As NFL teams gear up for the 2016 draft here is Chris Savold’s Mock Draft 1.0.
- Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
St. Louis paid a heavy fee to acquire the first pick of the draft. However, this team is only a quarterback away from a playoff berth. Since Wentz played in a pro-style college offense he should be able to make an immediate impact in the city of angels.
- Cleveland Browns:Jared Goff, QB, California
Even after signing Robert Griffin III in free agency, Cleveland still needs to pursue a quarterback. The Browns have had 24 starting quarterbacks since 1999, significantly more than any other franchise. Though Wentz was most likely number one on their big board, the opportunity to select a franchise cornerstone is too much to pass up.
*There is also a strong possibility of the Browns trading down and selecting Paxton Lynch, but trades are not included in this mock.
- San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Chargers get a steal with Tunsil originally being the consensus first pick in this draft. Last season, San Diego played twelve different offensive lineman, and Pro Football Focus ranked their line dead last in the NFL. Tunsil would be an upgrade from day one and also give former first round pick Melvin Gordon a chance to succeed in his sophomore campaign.
- Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State University
Though Joey Bosa is also a candidate to be selected here, multiple sources confirmed that Dallas did not “love” Bosa after a private workout. Ramsey is a versatile safety/corner hybrid with exceptional vision, and potential to become a perennial All-Pro player.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Although Joey Bosa was previously the consensus first pick, the Ohio State product’s stock has since dropped. Playing across from former first round pick Dante Fowler, Bosa will be able to make the Jaguars’ pass rush elite.
- Baltimore Ravens: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
The Ravens’ pass rush was not horrible last year, but it also wasn’t good. Baltimore could have one of the biggest steals of the draft with Jack, since his injury history raises many questions about his NFL future. Jack is a threat when pass rushing, but he also excels while in coverage. As one of the most well-rounded prospects in the draft, the UCLA alum can change the mentality of the Raven’s struggling defense.
- San Francisco 49ers: Deforest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The 49ers would have been able to select Goff at seven had it not been for the blockbuster trade. Now they are forced to choose otherwise. With constant trade rumors surrounding Colin Kaepernick, it’s clear that he is not their quarterback of the future. Addressing their defensive needs, rather than reaching for Paxton Lynch, is the best strategy best suited for San Francisco. Buckner already has the physical traits of an NFL defensive lineman (6’7” 291 lbs) and will be able to proudly display his pursuit ability in the Golden Gate City.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
After swapping picks with the Dolphins, the Eagles will be able to select Elliott. As an excellent pass blocker, the Ohio State Alum, will be able to protect the injury-prone Sam Bradford. Scouts have described Elliott as one of the best all around running backs in recent draft history. If Elliott lives up to that hype, the Eagles will have an offensive centerpiece to build around.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Though undersized for an outside corner, Hargreaves possesses the instincts and skills in press coverage to make an immediate impact in the NFL. At Florida, Hargreaves was named All-SEC three times in college, and scouts raved about his competitiveness. Tampa Bay already has one of the most talented defensive fronts in the NFL. With a promising corner, the entire unit could become elite.
- New York Giants: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
After upgrading multiple positions during free agency, the Giants need to address an offensive need at 10. New York’s offensive line struggled mightily to protect Eli Manning last year, and Ereck Flowers had one of the worst performances in the NFL. Stanley will be ready to start week one, and is athletic and physical enough to be a starter in the Big Apple.
- Chicago Bears: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
Chicago brought in talented MLB Danny Trevathan and now they address the rest of their linebacking corps. Out of Ohio State, Lee is tad undersized, but he will be able to help both in coverage and as an versatile edge rusher. Lee is a perfect fit for the Bears 3-4 scheme, however his success in the NFL will rely on his ability to put on muscle during the offseason.
- New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DE/DT, Louisville
Aside from Bosa and Buckner, Sheldon Rankins has the most potential of defensive lineman is this draft. Last year, New Orleans had a historically bad defense and finished 26th in sacks and 31st in rushing yards allowed. Rankins is a skillful run defender and also showed potential with his pass rush moves at the Senior Bowl. Though the Saints’ defense is a long way from being even average, Rankins would be a step in the right direction.
- Miami Dolphins: William Jackson, CB, Houston
After cutting veteran corner Brent Grimes Miami has a pressing need in their secondary. Jackson is a lengthy cornerback with great ball skills who should be able to make an immediate impact on the Dolphins pass defense.
- Oakland Raiders: Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
The signings of Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson solidified the Raiders’ secondary talents. According to Pro Football Focus, every defensive starter for Oakland received a grade of 75+ aside from their middle linebackers and strong safety. As a traditional, hard-nosed MLB, Ragland will be a perfect fit for the Raiders’ needs.
- Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
After trading down 15 picks, the Titans will still select an offensive lineman. Out of Michigan State, Conklin is a powerful and smart offensive tackle. Plugging him in across from Taylor Lewan will keep Marcus Mariota safe for upcoming years.
- Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
While respectively ranking a dismal 22nd for sacks allowed per game and 26th in yards per carry, the Lions will be forced to address their offensive line early. Decker has the has physical tools, but he will have to adjust to the faster edge rushers of the NFL. The Ohio State product will be able to compete early in the season, and Matthew Stafford will be better protected as a result.
- Atlanta Falcons: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Atlanta’s defense disappointed last year, including surrendering 22 rushing touchdowns. Though undeveloped in his pass rushing abilities, Reed is the best run defender in the draft. He can fit almost any scheme, whether it is a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. The addition of the Alabama alum would be an instant improvement on the Falcons’ defensive front.
- Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
To be frank, Andrew Luck was a bad quarterback last year. Whether it was due to injury or lack of time in the pocket, an improvement in the interior of the trenches would help. Protecting the franchise quarterback is the number one priority, and Kelly would remove any doubt of talent at the center position.
- Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Bills parted with Mario Williams after four years, and now have to address their needs on the defensive line. Lawson is scheme versatile, and makes an impact with his pass rush and run defense. His skills translate to the NFL, and he is likely going to be a future pro bowler.
- New York Jets: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Floyd is a talented pass rusher and would be a good fit for the Jets 3-4 scheme.
- Washington Redskins: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Washington made the mistake of letting Terrance Knighton walk in free agency without a plan to replace him. Billings would fill the gap at nose tackle, and would also be an improvement over Pot Roast. Unlike most interior defensive lineman, Billings is a threat on passing downs with his bull rush. An improved defense is vital for Washington to repeat as NFC East title holders and Billings can be an x-factor for Jay Gruden.
- Houston Texans: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
With the addition of Coleman, Houston will have one of the most high powered offenses in the NFL. Since Houston currently lacks a true second target for Brock Osweiler, it’s imperative to give him as many targets as possible.
- Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
Even with the emergence of Maryland product Stefon Diggs last year, Minnesota still does not have an adequate target for Teddy Bridgewater. Treadwell is the best wide receiver in the draft, and has even been compared to Dez Bryant. The enhancements the Mississippi product would bring to the Vikings would make them contenders for an annual playoff berth.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
After Mohamed Sanu signed with the Falcons, Cincinnati only has two receivers who played over ten snaps. Doctson has the ball skills, speed, and height to be a threat in the NFL.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Pittsburgh’s 264 passing yards allowed per game was ranked 28th in the NFL. Apple would be a quick and physical game changer for the Steel City’s secondary.
- Seattle Seahawks: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Seattle had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL this year. Spriggs was a combine star and can be a reliable starter for years to come.
- Green Bay Packers: A’Shawn Robinson, DE, Alabama
The Packers need a stronger presence inside, which Robinson would provide. The Alabama product is extremely disruptive in the interior, and has all-pro potential at the next level.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Addressing their cornerback needs early would bolster Kansas City’s secondary and make the group elite. Though undersized, Alexander was sticky in man coverage and extremely competitive.
- Arizona Cardinals: Chris Jones, DE, Mississippi State
Chris Jones has perhaps the highest upside in the draft. What worried scouts was the possible lack of a consistent motor. If coached well, Jones has the potential to be an All-Pro talent.
- Carolina Panthers: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
The Panthers had issues at right tackle last year as well, but Dodd’s talent trumps the highest ranked offensive tackle at this point. Dodd is an instinctive pass rusher who is still developing.
- Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
In Denver, Lynch would be able to develop behind Sanchez for a year or two. With the Broncos’ defense, Paxton Lynch would also have a large margin of error. Overall, Lynch has many traits of a future starter, but an immediate starting job would hurt his chances in the NFL.
Note: Due to Deflate Gate the New England Patriots no longer have their 1st round pick.