By Ryan Crawford
Welcome to the 2016 NFL Draft. Just like 2015 it looks like quarterbacks go 1 and 2 and the top talent slides a little. Without further adieu, lets get this party started.
- LOS ANGELES RAMS (from Tenn) – Jared Goff – QB – California
This is a pretty easy choice for the average draft prognosticator, as the Rams did not trade up to the number one spot so they could draft defense or a tackle. They want to make a big splash as they move to LA and they feel Goff is the natural choice to lead the franchise to the west coast. Les Snead and Jeff Fishers job security will be tied to Goff’s development and overall success but they feel they have a good defense and plenty of offensive weapons to put around him. There are many who feel that Carson Wentz is a more natural fit for their offense but it seems clear that the Rams have settled on the California kid with the big arm and a high ceiling.
- PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from Cle) – Carson Wentz – QB – North Dakota St
Like the Rams, the Eagles did not move up to this spot to take anyone other than a quarterback. Wentz is the clear-cut choice at number 2. These two QB’s are really 1 and 1A and ewrrword is the Eagles are more in love with Wentz anyway. He’s big and strong, makes every throw and can avoid trouble with his legs. The only question has become whether Sam Bradford will be there with him for the first year or two. Looks like the answer to that is probably not.
- SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – DeForest Buckner-DT-Oregon
Once the Rams and Eagles jumped up to be in position to grab the two quarterbacks, the Chargers ended up in the enviable position of being able to choose the best player in the draft who was not a QB. In the weeks leading to draft night the prevailing sentiment was that although they already had two tackles, Laremy Tunsil would be too good to pass up. However word has filtered out in the last few days that the Chargers are thoroughly smitten with DeForest Buckner and he clearly plays a need position for the team. Unless this is an elaborate smokescreen to get a team to give up a couple of picks to move into that slot, I am going to take the bait and give Buckner to the Chargers. What does make sense to me would be if Jacksonville or Baltimore wanted to jump Dallas for Jalen Ramsey then the Chargers could get a pick and still grab Buckner at 5 or 6. Unless Dallas loves Buckner too?? Hmmmm…
- DALLAS COWBOYS – Jalen Ramsey-CB-Florida State
No matter which way they go the Cowboys should get a great prospect. To me the most natural fit for them is Ramsey. He and Tunsil are generally regarded as the top two talents in this draft and he fills a big need for the Cowboys at the same time. He can play safety or corner and can match up positionally based on the opponent that week. I could see teams trying to jump to number 3 or 4 to get him. In the end I think he is the Cowboys pick. On another note the Cowboys can use a running back in the draft and I’m sure they like Ezekial Elliott but I think the chatter of picking him at 4 is purely a smokescreen to hide their true target.
- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Joey Bosa– DE– Ohio State
I don’t see Jacksonville picking in this spot. I could see them jumping up to 3 or more probably trading down for a couple of picks. Miami for Elliott and Tennessee for Tunsil or Stanley seem to be the most logical trading partners. If they stay at 5, they can decide between Joey Bosa and Myles Jack. I will give them Bosa because Jack’s knee problem might scare them off.
- BALTIMORE RAVENS – Laremy Tunsil- T- Mississippi
Well it looks like 2015 all over again when the top rated talent falls to the 6th pick in the draft. Ozzie Newsome always picks the highest guy on his board and you can’t get much higher than Tunsil. The Ravens will be thrilled to plug this guy in for the next 10 years.
- SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Ronnie Stanley-T- Notre Dame
Ronnie Stanley has steadily risen up the draft board and rumors have him going even higher than 7 to the Niners. The 49ers have been more decimated by injuries, defections and early retirements than any team I can remember so they need to start from scratch. To me that means building up the lines and Stanley is a great start.
- CLEVELAND BROWNS (from Phi) – Josh Doctson- WR- TCU
A surprise pick for many draft pundits but after all it is the Cleveland Browns. With Josh Gordon out yet again, the Browns have a glaring need at Wide Receiver and this guy has all the tools. At the end of the day I do not expect the Browns to be picking in this slot but rather a few spots further down. Still, I think Doctson is their man.
- TAMPA BAY BUCS – Vernon Hargreaves- CB- Florida
The Bucs need some work in their secondary and would love to get their hands on Jalen Ramsey. That doesn’t appear likely so the 2nd corner on draft lists is Vernon Hargreaves who would be a great fit. Other needs for Tampa are a pass rusher, the offensive line and another wide receiver. Chatter around about them trading down to the middle of the round as well. Tennessee a candidate at 15.
- NEW YORK GIANTS – Jack Conklin- T- Michigan State
A big nasty tackle to help keep Eli Manning upright. Doesn’t have the athletic ability of Tunsil or Stanley but will make up for it with toughness and a mean streak that allows him to get the job done. Giants GM Jerry Reece is under a lot of pressure to have a good draft and this guy is a nice start
- CHICAGO BEARS – Myles Jack – LB- UCLA
His bum knee caused this drop to 11. Fully healthy, Jack would have easily been a top 5 pick. The Bears check him out medically, clear him and then pounce on him. Another possibility for the Bears is to move this pick in a deal with the Jets for Muhammad Wilkerson but that seems to have lost some steam
- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Sheldon Rankins-DT- Louisville
The buzz is that the Saints have their eye on Paxton Lynch as a long-term successor to Drew Brees. While I think that Lynch is a good prospect, the Saints defense cannot stop anyone and they cannot afford the luxury of drafting a player in the first round who will sit and learn for two or three years. A more likely scenario is that they pick up a run stuffer who can also rush the passer like Rankins and pick up a QB prospect on day 2 of the draft.
- MIAMI DOLPHINS (from Phi) – Ezekiel Elliott- RB- Ohio State
Elliott is the wildcard of the draft. You can see his name in mock drafts going anywhere from the Cowboys at 4 to Texans at 22. When the Dolphins tell everyone they are comfortable with their stable of running backs, they are blowing smoke. I think at the end of the day Elliott will be a Dolphin. We will see what pick they take him with.
- OAKLAND RAIDERS – Shaq Lawson – DE – Clemson
The Raiders are building a ferocious defense with speed and power, which was always the Al Davis way. Adding another player to rush the passer off the edge only makes them more difficult to stop. Lawson is a powerful rusher who makes plays. Corner is another possibility here with William Jackson III the most likely candidate.
- TENNESSEE TITANS (from LA) – Taylor Decker -T- Ohio State
The Titans are in the market to move back up into the top 10 to draft one of the offensive tackles to protect Mariota. If they aren’t successful in their attempt they will settle for Decker. Decker is a very highly rated prospect in a deep pool and can be plugged in from the first day of camp.
- DETROIT LIONS – Laquon Treadwell- WR-Mississippi
The Lions really need to replace Calvin Johnson and rebuild parts of their offensive line. The top 4 tackles are gone but Treadwell is still on the board. Treadwell is a gifted receiver who plays faster than his 40 time and provides a much-needed big target for Matthew Stafford.
- ATLANTA FALCONS – Leonard Floyd- LB- Georgia
Falcons are pleased and surprised that Floyd drops to them at 17. Another pass rusher for Dan Quinn’s schemes should help improve a Falcons defense that was torched in the second half of 2015.
- INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – Noah Spence- DE/OLB- Eastern Kentucky
When is the last time the Colts had a good defense? Wasn’t Bubba Smith on that team? This guy can rush the passer and although he had some past issues that gave him that dreaded “Red Flag”, word is he’s past that and checked out clean for all the teams. The Colts have also been linked to Ryan Kelly and the 4 top tackles if they slip down as they need to protect Andrew Luck better than they have been.
- BUFFALO BILLS – Paxton Lynch- QB- Memphis
Leave it to Rex to spoil the Jets plans at 20. Not sold that the Jets were on Lynch as much as others are but I don’t have to be. Only Rex has to be. Lynch is a very good prospect with a cannon and quick feet and the Bills need a top flight QB to compliment their defense. It will take him a year or two to be ready but this pick should pay dividends down the road.
- NEW YORK JETS – Darron Lee – LB- Ohio State
Jets need an edge rusher with speed to help the defense and Jets can figure on whichever edge rusher the Falcons don’t choose. Lee has been a demon for the Buckeyes and will fill his role nicely in Todd Bowles’ defense
- WASHINGTON REDSKINS – Jarran Reed -DT- Alabama
The Redskins were 28th in rushing yards allowed per game last season and a run stuffer in the middle of their 3-4 defense is a must. Adding a top prospect like Jarran Reed to the mix can only help.
- HOUSTON TEXANS – Corey Coleman- WR- Baylor
It’s no secret that the Texans are in the market for a new receiver for Brock Osweiler to throw to. Corey Coleman is a speedster who can stretch the field for Osweiler and open things up for DeAndre Hopkins. A good choice for the Texans
- MINNESOTA VIKINGS- Michael Thomas – WR- Ohio State
The Minnesota Vikings are next on line for a wide receiver. Will Fuller is next man up at the position and I originally had him going to the Vikings but he’s a 170 pound burner and Thomas seems to be a better fit. The Vikings are looking for a big physical receiver and at 6’3 and 212 pounds, Keyshawn Johnson’s nephew has the size and the bloodlines.
- CINCINNATI BENGALS – Ryan Kelly -C- Alabama
A hot name who is moving up on many draft boards, Kelly is a plug and play guy who could play center or guard in the NFL. The Bengals can use interior linemen to help protect Andy Dalton and generate more of a running game. Kelly makes a lot of sense for the Bengals but he could go earlier.
- PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Karl Joseph- S – West Virginia
Many of the so called experts seem to be tying the knot between Joseph and the Steelers. The Steelers secondary is a mess and they have been looking for Troy Polamalu’s replacement for two years. Joseph is next up to fill that huge void in the Steeler lineup. One of the top corners like Apple, Jackson or Alexander are strong possibilities here as well. One thing seems for sure. The Steelers will be picking someone to play in their defensive backfield.
- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Germain Ifedi- T- Texas A&M
The toughest pick to figure out. The Seahawks have talent everywhere and have picked the best available athlete under this regime. Their top needs include a young corner, help on the offensive line and a speed rushing linebacker to replace Bruce Irvin. Ifedi seems to be drawing the Seahawks attention and he’s the pick here.
- GREEN BAY PACKERS – A’Shawn Robinson -DT- Alabama
The Packers are in the market for players that fit into their front seven. The Packers have been linked to 3 Alabama players in Robinson, Reggie Ragland and Jarran Reed but Reed is gone and Robinson can replace BJ Raji. They would love to line up Darron Lee opposite Clay Matthews but would have to move up a few spots to get him and Ted Thompson has a tendency to stay put. Ragland would have been the pick but late reports of an enlarged aorta probably drop him out of the first round
- KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Vernon Butler-DT-Louisiana Tech
The Chiefs are in the market for linebackers, wide receivers and defensive line help. I think it comes down to Will Fuller at the receiver slot and Vernon Butler to anchor the line inside. The choice is Butler.
- ARIZONA CARDINALS – Kevin Dodd – DE- Clemson
The Cardinals need secondary help and an edge rusher to help their defense. Dodd is the best edge rusher still available and would be a nice fit for the Cardinals D. Chatter has them trading down to add a pick or two.
- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – N/A
Forfeited the pick in deflategate but don’t be surprised if Belichick and company make a draft splash and move into the lower half of the round.
- CAROLINA PANTHERS ––Eli Apple- CB – Ohio State
With Josh Norman gone to Washington and three of the top rated corners still on the board, this becomes a choice of not which position, but which corner. Mackensie Alexander and William Jackson would be good picks but we will go with Eli Apple.
- DENVER BRONCOS –- Dak Prescott – QB –Mississippi State
While we all know that doing a mock draft is basically educated guessing, this pick is anything but educated. It’s purely a guess and a hunch on my part. Watching Prescott throughout his college career, the thing that I took away was his toughness and his ability to escape the defensive rush. Did I hear someone say Russell Wilson? Maybe that was the little voice in my head but the Broncos do need a QB, right?