFL Draft by performing beyond what NFL Teams and analysts expected. It also includes players who have maintained high draft grades despite inconsistent play.  Even though this Mid-Season All-American Team follows Week 7 it is because most teams have only played 6 games through Week 7 due to open dates.  For instance 38 of the 64 teams in the Big 5 Conferences only played their 6th game during Week 7 and it was similar for the teams from the other 5 conferences. There is also BYU which plays 13 games as well as a few teams such as Miami and Florida State that had games postponed due to hurricanes.  This is still the Year of the Quarterback not because there are so many must have QBs as was the pre-season hype, but because there are so many that are still NFL prospects and for that reason I have included 7 on this Mid Season Team even though their play has been uneven and with some bad decision making.  Some are included because they have performed better than expected, such as Mason Rudolph, Baker Mayfield, Kelly Bryant and Manny Wilkins while the others have had up and down performances they have still have had good outings and exhibited high round draft ability.  JOSH ALLEN of Wyoming, while displaying that he has tremendous talent was left off as his performance to this point has been sub-par; and LAMAR JACKSON was left off as he remains very inconsistent with his passing and RYAN FINLEY, who has been one of the most consistent QB performers so far, was left off because of a question of his arm strength.


See the 2017 NFL Draft Mid-Season All-Americans - Defense



SAM DARNOLD - 6-3 220 - SOr - USC - his reputation for not being able to do any wrong is somewhat tarnished because of throwing more Interceptions than last year (but at least one was off the hands of his receiver), and having made some poor throws but the great throws are still there as well as his unmatched ability to obtain positive results out of broken plays. Although Baker Mayfield could present a challenge in the broken play department.  And while the "Suck for Sam" chants may have quieted down, he still has 1st Round ability but may not be the first overall pick or even the first QB selected.  His recent public criticism of the play calling at USC isn't going to help his cause as most would think that that criticism should have remained behind closed doors.  And remember he is just a Redshirt Sophomore.

JOSH ROSEN - 6-5 230 - JR. - UCLA - his consistent good play while trying to lead a losing team is impressive. And while there have been a couple of bad decisions, his arm talent and accuracy along with his intelligence and production will have many NFL teams relishing the prospect of having him as their QB.  The comparisons to Eli Manning remain.

MASON RUDOLPH - 6-4 230 - SR. - OKLAHOMA STATE - despite TCU's 44 - 31 thrashing of the Cowboys and despite disrupting much of Rudolph's downfield passing game and forcing him into mistakes, Rudolph did set a number of passing records in this game and also showed some positive traits.  For instance his arm strength has been criticized by more than one analyst, which is criticism that is hard to understand.  Arm strength is measured in two ways and he passed both tests.  The first was on a deep ball to James Washington in which Rudolph put enough air under it to give Washington time to run under it which he did and run it in for an 86 yard TD catch and run.  The other type of arm strength was also exhibited by Rudolph and that is being able to drill the deep out pass from the far hash and also being able to drill passes over the middle into tight windows, both of which he did successfully with one pass being a laser for a TD while rolling out to his right.  And though not a runner he ran one in for a TD when all passing options were closed.  Another thing that Mason did very well was to step up into the pocket and complete throws when the Defensive Ends were getting up field pressure and this learned ability isn't seen in many college QBs.

LUKE FALK - QB - 6-4 223 - SRr - WASHINGTON STATE - having prototype size at 6-4, 223 and known as a pocket passer playing in a QB friendly offense the knock on him has been that he holds on to the ball for a long time and usually struggles when outside the pocket.  And while it is unanimous in the thinking that Falk outplayed Sam Darnold in the Cougars 30 - 27 upset win over USC that can sometimes be because of game conditions and circumstances.  In any event and aside from Falk's statistics, which were good despite suffering from 5 drops, what he did show was a throw in the 1st quarter when he was outside the pocket and dropped a perfect pass into the End Zone for a TD.  Later in the game he hit a deep ball by putting plenty of air under it for his receiver to run under it, but most impressive was when he hung in the pocket and delivered perfect passes with a defender bearing down upon him and getting pounded into the ground.  His 5 Interceptions in the 37 - 3 blowout upset loss to California is hard to explain and is the second really bad game that he has had this year.

KELLY BRYANT - 6-2 215 - JR. - CLEMSON - after taking over the QB reigns with the departure of Clemson's greatest player of all time in Deshawn Watson, it would be hard to detect a drop off from a talent perspective as Bryant has had a number of outstanding games in the first half of the 2017 season. From dropping deep passes in the bucket to completing short and intermediate throws in addition to scoring TDs with his legs on designed running plays along with his ability to evade the rush and extend plays have placed Bryant heading north on draft charts as his ability was unknown prior to this season.  An ankle injury against Wake Forest and a concussion against Syracuse have slowed his development.

MANNY WILKINS - 6-2 197 - JRr - ARIZONA STATE - with the arrival of Alabama transfer Blake Barnett it was speculated that Wilkins would not retain his starting job, but he did and had a fine opening day performance against New Mexico State.  That fine play has continued right through Week 7 when the Sun Devils beat No. 4 ranked Washington Huskies in what was called a shocking upset.  His statistics have been great but what catches the attention of scouts is his ability to drive the ball down the field and to the sidelines and as well as being consistent on his deep throws.  One pass in the NM State game went for 65 yards in the air and hit the receiver in stride for a TD and he has continued to make similar throws.  He can also move around in the pocket and extend plays which adds to his value.

BAKER MAYFIELD - 6-0 218 - SRr - OKLAHOMA - some thought that he has played the best of all the QBs through Week 6 even though he was unable to pull out a win in the Iowa State game.  Still a Heisman Trophy contender with Texas, Kansas State and TCU still on the slate he bears watching to see if he can rebound from that game.  Six Foot QBs aren't often drafted in the first 3 rounds of the draft. It may take until the Senior Bowl and Combine to make a final determination on him as his lack of height mitigates against his great talent in making all of the throws, especially deep throws, his ability to evade the rush and extend plays along with his ability to run for sizeable gains.  Six foot or under QBs who have done well in the NFL are Drew Brees at 6-0; Russell Wilson at 5-11; Doug Flutie at 5-10 and going way back Fran Tarkenton was 6-0 and Sonny Jurgenson was 5 -11.  Johnny Manziel was 5-11 and 3/4 and he failed because of off the field issues so Baker will have to prove that he is another exception to the general thinking that short QBs have difficulty making it in the NFL.  Not only do taller players have a better view over lineman, but according to a study published in Science Advances in 2016 they are better able to identify targets that are "in their middle-distance vision"- about 20 yards away - that they have better "spatial relations" and a "better perspective of the ground."  "That could be because they've spent a lifetime of looking at the ground from a higher vantage point," said Teng Leng Oui, a professor of optometry at The Ohio State University who was involved in the study.  This was referenced in a Sept. 2, 2016 article by Matthew Jussim titled, "The 5 best quarterbacks in NFL history shorter than 6'.”  So the question remains, when he steps up in the pocket will be able to see well enough to complete throws?



SAQUON BARKLEY - 5-11 228 - JR. - PENN STATE - up until the Northwestern game in Week 6, Barkley was a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy and even had some analysts projecting him to being the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and going so far as to say that he was better than Ezekial Elliott.  Northwestern set their defense to slow him down and they did except for  a long run in the second half before the Penn State coach pulled him as the game was out of hand as the Nittany Lions won by a score of 31 to 7.  Even though his production was slowed by the Wildcats, Barkley's quickness, cutting ability, vision, power and ability to break tackles hasn't changed and he will still be a high 1st Round Draft Choice.

BRYCE LOVE - 5-9 191 - JR. - STANFORD - Love has been unstoppable this year and was already over 1,000 yards after just 5 games.  I could include the gaudy numbers but instead will mention his breakaway 4.32 speed, his moves, yards after contact (YACS), elusiveness in creating missed tackles (whiffs) and receiving skills to go along with his return skills. He leads the nation in rushing and at one point led all RBs in YACS and should be a Heisman Trophy finalist.



JAMES WASHINGTON - 6-0 205 - SR. - OKLAHOMA STATE -  in the top 5 or 8 of the WRs heading into the season, Washington hasn't disappointed as he continuously flashes his deep speed in the Cowboys pass happy offense.  Other than the letdown in the TCU game, he has been putting up big numbers with his ability to beat most CBs and take the top off of a defense.  He can track the deep balls over his shoulder and has good hands and run ability after the catch.  He has also shown that he will go over the middle and after 6 games he has 34 receptions for 882 yards and a ridiculous 25.9 per catch average and 6 TDs.  Last year he averaged 19.4 yards per catch and in 2015 it was 20.5 yards per catch which proves his consistency with deep ball ability.

DAVON GRAYSON - 6-1  187 - SR. - EAST CAROLINA - missed all of 2016 with a back ailment and returned in 2017. He had the misfortune to be on a 1 and 6 team with a QB who has a 55.2% completion percentage yet his stock is on the rise as after 7 games. He has posted 37 catches for 631 yards and a 17.1 per catch average with 6 TDs.

DANTE PETTIS - 6-0 192 - SR. - WASHINGTON - this Slot Receiver type had 15 TDs last year while playing in the shadow of 1st Round Draft Choice John Ross so he wasn't an unknown leading into the 2017 season.  And while he has become more well known for his Punt Return ability, he has also become the go to guy in the passing game and with his speed is a deep ball threat.  Reminds me somewhat of Tyler Lockett formerly of Kansas State who is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks.  Pettis also competes on the Huskies Track team in the Long Jump.

ANTHONY MILLER - 5-11 190 - SRr - MEMPHIS - in watching Memphis play over the last three years and this goes back to when Paxton Lynch was the QB, Miller has made so many clutch plays which have bailed out Lynch and current QB Riley Ferguson.  Miller is another Slot Receiver type who has good quickness to get open short and the speed to go deep along with good hands and the ability to separate.  In 2015 he was instrumental in the big upset win over Mississippi and then this year in the upset win over UCLA.  He returned Punts in 2016 but is not doing so this year.  So far this year he has a 45-606-13.5- 9TD-41L line after 7 games so with 5 games to go and a bowl game he has a chance to double those numbers. 



MARK ANDREWS - 6-5 254 - JRr - OKLAHOMA - In 2015 he was 2nd Team All Conference as selected by both the Coaches and the Media and in 2016 he was 1st Team All Conference as selected by both the Coaches and the Media and is en route to the same accolades again in 2017.  This former WR has built himself into a prototype TE with athleticism and good hands and who has made many difficult catches while also contributing as a blocker. 

HAYDEN HURST - 6-4 252 - JRr - SOUTH CAROLINA - this former Minor League baseball player walked on at South Carolina and has become an important part of the Gamecocks offense.  Athletic for the position with enough speed to split the seam along with good hands makes for an intriguing prospect.  While his receiving stats after 6 games are only fair (19-297-15.6- 2TD-62 Long), with part of the reason being that in the first game against N. C. State's vaunted D-Line,  Hurst was kept in to help Pass Block, which he did and did well as part of the time he was lined up against Bradley Chubb.  Another reason that an NFL team might want to consider such a player is that at South Carolina he has been a team Captain, has been designated as an Outstanding Student-Athlete Representative, has been a Co-Strength & Conditioning Award winner and Co-Tenacity Offense Award winner as well as making the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

IAN THOMAS - 6-4 248 - SR. - INDIANA - only a 2* recruit out of Junior College to having only 1 start while having played in 13 games in 2016 and having a grand total of 3 receptions to 2017 where, after 6 games, he has 17 receptions for 260 yards and a 15.3 per catch average with 3 TDs. That is a mercurial rise for this athletic Tight End.  What Thomas offers is decent size with very good speed and athleticism along with good hands and a willingness to block.



ORLANDO BROWN, JR. - 6-7 345 - JRr - OKLAHOMA - got off to a great start in the Sept. 9 win over Ohio State as Brown successfully handled Ohio State's vaunted defensive line, which is considered in the top two in the country.  Ohio State not only rotates their defensive ends from side to side but also sometimes has their tackles lined up on the end such as Nick Bosa who lines up all over, but they also have two sets of top defensive lineman so that Brown saw action against many of the Buckeyes and stood out.  Then in the Sept. 16 game against Tulane, Brown for part of the time was up against Ade Aruna, a 6-6 270 DE who is a draft prospect and Brown manhandled and toyed with him.  Aruna had no chance of making a play when lined up against Brown.  With his massive size, Brown totally dominates on run plays by creating wide holes for backs to run through and on down blocks he moves the pile.  He has a mean streak and also does well on Pass Pro, although NFL types and analysts still want to see more in his handling of a speedy Edge Rusher and also his ability to adjust to an inside move. The reason that he would be a safe high draft choice is that he would be a Pro Bowl Offensive Guard if for some reason he didn't prove out as a Left Tackle.

CHUKWUMA OKORAFOR - 6-5 330 - SR. - WESTERN MICHIGAN - having better than prototypical size at 6-5 330 with very long arms, Okorafor played well at LT in the Broncos opening day loss to USC.  He has the size and length with quick feet and some natural knee bend and hip roll.  He will need work in Pass Protection with his kick-slide to have more sliding than hip-hopping and he will also have to eliminate those False Starts, but he has the "traits" to develop into a starting LT in the NFL.  I think he is a better prospect than former teammate Taylor Moton, who was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2017 Draft by the Carolina Panthers.



WILL HERNANDEZ- 6-3 330 - SRr - UTEP - while UTEP was on the losing end of a 63 to 16 score to Arizona and doesn't have much to offer in the way of pro prospects, one player not only stood out but by far was the best player on the field.  From a technical standpoint he is quick off the snap, has leverage and pop on contact, hand punch, has quick feet, agility, contact balance and plays with some nasty.  He anchors well on Pass Pro and is fluid with good balance when he pulls.  And while I heretofore thought that there was no Guard that would surpass Quenton Nelson (6-5 330 - JRr) of Notre Dame as the top Guard on any draft board, Hernandez could be the one.  What he has over Nelson is better hip flexibility as Nelson has somewhat tight hips and Hernandez is also more nimble with his feet and a more consistent blocker as Nelson sometimes isn't able to maintain contact.  Both are sure fire 1st Round Draft Choices and since Hernandez doesn't have any more Power 5 teams on his schedule and since UTEP won't make a Bowl game, it may take the Senior Bowl practices for a final determination, but at this juncture Hernandez is looking really good.  If one wanted to nitpick Hernandez's play it might be that he doesn't have top end speed when pulling but his speed is more than sufficient and Guards on some NFL teams do not pull that much anyway.

QUENTON NELSON - 6-5 330 - JRr - NOTRE DAME - now considered by most to be the top Guard in the country, Nelson deserves the plaudits such as ND Coach Kelly's description of him, "he's a rare, rare, rare football player" and ND OL Coach Harry Hiestand offered that "his size, strength and toughness are exceptional."  On run plays he drives opponents back and sometimes down and on Pass Protection he is immovable and will stone opponents right at the line of scrimmage with a good hand punch and arm extension and also has the ability to adjust to movement keeping in front of his opponent and this is what separates the top tier Offensive Lineman from the ordinary.



BILLY PRICE - 6-3 312 - SRr - OHIO STATE - Price played Right Guard in 2015 and 2016 and while I thought that he was outstanding in 2015 with a little drop off in his play in 2016, he has come back in 2017 better than ever and has taken over the Center duties with the graduation of Pat Elflein, who was a 3rd Round Draft Choice of the Vikings.  Price is quick off the snap and has the quick feet, power and contact balance along with being a sound technician who will get high grades in his blocking assignments, which he has demonstrated in the first half of the season.  And while there are some other good Center prospects in this draft class, Price has separated himself from the pack and will become an immediate starter for whichever team is smart enough to draft him.


See the 2017 NFL Draft Mid-Season All-Americans - Defense