11. Chicago Bears - UCLA LB Myles Jack - As of now, I consider Jack the top prospect in this draft class. Jack can play like a 260 lbs power linebacker or move like a 230 lbs coverage specialist. He moves differently than most players at the position. John Fox has invested in linebackers throughout his coaching career. Jack is on track to participate in the Combine.
12. New Orleans Saints - Ohio State CB Eli Apple - Apple is not frequently discussed among first round prospects at this time, but that could change throughout the process. The Saints have on solid corner in Dalvin Breaux and a player to fill the slot in Damian Swann. Apple would fill that other outside corner position.
13. Philadelphia Eagles - Kansas State OL Cody Whitehair - Two straight drafts without an offensive lineman selected. Color me shocked that the Eagles struggled to run the ball or protect their stationary quarterback for stretches of the season. Matt Tobin was a liability as a pass blocker. Whitehair played tackle at Kansas State but I’ve seen many project him as a guard.
14. Oakland Raiders - Alabama LB Reggie Ragland - Linebacker offers the most talent in this draft class, and Ragland is certainly near the top of the list. I like Ben Heeney, one of the Raiders’ young linebackers, but talents like Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith should not prevent a team from attempting to upgrade the position. Ragland is an assignment sound football player.
15. Los Angeles Rams - North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz - Writing “Los Angeles” was weird. GM Les Snead recently mentioned that the “analytics” pointed to Case Keenum “playing like a top-10 quarterback at one point.” There is no way he can believe that. Wentz has a lot of talent, but I wonder if his evaluation has “peaked” with the media before the process has even started. His skills will be on display at the Senior Bowl.
16. Detroit Lions - Alabama DL A’Shawn Robinson - It seems big media members, and likely the NFL, loves Robinson’s game. I see a big, stout run defender who does not offer very much as an upfield disruptor or pass rusher. Maybe he can be Michael Brockers, but I see adequate to above average run defenders signed every year off the street. I don’t hate Robinson’s game, I just don’t love it like others.
17. Atlanta Falcons - Ohio State LB Darron Lee - The Falcons need an infusion of speed on defense. Lee can get into spots other linebackers cannot because of his speed. Yes, he missed some tackles and plays this season, and those tend to stand out. Hopefully those do not cloud evaluations.
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott - Elliott can be a foundation piece of an NFL offense. There are so many occasions where he turns three yard runs into 10 yard gains due to a combination of vision, quickness, balance and strength. On top of that, Elliott is a solid receiver and can play on all three downs. He might be the best blocking ball carrier I’ve seen.
19. Buffalo Bills - Clemson EDGE Shaq Lawson - We know all about what Lawson and Clemson’s defensive line did this year. Lawson produced a great matchup against Ronnie Stanley this season, winning on some occasions and losing on others. He has flashes speed, power and pass rushing awareness with a variety of moves.
20. New York Jets - Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith - A team with patience will select Jaylon Smith in the first-round. At this time we do not have details regarding Smith’s injury, but it is viewed as serious. He covers plenty of ground and appeared more aggressive at the point of attack this season. The Jets’ linebackers seemed to allow a high number of first downs this year based on positioning and a lack of speed. Smith could help fix that.
21. Washington Redskins - Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche - Jason Hatcher is a pivotal piece of Washington’s front seven. He turns 34 in July. Yes, Nkemdiche will be a talking point throughout the process, and the NFL will have far more information than the public, just like with every prospect. Nkemdiche has displayed uncommon explosion and power from a variety of alignments.