The NFL Draft is an inexact science — at best — and it's not going to change anytime soon.
But the NFL Draft is also a year-round cottage industry, where mock drafts flow like water and there's never a shortage of college scouts willing to opine on the "fluid hips" of a prospect.
And given the not-exactly-stable nature of college football (outside of Alabama) this creates an incredible landscape where prospects can rise and fall with wind patterns.
Break out with a big game, and you're going to get noticed and probably have a nice article written about you. Fail to play up to potential, and you might just drop out of that first round projection.
No one really knows who is going where come April — but there are 11 players that played their way into first-round consideration this college football season:
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Justin Evans - S - Texas A&M
Evans' talent was well known going into this season, but there were still questions about if he could put it all together at Texas A&M. It's fair to say that he did, as he defended 10 passes and was a vacuum cleaner for a defense that asked a lot from its safeties in both the run and pass game.
It's hard to see Evans not being a Top 32 pick, even in a deep safety class.
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D'Onta Foreman - RB - Texas
Nothing convinces NFL executives that you're the real deal like going for 2,000 yards in a season. It's pretty hard to fake that kind of production.
Foreman is built like a bowling ball but showed off his incredible speed — he runs a legitimate 4.4 40-yard dash despite being 245 pounds — this year as well.
There are plenty of good backs in this class, but Foreman has the makings of an immediate impact player.
Vita Vea - DT - Washington
The Washington defense as a whole was a breakout performer this year, but Vea, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound colossus in the middle might have been the biggest revelation.
The big man showed off incredible agility, despite his size, and registered four sacks and 5.5 TFLs, despite being asked to be a run stopper.
He came out of nowhere to probably enter the draft as the best 0 or 1 technique available.
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Forrest Lamp - OT - Western Kentucky
Lamp was the best lineman in the Group of Five this year, but he really looked great in the only game that NFL scouts are going to look at ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft: WKU's loss to Alabama.
In that game, Lamp only allowed one quarterback pressure, despite going up against the best pass rush in recent college football history. At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, he's probably not a franchise left tackle, but Lamp can play inside or outside, making him an incredibly attractive player for teams looking to build depth on the offense line.
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Carroll Phillips - DE - Illinois
Phillips came out of nowhere on an Illinois defense that already has two possible first-round talents in Dawuane Smoot and Hardy Nickerson.
After a season where he registered 56 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, Phillips might slide into the first round as well — especially with a big combine.
Malik Hooker - S - Ohio State
The redshirt sophomore was the best safety in college football this year, earning comparisons to Ed Reed with his play.
That's about all that needs to be said.
If Hooker enters the draft, he'll go in the high first round.
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Ryan Ramczyk - OT - Wisconsin
After playing at Division III Wisconsin - Stevens Point, Ramczyk transfered to Division I and slid in as a starter for the Badgers and manhandled his way to a first-round grade by allowing no sacks and just three quarterback hits this season.
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David Njoku - TE - Miami
The uber-atheltic tight end had seven touchdowns in 2016, and was one of college football's best big-play threats. At 6-foot-4 and 245, with wide receiver speed, Njoku is a matchup nightmare whose breakout year had him rise to near the top of a loaded tight end class.
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Mike Williams - WR - Clemson
This year, Williams proved that when he plays, he's one of the best wide receivers in the sport. After coming back from a frightening neck injury in Sept. 2015, Williams pulled in 84 catches for 1,171 yards and 10 touchdowns in his return year.
Because of that, Williams could go in the Top 10 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
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Quincy Wilson - CB - Florida
The Gators had two of the best cornerbacks in college football this season — Teez Tabor has been in contention to be the top cornerback pick in the 2017 Draft all year — but it might be Wilson who goes first.
He's just so damn smooth.
A refined and fluid athlete who needed minimal polish at UF, Wilson seized the top CB role at UF this year and arguably outperformed Tabor.
He might not be the most projectable corner in the draft, but it's hard to see any CB in the class of 2017 who will be able to make a bigger immediate impact than Wilson.
Mitch Trubisky - QB - North Carolina
Trubisky had completed 82 collegiate passes before the start of the 2016 season, so no one was sure if he would be a viable collegiate starter, much less an NFL Draft pick.
But after a 3,468-yard, 28-touchdown, 4-interception season, Trubisky is in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick in April.
He checks a lot of boxes. Tall, mobile, big arm, accurate, and he has the make-up that NFL GMs and CEOs love — don't underestimate the value of him waiting his turn, front offices will convince themselves that showed character.
No player in college football jumped more than Trubisky this year, and no one might go higher.