This is my first mock of the 2016 NFL Draft, and these are some of my favorite pieces to do because of the various ways of thinking. I’m a Cowboys fan and often times I’ll look at mock drafts, and just shake my head at some of the strange ideas that people in the same field as I, will have Dallas pick. In previous years, I’ve seen mocks suggesting quarterbacks (Johnny Manziel), more offensive linemen, and horrible scheme fits on the defensive side, like Myles Jack this year, for the Cowboys to take.
Before reading on, filling out this mock draft is simply how I feel the draft might go down, as mock drafts can never be right. I also don’t want to make this a Trade Center like the 2012 Draft was, so I’ve limited myself to one trade, though your team should likely look to trade down in the draft and grab more picks, I’m going to pick the best option at that time for your squad.
With that addressed, let’s see who is going to be paid first-round money!
1. Tennessee Titans select Laremy Tunsil, OT from Ole Miss
This might be the easiest pick of all the draft, Laremy Tunsil, the stud offensive tackle from Mississippi. Although Tennessee’s defense is a disaster, they’re wanting to build their offense around Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray, and after watching Murray’s disastrous season in Philadelphia, it’s proven he needs an offensive line in front of him to not finish the game in negative yardage. Tunsil should provide to be a very nice pick for the Titans, if he will work hard. There’s questions arisen by Robert Nkemdiche about Tunsil being apart of some of his issues off the field, but that might be just out of jealousy, but it’s something to be aware of. Either way, Tennessee shouldn’t have a choice, they need men who can play football.
2. Cleveland Browns select Jared Goff, QB from Cal
Being different and totally wrong is completely okay, especially when it comes to mock drafts, introducing new ideas that the public analysts are afraid to dare. If you ask anybody, the Browns need a quarterback and will take Carson Wentz who is the “next Andrew Luck”, despite playing in the FCS and not Stanford. Wentz might be, but I think the Browns have caught Carson’s drift that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland, and I truly believe that Hue Jackson only wants a guy who will play for the Browns with all his heart, and I believe that’s truly Jared Goff, who will come in and try to change the Browns perception, matching Hue Jackson’s mission. Could very well be Wentz, but I believe Goff is a bigger possibility than people think.
3. San Diego Chargers select Jalen Ramsey, DB from Florida State
The Chargers took Melvin Gordon last year who fumbled six times and reached the endzone zero times, so San Diego is under pressure to hit on whoever they draft. San Diego also needs to make a splash for the present San Diego Chargers team to excite the fans, which means taking Carson Wentz to be the student of Philip Rivers Academy is likely a no-go, if it’s even a possibility when they’re on the clock. San Diego also lost Eric Weddle to the Ravens in an ugly breakup, so they can compensate by drafting Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey reminds me of Byron Jones who was picked late in the first round last year, but was used as both safety and corner by the Cowboys in his rookie year, a very valuable pick. Ramsey can do the same, play either of the defensive back positions, and is seen as the better prospect with a higher ceiling. San Diego is known for taking the best player available, which should be Jalen Ramsey.
4. Dallas Cowboys select Joey Bosa, DE from Ohio State
Sorry Dez, your dream teammate just became a Charger, and my sincerest apologies to the ones who are upset about not securing your backup quarterback position behind Tony Romo. Although those are possible scenarios for the Cowboys, I believe the obvious choice is Joey Bosa. With Gregory getting hit with a four-game ban for not putting the weed down, with Hardy not likely to return, and Jeremy Mincey also surfing endlessly in the free agency pool, the Dallas Cowboys are in the same position as last year, in desperate need for defensive linemen who can put pressure on the quarterback. I believe Bosa is all about business and is the ideal fit for the Cowboys and Rod Marinelli’s defensive front, while hopefully his effort rubs off on Randy Gregory.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars select Myles Jack, LB from UCLA
The Jaguars have gambled on the young offensive core assembled in Bortles, Yeldon, and “The A-Team” Robinson and Hurns, so now it’s time to work on their defense that gave up 28 points per game and 6,000 total yards away to opposing offenses last season, keeping in mind they were in a horrendous AFC South. The Jaguars will draft Myles Jack, one of the best pure athletes in this draft, and Jack will try to help this defense, while Jacksonville avoids drafting a defensive end with last year’s first round selection Dante Fowler Jr. coming back from an injury.
St. Louis Los Angeles Rams select Carson Wentz, QB from North Dakota State [after trading with Baltimore]
This is the one mock trade I allowed myself and I chose it on this. The common thought is that Carson Wentz will go two to the Browns, and I believe he’s the better prospect at quarterback than Goff, but I don’t think Wentz actually wants to go to Cleveland, and who would as a rookie quarterback? But after the second pick, the Chargers and Cowboys might try to secure the future, but those are two teams who shouldn’t pass on Ramsey or Bosa for a backup QB. With Wentz dropped all the way to six unexpectedly, this should be in good range for the Rams to trade ahead of the 49ers to get Wentz in their move to Los Angeles.
7. San Fransisco 49ers select DeForest Buckner, DE from Oregon
The Niners are in the market for a quarterback and nobody’s sure what they will end up doing with Colin Kaepernick, but considering both Wentz and Goff are gone at seven, I believe the 49ers have no other choice but to keep Chip Kelly from taking a speedy offensive weapon and build this defense back to what the 49ers used to be elite at. However, it’s ironic that I have the 49ers taking DeForest Buckner, an Oregon Duck. This would be their second Duck to be drafted into that offensive line, taking Arik Armstead in last spring’s draft. It’s so crazy, it just might work!
8. Philadelphia Eagles select Vernon Hargreaves, CB from Florida
The Eagles stole in a deal that sent Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins, while swapping first round picks with the Dolphins. Obviously, the Eagles have their eye on a guy that could leave the board before they would’ve been on the clock at pick 13. I look at the teams following the Eagles, and they all might be in the market for a cornerback, and the Eagles just traded away their cornerback and must cover threats such as Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, DeSean Jackson, and so many more. If Hargreaves drops to Philadelphia at 8, I see them strongly considering Hargreaves.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Ronnie Stanley, OT from Notre Dame
I’m seeing the general consensus of Tampa Bay drafting defense, which I necessarily don’t disagree with after giving up the 26th most points in the NFL last season, but they selected Jameis Winston number one overall last spring and they signed Doug Martin to a 5-year deal this offseason, so the emphasis must be on protecting those investments and helping this young offense grow up together. I don’t know how you can miss on a Notre Dame offensive lineman right now, so Stanley can be worth the 9th overall pick, which was the same spot Pro Bowl tackle Tyron Smith was taken in 2011, and Ereck Flowers occupied the 9th pick of last year’s draft as well.
10. New York Giants select Darron Lee, OLB from Ohio State
The Giants looked at two teams: the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins; Denver won Super Bowl 50 and Washington won the NFC East based on their defenses. The Giants have overspent this offseason to try and get the division’s best defense in hopes of going for a third Super Bowl in 9 years. The Giants could go anywhere but I feel you build through the draft, and if none of these free agent signings pan out, they need to draft someone who will. I’m impressed by Darron Lee, though he might be a product of what he was surrounded with at Ohio State, he’ll be surrounded with the same talent with the Giants.
11. Chicago Bears select Laquon Treadwell, WR from Ole Miss
Treadwell, I’m personally not sold on, which is why I don’t have him in the top ten like most consider. They compare Laquon Treadwell to the Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, which I feel is more of a result of wishful thinking. However, the Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets last offseason and I’m not sure if or when they’ll get a deal done with Alshon Jeffery, whose numbers dropped without Marshall on the other side, but still had a team-high 54 receptions last year. I believe Chicago needs that two-receiver threat, especially since they traded Martellus Bennett away this offseason to New England. Laquon Treadwell is someone they need to take the chance on, because they have no other choice.
12. New Orleans Saints select A’Shawn Robinson, DT from Alabama
This is my first Crimson Tide defensive player off the board at 12, which is pretty late for the talent level on the front seven of the BCS National Champions, but I feel it scares any top ten team of drafting a Crimson Tide player, simply questioning if they could come in and do it themselves. I believe the Saints have no choice, they need depth on that defense and they need winners, so I have them taking A’Shawn Robinson, who I rank as ‘1A’ for the Crimson Tide defensive interior, Jarran Reed ‘1B’ who could just as well go here.
13. Miami Dolphins select Jack Conklin, OT from Michigan State
I could see the Dolphins doing anything on the back end of their defense, and with corners like Eli Apple and Mackensie Alexander still on the board, it’s a possibility, but I believe Miami needs to begin protecting Ryan Tannehill to see if he’s the real deal or not. Tannehill has been sacked 149 times in the last three seasons alone, 184 times in his four-year career. It’s time to protect your first round investment.
14. Oakland Raiders select Eli Apple, CB from Ohio State
The Raiders have went from being a joke to building a legitimate team. From Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, Kelechi Osemele on offense, and then having guys like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin on the defensive side, the Raiders are on the rise. With all the eyes on Kansas City and Denver coming out of the 2015 season, look at the Raiders for the next couple of years, as I could almost guarantee them reaching the playoffs in either of the next two seasons. Oakland’s pick a few years ago with DJ Hayden never really met expectations a first round pick should do, so they should try Eli Apple now. They could get Mackensie Alexander also, but either way, it’s a cornerback here.
15. Baltimore Ravens select Mackensie Alexander, CB from Clemson [from trading with the Rams]
For the record, if I don’t make the trade, I see the Rams taking a receiver, rather than the public thought of Paxton Lynch, and I likely see Baltimore taking Vernon Hargreaves or Ronnie Stanley, but the Ravens couldn’t pass up on what the LA Rams offered to move up. The Ravens will settle for Mackensie Alexander, who I personally love. I believe the depth at the defensive back position has been overlooked, and I feel we’ll be talking about guys like Hargreaves and Alexander for years to come, even if everyone’s hyped up about Jalen Ramsey.
16. Detroit Lions select Noah Spence, DE from Eastern Kentucky
The Lions need everything, and considering Laquon Treadwell is off the board along with any 300-pound man who can help the offense function, I see them trying to load up on pass rushers to attack the opposing NFC North quarterbacks. However, the Lions organization is a big joke, and this is where they take a chance on Noah Spence’s talent that may or may not come to fruition, depending on how he handles himself on the field. If I’m running a franchise, I take both Clemson edge rushers before I ever think of touching Spence, but that’s just me, not Detroilet… I mean Detroit.
17. Atlanta Falcons select Shaq Lawson, DE from Clemson
The Falcons need pass rush help still, and you have to begin looking at who is available. I feel Lions or Falcons picks could be switched, but I believe the Falcons prefer Lawson or Dodd. We often see two sack-monster edge rushers enter the draft together, and we wonder who is the better prospect, and I’m on the half that feel Lawson’s going to be the better pro.
18. Indianapolis Colts select Nick Martin, OL from Notre Dame
The Colts have holes everywhere, and the only reason they’ve been relevant is Andrew Luck, but last year he couldn’t handle the awfulness that was the Indianapolis Colts. I think the Colts want to protect Andrew Luck, and that should begin with Nick Martin from Notre Dame. Nick Martin is versatile and can play any interior position at the next level. Nick Martin has the bloodline, with his brother Zack Martin an instant Pro Bowl guard down in Dallas, and the sad thing is, that’s only overshadowed Nick’s pro potential. I’m sure he loves Zack, but Nick will want to be learned more than “Zack’s little brother”.
19. Buffalo Bills select Jarran Reed, DT from Alabama
Busting on a defensive player from the stellar Crimson Tide defense from this last season should be close to impossible, unless they land at a bad franchise or in a bad scheme, and even then it might be hard to flop on the pick. I love Jarran Reed, personally, and Buffalo needs some pass rush help. I could see the Bills drafting Reggie Ragland instead, but Reed falling to Buffalo will get them to jump.
20. New York Jets select Paxton Lynch, QB from Memphis
I used my one mock trade earlier for the Rams to move up for Carson Wentz, which St. Louis at 15 was the general consensus for Lynch to land. Lynch ends up dropping to the Jets at 20, and it’s not like this guy is a steal here. Despite how perfectly they went together, Ryan Fitzpatrick nor the Jets will budge on their negotiations before the draft, and it’s a must for the Jets to excite this fanbase and their roster with a draft pick on the offensive side, and that’s where Paxton Lynch comes in.
21. Washington Redskins select Reggie Ragland, LB from Alabama
This guy drops to the Redskins, and I could see Washington possibly trading up to make sure Ragland’s a Redskin. Despite overachieving on defense last season, Washington wants to upgrade at every level of the defense, and they’ve honestly failed to do so in the offseason. I believe the Redskins go for a defensive player in the first round no matter what, and they get a good linebacker that will start week one.
22. Houston Texans select Ezekiel Elliot, RB from Ohio State
This is a wild card in this draft. He could go to any of the NFC East teams, to Chicago, Miami, Oakland, Detroit, Indianapolis, and you get the idea. I see him dropping to 22 in the draft because of how the running back position has lesser value than ever before. With that said, Houston’s been tagged as needing a receiver, but anything on offense will help. I feel Ezekiel Elliot and free agent signee Lamar Miller will be a running back tandem the Texans wouldn’t pass up if Elliot indeed falls this far. Also, look at Philadelphia and their running back situation after signing two of the top free agent running backs, there’s no guarantees. Houston hopes to hit on either Miller or Elliot.
23. Minnesota Vikings select Corey Coleman, WR from Baylor
The Vikings released Mike Wallace, Cordarrelle Patterson hasn’t lived up to his 2013 first round selection, and Minnesota really only has one outside threat in Stefon Diggs, who may or may not be the real deal. Minnesota’s woes aren’t on defense, and they need to surround Teddy Bridgewater with weapons, as well as opening things up for Adrian Peterson in the run game. Coleman’s the right choice here if he drops this far.
24. Cincinnati Bengals select Kevin Dodd, DE from Clemson
Kevin Dodd is a rumored top ten or fifteen pick, so Cincinnati should be thrilled with getting Dodd at 24. His production might have been credit to the Clemson defense surrounding him, so he lands in a place where the Bengals defense is just as credible when they play with their heads. This is more of a “Best Player Available” pick than anything.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers select Taylor Decker, OT from Ohio State
The team with the most Super Bowl trophies at six, are one of the three favorites to win Super Bowl 51, and they have the best case to the “What If” scenario, considering they played the eventual champion Broncos competitively without Le’Veon Bell or Antonio Brown, and were leading entering the 4th quarter. I feel it’s essential to protect Ben Roethlisberger, but also help the running game thrive as one of the league’s best, which is why I go with the best offensive tackle on the board, Taylor Decker.
26. Seattle Seahawks select Jason Spriggs, OT from Indiana
Even if Russell Okung left the NFC West, that doesn’t mean the Seahawks left that division. Seattle lost Marshawn Lynch this offseason, and though Derrick Henry might be the pick, fellow Christian, Russell Wilson must be protected if he doesn’t have Lynch in the backfield. I believe Spriggs can compete for the job in the training camp, which is the best you can ask for at 28, and hope he can hold off guys like Chandler Jones and Robert Quinn.
27. Green Bay Packers select Sheldon Rankins, DT from Louisville
An incredible interior lineman drops to the Green Bay Packers and they can’t pass this up if Rankins ends up falling. I’m very high on Rankins and his ceiling, and it just so happens to fall to the Packers, who must feel a need after losing BJ Raji on a team who can still compete for a Super Bowl this year.
28. Kansas City Chiefs select Josh Doctson, WR from TCU
Kansas City has the defense to still compete in the AFC West, and with most of the good linemen off the board, the Chiefs try to compliment Jeremy Maclin on the other side and give Alex Smith another weapon. I could see Doctson or Fuller taken at 28.
29. Arizona Cardinals select Ryan Kelly, C from Alabama
After trading for Chandler Jones, the Cardinals woes are all around that offensive line. I could see them going tackle, guard, or center, but I feel Kelly’s the best option left on the board at this point, rated the best center by Mike Mayock.
30. Carolina Panthers select Willie Beavers, OT from Western Michigan
A humbling 24-10 loss in Super Bowl 50 to Denver’s tremendous pass rush puts the Panthers in perspective. Cam Newton came off a season where he was handed the MVP, and despite his frame, they need to protect the guy. With no elite receiver in this draft, the Panthers draft an offensive tackle to protect Cam’s “Blind Side”, simply because Michael Oher couldn’t.
31. Denver Broncos select Leonard Floyd, OLB from Georgia
When you’re the defending champions, you don’t have many holes, except for this year. They could go any position, but I feel the Broncos are looking at their future. Von Miller is going to get paid eventually, DeMarcus Ware isn’t getting any younger and had a rare healthy season, and Shane Ray just got a tattoo with the rival Chiefs logo. There’s no solid option on the outside long-term, and I feel they could draft Floyd to begin develop him. People say not to rush quarterbacks, but if you can help it, don’t rush your rookies.
Disagree with your team’s selection? Is there any first-round talent I left out? There’s a comment section down below for you to voice your concerns with my first mock draft this spring.