• 2016 Mock Draft 1.0


    Now that the NFL Combine has concluded, it's about time that we can take a real scrutinizing look at the prospects who are eligible to be selected in this year's Draft. It's just a little less than two months away now, and over that time I hope to provide a few renditions of my annual mock drafts to try to put forward my best guess as to how things might shake out.

    It should be noted that my mock drafts do not necessarily reflect my personal prospect rankings, but rather the rankings that would appear to be the public consensus. I may detail my own prospect rankings elsewhere, but these mocks are more of an exercise in trying to be as accurate as possible in regard to what happens on draft day.

    Since this is only the first version of my mock draft for the year, I'll only be sticking to the first round.

    1) Tennessee Titans - OT - Laremy Tunsil - Ole Miss: With Marcus Mariota on board, there's no chance of the Titans selecting one of the top signal callers who will be in the draft pool this year. They have a couple of different options available to them, but the most likely outcome is that they take Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil and pair him up with last year's first-rounder, Taylor Lewan, to form the bookends of an offensive line that will keep Mariota off the turf.

    2) Cleveland Browns - QB - Jared Goff - California: With Johnny Manziel's future with the team bein assuredly nonexistent, it's no secret that the Browns will yet again be searching for their quarterback of the future. Enter Jared Goff, who remains the top pick available at the position despite the surging momentum of Carson Wentz. He's more of a finished product than Wentz, and could potentially start from day one as a professional.

    3) San Diego Chargers - CB - Jalen Ramsey - Florida State: The Chargers could go one of two ways here. They could either reach and take Ronnie Stanley to fill their glaring need at offensive tackle, or they could do what I have them doing right now and select Jalen Ramsey. Eric Weddle has already stated that he has no intention of returning to San Diego, and Ramsey could slot in as his replacement at safety quite smoothly.

    4) Dallas Cowboys - DE - Joey Bosa - Ohio State: Bosa isn't a great fit in Tennessee's 3-4 defense and San Diego doesn't have a huge need for a pass rusher. Cleveland does have that need, but it's hard to see them passing on a quarterback right now if they stay at the #2 spot. That allows Dallas to reap the rewards as Joey Bosa falls to them, in much the same way that Leonard Williams ended up falling to the Jets last year. Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey are both free agents, so Bosa could wind up starting right away.

    5) Jacksonville Jaguars - OT - Ronnie Stanley - Notre Dame: Former top pick Luke Joeckel has struggled thus far during his brief time in the NFL, so it's worth considering flipping him to the right side of the offensive line and selecting his replacement at left tackle here. It's a bit of a reach, but they can plug Stanley in there while moving Joeckel to right tackle and pushing current right tackle, Jermey Parnell, inside to guard.

    6) Baltimore Ravens - WR - Laquon Treadwell - Ole Miss: Steve Smith says he's going to attempt to come back for 2016, but at his advanced age and coming off a torn Achilles, it's unclear how much the Ravens can rely on him. The same goes for last year's first-round pick Breshad Perriman, who has yet to make his NFL debut due to lingering issues from a torn PCL. Laquon Treadwell is the best receiver in this year's draft class and would help relieve some of the pressure off those guys' shoulders.

    7) San Francisco 49ers - QB - Carson Wentz - North Dakota State: Wentz has been one of the fastest rising prospects in the nation lately, and it's easy to see why. He looks every bit the part of a franchise quarterback, and with development people believe he could be a star. The situation with Colin Kaepernick remains murky, but it seems more likely than not that the one-time franchise QB will be leaving the bay area in 2016. It would not be shocking to see the 49ers take Wentz here and let him develop behind a veteran, much like how Kaepernick was brought along when he was originally drafted.

    8) Miami Dolphins - CB - Vernon Hargreaves III - Florida: The play of Brent Grimes (who will be 33 this season) took a sharp drop in 2015, and the Dolphins had precious little behind him on the depth chart. Cornerback should be a big need for the team this offseason that needs addressing, and they're in a great spot to rectify that at #9 with Vernon Hargreaves III still available.

    9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB - Mackensie Alexander - Clemson: If the Buccaneers bring back Sterling Moore (an unrestricted free agent this spring) then this becomes less of a primary need, but as it stands right now they could use another body in the defensive secondary. Defensive line is also something they could attempt to address here, either by adding an edge rusher or a defensive tackle.

    10) New York Giants - OLB - Myles Jack - UCLA: The Giants have been trying to revamp their linebacking corps for years now with little being produced in the way of actual results. It's time for them to seriously tackle the issue by investing in the position by taking the dynamic and versatile Myles Jack. Jack can play inside and outside, and while he's not a developed pass-rusher, his abilities in coverage and against the run should be enough to immediately make him the best linebacker on the roster.

    11) Chicago Bears - DE - DeForest Buckner - Oregon: The Bears are still in the process of bringing in the talent to fill out their new 3-4 defensive alignment, and DeForest Buckner is a physical monstrosity who slots in perfectly as a five-technique on the defensive line. Eddie Goldman looks solid as a nose tackle in the middle, but they need to figure out who the guys are going to be flanking him in the trenches.

    12) New Orleans Saints - DT - A'Shawn Robinson - Alabama: At the age of 35, Kevin Williams continues to provide solid play at defensive tackle, but it's a distressing sign that he was the only consistent source of pressure and disruption at the position for the Saints last season. On top of that, he's a free agent and might not return, leaving New Orleans with a pretty bare pantry at defensive tackle. A'Shawn Robinson can join the other young players who will be left in that rotation fighting for playing time.

    13) Philadelphia Eagles - OLB - Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame: If it wasn't for the torn ACL he suffered, Jaylon Smith would be in the mix to be the top overall selection in this year's Draft. Since we don't have access to the results of any of his medical examinations, it's hard to predict just how far the injury will cause him to fall, so until we get further indication I'm betting on his talent and predicting that Philadelphia will take him here. The Eagles have a capable linebacking corps at the moment, but Smith likely needs time to recover and rehab from his injury, so consider this more of an investment in the future.

    14) Oakland Raiders - DE - Shaq Lawson - Clemson: The retirement of Justin Tuck opens up a hole in Oakland's defensive front that now needs to filled, especially with Aldon Smith's future with the team in jeopardy due to his suspension. Lawson is strong and bulky in a way that makes him similar to the departing Tuck, and should allow him to take over Tuck's role up front in Oakland's hybridized defensive scheme that calls for him to play on the edge and inside.

    15) Los Angeles Rams - QB - Paxton Lynch - Memphis: The last of the "big three" quarterbacks in this year's draft class goes off the board to the newly relocated Rams, who are in the market for a passer after the disastrous season that Nick Foles had. Like Carson Wentz, Lynch is not a finished product and he needs more development before he can be handed the reins of a pro offense, but he offers hope for the future while Foles, Keenum, or another veteran serves as the stopgap.

    16) Detroit Lions - OT - Taylor Decker - Ohio State: Riley Reiff is a decent left tackle, but the Lions have a gaping hole on the opposite side of the offensive line where they have no clear incumbent answer at right tackle. They could either plug Taylor Decker in there, or move Reiff over to that side and let Decker handle Matthew Stafford's blindside going forward.

    17) Atlanta Falcons - ILB - Reggie Ragland - Alabama: Atlanta's situation at linebacker isn't as bad as it is in New York with the Giants, but it's not that much better with only Brooks Reed looking like a capable starter in that unit right now. Inside linebackers aren't valued very highly these days, which should speak to just how optimistic people are when projecting Reggie Ragland in the NFL; particularly in his range and instincts against the run.

    18) Indianapolis Colts - RB - Ezekiel Elliott - Ohio State: What a feeling of déjà vu this would have to be for Frank Gore if the Colts were to select Ezekiel Elliott here. He'd wind up in a situation again where he's the entrenched runningback on a team that spends a high draft pick on a highly touted prospect at the same position from Ohio State, just like he was in San Francisco when Carlos Hyde was drafted in the first round a couple of years back. Gore was still solid in 2015 for the Colts, but he'll turn 33 this offseason and he's already logged a good deal of miles on his legs.

    19) Buffalo Bills - DT - Robert Nkemdiche - Ole Miss: Certain, erm, off-the-field concerns (see, that Noid) have caused Robert Nkemdiche to slip down boards a bit, but I get the feeling that Rex Ryan is the kind of coach who could overlook that in favor of sheer talent and promise. With Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams in Buffalo still, he won't be asked to contribute a ton right away, but Williams experienced a decline in his play this past year and will turn 33 in June. Nkemdiche provides a potential heir apparent to Williams on the defensive line.

    20) New York Jets - DE - Noah Spence - Eastern Kentucky: The former Ohio State blue-chip turned FCS standout is another name who has risen up draft boards quite a bit over the past month or two, and he fits the bill here for the Jets as a guy who can stand up and rush the passer as a linebacker. There might be a period of adjustment as he transitions from a defensive end with his hand in the dirt to an outside linebacker in Todd Bowles' 3-4 scheme, but he has the athleticism to make it work.

    21) Washington Football Club - DT - Jarran Reed - Alabama: Last offseason, Washington signed Terrance Knighton to a one-year contract that produced fair results, but now he's back in the free agent pool and Washington is once again in need of a nose tackle. He's not the biggest for the position, but he's exceptionally difficult to move off the line of scrimmage and his primary strength is plugging gaps in the run game. It's not flashy by any means, but it's the kind of dirty work that forms the foundation of a strong defense.

    22) Houston Texans - WR - Corey Coleman - Baylor: After Laquon Treadwell there's a bit of a drop-off at the position with there being seemingly no other top-flight prospects available at wide receiver this year. That doesn't mean there isn't still talent to be had however in the latter half of the first round, and Corey Coleman is evidence of that. He bucks the recent trend of Baylor's prolific wide receivers being passed over as scheme-dependent players, and he could form a potentially fearsome trio going forward along with DeAndre Hopkins and Jaelen Strong - who showed flashes of brilliance in some games down the stretch for Houston.

    23) Minnesota Vikings - OLB - Darron Lee - Ohio State: Chad Greenway has had a long and successful career with the Vikings since being selected in the first round back in 2006, but he's a free agent this offseason and the team may not opt to bring him back after he saw a decline in his level of play this past year. Fortunately, an option is available to them here in Darron Lee, who could tandem with Anthony Barr and form a strong pair of outside linebackers for the next several years in Minnesota with their youth.

    24) Cincinnati Bengals - DT - Sheldon Rankins - Louisville: Domata Peko is in the twilight of his career, and while he may still provide a valuable veteran presence and influence for the Bengals, his playing time should be reduced at this point. Geno Atkins is a monster in the middle of the defensive line, but he needs some assistance too. Sheldon Rankins could be that guy with his high motor and surprising quickness in the trenches.

    25) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB - Eli Apple - Ohio State: The Steelers have been attempting to sort out their cornerback situation for a while now, and they have a group of young but unproven guys on their roster who need competition. Not only that, but their most effective corners from last season are now free agents in William Gay and Brandon Boykin. If only one or neither of them are brought back, the Steelers would be well served to draft someone like Eli Apple early on in the Draft to help inject more talent into the position group.

    26) Seattle Seahawks - OT - Jack Conklin - Michigan State: Seattle's offensive line was a total mess a season ago, and I'm not sure if impending free agency for the majority of last year's starters is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. The most productive member of that unit, left tackle Russell Okung, is one of those free agents, but has also constantly struggled with staying healthy and it's unclear if the Seahawks will be willing to dole out big money to retain him. Even if he does return, they still need an answer at right tackle, which is where Jack Conklin could fit in and start immediately instead.

    27) Green Bay Packers - TE - Hunter Henry - Arkansas: Richard Rodgers will forever have a place in Packers history with his Hail Mary catch against the Detroit Lions from this past season, but he's functionally limited as their current starter. Making him a complimentary player to the University of Arkansas's Hunter Henry would likely be a good move, as Henry is a well-developed receiver with good athleticism that would give Aaron Rodgers a reliable intermediate target in between the hashes.

    28) Kansas City Chiefs - WR - Michael Thomas - Ohio State: The arrival of Jeremy Maclin finally gave the Chiefs a weapon outside at wide receiver, but they can't afford to stop there. Albert Wilson has shown flashes at times, but seems better suited as a #3 option, which is why taking a receiver like Michael Thomas here should pay dividends all around. The nephew of Keyshawn Johnson would help take the defense's focus away from not just Maclin, but tight end Travis Kelce as well.

    29) Arizona Cardinals - S - Vonn Bell - Ohio State: Both Rashad Johnson and Tony Jefferson are hitting free agency, and while both have been serviceable for the Cardinals, they might opt to go in a different direction. Deone Bucannon seems to have settled in as a linebacker now, so the Cardinals can go back to the well and draft another safety; this time being Vonn Bell who will be the seventh and final first-round pick representing Ohio State in this mock draft. Bell isn't a great athlete, but he has a knack for cover skills and an eye for the ball that makes him a solid piece to the Arizona secondary.

    30) Carolina Panthers - WR - Josh Doctson - TCU: The Panthers will get Kelvin Benjamin back in 2016, which is great news for Cam Newton, but they could still use some extra help out wide to fully flesh out the unit. Too many times were guys like Corey Brown and Devin Funchess forced to be relied upon simply for lack of alternatives, and one injury is all it would take to leave Carolina's receiving corps in a similar state again. Josh Doctson could compete for snaps right away and would provide Cam with a target both downfield and underneath.

    31) Denver Broncos - DE - Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma State: Depending on what happens with Peyton Manning and the contract situation of free agent Brock Osweiler, it could be tempting to have the Broncos taking a quarterback like Michigan State's Connor Cook here at the very end of the first round. However, I won't be so greedy and instead I'll give them another pass-rusher by adding Emmanuel Ogbah. Von Miller has been hit with the franchise tag, but they still need to work on a long-term deal with the Super Bowl MVP. Maybe that doesn't pan out and Ogbah could be groomed to take his place in 2017. Or he could be groomed similarly to take over for DeMarcus Ware, who will be 34 this season.

    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      I'm way behind on my draft prep, but a CB in the top 3 seems off to me. As does Treadwell as a top 10 pick. I haven't watched much of either yet though.

      I'd be happy with that bengals pick. Rankins dominated at the Senior Bowl and may be the closest thing to Geno Atkins in this draft. 2 of them would be nice to have.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      As far as the Packers go, TE is in the list of "need" for the draft, however I feel it's likely one of the LB's or DT's will fall to them at 27.

      That being said,, it's Ted Thompson so go with best available player...but on his board which is not like everyone else's board, who really knows?
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ragar View Post
      As far as the Packers go, TE is in the list of "need" for the draft, however I feel it's likely one of the LB's or DT's will fall to them at 27.

      That being said,, it's Ted Thompson so go with best available player...but on his board which is not like everyone else's board, who really knows?
      I did have LB as the primary need for the Packers (both inside and outside) but it just happened that in this mock there weren't any really left available by the time they were up. Ogbah could have been the pick, but I felt like Henry was better value and still fit an area of need for them.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      I'm way behind on my draft prep, but a CB in the top 3 seems off to me. As does Treadwell as a top 10 pick. I haven't watched much of either yet though.

      I'd be happy with that bengals pick. Rankins dominated at the Senior Bowl and may be the closest thing to Geno Atkins in this draft. 2 of them would be nice to have.
      I don't think it's that high for Ramsey. I think it's more likely than not right now that he ends up as a top-five selection. I think Treadwell also probably goes in the top ten, though I agree that #6 is a spot or two higher than I think he should go.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I hope like hell you're wrong about Buffalo and the next guy to mail it in until the last year of his rookie deal. I would much prefer the raver dude who admits it and expresses a desire to not do it anymore.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      As does Treadwell as a top 10 pick. I haven't watched much of either yet though.
      My question as well. I've watch most of his targets this year and don't really see anything special about him.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      My question as well. I've watch most of his targets this year and don't really see anything special about him.

      I remember seeing him during the Alabama game but that's about it. Started a new job recently, don't get to watch draft stuff like I used to.

      He didn't strike me as a top 10 pick in the vein of a Julio, Green, Hopkins or Watkins of recent drafts.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post
      I remember seeing him during the Alabama game but that's about it. Started a new job recently, don't get to watch draft stuff like I used to.

      He didn't strike me as a top 10 pick in the vein of a Julio, Green, Hopkins or Watkins of recent drafts.
      Treadwell is certainly not as good of a prospect as Julio, Green, or Watkins were coming out, but I think he still ends up going in the top ten. It's a relatively weak draft for wide receivers this year.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      The entire draft just got a face lift after the Titans traded away the first overall pick to the Rams. This gives Tennessee - as of now - six of the draft's first 76 picks giving new Titans' GM Jon Robinson approximately one of every twelve selections in the first two-and-a-half rounds.

      Wow. What a haul.
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      If the Rams screw this pick up, they will be a floundering franchise for 6+ years...But hey, LA has a team!

      (what a terrible decision)

      If the Titans can hit on 1/2 of those picks, wow, what a haul.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Clearly the Rams don't make this move if they don't believe there's a franchise-altering QB available in this draft. We've also seen evidence that when the Rams were on the other side of this deal, they didn't exactly figure out how to capitalize on all of those picks anyway. They have a young roster, Sam Bradford never panned out, and now they're stuck with Nick Foles. If they feel their franchise QB is in this draft, why not take their shot? Just because we don't feel like there's a superstar QB in this draft doesn't mean there's not a potential superstar QB in this draft. It's going to take something bold to catch up to Arizona or Seattle, so kudos to the Rams for defying convention.

      Heck, the Redskins made this exact type of move for RGIII, were criticized from day 1 (not by me) for giving up too much, had it not work out, yet they still hold a 2-0 edge in playoff appearances over the Rams in that timeframe. So even if the Rams "miss", it doesn't necessarily have to cripple the franchise for the next half-decade. Either way, this is still a team with a potentially great young RB, and a very good, young defense.

      If the Packers were offered that haul for Aaron Rodgers, they wouldn't budge. We focus on the exceptions like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, but the best way to take a shot on a top-flight QB is to move to the top of the draft. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but the Rams now have a new market, and are mired in a tough division that had them set up for the purgatory that is the middle of the draft for the foreseeable future. But the landscape is different now that there's a cap on how much you can pay a rookie. They don't have to pay anywhere near Sam Bradford money, which means that they'll be able to make up for any depth lost through FA. We criticize Jeff Fisher (I'm right at the top) for his consistent run at 8-8, so I can't in good conscience criticize him nor his organization for making a bold move that could either cost him his job, or could ultimately push them to the top of the NFC West and beyond.

      If Tennessee needed a QB, they don't make this move. That they didn't made this move a complete no-brainer on their part. They'll move back into the top 10, still keep a significant chunk of the picks they've obtained, and are on their way to reestablishing themselves as a threat.

      It's also pretty clear that the inclusion of the Rams 3rd round pick this year along with Tennessee's 4/6 was basically a separate trade within a trade that made it look even bigger. Had that trade happened mid-draft, no one would have batted an eye. But even if we set that aside, this year's 1, two 2's, plus next year's 1 and a 3 is a pretty good haul for the top pick.

      I like both sides of this deal. The Titans are starting to prove that they're once again being managed the right way, and Jeff Fisher is finally making an all-in move.

      I'm putting a personal moratorium on criticizing Jeff Fisher. Of course, that's subject to change at any moment's notice.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      The best ten QBs of the modern era are arguably

      Montana
      Manning
      Brady
      Rodgers
      Fabre
      Marino
      Airman
      Kelly
      Moon
      Elway

      I am counting the guys who played primarily in seventies as transitional for the sake of time because I am getting kid ready for school. I am also probably missing some guys. Since nobody is likely to argue against more than one of these guys being Hall Of Fame quality players they are a sufficient statistical sample.

      Three first picks.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      The best ten QBs of the modern era are arguably

      Montana
      Manning
      Brady
      Rodgers
      Fabre
      Marino
      Airman
      Kelly
      Moon
      Elway

      I am counting the guys who played primarily in seventies as transitional for the sake of time because I am getting kid ready for school. I am also probably missing some guys. Since nobody is likely to argue against more than one of these guys being Hall Of Fame quality players they are a sufficient statistical sample.

      Three first picks.
      Swap in Steve Young for Warren Moon and that list is solid.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      The only thing I hate about this deal for the Rams, really, is their insistence on saying they haven't decided who they'll take at #1. If they actually traded all this without knowing whether they want Wentz or Goff, then this is the dumbest thing a franchise has done in the history of football, more or less. I also hate the media—cough, Peter King, cough—for playing along with this nonsense and not trying to get a real story.

      I agree, basically, with Brian here. I don't really agree with his fairly rosy assessment of the RGIII trade, because the Redskins have been bailed out by being in a dreadfully bad NFC East en route to a second playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins randomly becoming a thing, and maybe not even for more than one season, doesn't make the trade a good idea. (It really would not surprise me that much if Washington comes back to earth becomes a five-win team in 2016.) As a Clevelander, I pretty much can't ever root for something good to happen to Stan Kroenke, but he has a team that's kind of in a no-man's-land of comfortable non-contention, so, yeah, go for broke.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      As for the Titans, I like this move for them as well. Take it from a Browns fan, Laremy Tunsil might one day help you be great, but for now you need to focus on getting good.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I have just seen some footage of Miles Jack. I take it back. Not the Second Coming. Disappointing as a tackler. Similar for Jones from LSU.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Just saw Mark Kelso break down Reggie Ragland and Leonard Floyd. Ragland looks like Brandon Spikes, which is nice but limited. Floyd looks like he should be eating chicken wings any day now. Outstanding quickness and sure tackling. I would be happy if the Bills take him, even at the expense of a defensive lineman.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      More importantly, http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-s...t-100-buckeyes
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Details on the Eagles move to #2 overall (Browns move back to #8)...

      https://twitter.com/Eagles/status/72...rc=twsrc%5Etfw
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      So Cleveland is getting good at fleecing teams that think they are "1 player away..."