FOX Sports’ NFL Draft coverage begins with the top 10 players on the board in the 2017 NFL Draft.
We’ll be taking a look at each player, ranking them, and discussing their potential impact on the 2017 season.
In this edition of the Draft Analyst, we look at Alabama defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Michigan running back Ezekiel Elliott, who could be the top picks in this year’s NFL Draft, depending on how they perform in the combine.
As we have previously reported, Clowney, who is projected to go in the first round, was highly touted in the draft before the 2016 season, but he suffered a season-ending injury.
He went undrafted and was released by the Browns last month.
In his second year in the NFL, he has played in 16 games and rushed for 753 yards and eight touchdowns.
Elliott, meanwhile, has emerged as a dominant running back in the Big Ten, rushing for 4,865 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
He was projected as a first-round pick by many draft experts, but was signed by the Detroit Lions before the start of the 2017 regular season.
The two players are considered highly intriguing prospects.
Clowney has the athleticism and burst to thrive in the modern NFL, while Elliott has the size and physicality to make an impact in the passing game.
It’s possible that both players could be in play at the top of the draft.
As you can see from the first video above, Clownsey has a massive frame, but his hands are also impressive.
He has a nice lower body and his hands aren’t weak, which is why he’s capable of producing big plays with his size and quickness.
If Clowney can stay healthy and continue to improve his hands and feet, he could be an elite player in the league.
The bigger problem for Elliott is his lack of physicality.
He lacks the quickness and explosion that Clowney possesses, and that’s a big problem for him.
He’s a better athlete than Clowney.
In college, Elliott showed flashes of what he could become in the pass game, but didn’t have the ability to consistently do what he does best.
He also needs to become a more complete runner.
While Clowney is a pass-rusher, Elliott lacks the burst to consistently get to the quarterback.
If he can continue to learn how to become an explosive runner, he will be an intriguing prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft class.
If either player falls into the first two tiers, they could be taken ahead of the other.
Elliott could become a first or second-round player, while Clowney could go in rounds three through eight.
In a year that has seen a ton of changes in the college football landscape, the NFL is going to be in for some exciting draft seasons.
It could be a fun ride.