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Vance’s 2016 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Since the last mock draft, there haven’t been a ton of structural changes to the draft, though the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins did exchange first round spots. However, with further tape study and time evaluate needs, things do change. Here’s an updated 2016 NFL mock draft, with a look at how things might play out later this month, along with an extra round or two. As always, this is based more on who I would pick, not a prediction of how things will go.
1. Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT: The first pick is apparently available for trade, and Jalen Ramsey is a hot name being thrown around, but Tunsil is still the selection that makes the most sense. A set of bookends featuring Tunsil and Taylor Lewan would be very attractive to quarterback Marcus Mariota.
2. Cleveland Browns – Jalen Ramsey, CB: There is a group of people who still believe the Browns will take a quarterback here, and that’s certainly possible, but Ramsey is one of the top few talents in the entire draft, and the Browns just need to start stockpiling good players if they want to compete in a brutal division.
3. San Diego Chargers – DeForest Buckner, DE: Ramsey would be ideal here, and a trade back could be possible here, but Buckner makes the most sense if things play out this way. He’s likely a starter from the word go on a Chargers defense that badly needs to be better than it was in 2015.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa, DE: It seems as if Bosa has become somewhat of a forgotten man with the various levels of hype of the players around him, but the former Buckeye has plenty of substance, even if he lacks flash. The Cowboys, and every other team, can never have enough pass rushers, and Bosa is as steady as they come.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack, LB: This pick can be marked with an asterisk, because so much is dependent on his medical recheck. However, if everything checks out OK, the Jaguars could get a dynamic playmaking linebacker for an already potentially strong defense. Jack is an elite athlete.
6. Baltimore Ravens – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB: This will be a prime spot for a trade down, with teams possibly trying to get the first quarterback off the board, but in this scenario, the Ravens go ahead and get the top cornerback not named Ramsey in the draft. The Baltimore secondary needs help.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Jared Goff, QB: The 49ers were unable to ship Colin Kaepernick elsewhere, and it’s obvious they are ready to move on. Goff doesn’t have the upside of some of the other passers in this draft, but he’s the most NFL-ready, and could start from Day One under center.
8. Philadelphia Eagles – Shaq Lawson, DE: There is no such thing as too many pass rushers, or too much talent on the front seven. Lawson is a terrific pass rusher, but also plays the run well. The Eagles think they can compete in 2016, so adding to the defense makes as much sense as anything here.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – William Jackson III, CB: The Bucs added Brent Grimes, but they need more secondary help than that. Jackson is more raw than some of the other prospects available, but he has the length and speed that NFL teams love, and he could develop into a Pro Bowl cornerback.
10. New York Giants – Darron Lee, LB: The Giants defense is in need of a talent influx in order to get back to where they were when they were winning Super Bowls. In particular, speed is needed at linebacker, and Lee brings a ton of it. He flies around the field making plays, and is a good blitzer as well.
11. Chicago Bears – Ronnie Stanley, OT: There are a few different options here, but adding a potentially dominant tackle makes a lot of sense. This allows Kyle Long to move inside to guard, and makes the offensive line more potent as a whole. Jay Cutler will appreciate the added protection.
12. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins, DT: Rankins is the top defensive tackle in the draft, and the Saints can certainly use an injection of talent on the interior of their defensive line. Rankins is a good run defender, and has the tools to be an effective pass rusher as well. The Saints defense needs to be better, and this is a start.
13. Miami Dolphins – Ezekiel Elliott, RB: Running backs aren’t valued as highly as most other positions these days, but Elliott is a special talent that warrants top ten consideration. He’s a powerful, but speedy runner who sees the field well. He’s also a devastating blocker in the open field.
14. Oakland Raiders – Andrew Billings, DT: With the top preferences all off the board, the Raiders go with the highest rated player available in Billings. Big, strong, and quick on his feet, he gives the Raiders an additional quality player in the middle of the defensive line. He will see be hard to keep off the field.
15. Los Angeles Rams – Carson Wentz, QB: The Rams have managed to win some games, even with mediocre quarterback play. Drafting Wentz, who has a sky-high upside, gives them a potential franchise player there. He may not be ready to start right away, but it would only be a matter of time before he’s the starter.
16. Detroit Lions – Jason Spriggs, OT: There are some high draft picks along the Lions offensive line, but they haven’t really played like it. Enter Spriggs, who fits what the scheme in Detroit, and gives them an athletic tackle who has excelled within that scheme. He’s solid in both the run and passing games, which is just what the Lions need.
17. Atlanta Falcons – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE: Overlooked by a lot of analysts, or just plain written off, Ogbah is an amazing athlete who has every skill a team would want in a pass rusher. The Falcons need to get to the quarterback more to be a real contender. Ogbah is somewhat raw, but the sky is the limit.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Noah Spence, Edge: The Colts are another team looking for more of a pass rush. Spence is an accomplished player with the necessary skillset to make an impact in the NFL. The biggest question is his history, which includes drug use. If it’s in his past, he’s a solid top 20 pick.
19. Buffalo Bills – Reggie Ragland, LB: This is a bit of a reach, but the Bills badly need to upgrade their linebackers. Ragland might only be a two down player, but he will be very good on those two downs. He flies through traffic in pursuit and is a terrific tackler. He’ll step in and start right away.
20. New York Jets – Jarran Reed, DL: An edge rusher would be ideal here, but with the value not there, getting another talented body up front will suffice. There remains a possibility of Mo Wilkerson being dealt, and Reed is a big, strong run stuffer who can take his place if that were to happen. If there’s no trade, he goes into the rotation.
21. Washington Redskins – Josh Doctson, WR: A surprise division winner in 2015, the Redskins get to add another weapon for Kirk Cousins. Doctson is a great athlete, with good size and an ability to go up and get the ball. He can make the spectacular catch look easy at times. If the team is ready to move on from DeSean Jackson, Doctson makes a ton of sense.
22. Houston Texans – Laquon Treadwell, WR: The Texans are a team on the rise, and with Brock Osweiller penciled in as the starter, giving him a guy some consider the top receiver in the draft is a good idea. He isn’t the fastest player, but he uses his big body well, and makes the tough catches.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Michael Thomas, WR: The run on receivers continues here, with Thomas. His strong hands, and knack for being in the right place, make him one of the best in this draft. The Vikings need another reliable receiver to go along with Stefon Diggs, and they find him here.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kenny Clark, DT: With the top three receivers gone, the Bengals address the interior of the defensive line. Clark is strong in the run game, using a solid base and raw strength to stand his ground and make plays. He’s not a flashy pick, but he could be a terrific one.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mackensie Alexander, CB: The Steelers secondary was mostly atrocious in 2015, so they will address it early in this draft, and maybe multiple times. Alexander is more highly ranked by many, so there is potentially excellent value here. He instantly makes them better.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Chris Jones, DL: Either line could be addressed by the Seahawks here, but Jones is the pick. He’s a versatile player, having played all over the line, and brings a strong presence and a potentially good pass rush to whoever he winds up with. As he gets better, he could be a special player.
27. Green Bay Packers – Leonard Floyd, Edge: The Packers offense is one of the league’s best, so making the defense better is the way to go. Pass rushers are needed, and Floyd is the best available. He’s a speed rusher with little bulk, which could hurt him as a pro, but he has plenty of talent.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – Cody Whitehair, OG: When a team wants to win with their running game and defense, they need a good offensive line. Adding Whitehair is an upgrade on the interior of the Chiefs line, and he’ll bring experience, solid technique, and raw strength to the Chiefs.
29. New England Patriots -Pick Forfieted
30. Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Kelly, C: Picking a center in round one isn’t that will get fans excited, but it should. Kelly is a smart player first and foremost, but he also is a sound technician with quick feet and a strong base that allows him to hold his ground against pass rushers. He also blocks down the field well in the running game.
31. Carolina Panthers – Karl Joseph, S: The Panthers seem stocked for another deep playoff run, so they have the luxury of not having to concentrate on needs. Here, they add Joseph, an aggressive hitter who loves nothing more than to fly around the field making big hits. He’ll fit right into a fast and talented defense.
32. Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch, QB: Many scouts have Lynch as the top quarterback on the board, and he could wind up being the best of them. He has an NFL arm and has some NFL tape to go with it. Questions are about the scheme he comes from, where he wasn’t asked to do much besides make a quick throw.
33. Cleveland Browns – Corey Coleman, WR: They get a dynamic deep threat to go with Josh Gordon for whoever ends up at quarterback.
34. Tennessee Titans – Vernon Butler, DL: Titans get a huge run stuffer for the middle of the defense.
35. Dallas Cowboys – Eli Apple, CB: Dallas needs to get better at the corner spot, and Apple has nice upside.
36. San Diego Chargers – Keanu Neal, S: The Chargers secondary was bad in 2015. Neal intimidates from the safety spot.
37. Baltimore Ravens – Shilique Calhoun, Edge: Calhoun needs to play stronger, but he’s fast and bends well.
38. San Francisco 49ers – Sterling Sheperd, WR: He’s a small receiver, but he runs precision routes and catches the ball well.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars – Vonn Bell, S: Bell provides depth, or a fallback starter option if Jonathan Cyprien doesn’t improve.
40. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Perry, LB: A versatile player who can play all three downs, Perry will bring a physical presence to the Bucs defense.
41. New York Giants – Kevin Dodd, DE: Dodd could go much earlier, so there’s value here at a position of need.
42. Chicago Bears – A’Shawn Robinson, DL: Robinson is listed much higher on some boards, but his value is much better here.
43. Miami Dolphins – Artie Burns, CB: The Dolphins can use some help at cornerback and Burns has length plus ball skills.
44. Los Angeles Rams – Nick Martin, C: There is always value in upgrading the center spot, which the Rams do here.
45. Oakland Raiders – Darian Thompson, S: Thompson is a speedy safety with excellent ball skills.
46. Los Angeles Rams – Tyler Boyd, WR: The Rams add a great athlete with a nice set of hands.
47. Detroit Lions – Su’a Cravens, LB: Cravens likely falls into a linebacker role, but could play some safety as well. He makes plays.
48. New Orleans Saints – Jonathan Bullard, DE: Bullard can play outside and inside, giving the Saints help all over the line.
49. Indianapolis Colts – Joshua Garnett, OG: The Colts need help on the interior of the offensive line, and Garnett is great value here.
50. Buffalo Bills – Javon Hargrave, DT: The Bills need more depth inside, especially with Kyle Williams’ health concerns.
51. Atlanta Falcons – Jeremy Cash, S: Atlanta fills another need with a well-rounded safety prospect in Cash.
52. New York Jets – Connor Cook, QB: The Jets begin to look to the future of the franchise under center.
53. Houston Texans – Austin Johnson, DL: Bringing in extra strength to the defensive line makes a ton of sense here.
54. Washington Redskins – Xavien Howard, CB: Howard has great size for the NFL, and just needs to refine his technique.
55. Minnesota Vikings – Jack Conklin, OT: He’ll need some work on his footwork, but he’s big, strong, and could be very good.
56. Cincinnati Bengals – Mike Thomas, WR: The Bengals need receiver help and Thomas oozes potential.
57. Seattle Seahawks – Germain Ifedi, OT: Ifedi is another tackle with first round potential, and just needs to clean up his technique.
58. Green Bay Packers – Kentrell Brothers: A versatile linebacker who plays hard is valuable to any team.
59. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jihad Ward, DL: The Steelers continue to stockpile talent on the defensive side of the ball.
60. Kansas City Chiefs – Kamalei Correa, Edge: The Chiefs add some pass rushing help to their defense.
61. New England Patriots – Matt Judon, DE: Judon faces level of competition questions, but he’s as talented as any.
62. New England Patriots – Jaylon Smith, LB: A severe injury keeps him from being a top ten pick, but he’s talented if he gets healthy.
63. Carolina Panthers – Kendall Fuller, CB: He had some inconsistent play, but Fuller could be good with some work.
64. Denver Broncos – Vadal Alexander, OL: Alexander is a big, nasty run blocker, and could start right away.