2016 NFL draft: Patel’s positional rankings

“With the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select …”

These are the words to be spoken by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on April 28 when the 2016 NFL Draft kicks off. While teams and fans wait anxiously for the date, hoping to land a future superstar and drastically improve their team, now all the hype is about these rookies’ potential.

Fans and pundits give their bets for the best players and mock drafts flood the internet as everyone tries to predict the future. There is good reason for this, as the draft can be the savior for many teams looking for a young superstar to jumpstart their team out of losing trenches.

With that being said, here are the top three best players at each position, many of who will provide an instant boost for the team that drafts them:

QUARTERBACK
1. Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
2. Jared Goff (UC Berkeley)
3. Paxton Lynch (University of Memphis)

At one point an unknown prospect, Carson Wentz has taken to the field soaring, landing the No. 1 overall spot. Wentz had arguably the best quarterback combine performance and solidified his current place in discussions. However, Goff is a close second that many experts have being drafted higher than Wentz. Lynch provides a read option quarterback that can also do damage with his legs.

RUNNINGBACK
1. Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State)
2. Derrick Henry (Alabama)
3. Alex Collins (Arkansas)

Elliot is the clear-cut No. 1 as an all-around talented back that can make an immediate impact on all three downs. There is a possibility that Elliot might even be a top-10 pick, the Eagles being the current favorites after trading Demarco Murray.

WIDE RECEIVER
1. Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
2. Corey Coleman (Baylor)
3. Josh Doctson (Texas Christian University)

The wide receiver class this year is not nearly as exciting as recent years with prospects such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Amari Cooper. However, Treadwell is a potential star with WR1 abilities. Coleman is a speedy receiver that can take the top off the defense with good run after catch ability. Doctson has arguably the greatest catching ability in this year’s draft with a specialty in 50/50 jump balls.

OFFENSIVE LINE
1. Laremy Tunsil OT (Ole Miss)
2. Ronnie Stanley OT (Notre Dame)
3. Jack Conklin OT (Michigan State)

Tunsil is by far the best offensive tackle and possibly the best player in the draft; he will likely be a top-three pick, most likely the No. 1 overall pick, as a once in a generation left tackle who could provide a massive boost to any team lacking in that area. Stanley is another great talent likely to be taken in the top 10-15 picks. Conklin is yet another offensive tackle that will likely go off the board before any other O-line position is drafted.

DEFENSIVE LINE
1. Joey Bosa DE (Ohio State)
2. DeForest Buckner DT (Oregon)
3. Noah Spence DE (Eastern Kentucky)

Bosa is the most technically accomplished defensive end prospect with great mechanics and power. Buckner is the best defensive tackle prospect with strong hands and long arms, while DE Noah Spence has the speed and tenacity to be a disruptive force for opposing quarterbacks.

LINEBACKERS
1. Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame)
2. Myles Jack (UCLA)
3. Reggie Ragland (Alabama)

Smith and Jack are two incredible linebackers in this draft, both of whom are likely to be taken in the top 10. Jack is a speedy player with great coverage ability. Ragland brings up the third overall spot with his strong run defense, powerful tackling ability and strength, despite his less-than-desirable speed.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
1. Jalen Ramsey S/CB (Florida State)
2. Vernon Hargreaves CB (University of Florida)
3. Mackensie Alexander CB (Clemson)

Many have Ramsey locked in as a safety for the NFL, but he has the potential to play both positions. I would love him to play cornerback for the greatest team ever, the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he will likely not get to the 8th overall spot with discussion that he could go No. 1 overall. Hargreaves is a lockdown coverage cornerback with ferocity in the run game and incredible mechanics and hips. However, he is a shorter player at 5-foot-11, which could scare off some NFL teams. Finally, the third defensive back likely to be taken will be Alexander, another shorter prospect that plays with great reactions, vision, and strength.

-Evan Patel