Thursday, April 28, 2016

Derek's Final Mock Draft

Please remember, these are my picks as if I were the GM, not what I am predicting these teams will actually do. 

1) LA Rams (via Tennessee Titans) select Jared Goff, Quarterback, Cal

After giving up a shit ton of picks to move up from 15 to 1, the Rams absolutely have to take a quarterback here as anything else would be laughably insane. There was back and forth as to who it is, but the Rams seem to have settled on Goff which is who I would pick as well. An experienced player with a lightning release and good accuracy, Goff would be a good start to the Rams' relocation efforts. I just feel bad for him as he would have to be under the tutelage of Jeff Fisher and will have to throw to the scraps of Kenny Britt while running 20 jet sweeps to Tavon Austin a game. GET EXCITED LA!

2) Philadelphia Eagles (via Cleveland Browns) select Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State

As a Giants fan, I'm thrilled the Eagles decided to mortgage the farm for a project, FCS quarterback. But after giving up what they did to move up to the second spot in the draft, the Eagles really have no choice but to take Wentz at this spot. The good news is that the Eagles have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel under contract which will allow Wentz to sit on the bench for at least a year until he gets acclimated. With the Eagles already drafting in the top ten before moving up, it isn't like they have aspirations of a Super Bowl this year. He may turn out to be a fine quarterback, but the Eagles cannot rush him into the season.

3) San Diego Chargers select Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss

I've seen plenty of mocks out there with either Jalen Ramsey or Deforest Buckner landing here, but I think that Tunsil makes much more sense than either of those picks. While the Chargers' offensive line was subject to a ton of injuries last season, guys like King Dunlap are not getting any younger and won't be able to remain healthy. Tunsil is thought to be the best offensive tackle prospect since Joe Thomas and would be a huge upgrade on this line. The Chargers cannot keep allowing Philip Rivers to take the kind of abuse he has in recent seasons. With all the lethal pass rushers that reside in the AFC West, a top tier blind side protector is desperately needed.

4) Dallas Cowboys select Jalen Ramsey, Safety, Florida State

I was toying with the idea of putting either Joey Bosa or Ezekiel Elliott here for the past several mocks, but I just can't put either of them here over an elite prospect like Ramsey. While Bosa would fill a more pressing need and Zeke could run for 1500 yards as a rookie behind this line, Ramsey has been compared to past safeties like Ed Reed and Charles Woodson. He doesn't have quite the same ball skills that either of them had, but his ability to cover ground, blitz off the edge, and match up against tight ends will be huge for this defense. Ramsey could be a perennial All Pro player in a matter of years.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars select Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State

If the draft plays out this way, I think the Jaguars would have to go with Bosa over Myles Jack due to the knee injury. It isn't like this is a consolation prize as Bosa is the best defensive line prospect in the draft, and I personally don't think it is that close either. A guy who is a force against the run and knows how to get after the passer, Bosa would really be a tremendous addition to the overhaul of this front seven. If Dante Fowler can return to his pre-injury form, the Jaguars will have an absolutely terrifying defensive line which is needed considering the other quarterbacks making a living in this division.

6) Baltimore Ravens select Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

This wasn't an easy pick either as I really had to go back and forth between Stanley, Jack, and Buckner at this spot. Ultimately, I had to go with a tackle given the current situation of the Ravens' offensive line. Joe Flacco tore his ACL last year and was constantly under siege before the injury. Stanley isn't the best run blocker, but he has all the makings of a top tier blindside protector. Keeping a guy that you have over one hundred million dollars is paramount, so this pick makes sense.

7) San Francisco 49ers select Myles Jack, Outside Linebacker, UCLA

If it weren't for the injury obtained early in his junior season, Jack have been in consideration for the first overall pick when the Titans still commanded it. Jack is a quick twitch athlete who can do anything that you can ask of a linebacker and more. He can cover in space, play the run, match up man to man on right ends, blitz....literally anything. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Niners move him around as he is completely capable of playing any spot. The knee injury is a concern as there have been reports of his health all over the spectrum, but at this point he is simply too talented to pass up.

8) Cleveland Browns (via Philadelphia Eagles) select Deforest Buckner, Defensive End, Oregon

Rumors are that the Browns may move down again and target Treadwell or Docston with a more appropriate draft slot, but I don't do trades in my mock. In this, the Browns would have to be thrilled that Buckner has made it all the way to them. The Browns had one of the worst defenses in the league last year and struggled to stop both the run and the pass. Buckner would be a perfect fit as a five technique in a 3-4 scheme where he can eat up blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays behind the line. He is also a solid pass rusher and should be able to generate a good amount of pressure on his own. Buckner would be a good player to pair with last year's first round pick, Danny Shelton.

9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Vernon Hargreaves, Cornerback, Florida

Tampa made some significant improvements in their first year with Jameis Winston at quarterback and have some solid pieces on their offense. Now, they can shift their focus to improving the defense which has several holes. A pass rusher could be in play here as no one really generates sacks on this line beside Gerald McCoy, but they also need some help in their secondary. Hargreaves was once thought to be a be a lock for a top five selection, but a substandard Combine has pushed him further down on big boards. No matter, the Bucs would gladly take him at this spot. He started as a freshman on a very talented Gators team and was a shutdown corner. There is still that ability inside of him and it would be gladly coveted on this team who contends with Brees, Ryan, and Cam twice a year.

10) New York Giants select Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Ohio State

The Giants are probably hoping that Ronnie Stanley falls to the, but this would be a tremendous pick as well. The Giants have a mess at running back right now as none of their options are really any good. Zeke would add another dimension to the offense which would help open up options in the passing game to get the ball to OBJ. A running back who can do it all, Zeke would also be a huge asset in the pass protection game as he was nearly flawless his junior year in college. The Giants have a mediocre offensive line, so adding a running back who could be a three down back at this point is tremendous value.

11) Chicago Bears select Leonard Floyd, Outside Linebacker, Georgia

The defensive revamp for the Bears continues. Chicago recently release Shea McClellin who was then picked up by the Patriots (of course) after doing absolutely nothing in his time with the Bears. Thus, they are need of some serious pass rushing help as they don't have much going on right now. Floyd is landing all over people's draft boards, but I think his potential at this spot is too good to pass up on. A pass rusher with length and good speed to get around the edge, Floyd would likely be a day one starter. And playing in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and a rising Teddy Bridgewater, the Bears need all the pass rushers they can get their hands on.

12) New Orleans Saints select A'Shawn Robinson, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

The Saints have been producing some historically bad defenses over the past couple of seasons and haven't been able to make a lot of impact moves in free agency. I'd like to give them a pass rusher here, but I think that Robinson is a better prospect than any outside linebacker and would make a huge impact. Robinson is a perfect fit to play nose tackle in the 3-4 defense and could even move to the end position on subpackages. But playing in his natural position on the interior, he would eat up blockers and shut down running lanes, something the Saints were completely unable to do last year. Robinson needs some work as a pass rusher, but he has shown the ability to get to the passer and should only get better with experience.

13) Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia Eagles) select Shaq Lawson, Outside Linebacker, Clemson

The Dolphins are in a tough spot with their front seven after losing Olivier Vernon and free agency and watching Cam Wake suffer an Achilles injury last year. Lawson has shown the athleticism to be able to play either defensive end in a 4-3 or play outside linebacker in a 3-4. This is a good landing spot for Lawson as it fits his value range. I actually think Lawson is more suited for outside linebacker because he doesn't have great strength and struggled to match up against offensive tackles in the run game. He was also was asked to drop into coverage and come in on stunts frequently at Clemson which will help him a lot in his early years as a pro.

14) Oakland Raiders select Eli Apple, Cornerback, Ohio State

Despite signing Sean Smith away from division rival Kansas City in the offseason, the Raiders have to reach the conclusion sooner or later that DJ Hayden is a lost cause. A safety here would make more sense, but unfortunately there is no one worth taking for that position. However, Apple would not be a bad consolation prize. Like most other prospects in this draft, Apple is a bit of a work in progress but could turn out to be an absolute steal at this point. He possesses great speed and length and has shown an ability to turn his hips and run with his man. He doesn't always locate the ball in the air, but he was Ohio State's lockdown man and performed admirably as a redshirt freshman and sophomore. Apple is well worth the pick at this juncture and could develop into a guy the Raiders have shadow their opponent's top receiver.

15) Tennessee Titans (from LA Rams) select Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle, Michigan State

This has to be the dream selection for the Titans to make. The Titans were in play to chose Laremy Tunsil first overall but were able to trade down, grab a ton of picks, and still land a tackle who will help improve a terrible offensive line. He won't be asked to play left tackle, but that is fine as most consider him to either be a premier guard or right tackle. With Mariota being sacked north of fifty times last year, the Titans needed to do whatever they could to improve the line and this is a huge step forward in that.While protecting the right side, Conklin would also be able to blast open holes in the run game for Sankey or whoever else the Titans decide to hand off to next year.

16) Detroit Lions select Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle, Louisville

Even after signing Haloti Ngata, the Lions haven't been able to adequately replace Suh and Nick Fairley. This has left a massive hole on the interior of this defensive line that the Lions' opponents were able to take advantage of all last season. Rankins would be an excellent way to help begin rebuilding the defense that has taken some hits. Rankins is a solid run defender as he can get a good push but also works off of his man incredibly well to make the tackle. Even better than that, Rankins is an even better pass rusher. In a division that is still ruled by Aaron Rodgers, having someone who can rush the passer from the interior is absolutely crucial. Rankins could go even higher than this, so getting him in the middle of the first round is practically a steal.

17) Atlanta Falcons select Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive End, Oklahoma State

This is a selection I really struggled with as I constantly went back and forth between Ogbah and either Doctson or Treadwell to replace Roddy White. Ultimately, I felt a pass rusher would be of much greater value here. The Falcons have been struggling to rush the passer for what feels like a decade now and have an excellent chance to change that with this pick. A bit of a one trick pony, Ogbah would still make a lot of sense here due to his immense athleticism and proven track record. Even if he is someone who is only able to give the Falcons about ten sacks a year, it would be much better than what they have going on now.

18) Indianapolis Colts select Taylor Decker, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State

If Decker falls to this spot and Grigson fails to select him, Colts fans are going to burn his house down and light effigies of him. The Colts have been utterly incapable of protecting their franchise quarterback since he was drafted and need to do everything in their power to change that this draft. They cannot keep allowing Andrew Luck to get pummeled week in and week out. Decker may be more suited to play right tackle than left tackle, but that really doesn't matter here. He would make a tremendous right tackle who can mirror speed rushers and stand his own against bull rushes. A smart pick with good value, Decker would practically be a god send to the Colts at 18.

19) Buffalo Bills select Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive End, Ole Miss

Is this the most Rex Ryan pick or what? After coming to Ole Miss as the number one high school prospect, Nkemdiche looked content to play the role of celebrity rather than actually develop as a football player. While he still needs some significant improvement in the run game and actually looking like he gives a shit, there is no denying the immense talent that he possesses. Playing as a defensive end in a 3-4, he could have a JJ Watt like impact on the Bills if he is able to realize his potential. He is well worth the risk at this point in the draft and would fill a major need after the Bills let Mario Williams walk in free agency.

20) New York Jets select Noah Spence, Outside Linebacker, Eastern Kentucky/Ohio State

The Jets have to be praying that either Conklin or Decker fall to them in order to replace D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but that doesn't happen in this mock. Reggie Ragland seems like another potential match, but I think that Spence is a better prospect and fills a more important positional need. The issue with Spence is if he'll be able to stay clean off the field, but that wasn't a problem during his final year at EKU. What he brings on the field is a lightning quick pass rusher who Todd Bowles can utilize in a variety of ways. Despite having arguably the best defensive line in the NFL the Jets still need guys who can rush from the edge standing up. Spence fits that to the tee and would help take this defense to the next level.

21) Washington Redskins select Reggie Ragland, Inside Linebacker, Alabama

For the longest time I had been giving the Redskins a cornerback, but the recent signing of Josh Norman puts that need on the back burner for now. However, the Redskins still have a glaring need on the inside of the linebacking corp. They struggled to stop the run and Ragland would be the best player available to come in and fix that problem. There have been some concerns made about his ability to cover in space in the NFL, and while he admittedly wasn't stellar at it while playing for Alabama, he is capable of doing so. Playing the inside role would also limit the amount times he would have to turn and run with tight ends as well.

22) Houston Texans select Josh Doctson, Wide Receiver, TCU

It is no secret that the Texans are in dire need of a quarterback, but there is not anyone worth taking at this spot. Lynch is still a reach here, so the best thing to do would be to take one of the top players available and try to find a suitable quarterback in a later round. Although Deandre Hopkins is one of the top receivers in the NFL, the Texans really need someone opposite of him as he can't do it alone. Doctson has actually gotten some comparisons to Hopkins, so why not take him with a similar draft selection. Doctson has an incredibly ability to track the ball in the air and snatch it away from corners. Adding a receiver like him would make the Texans an absolute nightmare of a match up, especially in a division with weak secondaries.

23) Minnesota Vikings select Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

The run on receivers is likely to really take off right around here. While the Vikings struck gold with Stef Diggs in the fifth round of last year's draft, they are really hurting for other receiving weapons. A lot has been made of Treadwell's slow 40 time, but I think that this is really the perfect selection for the Vikings at this juncture. It is no secret that Teddy Bridgewater doesn't have the greatest arm strength in the league, so giving him a speed receiver like Fuller or Coleman doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Treadwell would provide a great safety blanket of Bridgewater in the short and intermediate parts of the field.

24) Cincinnati Bengals select Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Another receiver! The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mo Sanu in this offseason and need to replenish. While neither of them were that extraordinary, they did combine for a big quantity of targets that didn't go to Green. I had the Bengals taking a receiver even before losing both of those two, but the problem is now more exacerbated. Thomas is a very polished receiver who creates good separation and can run any route that you ask of him. The thought of him playing opposite of Green with Eiffert taking advantage of mismatches over the middle is a terrifying thought.

25) Pittsburgh Steelers select William Jackson III, Cornerback, Houston

It seems like I have been mocking a corner to the Steelers for the past several years, but I think that this is the year that they actually do it. To be completely honest, I can't even name one of their starters at corner right now. Jackson has really elevated his draft status after putting on a ridiculous performance at the Combine in which he ran in the high 4.3s. He showed a great ability to track the ball in the air and make a play on it during his time at Houston. There are talks of him going even higher than this, so picking him towards the end of the first is great value.

26) Seattle Seahawks select Darron Lee, Linebacker, Ohio State

It seems like every year the Seahawks are able to grab a top prospect that manages to slip through the cracks and fall to them. Darron Lee has a chance to picked way higher than this, so getting him at 26 is an absolute steal. After losing Bruce Irvin in the offseason, the Seahawks have a big need at outside linebacker. Lee might night start right away, but he would definitely be brought in for certain packages and can make a name for himself quickly. He has the ability to cover, play the run, and blitz. Keeping the linebacking corp playing at a high level will be a huge reason why Seattle will have continued success moving forward.

27) Green Bay Packers select Andrew Billings, Nose Tackle, Baylor

After a somewhat surprising retirement announcement from BJ Raji, the Packers suddenly have a massive need in the middle of their defense. Raji was a very good nose tackle, one of the most crucial components to a 3-4 defense. Billings has very good athleticism for a man his size and is really exactly what you're looking for in a nose tackle. He stuffs the run better than almost any other defensive tackle in this draft and has shown an ability to get after the quarterback as well. That is more of a bonus in this system, but he will be coveted for his ability to eat up multiple blockers and allow the linebackers to clean up.

28) Kansas City Chiefs select Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Baylor

Despite losing Sean Smith in free agency, corner can wait until one of the middle rounds considering the Chiefs have a great pass rush that can help mask a weak secondary. However, the Chiefs could really use some more firepower in the passing game. I am a tad hesitant about making this pick because Coleman is a similar receiver to Jeremy Maclin, but Alex Smith really has been able to work well with Maclin in the past. Coleman is an explosive player who is dropped in my mock because of his limited experience with a full route tree. However, he would likely be a starter from day one and would be a tremendously valuable asset to the passing game.

29) Arizona Cardinals select Jarran Reed, Defensive End, Alabama

The Cardinals have a pretty stacked team, but this is one area where they could stand to use some upgrades. Reed is a bit more of a run stuffer, but the Cardinals won't mind if he is available here. Plus, I'm not sure that he was actually asked to do anything more than stuff the run at Alabama. Considering how good the Cardinals' linebackers are, a guy who can set the edge in the run and command double teams against the pass would be a major asset for a team that is only a few pieces away from being a serious contender.

30) Carolina Panthers select Kendall Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech

If it weren't for a bad knee injury in the second game of the season, we would be talking about Fuller as a top ten pick. The last in line of the Fuller brothers to pass through Virginia Tech, Kendall may in fact be the best of the bunch. He showed all of the attributes of a true shutdown corner and probably could have been a first round pick if he had come out last year. After losing Josh Norman in free agency, cornerback is a big need for the Panthers. I wouldn't be surprised to see a pass rusher taken here, but I don't think any of them have the potential that Fuller does.

31) Denver Broncos select Derrick Henry, Running Back, Alabama

I really struggled to come up with a good pick for this as the Broncos are a very well assembled team. They did lose Malik Jackson, so Vernon Butler may be in play here, but I think that Henry makes a lot of sense and here is why. The Broncos apparently love Dak Prescott who they will be able to obtain in a later round. Henry is capable of carrying a team due to his ridiculous size and frame. The Broncos won last year with the dying corpse of Peyton Manning, so why not just play extreme Marty-Ball and see where that takes you. The defense is good enough to win any game, so taking a guy who can be the focal point of your offense really does make sense.

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