With the Super Bowl approaching, fans of the 28 franchises that aren’t still in the tournament are looking ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft with hopes of finding the right pieces to turn their team around. The NFL Draft has become a year-round event as fans speculate on the pro potential of their favorite college players. Free agency will certainly dictate much of what happens in the 2016 NFL Draft, but here’s my first way too early2016 NFL Mock Draft
Tennessee Titans, No. 1 (Dallas trades 1.04, 3.67, 2017 1st)- QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Jason Garrett coached Carson Wentz at the Senior Bowl and the Cowboys trade ahead of the Cleveland Browns in order to select their quarterback of the future.
Cleveland Browns, No. 2 – EDGE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
With Wentz off the board, the Browns go best player available and select a premier edge defender in Joey Bosa.
San Diego Chargers, No. 3- OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
The Chargers could go defense here, but they rush to the podium to select Laremy Tunsil, a tackle out of Ole Miss that looks like a perennial All-Pro that will help keep Philip Rivers upright and add a boost to the run game.
Tennessee Titans, No. 4 (From Dallas)- CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
The Titans trade back and are able to nab the best playmaking defensive back in the draft in Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has the ability to play both cornerback and safety and will be an immediate upgrade to the Titans’ young defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 5- DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon
The Jaguars could use help in the secondary, but in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 Under front, they add a premier five-technique defensive linemen in DeForest Buckner. Buckner is versatile with length and power, showing the skills to play across the defensive line.
Baltimore Ravens, No. 6 (Rams trade 1.15, 2.45, 2017 6th)- QB Jared Goff, California
The Rams don’t risk waiting until the No. 15 overall pick to find their franchise quarterback, trading up to No. 6 to select Jared Goff. With the Rams moving to L.A., it won’t be a far travel for Goff.
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 huge void on the offensive line at right tackle while Anthony Davis reconsiders retirement, and can develop as Joe Staley’s eventual successor.
Miami Dolphins, No. 8- LB Myles Jack, UCLA
Miami’s defense regressed after signing Ndamukong Suh to a mega-deal last offseason, 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.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 9- CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
The Buccaneers have some great young pieces on both sides of the ball, but their pass defense has been atrocious for the past several years. In Mackensie Alexander, they add a potential lockdown corner to their lackluster secondary.
New York Giants, No. 10- EDGE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
The Giants defense struggled mightily last year as they struggled to generate a consistent pass rush. The 6’4” 270 lb Shaq Lawson brings speed and power off the edge.
Chicago Bears, No. 11- DL Andrew Billings, Baylor
With the Bears’ transition to a 3-4 defense, they add a raw, yet extremely talented defensive tackle in Andrew Billings. At just 19-years old, Billings is a disruptive force that can play the nose or three-technique.
New Orleans Saints, No. 12- CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
The Saints’ secondary has been terrible and after whiffing on Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second round just two years ago, they find a quality cornerback in Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves.
Philadelphia Eagles, No. 13- EDGE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
The Eagles could look to go offensive line or quarterback here, but in a rebuild situation, they take the best available player with the highest ceiling. Jim Schwartz knows how to get the most out of his pass rushers and after a strong Senior Bowl, Noah Spence solidified himself as a top-15 talent.
Oakland Raiders, No. 14- OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
After bringing back Donald Penn on several one-year deals, the 32-year old tackle is once again an unrestricted free agent. This year, they’ll add Taylor Decker to protect their franchise quarterback, Derek Carr.
Baltimore Ravens, No. 15 (From L.A. Rams)- S Darian Thompson, Boise State
Baltimore could go in a number of directions here after trading down from the No. 6 overall pick, but Darian Thompson provides an immediate and much-needed upgrade to their secondary.
Detroit Lions, No. 16- LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Calvin Johnson just announced his retirement, so the “pencil-in” pick here would be LaQuon Treadwell. However, the Lions have holes throughout their roster and potentially find the steal of the draft in linebacker Jaylon Smith, who would’ve been a top-10 lock if not for a season-ending knee injury.
Atlanta Falcons, No. 17- DL Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
The Falcons added Vic Beasley in the first round last season after using a second-round pick on Ra’Shede Hageman the previous season. They continue to build up their defensive line with the versatile and disruptive Louisville defensive linemen, Sheldon Rankins.
Indianapolis Colts, No. 18- LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Without an offensive lineman worthy of the No. 18 pick here, the Colts upgrade their defense with Reggie Ragland, a throwback inside linebacker that’s an ideal fit within their 3-4 defense.
Houston Texans, No. 19- (Houston trades 1.22, 2.52, 6.177 To BUF for 1.19, 2017 5th) -QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Houston trades up three spots to ensure they get Bill O’Brien his big pocket passer in Memphis’ Paxton Lynch. The Bills are strapped for salary cap space and have several needs to fill, so adding extra picks is an ideal scenario for them.
New York Jets, No. 20- EDGE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
Many have an inside linebacker penciled in here, as the Jets have picked defensive linemen in the first rounds of the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 NFL Drafts. However, with Muhammed Wilkerson and Damon Harrison set to become unrestricted free agents, the Jets add a raw, but versatile and talented edge defender in Clemson’s 6’5” 275 pound Kevin Dodd.
Washington Redskins, No. 21- CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
Washington needs secondary help badly and Ohio State’s Eli Apple would form a solid cornerback tandem with Bashaud Breeland.
Buffalo Bills (From Houston), No. 22- DL Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
With Rex Ryan committing to his hybrid 3-4 based defense going forward, the Bills add Vernon Butler, a powerful and long interior defensive lineman that can play anywhere along the line. At 6’4” 320 pounds with 34+” arms, Butler is reminiscent of Muhammed Wilkerson coming out of Temple.
Minnesota Vikings, No. 23- WR LaQuon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The Vikings need to surround Teddy Bridgewater with weapons and LaQuon Treadwell is a fantastic receiver that compares favorably to Dez Bryant. He and Bridgewater will form a great young duo as the Vikings’ offense grows.
Cincinnati Bengals, No. 24- LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur are free agents this offseason, but even if they retain one, the Bengals could use the athleticism and range that Darron Lee brings to the linebacker position.
Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 25- OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Pittsburgh needs to protect Big Ben and improve their offensive line. Jack Conklin may be best suited at right tackle or inside at guard, but he’s a solid player that should be able to start from day one.
Seattle Seahawks, No. 26- WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
Offensive line will be a serious option here with Russell Okung hitting free agency, but instead the Seahawks add the speedy wideout Corey Coleman out of Baylor to add another dimension to their offense.
Green Bay Packers, No. 27- DL Jarran Reed, Alabama
The Packers would love an inside linebacker here to move Clay Matthews back outside, but without one worthy of value, they’ll upgrade their defensive line with Jarran Reed, a stout run defender with a relentless motor when rushing the passer.
Kansas City Chiefs, No. 28- OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
After whiffing on Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, the Chiefs add an uber-athletic tackle with length in Indiana’s Jason Spriggs.
Arizona Cardinals, No. 29- DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Robert Nkemdiche will slide in as an interior defensive lineman for the Cardinals, an area where they’re aging. A versatile and athletic linemen, Nkemdiche can play inside and out. If it wasn’t for off-field issues, he’d go much higher.
Denver Broncos, No. 30- OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
The Broncos need an upgrade in the interior of their offensive line, so they select Cody Whitehair out of Kansas State. A tackle in college, Whitehair was one of the best interior linemen at the Senior Bowl. He’s a quality pass protector and can move defenders off the ball in the run game.
Carolina Panthers, No. 31- EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma Statae
The Panthers defense needs an edge rusher to help out defensive tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, and Emmanuel Ogbah fits the bill. At 6’4” 275 pounds, Ogbah is a powerful, athletic end that will make Carolina’s defense even scarier to face.
New England Patriots- NO PICK, DEFLATE-GATE
- Cleveland Browns- QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
- Tennessee Titans- OT Shonn Coleman, Auburn
- Dallas Cowboys- RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
- San Diego Chargers- DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida
- Baltimore Ravens- LB/EDGE Leonard Floyd, Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers- WR Josh Doctson, TCU
- Jacksonville Jaguars- S Vonn Bell, Ohio State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OL Vadal Alexander, LSU
- New York Giants- RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
- Chicago Bears- OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
- Miami Dolphins- OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford
- Los Angeles Rams (From Philadelphia)– TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
- Oakland Raiders- CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
- Baltimore Ravens (From Rams)– LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
- Detroit Lions- WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
- New Orleans Saints- DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
- Indianapolis Colts- OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills- WR Braxton Miller, Ohio State
The Buffalo Bills are thin at the wide receiver position, so they select former Ohio State QB turned H-Back turned wide receiver in the second round. Although he’s inexperienced at the position, he was the star of the week during Senior Bowl practices and would be a dangerous offensive weapon in Greg Roman’s multiple offense.
- Atlanta Falcons- LB Deion Jones, LSU
- New York Jets- OG Denver Kirkland, Arkansas
52. Buffalo Bills (From Texans)- EDGE/SLB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
The Bills need a pass rusher/ “SAM” linebacker opposite Jerry Hughes and the 6’4” 250-pound Kyler Fackrell fits the mold. He’s a dominant run defender that’s still growing as a pass rusher. As a rookie, he’d be able to learn from Manny Lawson while serving as a rotational defender.
- Washington Redskins- NT Austin Johnson, Penn State
- Minnesota Vikings- OT Le’Raven Clark- Texas Tech
- Cincinnati Bengals- WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
- Seattle Seahawks- DL Kenny Clark, UCLA
- Green Bay Packers- LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
- Pittsburgh Steelers- S Jeremy Cash, Duke
- Kansas City Chiefs- LB/S Su’a Cravens, Southern California
- New England Patriots- EDGE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
- Arizona Cardinals- S Tyvis Powell, Ohio State
- Denver Broncos- WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
- Carolina Panthers- S Karl Joseph, West Virginia