After months of working out, training, meeting with agents, the NFL Combine, Pro Days, and of course staying on top of their studies, players are weeks away from finding out the fate of the football future.
The 2017 NFL Draft will take place from April 27-29 and all eyes will be watching The City of Brotherly Love as 32 franchises will descend upon the Philadelphia Museum of Art, each looking for its next shining star.
Here are the teams that sit in the best position as the impending Draft looms:
Top Picks: Nos. 4, 35, 68, 110, 148
For the sixth-straight year, Jacksonville will make their first selection in the top five. Unfortunately only one of their previous top-5 picks has panned out: Jalen Ramsey.
Also like in years past, the Jags just have valuable picks, not a high volume of them. The Jaguars have the fourth pick in the first round and the third pick in the second round for two in the first 35. , giving them two selections in the top 35.
As strong as their defense already is, the prognosticators are saying Jacksonville will go offense for the No. 4 overall selection, and if that’s the case, LSU running back Leonard Fournette may be the guy.
Top Picks: Nos. 8, 40, 64, 98, 115
Carolina is picking in the top 10 for just the fourth time since 2003 and with so many needs that have to be addressed, it’s interesting to see what they’ll do with the eighth overall selection.
The Panthers need to find an heir to Jonathan Stewart or add a talented, young pass rusher to the defensive line. They also need a safety and wide receiver, but they can do that with picks 40 and 64.
Top Picks: Nos. 3, 36, 67, 111, 117
After another disappointing season, Chicago is making a pick in the top-10 once again. This time, the Bears hold the third overall pick, which is the highest they’ve had since 2005 when they selected running back Cedric Benson fourth overall out of Texas.
Initially, it seemed quarterback was a given for their first round pick, but with the free agency signing of Mike Glennon at 3 years/$45 million, they may look to defense at No. 3. Chicago did add several defensive players through free agency, but most are players in the waning years of their career.
The Bears could also move up in the second or third round thanks to their bevy of picks in the fourth round, so if they see someone they like on their board still up there and can find a trade partner, they may find the replacement to WR Alshon Jeffery they desperately need.
San Francisco 49ers
Top Picks: Nos. 2, 34, 66, 109
The 49ers don’t have any additional picks until the fourth round when they have a compensatory selection. Until then, they have the second pick in each of the first four rounds.
Without the capital New Orleans or Cleveland has, those picks are much more important to the rebuilding franchise and essentially, that 34th selection is a first-rounder that trickled into the second round.
This team has a lot of needs and can go in a lot of different directions.
They signed Brian Hoyer through free agency, but are still without a franchise QB. RB Carlos Hyde will be a free agent after next season. They haven’t done much to replace the incredible players they lost in 2015. The list goes on and on.
John Lynch’s legacy as a GM starts on April 27th.
Top Picks: Nos. 5, 18, 83, 100
Tennessee is the winner of last year’s trade with the Rams for QB Jared Goff and they will cash in with two top-18 picks this year.
The Titans have glaring needs at wide receiver, safety, and cornerback and they will likely address two of those positions in the first round. Due to the Philadelphia/Cleveland trade last year, the Titans won’t make a selection in the second round but they have two in the third.