2016 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 Prediction and Analysis

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 Prediction and Analysis

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2016 NFL Mock Draft
2016 NFL Mock Draft Prediction and Analysis

With the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft beginning this Thursday, I decided to put together a mock draft to attempt to preview how I think the draft will go for each team.

To make things interesting, I enlisted the help of my old “Sports Pillow Talk” radio show co-host and good friend, Ruben Loganantharaj, to alternate picks with me. Alternating picks allows both of us to react based on how each other picks, and makes this process a more unique and true form mock draft.

For fun, Ruben and I ensured we picked for our home town teams, the Saints and the Texans, respectively.

As of note, the Patriots will not have a pick in the first round this year due to their role in “Deflategate”. I hope you enjoy this read and please feel free to comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with our picks for your favorite team! And without further ado….the Los Angeles Rams, and I, are on the clock! – Bryan

  1. Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Analysis: After moving to LA, the Rams needed a splash to give the football starved LA market something to cheer for. With an already elite defense and the uber-talented Todd Gurley at RB, the Rams desperately need a franchise signal caller to complete their team. While neither of the top 2 QBs scream Luck or Manning, both Wentz and Goff have the character and skill set to succeed in the NFL. While Wentz and Goff were rated similarly coming into the combine, Wentz blew Goff away in almost every category at the combine. With that being the tiebreaker for me, edge goes to Wentz being the pick. (Bryan)

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Jared Goff, QB, California

Analysis: In my opinion, the Eagles might have made one of the historically worst draft trades in NFL history. They received the second pick in the draft while packaging the 8th, this year’s 3rd and 4th rounder and next year’s first and 2018 second rounder. Ok, that’s fine that you mortgaged your future for what has to be your future franchise quarterback right? Well, this offseason, the Eagles signed two quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Chase Daniels, to lucrative, long term deals. So why give up all of those assets for ANOTHER QB? I think they like Wentz more, but I believe they feel like both quarterbacks are Pro Bowl level quarterbacks. I believe whoever gets Goff will be the team in a better position, even though both the Rams and Eagles will have major depth issues in the future. (Ruben)

3. San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Analysis: Phillip Rivers is doing backflips after the Titans traded out of #1 and the QB needy Rams took Wentz. This trade allows arguably the best prospect in this draft to fall into the Chargers lap at #3. The strong, athletic Tunsil will be a huge upgrade to what was one of the worst offensive lines in football over the last few years. (Bryan)

4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

Analysis: It’s widely believed that Ramsey is the best defensive prospect in this draft and is very special. I just wouldn’t pick him over Buckner, who I think will make the most impact of all the defensive players. The Cowboys needs help at both positions and might see Ramsey a guy who can cover Odell Beckham for years. (Ruben)

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Analysis: Jack’s knee injury could have him slide a bit, but all medical reports seem to say he’ll be ready for the 2016 opener. When healthy, Jack is an impact linebacker showing speed, versatility and range. Even with Telvin Smith showing promise at the position, the Jags could use more help at the position. With the investments in Dante Fowler last year and Malik Jackson this year, adding a LB with Jack’s potential to that defensive core is too tempting for the Jags to pass up. (Bryan)

6. Baltimore Ravens: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Analysis: In my opinion, just like the Jets last year, the Ravens get a steal and get the best defensive player in the draft in Buckner. He will be a monster for them and will bring back a defense back to storied times. He fits in their system perfectly and will complement Dumervil well. Do yourself a favor and view Buckner’s tape. Good lord….Big Ben will be shaking. (Ruben)

7. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame

Analysis: All is not well in 49er-land with the two top QBs off of the board. With the QBs gone, this pick was difficult to mock since San Francisco has so many holes on both sides of the ball. While I am certain that the 49ers are aware that neither Blaine Gabbert nor Colin Kaepernick are the future at QB, I do believe Chip Kelly will try to work his “QB magic” on both QBs and see if one can be serviceable enough to win some games in 2016. That being said, let’s mock a talented and athletic tackle to protect their blindsides and that of a future franchise signal caller. (Bryan)

8. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State

Analysis: The Browns are going to look for the best player available at this spot. If that is the case, then Elliot is the pick. Not only is he a blue chip player, but he went to Ohio State. I usually wouldn’t pick a running back to an NFL team in the first round, but for Cleveland, with a possible LeBron departure and the Republican convention coming this summer, we all hope they can look to the Browns for a little comfort after the city burns to ashes. (Ruben)

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Analysis: Dream scenario here for the Bucs as they are in dire need of a pass rush compliment to Gerald McCoy. Bosa is a freak athlete whose combine numbers and physical prowess are eerily similar that of one J.J. Watt. With the great QBs in their division, this is a perfect pick based on need, talent and value. (Bryan)

10. New York Giants: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Analysis: The Giants spent a lot of money in the offseason on defense. Even still, I was tempted to go with a CB here as the Giants could use some depth there, but the Giants also need a receiver opposite of Beckham, Jr. Treadwell is a tall read zone target that can be more of a possession receiver that would complement Beckham, Jr. well. Treadwell reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson and Marques Colston. (Ruben)

11. Chicago Bears: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Analysis: The Bears need a CB probably more than, or at the very least as much as, any other team in this draft. So for me it came down to Hargreaves and William Jackson III for the Bears at 11. While I am a huge fan of WJIII, I give the edge, ever so slightly, to Hargreaves due to his top notch ball skills, consistency and competitiveness all while playing against SEC competition. (Bryan)

12. New Orleans Saints: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Analysis: The Saints need to pick the best defensive player available. Last year they made bad offenses look good, which shows that there is a lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball. I think that Sheldon Rankins might be the best defensive player available, but the draft is deep with defensive tackles that the Saints might be in luck with a guy in the second or third round. Lawson reminds me a lot of the late Will Smith, a very strong stout defensive end who has a great balance of rushing the passer and stuffing the run. He can play all three downs. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Jones is the pick also, since he is another stout defensive tackle in this deep draft. (Ruben)

13. Miami Dolphins: William Jackson III, CB, Houston

Analysis: Earlier this year, Miami was believing that Elliot would be a realistic option for them here but the Ohio State RB’s rise in the draft charts has taken that potential reality off of the table. The Dolphins have a bunch of needs including at defensive end, cornerback, running back, and guard. Best available player from those positions is the local Houston cornerback who will be an upgrade over the recently departed Brent Grimes. Jackson is both a lighting fast and tall cornerback who many teams will be salivating over. (Ruben)

14. Oakland Raiders: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Analysis: With WJIII going one spot ahead to Miami, the Raiders lose out on the team fielding an uber-elite UH starting CB duo of Jackson, III and former first round pick, D.J. Hayden. Ok, off of my fandom cloud and back to reality. Teams and experts everywhere are fawning over the Raiders busy offseason. Since they filled so many holes via free agency, this pick should be, and is here, the best player available. For me, that’s the versatile and fierce interior rusher, Rankins. (Bryan)

15. Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Analysis: The Titans need help at many places and they really could go many directions. At one point I had them taking a receiver such as, Michael Thomas or Josh Doctson. Marcus Mariota could use some new toys but let’s start with a foundation and take a player who has surprised some people and moved quickly up the draft boards. The versatile offensive linemen from Michigan St. (Ruben)

16. Detroit Lions: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Analysis: With the departures of both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley a couple of years ago, the Lions need another tough interior rusher to pair with Haloti Ngata. While Robinson had some poor interviews at the combine, it is clear from their last 2 DT choices, that the Lions are not too concerned with character if the talent measures up. Robinson clearly has the talent, and if he keeps his head on straight, will be a formidable addition to the Lions defensive line. (Bryan)

17. Atlanta Falcons: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

Analysis: Dan Quinn is going to want defense, defense and more defense. With arguably the best line of quarterbacks in any division, the Falcons only slightly improved their anemic pass rush last year. Floyd to most people is a tweener, but I think if there is anyone who can get the most out of him it’s Dan Quinn. Floyd’s game reminds me of Bruce Irvin. (Ruben)

18. Indianapolis Colts: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Analysis: The Colts have had a weak offensive line for as long as I can remember. With the uber-talented Andrew Luck at QB, you would think the Colts would invest heavily into protecting their prized QB. Instead, the Colts seem content in allowing Luck to be repeatedly beaten up behind their current sieve of an offensive line. Here’s to hoping they finally do something to address this clear and obvious need. But they probably won’t. (Bryan)

19. Buffalo Bills: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

Analysis: The Bills are one of the few teams who might reach for a quarterback here. But I believe after Rex Ryan sees the tape of his defense last season, he’ll realize there are tons of holes. One way to help is picking arguably the best interior defensive linemen available in Chris Jones. He seems like a perfect fit in Rob Ryan’s defense. Jones is a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4 defense. Reminds me a lot of another defensive linemen Rob Ryan has picked in the past, Muhammad Wilkerson and he turned out ok. (Ruben) 

20. New York Jets: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

Analysis: The Jets are ecstatic that they did not have to leverage any future assets to get the last remaining “top-tier” QB. With the Ryan Fitzpatrick fiasco still going on and the Jets bringing in the pipe bomb that is Brian Hoyer in for a visit, the Jets need to find a QB this franchise can truly believe, and invest, in. While Lynch has a lot of “book learn‘n” to do to be ready to start in the NFL, he has all of the physical skills to be a future franchise signal caller. (Bryan)

21. Washington Redskins: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

 

Analysis: The Redskins need to get tougher up the middle of their defense. When you have Mason Foster starting as an inside linebacker, you know you need an upgrade. Lucky for them the best inside linebacker in this draft is still available and might be the best player available. Ragland slid a little bit due to his combine results, but last year he was a key cog in Alabama’s monster defense. (Ruben)

22. Houston Texans: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

Analysis: I know. You’re shocked, right? With almost every mock out there showing the Texans drafting a WR, I decided to break the trend of mocking the Texans drafting a pass catcher here to fill another area of need. Before you jump all over me for this pick, let me explain why I think Reed is the perfect fit for this defense. Power, power and more power. This, plus a surprising amount of quickness, are what the Texans are able to grab with the 6-3, 311 pound Reed. With Vince Wilfork nearing the end of his career and losing Jared Crick in free agency, the Texans could use a run-stopping, blocker-taking force in the middle of their line. Reed fits that mold in spades and would free up Watt, Clowney and Mercilus to wreak havoc against opposing QBs. (Bryan)

23. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Analysis: Bridgewater needs more receivers who can get open in the red zone. Not only is Doctson a big receiver but he has amazing hands. Rarely drops a ball. If the Vikings want to get the most out of Bridgewater he needs a reliable wide receiver. Doctson proved to be a constant in college and I feel like he has the right game for the NFL. (Ruben) 

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Analysis: Just missing out on a Horned Frog reunion with Dalton and Doctson, the Bengals “settle” for an absolute burner in Coleman. After both losing Marvin Jones and Mohammad Sanu in free agency, the Bengals have a big hole opposite star receiver, A.J. Green. Coleman is the perfect addition to the Bengals offense as he can extend the field with his speed to open up targets and space for both Green and Eifert. (Bryan)

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Analysis: The Steelers were a well-oiled machine on offense, but the defensive backs for the teams have been lacking. Alexander has shot up draft boards and some have him as a potential first pick in the draft. I don’t really know about that. But if scouts say he can improve a weak secondary, to play with a promising front 7, then they must take him. (Ruben)

26. Seattle Seahawks: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State (Bryan)

Analysis: Analysis: The biggest, surprise “faller” in our draft is Lee. With the Seahawks losing Bruce Irvin in free agency, Lee would bring a similar skill set with his speed, explosion and athleticism to a front 7 that could use a speed element. While the Seahawks admittedly have other more glaring needs, like offensive line, Lee is too good to pass up at this point and presents tremendous value here. (Bryan)

27. Green Bay Packers: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Analysis: To the surprise of many people last year, the Green Bay offense stalled. The loss of Jordy Nelson really hurt the team and Davante Adams could not emerge as a reliable option. If there is a safe reliable option on this draft class that could fit their needs its Will Fuller. Reminds me of a Wes Welker type receiver. Slot guy who can get open whenever he wants. Aaron Rodgers just needs guys who can break free and run precise routes. (Ruben)

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Analysis: The Chiefs love tall, athletic CBs and with Sean Smith leaving for the Raiders, the Chiefs have a hole at CB which Apple would fit perfectly. Apple is a playmaker who uses his athleticism and high motor to make plays both in the passing and run games. Apple is also a willing tackler and isn’t afraid to play physical.  (Bryan)

29. Arizona Cardinals: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

Analysis: Amid all the off field concerns about Noah Spence’s time at Ohio State, the guy still performed at a very high level. And from what I have been hearing, he interviewed very well for several teams. If I was in the Cardinals’ front office I would be running to the podium with this pick. The defense needs a pass rusher very badly. They had to resurrect Dwight Freeney last year from the scrap heap and that tell you plenty about the talent on their defensive line. Spence can play the edge and play primarily on passing downs for a team that is pretty well built to cover passers and stop the run. They just need pass rushing help badly and Spence is great value at this point. (Ruben)

30. Carolina Panthers: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Analysis: The Panther typically draft the best player available regardless of position. However, with the recent release of Josh Norman, which is a crazy story in its own right, the Panthers need a replacement for Norman badly. Fuller is coming off a major knee injury but has all of the skills you want in a CB. Good size, impressive ball skills, high motor, good athleticism and a lunch pail attitude make him an ideal fit for the Panthers, if he can stay healthy. (Bryan)

31. Denver Broncos: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

Analysis: The Broncos have a huge hole to fill with difference-maker Malik Jackson signing a mega-deal with the Jaguars this offseason. Lucky for them, and I believe John Elway knew this going into this offseason, this is a very deep defensive tackle draft. Billings brings a unique skill set. A tough run defender and a bull rusher. Many people believe that since the Kaepernick trade didn’t materialize, the Broncos would select a quarterback. But I think they could snag Conner Cook in the second or third round.  (Ruben)

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