Here is Tony’s annual NFL Mock Draft. All picks are made with a mixture of Team Need and Player Ranking. There are no trades that are predicted in the mock draft, so teams will remain as they are set for the 2016 Draft. This draft class is particularly deep on the Defensive Line side. so I can see more pressing needs to be addressed prior to these positions. If your team has DL needs then don’t be surprised to see two picks spent early, and a whole revamped DLine in the 2016 season. Cheers to the start of the fun part of the off season!
Edit: April 28th, 2016
1. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff- QB Cal
The first team to pick number one overall after a 7 win season. This is without a doubt a Quarterback pick, the question is which one? It is being tossed around by various reporters that the Rams are set on Jared Goff. The highly touted Cal QB carried his college team in a tough Pac-12 division. He may not have the physical size that Wentz is associated with, but Goff does have the arm talent, and tape to prove that he can compete at the next level. Goff has been considered to be the most pro ready QB of this draft class. The Rams will have their QB of the future locked up with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
2. Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Wentz- QB North Dakota State
The Eagles has had Quarterback issues for sometime now. The inconsistency of Vick, Foles, Sanchez, and now Bradford has hurt them for quite sometime. With that in mind, trading to number 2, and with the aforementioned inconsistencies you currently have on the roster, you must go Quarterback. It has been reported that the Eageles have been favoring Wentz from the beginning, so with that in mind there must be the sense that St. Louis is going Goff. Wentz will be able to develop behind Bradford for a season and learn the speed and work ethic of the NFL.
3. San Diego Chargers- DeForest Buckner- DT/DE Oregon
San Diego is the first non QB pick of the draft and they can go several ways here. The rest of the first round will really be shaken up by this pick. I have them looking to the DL in this mock. They need to bolster one of the most important sections on an NFL team. Buckner will allow them to add pressure to the Quarterback, and strengthen the run defense. The Chargers need improvements all over the Defensive side and it all starts with Buckner.
4. Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey- CB Florida State
Jalen Ramsey could become one of the best defensive backs in the league in a couple of years. He has amazing coverage skills, and plays the ball in the air better than anyone in this draft. He was a top 5 performer in the 40 at the combine (4.41), and the top performer in the vertical and broad jump. Cowboys fans will rejoice as they quickly forget that Morris Claiborne ever happened, and spark memories of Primetime high stepping his way down the field. Ramsey is a non-bust pick all around.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Myles Jack- LB UCLA
Myles Jack was coveted as a potential number one overall pick before last season began. After sustaining a knee injury during the season he declared for the draft and headed to rehab. Luckily for him, he has bounced back and looks to be close to 100% healthy. Jacksonville picks up one the most versatile defenders in this draft. Myles Jack’s ability to locate the football is uncanny, and his speed to get there is enviable. Gus Bradley will be drooling at the chance to insert him in his defense.
6. Baltimore Ravens- Laremy Tunsil- OT Ole Miss
After the season ended Joey Bosa was the consensus number one pick. He had questions about his passion for the game come up, and question marks began to come up for the talented defensive end. There is no doubt that when Bosa is on the field he is an immediate impact player. He makes offenses slide protection towards him, and Baltimore needs a player that can bring that to their defense. He will fit well under coach John Harbaugh, and make those top 5 teams regret that they didn’t draft him.
7. San Francisco 49ers- Ronnie Stanley- OT Notre Dame
San Francisco has lost tons of talent to retirement, and it sparked a less than illustrious season last year. This year they enter with head coach Chip Kelly, and a question mark at QB. With their first pick they begin the Chip Kelly era, and add to their offensive line. Stanley is currently being reported to likely be the first tackle off the board, but I am not a fan of last minute reports. Although he has ben touted as a top 10 prospect, Tunsil is still my number one at the Tackle. Having said that Stanley has great upside. San Francisco can immediately plug him in at Tackle and
8. Cleveland Browns- Joey Bosa- DE Ohio State
After the season ended Joey Bosa was the consensus number one pick. He had questions about his passion for the game come up, and question marks began to come up for the talented defensive end. There is no doubt that when Bosa is on the field he is an immediate impact player. He makes offenses slide protection towards him, and the Browns need a player that can bring that to their defense. Unfavorably for him, he is being compared to the 3 time Defensive MVP, JJ Watt. This is quite a stretch, but the potential for a similar career is there. If the question marks regarding his drive turn out to be false, and his work ethic is unmatched, he will have the top 7 teams looking back at this draft with regret.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Vernon Hargreaves III- CB Florida
Tampa Bay added Brent Grimes to their secondary this off season, and with the 9th overall pick they could look to improve the protection of QB Winston. However, there is no need to reach when the best player available is also a team need. Hargreaves gives the Bucs a revamped secondary to compete against the likes of Cam Newton, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. Hargreaves finished in the top 5 at the combine in the vertical, broad jump, and 20 yard shuttle. Although he doesn’t have the top end speed that a lot of scouts look for, he brings amazing coverage skills and sound fundamentals.
10. NY Giants- Ezekiel Elliot- RB Ohio State
The whole “you can’t draft a running back in the first round” spiel is completely fabricated. There just hasn’t been such talent. Like Gurley was last year, Zeke will be in this year’s case. Ezekiel Elliot is a flat out, do it all type of running back. He has the quickness to make defenders miss, the power to gain those extra yards, and the ability to catch the ball in the backfield. The Giants have been lacking a running back for several years now, and they’ll find their workhorse to open up the field even more for Manning and OBJ to do some work.
11. Chicago Bears- Leonard Floyd- DE/OLB Georgia
The Bears surprised lots of doubters last year by beating some expectations set. What they lack still is that traditional Bears defense. John Fox helped build the Superbowl winning one in Denver the past several years, so look for him to do the same this time around, and it will begin with Leonard Floyd. Floyd has the natural athletic ability that most athletes desire. He makes things look easy that shouldn’t be. He definitely needs some refinement before he can be the pass rushing threat he has potential to be, and Fox will be the perfect candidate to ensure that happens.
12. New Orleans Saints- Sheldon Rankins- DT Louisville
New Orleans needs to focus on the defensive side for this draft. Drew Brees had a nice bounce back year in 2015, and has the ability to keep that riding into next season. What they didn’t have was the defense to limit opponents. With the addition of Free Agent DT Nick Fairley, they took a step in the right direction. It is now time to add some more beef upfront to add run stuffing, and pressure to their resume.
13. Miami Dolphins- Jack Conklin- OG/OT Michigan State
Ryan Tannehill has the weapons at his disposal on offense, but it is hard to see where the problem lies if he doesn’t have ample time to find his open receivers. Conklin will insert himself as an immediate starter, whether it is at tackle or guard. He has the ability and footwork to play both positions. With new offensive minded coach, Adam Gase, the Dolphins will be happy with this safe selection.
14. Oakland Raiders- Shaq Lawson- DE/OLB Clemson
The Raiders probably made the most improvements to their team through free agency. Whether they pan out or not is still yet to be seen though. Their offense is led by the stellar play of Derek Carr, but they will look to add some more pass rushing ability on the same side as Khalil Mack. Shaq Lawson is a talented pass rusher who will make offenses account for him.
15. Tennessee Titans- Taylor Decker- OT Ohio State
Tennessee already made the trade of the draft. Moving back 14 spots, they are still able to select a top tackle talent. Taylor Decker will improve an offensive line that cannot afford to see Mariota taking unnecessary hits. He can plug into either tackle spots, and the offense will start seeing improvements. More time for Mariota, and bigger holes for newly acquired running back Murray will be a huge improvement for next season.
16. Detroit Lions- A’Shawn Robinson- DL Alabama
I badly want to see a wide receiver make an appearance here, but the hole that Calvin Johnson leaves behind cannot be filled by anyone. The Lions need offensive line help, but judging by their big board they cannot afford to reach in the first round. They then build back up what the Lions had in Suh and Fairley. This time, however, it is Ngata and Robinson. A’Shawn Robinson is a nasty player. At 310 pounds he moves with grace and athleticism. Detroit fans will cry out with cheer as they draft the younger version of Suh, and forget his money hungering ways.
17. Atlanta Falcons- Darron Lee- OLB Ohio State
Dan Quinn looks to add even more talent to his defense with Darron Lee. Having drafted a talented pass rusher in last year’s draft in Beasley, Quinn will look to add some versatility to his linebacker corp. Lee has the speed, strength, and the great play recognition to quickly dissect where he needs to be. This will bode well for a Quinn ran defense. Having converted from a safety, Lee brings an excellent blitz off the edge. Speed kills in the league and Lee is not short of it whatsoever.
18. Indianapolis Colts- Kevin Dodd- DE/OLB Clemson
Shaq Lawson took up much of the attention at Clemson, but Kevin Dodd had a fantastic season as well. Indianapolis has been lacking a top pass rusher ever since the departure of Freeney. They finally get that threat back in Dodd. At 6-5 280 pounds, Dodd is a force to be reckoned with. He will add much needed ability to a defense that has been lacking of late.
19. Buffalo Bills- Paxton Lynch- QB Memphis
This is a very Rex Ryan move this off season. Not recognizing Tyrod Taylor as a franchise QB talent is almost inconceivable, but apparently the organization does not see him as a starting quarterback talent. Thus they have extensively looked into the QB prospects of this draft. Paxton Lynch had a tremendous pro day, and I could see a team taking a chance on him in the first. Since the Bills are in the market I believe this would be a great fit for him. He already has established receivers, and a solid offensive line.
20. NY Jets- Reggie Ragland- ILB Alabama
The New York Jets could go a few different ways with their first round draft choice, but Reggie Ragland makes the most sense. The star linebacker from Alabama is a run stuffing machine. The consistent downhill play, and ability to rid himself of blockers will benefit him very much in the league. It won’t hurt that he will be playing behind Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson either, though. The Jets will have a very stout defense from top to bottom with the addition of Ragland.
21. Washington Redskins- Laquon Treadwell- WR Ole Miss
Many have Treadwell as the consensus number one receiver in this years draft. He is a great route runner and plays the ball well on contested catches. What he lacks is top end speed to keep the defense honest, and create necessary separation in today’s NFL. The Redskins already have the top end speed on their roster, though. So they will look to add another weapon that Kirk Cousins can use to grind out the tough yardage. This will also allow Cousin’s to confidently throw to those tight windows in the middle of the field.
22. Houston Texans- William Fuller- WR Notre Dame
The second of the Fighting Irish to be picked in the draft. Houston has their QB of the future (they better hope they do) in Osweiler. If that is the case you now need to give him weapons. DeAndre Hopkins has made his name known as one of the leagues best receivers, and quickly came out of Andre Johnson’s shadow. But you need someone that will complement a possession type receiver like Hopkins. Will Fuller is a burner who can take the top off of any defense. This will make teams respect the deep ball which will open up routes for Hopkins underneath. Fuller has been rising on draft boards ever since his performance at the NFL combine.
23. Minnesota Vikings- Josh Doctson- WR TCU
Minnesota is looking for a big bodied receiver that can go up and make a play. Doctson is that and more. He out jumps his opponents and gets the ball on his hands before anyone else does. Although he doesn’t have the “get away from the cops” speed (Madden reference), he can still shake defenders loose and make them pay. He adds a much needed red zone target to pair with Kyle Rudolph, and a pair of hands that will fight for any and every ball that is thrown his way. Look for Bridgewater to make a leap next season if this is indeed the pick.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- Corey Coleman- WR Baylor
With AJ Green already known as one of the best in the league look for Cincinnati to compliment him. The loss of Marvin Jones takes a utility option away from the Bengals, however, Coleman has all of the natural ability a player in today’s NFL can ask for. All the uncoachable traits that scouts look for. The Athletic Coleman can lineup all over the field, the same as Marvin Jones, but a younger arguably better version. Don’t be surprised to see specific plays added to the offense for a player with Coleman’s talent.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mackenzie Alexander- CB Clemson
The run on receivers comes to an end. Although, Pittsburgh could go with the TCU receiver, Doctson, because Bryant is out for the year. Pittsburgh needs to reinforce that proclaimed steel curtain. With Mackenzie Alexander they get a corner that can duplicate the coverage skills of Turner, and the ball skills of Polamalu. Alexander has his mental lapses where he would occasionally get beat for a big play, but with the right coaching and scheme he can be a very talented corner in the league.
26. Seattle Seahawks- Cody Whitehair- OG Kansas State
No matter how many times Pete Carroll says he is confident in his o-line, Seattle still needs help. In a year where Seattle will be trying to get rid of the void that is left behind Marshawn Lynch, they will need Russell Wilson to be at his best. The only way this happens is with a sound offensive line. Whitehair will be a starter from day one. He is projected to be a guard, and has fantastic footwork for his size. Seattle fans may not be pleased with the non-sexy pick in Whitehair, but they will be cheering all the same when Rawls and Wilson are performing without interruption.
27. Green Bay Packers- Jarran Reed- DL Alabama
BJ Raji retires and what better way to replace him than with a run stuffing Reed. The Alabama defensive tackle may go somewhat under the radar because he lacks a pass rush, but when you are in the NFC North the run stopping is a must. Reed will anchor the middle with Clay Matthews moving back outside. This is a great pick for the Packers all around.
28. Kansas City Chiefs- Noah Spence- DE Eastern Kentucky
Noah Spence falls a bit in this draft because of off field concerns, but also because this draft is just so deep with defensive line talent. Not necessarily a need by Kansas City, but they grab themselves a great pass rusher in Spence. Andy Reid is known to be able to mold troubled athletes, and create a friendly environment for them to thrive in. Noah Spence will be no different.
29. Arizona Cardinals- Jonathan Bullard- DL Florida
Arizona made a huge offseason trade and acquired Chandler Jones from New England. With their 1st pick in the 2016 draft they will complement it. Bullard is a power house defensive lineman that is projected to go on the outside. He brings great strength with the patented bull rush technique many have always tried to use. Whereas Jones excels in the pass rush, Bullard excels in the run game, playing with patience not allowing containment to be broken. He will be a helpful addition to an Arizona box that has been lacking of late.
30. Carolina Panthers- William Jackson III- CB Houston
Carolina could go one of a few ways, but I believe they need to make an impact on defense. Whether it be upfront or in the secondary the needed depth will have to come through the draft. William Jackson is a super fast and lengthy corner. Working on the opposite side of Josh Norman, Jackson will thrive. His only question mark is whether or not he has the reaction time to get to those quick inside routes, but there is no doubt that his speed is there.
31. Denver Broncos- Robert Nkemdiche- DL Ole Miss
Off the field issues have highlighted Nkemdiche’s path to the draft. Luckily for Denver, it enabled him to fall all the way down to pick 31. An arguable top 10 talent, Robert Nkemdiche is out to prove the doubters wrong. A physical specimen at 6’3 298 lbs. He plays low to the ground and causes havoc in the offenses backfield. Denver has lost a lot of defensive talent this off season and adding a player of Nkemdiche’s caliber is one way to gain back some momentum.