The dust has just settled on the 2016 NFL Draft and it was a big year for elite Pac-12 prospects. 2017 looks to be another big year for big-time Pac-12 prospects and here are some players to look out for heading into the 2016 season.
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster Jr. WR USC - 6'2 215 with soft hands and blazing speed, Smith-Schuster is a dream receiver and is poised for a huge junior year. He should be a guaranteed Top 10 pick if he has the season he should have in 2016, stays healthy and declares early.
2. Adoree Jackson Jr. CB USC - With his world class track speed and playmaking abilities, Jackson, could be a top overall pick in the 2017 draft if he was maybe just a little bit taller. Hell, he might still be able to contend for being the top pick even though he will probably measure out just under 5'10 in an era when shorter cornerbacks are rather unpopular.
3. Christian McCaffrey Jr. RB Stanford - McCaffrey is an all-time great Pac-12 player with just two seasons under his belt, but he is a bit of a conundrum as an NFL prospect. The NFL still doesn't seem to know what to do with combo backs like himself in the Reggie Bush mode and he doesn't appear to have the build of an every down NFL back, so it will probably push him down the first round a bit and maybe even into the second.
4. Royce Freeman Jr. RB Oregon - Freeman might be a better NFL prospect than McCaffrey as a massive, 230-pound beast who has already shown he can handle the wear and tear of countless carries. He could get himself into the first round depending on how productive he is in 2016 and/or what he runs at the combine.
5. Sidney Jones Jr. CB Washington - Jones isn't a household name, but he should be. He might be the best cornerback in the conference and at a rangy 6'0, he fits more of the mold of the long cornberback that is preferred these days. He could easily play himself into the first round.
6. Lowell Lotulelei Jr. DT Utah - Lotuelei is a classic 6'2 315 plugger who simply closes down the middle for business. He won't make a lot of plays in the backfield, but good luck getting around him. That should make him a second round pick at worst.
7. Eddie Vanderdoes Jr. DT UCLA - Ah the enigmatic Vanderdoes. He has Top 10 potential, but is going to have to put together a consistent, healthy season to fulfill that. Even if he doesn't his intangibles could get him taken as high as the early-second.
8. Zach Banner Sr. T USC - A 6'9 360-pound tackle seems like a guaranteed first rounder, but Banner is so incredibly tall, it almost holds him back in flexibility and he is a right tackle, not a left.
9. Darren Carrington Jr. WR Oregon - Carrington is quietly one of the best playmakers in the Pac-12. he has been hampered by missing time due to suspension, but when available, he has been an almost unstoppable downfield threat who just makes big play after big play who at 6'2 195 has the size to succeed at the next level.
10. Conor McDermott Sr. T UCLA - McDermott is very similar to Banner as a 6'9 310 basketball player-looking offensive linemen, but he might actually have a higher ceiling since he is a little lighter and plays left as opposed to right tackle.
11. Solomon Thomas Jr. DE Stanford - Thomas is emerging as the next difference maker up front for the Cardinal and at 6'3 285 with versatility, he has major NFL potential.
12. Salamo Fiso Sr. LB Arizona State - Fiso lived in opposing backfields in 2015 and that combined with his physicality and intimidation skills make him a candidate to be a linebacker at the next level and a potential second rounder.
Others to consider
J.J. Dielman Sr. T Utah
Luke Falk Jr. QB Washington State
Deon Hollins Sr. LB UCLA
Kevin King Sr. CB Washington
Gabe Marks Sr. WR Washington State
Azeem Victor Jr. LB Washington
Chad Wheeler Sr. T USC