With the regular season entering its penultimate week, I thought it would be a good time to take a big-picture look at the 2017 NFL Draft class. Which schools produced the best collection of impact rookies this year?
Michigan had the most players selected in the 2017 draft, with 11, and there's some intriguing talent in that group, but the Wolverines didn't have the most impactful class. That billing goes to the program with the second-most selections in the 2017 draft -- Alabama (10).
Who's next on the list? I've ranked my top five 2017 draft classes by school:
Rookies: Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (pick No. 16 overall), Redskins DE Jonathan Allen (No. 17), Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (No. 19), 49ers LB Reuben Foster (No. 31), Jaguars OT Cam Robinson (No. 34), Redskins LB Ryan Anderson (No. 49), Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson (No. 55), Ravens OLB Tim Williams (No. 78), Jets WR ArDarius Stewart (No. 79), Bears S Eddie Jackson (No. 112).
The skinny: Alabama has a long list of impact rookies. The overall depth of the group is impressive, but Foster has been the standout of the bunch. He's been the toner setter we thought he would be. Humphrey has come on really strong in the second half of the season and has been better than I expected. Howard is showing great promise, and Allen was steady prior to suffering a season-ending foot injury in October.
Robinson has been outstanding and it wouldn't shock me if he gets some Pro Bowl consideration. The Jaguars are one of the top rushing teams in the league and they've done a nice job of protecting Blake Bortles -- Robinson is a big reason for their success up front. Tomlinson has started every game this season for the Giants. Jackson's been a ball magnet, scoring two TDs of 75-plus yards against the Panthers in October.
Rookies: Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (pick No. 4 overall), Jets S Jamal Adams (No. 6), Bills CB Tre'Davious White (No. 27), Seahawks OG Ethan Pocic (No. 58), Falcons LB Duke Riley (No. 75), Buccaneers LB Kendell Beckwith (No. 107), Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux (No. 178), Bills WR Malachi Dupre (No. 247), Vikings DE Tashawn Bower (undrafted), Cowboys DE Lewis Neal (undrafted).
The skinny: Adams and Fournette have been as advertised. Fournette has given the Jaguars a physical identity on offense and is second among all rookies with 923 rushing yards. Adams is a complete player who provides leadership. White has been the second-best CB in the rookie class behind Marshon Lattimore. Beckwith has started 8 games and been productive. He's been a pleasant surprise. Pocic has started all but 5 games this season. Riley and Godchaux have each made a handful of starts.
3. Ohio State
The skinny: This group is a little bit top-heavy, mostly due to injuries. Lattimore is the favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and is already in the discussion as one of the top five corners in the league. Hooker was off to a great start before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7. Elflein has been arguably the top rookie offensive lineman in the league. The injury bug took a big bite out of this class, with Hooker, Conley, Samuel and McMillan all hitting injured reserve.
The skinny: There's not a lot of depth here, but Tennessee's inclusion on this list is a credit to Kamara. He's the favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and should be in the Pro Bowl. He's been that special. Kamara's averaging a ridiculous 8 yards per touch and has scored 12 TDs. Barnett is living up to his billing. His numbers might not jump off the page (20 tackles, 5 sacks), but don't let them fool you -- he's made a big impact for the Eagles. Malone has made 5 starts this season and has a TD catch.
Rookies: Lions LB Jarrad Davis (pick No. 21 overall), Jets S Marcus Maye (No. 39), Colts CB Quincy Wilson (No. 46), Lions CB Teez Tabor (No. 53), Saints OLB Alex Anzalone (No. 76), Raiders OT David Sharpe (No. 129), Browns DT Caleb Brantley (No. 185), Falcons DT Joey Ivie (No. 228), Panthers DE Bryan Cox (undrafted).
The skinny: Davis has started every game for Detroit and is a reliable force in the middle of the defense. Maye has had his ups and downs, but he's been a very impactful player for one of the most underrated defenses in the league. Anzalone was off to a good start before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4. Tabor and Wilson haven't made the impact that many expected.