With the NFL regular season coming to a close and the college football bowl season beginning to wrap up, it's time to begin focusing on the 2017 NFL Draft, which means CSN's first 2017 NFL Mock Draft is here.
The first mock draft is an interesting one, with underclassmen having to still decide whether they're in or out, though likely first-round picks including LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer and Stanford running Christan McCaffrey have already revealed they're turning pro.
In terms of the first round, here's a quick primer before diving into my first mock draft.
— Teams needing cornerbacks are in luck. Led by Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, there could be 6-8 selected in round one and there's good depth from there. Ohio State sophomore Marshon Lattimore is one to watch when it comes to declaring for the NFL Draft by the Jan. 16 deadline.
— Ezekiel Elliott was the only running back selected in the first round last year. It's conceivable this class could have four and possibly two in the top 10 with Fournette and Florida State's Dalvin Cook. D'Onte Foreman (Texas) is another underclassmen who could end up among the first 32 picks.
— Typically offensive line is an area teams can find help in the first round. Alabama tackle Cam Robinson is the only offensive lineman among the top 25 prospects on the CBSSports.com big board.
— Defensive ends Jonathan Allen and Myles Garrett are often considered the best prospects in the draft. There are several other interesting edge rushers likely going off the board in the first round, including Tennessee's Derek Barnett, who led the SEC in sacks. Allen can also play inside and he might be the only interior defensive lineman selected among the top 16 picks. Other tackles, including Malik McDowell (Michigan State) and Caleb Brantley (Florida) are among a group whose projections could shift from mid-first into the second round depending on further evaluation.
— As for the always coveted quarterbacks, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky is viewed as the best option followed by Kizer. That doesn't mean either should go in the top 10, but that doesn't mean they won't. Clemson's Deshaun Watson could join the top QB discussion with a knockout performance in the college football playoff.
Ben Standig finished third among 107 entrants in The Huddle Report's 2016 NFL Mock Draft contest and ranks third over the last five years.