NFL Mock Draft 2016: Edition 2
|Jared Goff to Cleveland|
Although still very early, Tennessee appears to have hit on the Marcus Mariota selection a year ago, as the young quarterback showed flashes of brilliance throughout his rookie campaign. Though, he was absolutely beat up this past season and suffered numerous injuries. Laremy Tunsil is by far the best offensive linemen prospect in the 2016 cycle, and he would give the Titans a piece to protect their franchise quarterback for years to come.
2. Cleveland Browns Jared Goff, QB, California
The arrival of head coach Hue Jackson indicates one sure thing in Cleveland: Johnny Manziel's time has come to a close. The frustrating part about it is that Manziel actually showed potential when he wasn't partying in Las Vegas or in rehab. The Browns should acknowledge they made a poor choice selecting Manziel (over Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, by the way), and search for a new quarterback to mold under Jackson, who has proven to be magical working with some quarterbacks. Jared Goff is the right choice; he put up huge numbers throughout his collegiate career and has ideal arm strength and a wonderful feel for the game.
3. San Diego Chargers Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Right now, the Chargers' organization sits in a weird state of limbo. They could very well relocate to Los Angeles, as early as next season. They also sit with an aging quarterback who has won a lot of games but not a lot of big ones, and a roster that has potential but hasn't cashed in on all of it. Even with all the question marks, San Diego could come out of this Draft a major winner if they can land Joey Bosa. Bosa is the type of rare pass rusher that doesn't come around much, and he would fit in perfectly on the Chargers' defense, which could use Bosa's versatility.
4. Dallas Cowboys Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Dallas is also in an interesting position during the 2016 off-season. Injuries burnt out what could have been a successful year in Dallas, and Tony Romo's health is a major concern. Even though selecting a quarterback in this year's Draft could be a possibility, the Cowboys should fix their major defensive woes first. The linebacker corps was unhealthy much of the season, and Sean Lee has struggled with injuries his whole career. Myles Jack is the most versatile linebacker in the entire draft and should bring an immensely high ceiling to the Cowboys' defense.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
For the first time in awhile, Jacksonville enters the off-season with a pretty weird feeling: significant hope. Second-year QB Blake Bortles took huge leaps, and the rest of the offense includes a budding T.J. Yeldon and young studs Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Though, the Jags were still brutal defensively, and they need a ton of help in the secondary. Ramsey would be the ideal selection for Jacksonville; he can aid at corner or safety and can be a difference-maker all across the field.
6. Baltimore Ravens Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The Ravens certainly could use a receiver, due to the advanced age of Steve Smith and the fact last year's first rounder Breshad Perriman, didn't play at all this season. Even so, Baltimore has a pressing need at tackle, with Eugene Monroe likely moving on this offseason. Ozzie Newsome should select Stanley, the top tackle available, and work on Joe Flacco's weapons, later on.
7. San Francisco 49ers Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Chip Kelly will arrive in the Bay Area with an interesting roster. San Francisco has talent, certainly, but there is a reason they lost 11 games this past campaign. A major issue last season was the passing game, which Kelly will hope to improve in a big way. His offense may fit Colin Kaepernick's skill sets, but Kap needs more weapons to be successful. Treadwell is the best overall receiver in this year's draft. He has terrific size, solid speed and amazing play-making ability. He would immediately give Kelly a new toy to work with on the offensive side of the ball.
8. Miami Dolphins Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
This past season was an absolute disaster for Miami, as nearly everything went wrong for the organization. Statistically, their pass defense was the worst in franchise history, allowing the franchise record for opposing QB completion percentage, and opposing QB TD's in a season. Brent Grimes should be back but he is aging, meaning Miami should stay in the Sunshine State and select Hargreaves. Hargreaves is a little undersized, but he is a legit shutdown corner that should reinforce that porous secondary.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
In the first year of the Jameis Winston era in Tampa, the Bucs showed significant progress, improving from a 2-14 mark to six wins this past year. Though, there are still holes to be addressed throughout the roster, starting in the front seven. DeForest Buckner was an absolute monster at Oregon this past year, and is one of the most athletic pass rushers in this year's draft. He could very well be a steal for the Bucs at nine.
10. New York Giants Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
The Giants finally decided to move on from Tom Coughlin at head coach, and hope they can snag someone at the ten spot that can give the stagnant franchise a major lift. Robert Nkemdiche is one of the best all around players in this draft, but off the field concerns could drop him slightly. Even so, New York needs some defensive line help, particularly with Jason Pierre-Paul's future in doubt after losing half of his hand in a fireworks incident.
11. Chicago Bears A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
Standing at 6'4", 320 pounds, A'Shawn Robinson looks exactly like an NFL defensive linemen. The massive Alabama product can play anywhere across the D-Line, something that would greatly help Chicago. The Bears have been playing with a mediocre defensive line for years, something that needs to change. Robinson would also be a nice fit in the Windy City, and would improve their rush defense for years to come.
12. New Orleans Saints Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
The Saints' defense has been absolutely pitiful the past couple years, and they seem to be wasting the final years of the Drew Brees era because of it. While picking up Paxton Lynch or Carson Wentz at QB may intrigue the Saints they should stick with Brees at quarterback for the time being and continue to work on their defense. Billings isn't a complete NFL tackle yet; but he has the size and motor to be a great one in a few years, and he would absolutely upgrade New Orleans defensively.
13. Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
It is a new day in Philadelphia, as the Eagles are moving on from the chaotic and pretty unsuccessful Chip Kelly era with Doug Pederson, former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator. Pederson will take over a talented team, but one with a fair amount of holes. Perhaps the most obvious is at the sport's most important position: quarterback. Sam Bradford could be back but he was mediocre a year ago and Mark Sanchez is no long term plan. Carson Wentz has been shooting up draft boards for weeks now and could even be discussed as the top signal-caller in this draft. Wentz would give Pederson a building block to work with as he begins to shape this team and make it his own.
14. Oakland Raiders Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Charles Woodson's illustrious football career came to a close this season, leaving Oakland's secondary in a tough spot. The cornerback position was bad this past season no matter what Woodson did at safety, and the Raiders need to upgrade it. It would be a major steal for the franchise if they were able to snag Alexander here. Although still very young, Alexander has incredible athleticism and potential.
15. Los Angeles Rams Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
For years, the Rams have been mired in mediocrity. They have talent on both sides of the ball and have been able to pull out some memorable wins but are yet to see a breakthrough. Now, as the franchise makes its move to Los Angeles, they should strike on a quarterback that can get them out of their average ways. Paxton Lynch has incredible size, athleticism and arm strength and he helped completely turn around Memphis football. Nick Foles struggled so much down the stretch Case Keenum was named stater, so this is a move that needs to be made.
16. Detroit Lions Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The future of the Detroit Lions is completely blurred as they head into the 2016 offseason. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson have produced plenty of wins, but are yet to make any noise in the Playoffs. And, Johnson might even be retiring soon. Detroit has a lot of needs overall, and pass rusher is one of them. Lawson is a legit Top 10 prospect, and picking him up here would be a very suitable move.
17. Atlanta Falcons Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
A major reason for the Falcons collapse after a 5-0 start was the lack of a pass rush and a weak rush defense. A major improvement from second-year end Vic Beasley would greatly help the pass rush, meaning Atlanta should work on their rush defense. Ragland was a monster at Alabama, and Tide linebackers have transitioned very well to the NFL over the years.
18. Indianapolis Colts Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Colts decided not to address major needs on both lines this past offseason and instead spend big money on washed up veterans like Frank Gore and Andre Johnson and draft wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round. They were rewarded with an 8-8 mark, although Andrew Luck's injuries did play a role. Indy shouldn't make the same mistake; Decker is an experienced tackle who could anchor the unit in upcoming years.
19. Buffalo Bills Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA
DT Kyle Williams missed a big chunk of the 2015 season with injuries and will turn 33 soon, while Mario Williams could be a cap causality. That makes it clear the Bills should invest in defensive line in this draft, and Clark would be a nice fit. He has the high motor Rex Ryan loves and he had dominant moments at UCLA.
20. New York Jets Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
One of the NFL's most underrated backs, Chris Ivory put together a very impressive year in New York this past season. Though, Ivory hits free agency this offseason, as does Bilal Powell. The Jets could actually get an upgrade by selecting Elliott as a replacement. Elliott is quick, agile and powerful and he has enough durability that he won't flake out of the league in a few years due to injury.
21. Washington Redskins Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama
The Redskins' defensive line was a disappointment this past season, and bringing in a new, young defensive linemen will help big time. Jarran Reed is not much of a pass rusher, but he is a physical linemen with good size and a nose for the football. He would immediately upgrade Washington's rush defense.
22. Houston Texans Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
It may be a little bit dull but the fact of the matter is that Houston needs a quarterback, as seven different quarterbacks have taken snaps over the past two years. Unfortunately, if Goff, Wentz and Lynch are off the board, Houston would be in a tough spot. Bill O'Brien coached Hackenberg at Penn State, and did wonders with the young QB. Hackenberg has no business going in the first round, normally, but under extreme circumstances Houston could take a swing at him, with O'Brien's backing.
23. Minnesota Vikings Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Teddy Bridgewater has been terrific over the course of his first two years in Minnesota, but he will need more assistance from his receivers. Stefon Diggs was a very nice surprise, but Mike Wallace wasn't wonderful, and promising Charles Johnson disappeared off the face of the Earth. Michael Thomas didn't put up insane numbers at Ohio State but he was very reliable. He will use his great size and speed to become a go-to target for Bridgewater on the perimeter.
24. Cincinnati Bengals Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Another Playoff berth, another heartbreaking loss in Cincinnati. Many Bengals' fans may be eager to shake things up, but Cincy is a talented team without a ton of holes. Their only major one is on the line, as the unit wasn't very effective this past year. While Cincy may be in the market for an interior linemen, Dodd is a rising edge pass rusher who was wonderful towards the end of the year for Clemson.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
The Steelers had one of the NFL's worst pass defenses last season, and they have lacked a true No. 1 cornerback for a long time. Eli Apple isn't a perfect prospect; he has blazing speed and unbelievable potential but he isn't very strong and struggled at times at OSU. Though, beyond Ramsey, Hargreaves and Alexander, the market for defensive backs is extremely weak in this draft, so Pittsburgh will stick with Apple.
26. Seattle Seahawks Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The future of Russell Okung in Seattle is in serious question as the proven tackle hits free agency this offseason. Whether or not he does leave, the Seahawks would be smart to fortify their offensive line with a young talent, such as Conklin. Conklin is a gritty, hard-working tackle out of Michigan State that should be able to contribute right away.
27. Green Bay Packers Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
A freak knee injury in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State significantly hurt Smith's draft stock. Possibly a Top 10 prospect previously, he very well could slide into the later part of the first round if teams are concerned about his knee. Green Bay needs help on run defense, and can afford to wait a little for Smith. When he does become fully healthy, he could form one scary combination with Clay Matthews.
28. Kansas City Chiefs Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida
The Chiefs' defense was very impressive this past season, but it enters this offseason with uncertainty. Sean Smith and Eric Berry will hit free agency in the secondary, and one has to assume the Chiefs will spend big time money to bring them back. That means that a number of defensive linemen who will also become free agents; such as Mike DeVito, could be afterthoughts. Jonathan Bullard would get them younger in the front seven, and bolster their trenches.
29. Arizona Cardinals Noah Spence, DE/LB, Eastern Kentucky
Dwight Freeney may have had some good moments this past year in the Desert, but shouldn't be back next season. That means the Cardinals' pass rush could miss some serious bite, making a pass rusher a smart choice here. Noah Spence is a major risk; he has some serious off-the-field issues that led to his demise at Ohio State. But, talent-wise, he is a Top 10 prospect. Arizona has a stable enough organization that they can take a chance on him here.
30. Denver Broncos Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor
The good news for Denver is that tackle Ryan Clady will be back from injury next season, giving them a Pro-Bowler make in the mix. Though, Evan Mathis hits free agency, and the offensive line as a whole could use some reinforcement. Drango is about as versatile on the O-Line as you can get, and could even fill in for Mathis at guard.
31. Carolina Panthers Emmanuel Ogbah, DL, Oklahoma State
Carolina will have to say goodbye to Jared Allen this offseason, as his career appears to be coming to a close. They could also be without Charles Johnson at the other end spot due to the high interest he will get on the open market, making defensive end a priority. Luckily for the Panthers, Ogbah could slip a little bit, as the market for edge pass rushers dips a bit after the Top 10. Ogbah is a freak with excellent athleticism who would be a steal here.