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NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0
NFL Mock Draft version 1.0 makes its debut a week away from Indianapolis and the 2016 NFL Combine. Those that impressed at the Reese’s Senior Bowl will get another chance to cement their draft stock while the underclassman that have been invited can get to know the teams and scouts that will be in attendance. The NFL Combine or underwear olympics as it is often referred to gives players a chance to show off their skills in a series of events. It also allows teams to get to the prospects off the field. It will provide a critical opportunity for many of the prospects. Look for version 2.0 following the Combine.
1) Tennessee Titans – Jalen Ramsey | DB | Florida State
The Tennessee Titans have a multiple directions they can go with the top overall pick. They could very easily go offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil or defensive end Joey Bosa both of whom are top players in this draft. However in this mock draft they will go with arguably the best player in this draft and take Jalen Ramsey. The Titans had tremendous difficulty on the defensive side a season ago primarily in the back end. Ramsey will go a long way in improving that. He can be an all pro caliber cornerback or safety. He likely will start at cornerback and transition to safety as his career progresses.
2) Cleveland Browns – Carson Wentz | QB | North Dakota State
While it may be easy to look at the constant struggles of this team and their inability to find a draft, especially in the draft. However if you don’t have a quarterback you don’t have a chance. Carson Wentz checks all the boxes in terms of measurables at 6’5” and 235. He has a strong arm and can make all the throws. New head coach Hue Jackson will want to tie himself to a quarterback he thinks can lead him the promise land. Jared Goff, my top quarterback makes sense too but Wentz’s measurables and ability to impress in interviews may be too hard to pass up.
3) San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil | OT | Ole Miss
This is a dream scenario for the San Diego Chargers who had tremendous difficulties along the offensive line a season ago. Tunsil is regarded as the safest pick in this draft and has drawn comparisons to hall of fame offensive lineman. This fit makes far too much sense for San Diego to pass on.
4) Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa | DE | Ohio State
The Dallas Cowboys have a variety of directions they can head in this draft. Quarterback seems like something that makes little sense for a team that wants to be super bowl contender this year. They are in need of pass rush help especially with it seemingly like they will move on from Greg Hardy. Joey Bosa is an instant starter in Dallas and makes a ton of sense for them.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars – Mackensie Alexander | DB | Clemson
The Jacksonville Jaguars have built an impressive offense with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Blake Bortles. The defense is improving but the secondary is a problem. The Jaguars can address that in a meaningful way with their first round pick. In this mock they look at Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander who has the potential to be special. Vernon Hargreaves is another cornerback that could make sense.
6) Baltimore Ravens – Ronnie Stanley | OT | Notre Dame
Like the Chargers, the Baltimore Ravens are in dire need of offensive line help and get it with Ronnie Stanley who is the second rated tackle on many boards including mine. He will go a long way in suring up quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside. He should be a reliable starter for many seasons in Baltimore.
7) San Francisco 49ers – Jared Goff | QB | California
Way back in 2005 the San Francisco 49ers passed on a local quarterback from the University of California named Aaron Rodgers. They are not about to make the same mistake twice. I’d avoid assuming the Colin Kaepernick is the answer because Chip Kelly is the new head coach. Goff is the best quarterback in this class and has the accuracy and anticipation to excel in Kelly’s offense.
8) Miami Dolphins – Vernon Hargreaves | DB | Florida
The Miami Dolphins are another team that is in need of help in the secondary. Hargreaves flashes the skills to be an elite corner at the next level. He displays the quick hips and closing ability that NFL front offices covet. He will be a great fit in Miami and help the front seven create pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DeForest Buckner | DE | Oregon
Tampa Bay is building on the defensive side of the ball. The are solid up the middle including Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David but they are lacking in pass rushers. DeForest Buckner is a tremendous fit and can be an impact player immediately. Line him up and let him attack the quarterback.
10) New York Giants – Reggie Ragland | LB | Alabama
The last time the New York Giants took a linebacker in the first round it was 1984. They took Carl Banks who worked out pretty well. They are in need of a couple of positions in this draft but linebacker Reggie Ragland makes a ton of sense. He will lead this defense from the middle linebacker spot and be a tackle machine. For a team that wants to get back to playoffs Ragland can be instant impact performer.
11) Chicago Bears – Myles Jack | LB | UCLA
Myles Jack has as much potential as any player in this draft. He has tremendous talent and athleticism. The Bears defense has holes at all three levels. Defensive tackle is another position the Bears could look at but Jack’s upside will be too hard for Chicago to pass on.
12) New Orleans Saints – A’Shawn Robinson | DT | Alabama
The New Orleans Saints are in desperate need of help on the defensive end and A’Shawn Robinson would go a long way in suring up the middle of this defense. New Orleans addressed the linebacking core a season ago with both Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha. Robinson will be a welcomed addition to the defensive line.
13) Philadelphia Eagles – Paxton Lynch | QB | Memphis
The Philadelphia Eagles are a difficult team to figure out. They are in need of a quarterback but it is something that could be addressed in free agency. They could look at offensive line and wide receiver among other positions. New coach Doug Pederson could see things in Paxton Lynch that he really likes. If he would rather develop the quarterback of the future Lynch could be the fit for the Eagles.
14) Oakland Raiders – Eli Apple | DB | Ohio State
The Oakland Raiders are another team that is in need of the help in secondary. D.J. Hayden has not panned out and the leader in their secondary Charles Woodson hung up his cleats. Apple makes a ton of sense for the Raiders who is an extremely talented cornerback who should make an instant impact. The Raiders could look at safety in this spot if they don’t go cornerback but secondary should be the focus.
15) Los Angeles Rams – Laquon Treadwell | WR | Ole Miss
The Los Angeles Rams are another team that is hard to peg. Most assume they’d like to quarterback in this spot but with Paxton Lynch off of the board they will be forced to look elsewhere. They have a defense that is loaded with talent. Their offense however could use some help. Todd Gurley is a special running back that fits exactly what Jeff Fisher wants to do after that however they need some help especially among its pass catcher. Treadwell has all the ability in the world and can be an elite option on the outside. He will also provide a playmaker for whomever is under center for the Rams.
16) Detroit Lions – Michael Thomas | WR | Ohio State
As of now the Detroit Lions are working under the assumption that Calvin Johnson is retiring. They can look in multiple directions but providing quarterback Matthew Stafford a talented pass catcher opposite Golden Tate and Thomas fits the bill. He has the physical size and ability to attack the ball in the air.
17) Atlanta Falcons – Shaq Lawson | DE | Clemson
The Atlanta Falcons need help on the defensive side of the ball and Shaq Lawson fits the bill. He is an elite pass rusher that can get to quarterback. The Falcons could look at a few other positions at this spot but Lawson’s talent is too much to pass on.
18) Indianapolis Colts – Cody Whitehair | OL | Kansas State
The Indianapolis Colts lost quarterback Andrew Luck for an extended period of time last season. They have a huge need along the offensive line and Whitehair would go a long way to upgrading that position. Ideally he plays guard but has the ability to play center if needed. That flexibility will be the thing that sets Whitehair apart for the Colts.
19) Buffalo Bills – Taylor Decker | OT | Ohio State
The Buffalo Bills are in need of some serious help along the offensive line. Taylor Decker is a legit left tackle and the best one left on the board at this point. The Bills need to protect quarterback Tyrod Taylor and block for their rush attack of LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams. Decker goes a long way adding stability along the Buffalo front.
20) New York Jets – Jaylon Smith | LB | Notre Dame
Heading into the Fiesta Bowl Jaylon Smith was top 5 prospect with a legitimate shot at going first overall. Unfortunately he tore his ACL and LCL against Ohio State throwing his draft stock into question. Smith’s medical reports will be key for Smith who reportedly “expected to be ready for start of 2016 season” per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. Smith’s stock could rise if the medicals check out through the pre-draft process. For now his talents are still good enough to land him in Round 1.
21) Washington Redskins – Vernon Butler | DT | Louisiana Tech
The Washington Redskins are in serious need of defensive help at all three levels. Ryan Kerrigan is a monster and anchor of their front seven. Terrance Knighton and Kedric Golston are set to be free agents. Butler would go a long way in assuring depth at defensive tackle who is proving worthy of first round consideration.
22) Houston Texans – Ezekiel Elliot | RB | Ohio State
The Houston Texans are a team built off of a strong defense and a strong running game. Unfortunately for them Arian Foster may have been injured for the final time of his NFL career. He tore his achilles which ended his 2015 season. Elliot can step in from day 1 and fill Foster’s shoes.
23) Minnesota Vikings – Miles Killebrew | DB | Southern Utah
The Minnesota Vikings are building an incredibly stout defense and have added depth at all three levels over the past few seasons especially since Mike Zimmer took over as the head coach. The Vikings could go a few ways with their first overall selection but adding a strong safety to play alongside Harrison Smith. Killebrew is a hard-hitting safety that excels in stopping the run. He shows the ability to drop into coverage as well. The Vikings can address other needs including wide receiver later in the draft.
24) Cincinnati Bengals – Jarran Reed | DT | Alabama
The Cincinnati Bengals have needs on all three levels of the defense especially if they decide not to resign some of their defensive pieces including Adam Jones. They could look at linebacker and secondary but Reed is a great addition to the Bengals defense. They need a physical run stopper next to Geno Atkins and Reed fits the bill.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers – Darian Thompson | DB | Boise State
Darian Thompson may be my favorite safety in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was a Senior Bowl standout and solidified his first round draft status. He fits a glaring need for the Pittsburgh Steelers especially in a division with dynamic passing attacks. Thompson should be a day one starter.
26) Seattle Seahawks – Jason Spriggs | OT | Indiana
The Seattle Seahawks dealt with injury issues along their offensive line last season. Spriggs goes a long way in adding depth and strengthening the Seattle offensive line. Protecting Russell Wilson and blocking for the Seattle’s rush attack is going to be key if the Seahawks want to remain among the NFL’s elite.
27) Green Bay Packers – Darron Lee | LB | Ohio State
The Green Bay Packers are in need of help on the defensive side of the ball especially at their linebacker core. Julius Peppers is approaching the end of his career and Mike Neal is a free agent. Lee can add a stud pass rusher off the edge and posses an ability to drop into coverage when needed.
28) Kansas City Chiefs – Robert Nkemdiche | DT | Ole Miss
The end of the first round is where teams can take a gamble on extremely talented players that may have some off the field questions. Nkemdiche fits a need for the Chiefs especially with Mike Devito and Jaye Howard set to hit the market. He was the top rated player coming out of high school and has flashed during his time at Ole Miss.
29) Arizona Cardinals – Noah Spence | DE | Eastern Kentucky
The Arizona Cardinals had an issue getting pressure on the quarterback last season and they got so desperate they brought in Dwight Freeney. Noah Spence is an elite talent that started his collegiate career at Ohio State. He got into off the field problems and was excused from the team. Spence took advantage of his time at Eastern Kentucky to improve his off the field image. He will need to excel in interviews and prove to teams that his problems are in the past. These same Cardinals have shown a willingness to take a chance on guys that like Tyrann Mathieu who had issues during their time in college.
30) Carolina Panthers – Kevin Dodd | DE | Clemson
Kevin Dodd was one of the stars of the National Championship. He ate the Alabama right tackle up. He is explosive and powerful. It didn’t hurt having Shaq Lawson on the other side of the line. The Panthers have a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball but need help on the edge and defensive line especially. Dodd would be a fantastic addition next to Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.
31) Denver Broncos – Hunter Henry | TE | Arkansas
Hunter Henry is the best tight end in this class and the only one worthy of first round consideration. The Broncos need to figure out what they will look next season and Henry is a good place start especially in a Gary Kubiak offense that is best when it utilizes the tight end. This is also a spot where a team looking to trade back into the first round can make a move.