The NFL Draft can be a bittersweet event for college fans. While they get to celebrate their stars taking the big step to the pros, it is also a reminder that those players' college careers are over.
Of course, many of the players taken early in the draft come from powerhouse programs, so there are promising players sliding into their roles this fall. Others will be harder for their teams to replace.
While there is a lot of time left between now and the start of the college football season, here are the players that are projected to replace the top 10 picks in last week's NFL Draft.
1. Myles Garrett's Texas A&M Replacement: Jarrett Johnson
As many expected, Garrett turned his sterling three-year stint in College Station into the No. 1 overall selection on Thursday. It is impossible to replace a guy like Myles Garrett, but Johnson showed flashes off the bench for the Aggies last season. He was tied for second on the team with 4.5 sacks, and finished with 6.5 total tackles for loss.
2. Mitchell Trubisky's UNC Replacement: Brandon Harris
The name Brandon Harris won't exactly strike fear into the hearts of opponents who watched him struggle through his LSU career. However, he is by far the most experienced player that UNC will have to replace Trubisky, and while he won't have the job handed to him after transferring to the program, odds are he'll be given every chance to win it.
Harris played in two games last season, completing 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Nathan Elliott, Chazz Surratt, and Logan Byrd are also vying for the position, with Elliott probably having the edge from that group.
3. Solomon Thomas' Stanford Replacement: Dylan Jackson
The Cardinal is stocked in the back-end of the defense next season, but replacing Solomon Thomas will be very hard. Making the task more difficult is the lack of experience returning at defensive end. Jackson is the top guy coming back at that spot. He played in 13 games last season and compiled 14 tackles. While he may slide into Thomas' spot, the linebackers may be the ones looked at to make up most of the lost pass-rushing production.
4. Leonard Fournette's LSU Replacement: Derrius Guice
Fournette was a special talent for the Tigers, but this may be the most seamless transition for any of these teams replacing a top 10 player. Guice stepped in when Fournette went down with injury last season, and absolutely tore it up for the Bayou Bengals, rushing for 1,387 yards with a gaudy 7.6 yards per carry, and 15 touchdowns. He could be one of the best running backs in the entire country in 2017. If we're being honest, actually, he already was last year.
5. Corey Davis' Western Michigan Replacement: Anton Curtis
Western Michigan loses P.J. Fleck, quarterback Zach Terrell, and top five pick Corey Davis. Any college football program will struggle to replace a talent like Davis. When that program is in the MAC, it is pretty much impossible. WMU doesn't have a deep stable of established pass-catchers to go to either. Anton Curtis, the sophomore receiver that is yet to make a catch for the Broncos, is the most logical fit to slide in at the WR-X position occupied by the dominant Davis. The Detroit native was a solid three-star recruit for Fleck back in the class of 2015, and will be counted on by new head coach Tim Lester to give the Broncos a presence on the outside.
6. Jamal Adams' LSU Replacement: John Battle
Once again, LSU finds itself in decent position to replace a superstar top 10 pick. Battle isn't quite the safety equivalent to Guice, but he is an experienced player who has stepped in to significant playing time for the Tigers before. Last year, he racked up 39 total tackles and four pass breakups. He should be a solid replacement for the great Adams in the back of LSU's defense.
7. Mike Williams' Clemson Replacement: Deon Cain
Clemson has turned out an awesome group of receivers in recent years under Dabo Swinney, and this transition is similar. Mike Williams is among the better Tiger receivers of the last few years, but his likely replacement, Cain, is an established played with a nose for the end zone. Cain caught 38 passes for 724 yards, good for a team-high 19.1 yards per catch, and finished second on the team with nine touchdowns. He should slide in just fine.
8. Christian McCaffrey's Stanford Replacement: Bryce Love
McCaffrey was a rare talent, able to change the game on the ground, through the air, and on special teams. He went eighth overall to a Carolina Panthers team trying to give star quarterback Cam Newton some talent to work with on offense. Stanford will miss him, but his understudy is a pretty effective player in his own right. Bryce Love averaged seven yards per carry in 2016, going for 779 yards and three touchdowns. In the bowl win over North Carolina, which McCaffrey sat out, he went for 115 yards. Love also had a huge game against Notre Dame, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown.
9. John Ross' Washington Replacement: Aaron Fuller
Replacing Ross, who combined 4.2 speed and a nose for the end zone to go in the top 10 of the NFL Draft, won't be easy, but a few Huskies who were down the depth chart last season are ready to step up. Aaron Fuller is the most accomplished of that group statistically, with 16 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. With fellow star receiver Dante Pettis and running back Myles Gaskin back in the fold, Fuller and other guys like Quinten Pounds shouldn't take on too much of a burden right away. Having a quarterback like Jake Browning returning helps matters as well.
10. Patrick Mahomes II's Texas Tech Replacement: Nic Shimonek
Mahomes put up prolific offensive numbers for the Red Raiders, without any help from the defense of course, but the gunslinger played his way into the top 10. He will likely be replaced by Nic Shimonek, a former walk-on who has put up some similarly gaudy numbers in limited snaps filling in at Tech. He finished last season completing 38-of-58 passes for 464 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception. His biggest performance came against Kansas, when he shredded the Jayhawks for 271 yards and four touchdowns.