It’s that sad time of the year again. No Football. It’s also the time where lamenting over your team’s season is over and fans start to look at free agency and the NFL draft as a new hope. For the Buffalo Bills the draft is arguably more important than free agency this offseason. Although it’s still fairly early I decided to try my hand in my first 2016 NFL Mock Draft, and you’re either going to love it or hate it–so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
Tennessee Titans, No. 1- OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
Left Tackle seems to be the “safe pick” in the top 5 because that position is arguably the most important on the offensive line. As of lately offensive line seems to be the position that ends up with the most bust. However, after drafting Marcus Mariota last year the Titans get his blindside protector and that allows them to move Taylor Lewan to right tackle.
Cleveland Browns, No. 2- QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
After an impressive Senior bowl it seems like Wentz’s draft stock has gone up a ton. That and the arrival of Hue Jackson paired with the expected departure of Johnny Manziel could lead Wentz to Cleveland.
San Diego Chargers, No. 3- DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon
San Diego needs a lot and tackle Ronnie Stanley is intriguing, but Buckner is a game-changer this defense needs. He fits the 3-4 scheme they run much better than another defensive stud, Joey Bosa. Adding to the front 7 and pass-rush will help the secondary a lot.
Dallas Cowboys, No. 4- DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Knowing Jerry Jones he might want to draft a quarterback as he shows that he prefers to build on strengths, hence one of the best offensive lines in the league. However taking the best player available, Joey Bosa, would be smart and replace the troubled Greg Hardy.
Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 5- CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
The Jaguars could go with the safety Jalen Ramsey from Florida state, but they need a solidified corner with good man and zone cover skills, although his former is better it’s good enough for the Jaguars.
Baltimore Ravens, No. 6- S Jalen Ramsey, FSU
Baltimore’s pass defense was terrible this past season as both Jimmy Smith and Ladarius Webb struggled. They pounce on Jalen Ramsey as he is a dominant, ball-hawking safety and could eventually take over for the aging Webb.
San Francisco 49ers, No. 7- OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
The 49ers have needs all over their roster, so filling the “biggest” need with a top-10 pick shouldn’t be their main priority. Ronnie Stanley fills a big void on the offensive line at right tackle while Anthony Davis is reportedly coming out of retirement, and can develop as Joe Staley’s eventual successor.
Miami Dolphins, No. 8- CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
With the secondary needy teams passing on Alexander the Miami Dolphins scoop him up. Brent Grimes is not who he used to be and is declining rapidly. Outside the the front 4 this defense is aging and not good. Mackensie Alexander is a great player that will start from day 1.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 9- DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
This is really the first stretch pick where a player gets overdrafted. I can see Tampa Bay fall in love with Ogbah’s game and take him really early. He is a good fit and should be dominant next to Gerald McCoy.
New York Giants, No. 10- LB Myles Jack, UCLA
Myles Jack is one of the best players in this class. As soon as he falls to them the Giants celebrate. Let’s be honest, this defense is terrible, so adding an athletic, physical linebacker that can line up at either the MIKE or WILL position will give this defense the attitude it needs.
Chicago Bears, No. 11- EDGE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Shaq Lawson, a 6-3 275-pound defensive end was a star on Clemson’s defense. Having started only one season in college he could go anywhere in the top 15, but the Bears take him at 11 to pair up with Pernell McPhee.
New Orleans Saints, No. 12- DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
The Saints’ defense was atrocious last season and it started up front, as they couldn’t control the line of scrimmage at all. Selecting the dominant 19-year old nose tackle out of Baylor forms a young, talented group of youngsters with second year linebackers Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha behind him.
Philadelphia Eagles, No. 13- EDGE/LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
After moving on from Chip Kelly they brought in Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson, to build this team back up. They also brought in Jim Schwartz as the defensive coordinator. Floyd would be a solid fit in the front 7 as a pass-rusher.
Oakland Raiders, No. 14- CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
The Raiders reach a bit after the top cover guys are taken. After selecting the bust that is DJ Hayden two years ago the Raiders haven’t invested much at that position and it shows on the field.
L.A. Rams, No. 15- QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Nick Foles isn’t the answer but Jeff Fisher might buy himself even more time as a head coach with the selection of Paxton Lynch, a talented passer out of the Memphis.
Detroit Lions, No. 16- WR LaQuon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The expected retiring of Calvin Johnson leaves a gaping hole in this offense. It can somewhat be plugged by the best wideout in the class, LaQuon Treadwell.
Atlanta Falcons, No. 17- WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
With Roddy White aging, Matt Ryan gets a new dynamic weapon opposite Julio Jones. This pairing will give NFC South secondary’s nightmares.
Indianapolis Colts, No. 18- OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
Andrew Luck has been the most hit quarterback in the league in his career not including his injury riddled 2015 season. That is all.
Buffalo Bills, No. 19- EDGE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
As broken down by Rob Quinn, Spence is a dominant player. However, he has a history of off-field problems which is some concern. Spence was kicked off the Ohio State Buckeyes for drug problems. That lead him to the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. There he established himself from the rest and proved to be a special player. If he kept himself out of trouble he might have been a top-10 pick in this draft.
He would pair up with Jerry Hughes as a dominant duo. This pick also comes in the wake of the report about how the Bills are planning to cut Mario Williams.
New York Jets, No. 20- LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
The Jets snag the best linebacker in the class at 20. The only reason he fell this far is because his torn up knee. Although he said he should be ready to play at the start of the season. The jets have stated that Demario Davis will not return and David Harris is on the back side of his career.
Washington Redskins, No. 21- ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Reggie ragland may be one of my favorite player in this class. However, his lackluster pass-coverage skills and his ability to only fit in one scheme (3-4) will let him fall. He is a great young leader and will control that defense for years to come.
Houston Texans, No. 22- QB Jared Goff, California
Although he does not necessarily fit what Bill O’Brian wants at quarterback having Brian Hoyer at quarterback another year will be his demise.
Minnesota Vikings, No. 23- OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford
Joshua Garnett is a beast on the field. He is extremely athletic and would help Adrian Peterson a ton in the run-game, but he is still a solid pass-protector which is what they need the most.
Cincinnati Bengals, No. 24- LB Su’a Cravens, USC
Bengals take a flyer on the versalite Cravens as two of their current linebackers are free agents.
Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 25- CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
If the Steelers had a secondary that didn’t let someone like me beat them they might have made it to the Super Bowl 50.
Seattle Seahawks, No. 26- OT Jack Conklin, MSU
I do not know which one is worse the Steelers secondary or the Seahawks offensive line. With Russell Okung set to leave in free agency the Seahawks pick a tackle who could move to guard if needed.
Green Bay Packers, No. 27- DL Jarran Reed, Alabama
With the Packers set to lose BJ Raji and others in free agency they bring in much needed depth across the line.
Kansas City Chiefs, No. 28- OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
The Chiefs depth and talent on the offensive line showed in their playoff loss against the New England Patriots. Spriggs is a much needed athletic tackle for this offense.
Arizona Cardinals, No. 29- DL Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
The Cardinals lack of pass rush was their kryptonite in their playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers. It also showed up all season long. Rankins is a disruptive force who would make an awesome duo with Calais Campbell.
Carolina Panthers, No. 30- Will Fuller, Notre Dame
Although they have more pressing needs the Panthers build on a strength and add a speed wideout to improve the offense even more.
Denver Broncos, No. 31- RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Despite having a historically great defense in 2015 the Broncos still have to resign the likes of Von Miller, Malik Jackson and more if they want to come close to that defense next year. They also need to resign CJ Anderson who was key in their playoff run. If they can not resign him it could spark this pick.
New England Patriots- No pick, Deflate-gate