Today, I present to the NFL fans my very own 1st round NFL Mock Draft up to this point of the season. I will give you an analysis on why that certain team or your team could end up selecting that player I picked.
Right now, this is the first round order for the 2016 NFL Draft. The draft order is determined by record, using strength of schedule, and then conference and division records as tiebreakers (record and strength of schedule are official tiebreakers to determine draft order). The final 12 first-round spots will be determined by playoff results. For now, those teams will be ordered based on playoff seed if the season ended today.
1. Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil – OT – Ole Miss
First, the Titans can go with anything here, but you need to keep Mariota standing. In 2014, the Titans drafted Lewan. Lewan is more of your typical right tackle. Tunsil and Lewan on the perimeters of the offensive line should help keep Mariota standing and build one of the better tackle duos in the league. Tunsil would step in day one on the left side because he is a well skilled offensive tackle and pass protects better than Lewan.
2. Cleveland Browns – Joey Bosa – DE/OLB – Ohio St.
Despite Manziel’s off-field problems, he has had a good year and has played well lately. Manziel playing well gives him a shot of remaining the starter for the Browns and under Head Coach Mike Pettine, who is on the hot seat. So, if Manziel keeps it up and cleans his act I could personally see the Browns pass up on Paxton Lynch and drafting the best pass rusher in the draft to many experts. Bosa would make an impact on the Browns defense on day one. The Browns only have 28 team sacks and are ranked 22nd in the league. Bosa has had a disappointing 2015 campaign with only 5 sacks, but his ability to disrupt are on tape.
3. Baltimore Ravens – Jalen Ramsey – CB/S – Florida St.
The Ravens could use a pass rusher, but help in the secondary is needed more. Ramsey could play either at the corner spot or the free safety spot. I see him staying at the corner spot, but I would not be shocked to see him play free safety, which is up for grabs. Ramsey is a great tackler and has instincts and awareness to get a great first step on the ball to record the interception. Also, like I said “Ramsey could play either at the corner spot or the free safety spot”, so his versatility seals him a top 5 slot.
4. San Diego Chargers – Andrew Billings – DT – Baylor
Billings is deciding to forego his senior year or go back for his senior year, but Billings is shooting up team’s boards with his high motor and pure strength. Billings can eat up double teams and beat double teams. He is the most disruptive player in college football and in the draft. The Chargers need a defensive lineman due to the fact their front 3 is weak and Billings would make a quick impact over the current players on the defensive line. This is the highest that Billings has gone on my mock draft, but he is a special talent.
5. Dallas Cowboys – Paxton Lynch – QB – Memphis
First off, Romo is not getting younger and has dealt with nagging injuries for the past 4 years. Lynch would not step in day one, but could end up starting in two or three years with Romo locked up in his current deal, but you have the franchise developing like Aaron Rodgers did behind Brett Farve. Lynch has a hose for an arm, terrific size and surprising mobility. This is the best quarterback in the draft and one of the bigger ones too.
6. San Francisco 49ers – Jared Goff – QB – California
So it seems that the 49ers are in a rebuilding mode. The Niners need lots of help in many areas, but they need a franchise quarterback. Goff has really good instincts and accuracy for a west coast like offense. Now, you take Goff and draft him some offensive line pieces to protect him. Goff has a decent two headed monster on the outsides with Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin.
7. Miami Dolphins – Jaylon Smith – OLB – Notre Dame
Now, the Dolphins need some playmakers in the linebacker corps and one need for that would be by taking Jaylon Smith to cover one side of the linebacker corps in Miami. The Miami linebackers have struggled all season except Jelani Jenkins. Jenkins can cover, which the Dolphins ask much of from their linebackers. Smith is a strong tackler with great instincts and a knack for sacking the quarterback. Smith has not record an interception in college, but he will get some in the NFL.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Vernon Hargreaves III – CB – Florida
The Jags can go with anything at this point. So they pick the best available pick in the draft. Hargreaves would bring some swagger to the Jags defense which they lack. Bradley misses Richard Sherman back in his days in Seattle and he could get a Sherman like player and here he is with a chance to do so. Hargreaves combines instincts, agility and controlled aggression to shut down one side of the field in coverage. Also, he lacks ideal size, but is very aggressive, which includes fighting off blocks and looking to tackle backs in run support. Further, he possesses excellent ball skills and likes to record interceptions.
9. New Orleans Saints – Connor Cook – QB – Michigan St.
Drew Brees is going to be a free agent after the 2016 season and is not getting younger. The Saints dominant ERA is over and it is okay because every team goes through this. Cook will need at least a year or 2 to be ready. Cook is a game manager and does not put his team in bad situations. Cook can make every throw.
10. Chicago Bears – Ronnie Stanley – OT – Notre Dame
First off, Jay Cutler looked really good this year, but lately he has regressed. Now, part of the blame has to be on the offensive line, which features two struggling tackles. First off, Kyle Long is out of place and should be used at guard, while Charles Leno is just a solid backup instead of a starter and especially at the left tackle spot. With Stanley falling to the Bears at number 10, they can scoop him up and start by retooling the trenches.
11. Detroit Lions – Robert Nkemdiche – DT – Ole Miss
The Lions have many areas to fill on the defense and offense. The offense can be upgraded by giving Stafford an offensive line to work with, but at the 11th pick it would be a reach to draft Conklin or Decker. They can address the line in the second round. So with that being said the Lions take one of the best pass rushers in the nation and rebuild that defense that used to be good. Nkemdiche can be the next Gerald McCoy and that would be nice for the Lions’ fans that suffered when Suh left.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Emmanuel Ogbah – DE – Okalhoma St.
The Buccaneers biggest need is at the defensive end and cornerback positions. I picked Ogbah to Tampa because he would step in right away and contribute to help the Bucs’ defensive line. Now, Gerald McCoy, Jacquies Smith, and Emmanuel Ogbah would be a nice trio in the trenches. Ogbah is NFL ready and is a sack machine, which the Bucs need. Ogbah has lots of power and speed that has translated into 35.5 college career sacks. This is my favorite player in the draft and he would be a steal for my Bucs.
13. New York Giants – Myles Jack – OLB – UCLA
Jack is a hell of an athlete and can make every tackle. He covers running backs and tight ends well. He is a fast linebacker that gets a good first step when the ball is thrown his way and when the ball is snapped from the line. Jack would add speed and power to the Giants linebacker corps and help them out in coverage as well. Jack would start along with Devon Kennard as the two outside linebackers. In fact, Jack missed a lot of the 2015 season with a torn ACL. Jack is the Todd Gurley of this draft. Hurt before draft and will be a top pick.
14. Oakland Raiders – Mackensie Alexander – CB – Clemson
The Raiders missed with D.J. Hayden and he is looking like a bust. Jack Del Rio has a decent defense that will only continue to get better. The biggest need for the Raiders defensively is the need for corners. Alexander covers exceptionally well and tackles well for a young corner in college (sophomore), but is not afraid to tackle in the open field. Alexander has not record a pick in college. That is not a bad thing because most opposing teams do not throw his way. Reggie McKenzie is starting to turn the Raiders around with some recent roster and draft moves. Lookout for the Raiders next year.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – DeForest Buckner – DE – Oregon
With Curry and Cox set to become free agents, the Eagles need to address the defensive line by taking a freak of nature in Oregon product, DeForest Buckner. Buckner is a special player with special talents. He is a freak of nature at standing 6’7” and weighing 290 pounds. Not a speed threat on the line, but that will improve throughout his time in the NFL. Buckner is pure power with his long arms. He is actually very good in coverage when he drops back. Buckner loves to harass quarterbacks and plug up running lanes. Buckner is just like his former teammate Arik Armstead, but has more potential than Armstead.
16. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Decker – OT – Ohio St.
Rex Ryan loves to run the ball and punch the opponent’s defense in the mouth. So they take a right tackle who could compete day one with Seantrel Henderson. This pick will help the resurgence of LeSean McCoy. McCoy had a good 2015 season, but it’s not Shady.
17. Indianapolis Colts – Germain Ifedi – OT/OG – Texas A&M
The Colts need help on offense and defense, but with Andrew Luck taking lots of hits and sacks leads to a result of a lacerated kidney. The Colts must protect their franchise. Germain’s versatility is helped by the way he possesses the mass, light feet and active hands to play all over the line.
18. St. Louis Rams – Laquon Treadwell – WR – Ole Miss
The Rams do not have a franchise signal caller, but they could end up drafting Carson Wentz in the second round if he drops to them. So take an offensive piece with Treadwell at pick number 18. Tredwell is the best receiver in the draft and would help get the Rams’ offense out of their funk. The Rams would have a nice young receiver corps. Treadwell and Gurley on the field at the same time is scary because you do not know who will get the ball. Treadwell blocks well down the field and this is a plus for a run first offense.
19. Atlanta Falcons – Shaq Lawson – DE – Clemson
The Falcons have the worst sack production in the NFL with only 17 sacks. The Falcons need pass rushing help and with Lawson on the board it is a no brainer to take him. Lawson would join former college teammate from Clemson in Vic Beasley in Atlanta. Sporting an NFL-ready build, burst, power and a high-revving motor, Lawson could offer the boost the Falcons need. Lawson’s compact frame and power make him equally effective against both the run and pass. Now, that is where he shows his surprising initial quickness and agility as well as a terrific motor. He has quick, strong hands to create push with his upper-body strength, showing the fluid lower body to drive his legs and smoothly change directions based on his reads. Lawson plays decisive and disciplined to hold the edge and not abandon his responsibilities. This would be a safe pick for the Falcons. Lawson has a great amount of potential and could be one of the better pass rushers in the league. Now, with Adrian Clayborn and Kroy Biermann set to free agents it makes sense for the Falcons to draft Lawson.
20. New York Jets – Vadal Alexander – OG – LSU
With Willie Colon aging, I could see the Jets address the offensive line that has struggled lately in the running department. Alexander could take Colon’s job. Vadal was projected as a day one pick, but fell throughout the season and has found himself back into day one talks with his excellent play. The 329 pounder can play the tackle position if needed. Safe pick for the Jets.
21. Minnesota Vikings – Reggie Ragland – ILB – Alabama
Chad Greenway is getting older and is a free agent after this year. So, the Vikings take Ragland to take over Greenway’s starting job, but move Kendricks to the outside and let Ragland play the middle. With Barr, Kendricks, and Ragland that is a top 4-3 linebacker corps and one of the better ones in the league. Ragland is a hard hitter and is a pure run stopper.
22. Kansas City Chiefs – Kenny Clark – DT – UCLA
First off, Clark is versatile and could line up as a defensive end or tackle and play the nose. Clark is one of the better run stoppers in the draft. Clark is not going to produce many sacks, but maybe after he gets some NFL experience he can tally some up. Safe pick for the Chiefs. With the Chiefs tight on money it makes sense to draft a defensive lineman with Howard, Williams, King, and DeVito set to hit the open market after the 2015 season. Dontari Poe contract expires after the 2016 season.
23. Seattle Seahawks – A’Shawn Robinson – DT – Alabama
The Seahawks are old at the defensive position and need to get young with the veterans wanting lots of cash. Mebane, Rubin, Williams, and Francis are free agents after the season and need to save money for Chancellor. So look for Seattle to draft quite a couple of defensive tackles early in days one and two. A’Shawn is a steal here. Robinson is pure power and can stop the run and get some surprising pressure on the quarterback. Robinson would eat the double teams and allow either Bennett or Avril to earn one-on-ones. The defense gets some toughness out there on the field that they already have, which more is better. Robinson is the stoutest of the three-headed monster of future first-round picks Alabama. Robinson is surprisingly agile for his size but his game is all about power.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU
The Steelers need some help on their offensive line, but the corner spot has been iffy all year. So, the Steelers end their problems by taking the best available corner in White from LSU. White is the next Brent Grimes, which is a good comparison. In addition, “White isn’t the fastest player on the LSU roster, but he has the foot quickness and fluid athleticism to blanket receivers on the outside, using his instincts and ball skills to disrupt the catch point. White will take some unnecessary chances and fall victim to coverage lapses, but his football future is bright.” – Dane Bulger. Now with Bulger saying those kind words about White, I can see him being like Brent Grimes with more speed. The Steelers take White also with the fact that there are going to lose William Gay, Ross Cockrell, Brandon Boykin, and Antwon Blake to free agency after the season.
25. Washington Redskins – Leonard Floyd – OLB – Georgia
The Redskins are missing Orakpo’s pass rushing abilities. Orakpo signed this past off-season with the Titans. The Redskins have only tallied up 29 sacks this year and are ranked 21st in the league. Drafting Floyd gives the Skins a young and promising pass rusher that is trying to find his game. Floyd has tons of talent. Now, the problem with Floyd is that he is a project. He is like Browns’ player, Barkevious Mingo. Hopefully, uses his talent and potential to good use unlike Mingo, who cannot figure his game out. This is a good gamble for the Redskins.
26. Houston Texans – Ezekiel Elliot – RB – Ohio St.
Arian Foster is not getting younger and is always getting hurt. It is time for the Texans to think about getting a new running back that does it all. Alfred Blue is more of a backup at this point. They need that big named prospect to step in the backfield. Also, hopefully in the second round or maybe being able to trading back into the first round that head coach Bill O’Brien selects his quarterback from Penn St. in Christian Hackenberg.
27. Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Bullard – DE – Florida
Raji is having a good year, but he is getting older by the minute and it is time to draft a replacement that could have an impact in a rotational role. Bullard is versatile, which General Manager Ted Thompson likes. Bullard can line up as a 3-4 defensive end or stand up as an outside linebacker. Bullard wins his battles with bullish power that disrupts opposing quarterbacks. Very good against the run.
28. Denver Broncos – Jonathan Allen – DE – Alabama
The Broncos could use some versatility on the defensive line and Allen would provide that. Allen would easily replace either one or both defensive ends, Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson, who are set to hit the open market after this season. I doubt the Broncos keep one or both. So fill a need with a talented player that uses his ability to create pressure from the inside or outside, rushing off the edge or moving inside as a three-technique penetrator. Allen uses his hands and length to create pop at the point of attack and punch his way through blockers, using his lower-body agility to puncture gaps. He uses his low pad level and leverage to lean into blocks, generating pressure off his first step to push his opponent into the backfield.
29. Cincinnati Bengals – Corey Coleman – WR – Baylor
The Bengals locked up A.J. Green, but after this season they are set to lose Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to free agency. So they need another receiver to pair up with Green and Coleman would be the perfect complement to Green. Coleman is a speedy deep threat, but runs routes good underneath. In addition, Coleman recorded 20 touchdowns this season.
30. Arizona Cardinals – Adolphus Washington – DT/DE – Ohio St.
Despite getting arrested for soliciting, Washington will sneak back in the first round. Arians is good at turning troubled players around into young civilized adults like Tyrann Mathieu. The Cardinals defensive line is old and are set to lose defensive end Frostee Rucker to the off-season, but hopefully they keep him instead of throwing Washington into a pack of wolves. Rucker should not cost that much. Now, Washington brings versatility by lining up as a tackle or end. Washington will learn quickly from Calais Campbell.
31. New England Patriots – No Pick Due To Scandal
32. Carolina Panthers – Jack Conklin – OT – Michigan St.
Conklin brings versatility to the Panthers offensive line by being able to play the guard spot. Conklin would join a run heavy offense in Carolina. Also, Conklin would step in at the left tackle spot from day one and this would end the Panthers searches every season for one year rentals. Here is Newton’s future blind side protector. Conklin on any other team would step in first as a right tackle.
Other Players who could become day one picks:
Kendall Fuller – CB – Virginia Tech
Noah Spence – OLB/DE – Eastern Kentucky
Shilique Calhoun – DE/OLB – Michigan St.
Jarran Reed – DT/DE – Alabama
Derrick Henry – RB – Alabama
Jayron Kearse – SS – Clemson
Scooby Wright – ILB – Arizona
Desmond King – CB – Iowa
Carson Wentz – QB – North Dakota St.
Cody Whitehair – OG – Kansas St.
Jason Spriggs – OT – Indiana
Josh Doctson – WR – TCU
Michael Thomas – WR – Ohio St.
Su’a Cravens – S/OLB – USC