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Three-Point Stance: 2016 vs. 2017, Marshall's move, Nkemdiche's blunder

Today’s edition breaks down the top guys from 2017 versus 2016, Keith Marshall's amazing combine and how Robert Nkemdiche should fall.

1. 2017 vs. 2016

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Hunter Johnson
Hunter Johnson

I mentioned earlier this week that I felt the 2017 class was better than 2016, but let’s look at the top of each position group and see how it shakes out.

PQB: Hunter Johnson (2017) vs. Jacob Eason (2016) - At this stage I would take Jacob Eason. Bigger and better mechanics.

Winner: 2016

DQB: Tate Martell (2017) vs. Shea Patterson (2016) - I’d take Shea Patterson. A bit taller and equally elusive and creative out of the pocket.

Winner: 2016.

APB: Stephen Carr (2017) vs. Miles Sanders (2016) - I’m a big Miles Sanders fan, so I’ll take him in a close one here.

Winner: 2016

RB: Najee Harris (2017) vs. B.J. Emmons (2016) – 2017 should get bonus points for this one because Harris is light years better than B.J. Emmons at same stage.

Winner: 2017

WR: Trevon Grimes (2017) vs. N'Keal Harry (2016) – Grimes has a chance to be special, very special, so he gets the easy nod over N’Keal Harry.

Winner: 2017

TE: Brock Wright (2017) vs. Isaac Nauta (2016) - I think Wright has a chance to be better than Isaac Nauta, but he’s not there yet.

Winner: 2016

OT: Isaiah Wilson (2017) vs. Gregory Little (2016) - I love Gregory Little, he’s special, but so is Wilson, despite being a bit more raw. Wilson has a higher ceiling.

Winner: 2017

OG: Wyatt Davis (2017) vs. Landon Dickerson (2016) - Landon Dickerson is good, but Davis has a chance to be special and is a five-star talent right now.

Winner: 2017

OC: Cesar Ruiz (2017) vs. Baveon Johnson (2016) - Baveon Johnson is bigger and better at the same stage. He’s special for a center.

Winner: 2016

WDE: Josh Kaindoh (2017) vs. Terrell Hall (2016) - Terrell Hall has great upside but give me Kaindoh and his ceiling any day of the week.

Winner: 2017

SDE: A.J. Epenesa (2017) vs. Jeffery Simmons (2016) - Jeffery Simmons could be a star at Mississippi State, so he gets the clear nod here over Epenesa, who isn’t quite as explosive.

Winner: 2016

DT: Marvin Wilson (2017) vs. Rashan Gary (2016) - How the heck do you pick between two No. 1 overall prospects at the same position? Easy, you just do it. Rashan Gary’s ability to play outside gives him the edge.

Winner: 2016

ILB: Nate McBride (2017) vs. Ben Davis (2016) - McBride is an athletic freak, but Davis is the prototypical inside ‘backer - he can do it all.

Winner: 2016

OLB: Dylan Moses (2017) vs. Rahshaun Smith (2016) - Man, this is a tough one as Smith is so good and Moses is an elite athlete. As a pure outside linebacker, I’ll go with Smith right now.

Winner: 2016

CB: Lamont Wade (2017) vs. Levonta Taylor (2016) - Wade and last year’s No. 1, Levonta Taylor, are both vertically challenged, but Wade is thicker and a bigger hitter.

Winner: 2017

S: Jeffrey Okudah (2017) vs. Lamar Jackson (2016) - This is similar to Harris vs. Emmons, just a massive win for 2017 here.

Winner: 2017

ATH: Jacoby Stevens (2017) vs. Demetris Robertson (2016) - Robertson is much more explosive than Stevens, so this isn’t even close.

Winner: 2016

The final tally: 2016 wins 10 - 7.

So to my surprise, as of right now, the 2016 recruiting class comes out better than 2017. However, we still have four more ranking cycles for the 2017 class and I’m sure some of these guys at the top will fall below others and I will like more and more 2017 kids the more I see them. But even on our rankings calls, the analysts and I were talking about how much we liked the 2017 class better at the same stage. Oddly enough, the evidence isn’t there yet.

2. Marshall's dazzling combine

Keith Marshall
Keith Marshall (Getty Images)

There have been quite a few surprises coming out of the NFL Combine this week but clearly running back Keith Marshall’s 4.29-second 40-yard dash had everyone scratching their heads – well, except for one person who happened to tweet out an amazing prediction prior to Marshall’s amazing run.

Yep that’s the Twitter account of Los Angeles Rams NFL Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley, Marshall’s former teammate at UGA and fellow signee back in 2012. Marshall was ranked higher than Gurley by nearly every site except Rivals.com, but he was still a national Top 50 talent.

However, his career at UGA was a disappointment overall as he played second fiddle to Gurley and then to Nick Chubb, amassing only 1,385 yards and 12 scores before leaving early for the NFL Draft to the surprise of many.

Most felt it was just Marshall conceding his chances at ever become the man in the backfield at Georgia with Sony Michel emerging as the next star for the Dawgs, but he clearly had something up his sleeve.

So now what do NFL teams do with essentially a career backup with a history of injuries?

Marshall also put up the most bench reps of any pure running back at the combine, so there has been talk he could be the perfect third down back with his speed and strength, which will allow him to be an effective blocker as well. And let’s not rule out special teams either with that speed.

Some team might be tempted to take Marshall as early as round two or three, but more likely than not he will land somewhere in round four or five, and he could be a steal if he can stay healthy.

With all he has been through to get to this point, his combine performance was amazing to everyone – except Gurley, who clearly saw it coming. And one thing is for sure: UGA is Running Back U at least for the last few years.

3. Nkemdiche's blunder

Robert Nkemdiche
Robert Nkemdiche ()

So let me get this straight.

In a media session at the NFL Combine, former Rivals.com No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche threw teammate Laremy Tunsil under the bus by saying his teammate was there in the Atlanta hotel room when Nkemdiche was drunk and jumped out a window on Dec. 12. Then Nkemdiche said he got blamed for the marijuana in his room simply because the room was in his name. And he admitted he didn’t finish plays in college, but that will all change in the NFL.

And an NFL team is going to risk millions and take him in the first round.

Yep, just watch, and based on everything I’ve seen and heard, he will be a bust in the NFL and someone will have wasted a first-round pick. Ouch.

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