Jaylon Smith, Linebacker, Notre Dame
The Bears played better than some expected last season, but losing offensive coordinator Adam Gase is really going to hurt this team. The Bears haven’t had a reliable linebacking core since their Super Bowl run, and they don’t get much more reliable than Jaylon Smith. He is a freak athlete and can make every play you want a linebacker to make. The only concern surrounding Smith is how long he will miss the 2016 season due to a knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl.
Alternate picks: Myles Jack, Laquon Treadwell, Carson Wentz
New Orleans Saints:
Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle, Louisville
The Saints have a need at every position on the defensive side of the ball, and Rankins is a good start. At his best, Rankins is virtually unstoppable. He possesses the combination of strength and speed that will wreak havoc in the NFL. They could draft yet another defensive back with this pick as there are plenty of good prospects, but Rankins is the more reliable option.
Alternate picks: Eli Apple, Mackensie Alexander, Jarran Reed
Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State
The Chip Kelly experiment is over in Philly and it is time for the Eagles to get back to reality. Between a new head coach in Doug Pederson and Sam Bradford becoming a free agent, a new quarterback is needed in Philadelphia. Wentz has a bright future in the NFL. He can make every throw, is perfect size for a quarterback and an underrated athlete, and played in a pro style offense at NDSU where he was a part of three FCS Championships.
Alternate picks: Paxton Lynch, Jarran Reed, Leonard Floyd
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Eli Apple, Cornerback, Ohio State
With a great core in place and as bright of a future the city of Oakland has ever seen, the Raiders are in a great place in this year’s draft. Along with a couple other positions, the secondary will need to be looked at, but playing against the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jeremy Maclin, and Keenan Allen twice each will emphasize taking a corner at 14. Apple is a little bit bigger than his counterparts in the draft, and plays with great instincts that will help an already solid Oakland defense.
Alternate picks: Reggie Ragland, Mackensie Alexander, Leonard Floyd
Los Angeles Rams:
Josh Doctson, Wide Receiver, TCU
The Rams only need a couple more holes filled before they are a legitimate contender in the NFC West, which is the toughest division in football. With Treadwell gone, Doctson is the top receiver on a lot of people’s boards and fills an obvious need for them. Doctson is 6’4″, has an outstanding catch radius, and would be a great security blanket for whoever starts in LA next season.
Alternate picks: Corey Coleman, Reggie Ragland, Kevin Dodd