As NFL teams gear up for the 2016 draft that gets underway tomorrow night, here is the final 2016 First Round Mock Draft:
- Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California
St. Louis paid a heavy price to acquire the first pick of the draft. However, this team is only a quarterback away from a playoff berth. Goff has a strong arm and has the tools to be a franchise quarterback.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
The Eagles are ready to invest in their future quarterback, and proved that by trading up six picks with the Browns. Though Goff was most likely number one on their big board, the opportunity to select the team’s cornerstone is still available with Wentz.
- San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Chargers get a steal with Tunsil, who was initially 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
Ramsey would provide Dallas with a versatile playmaker whether at safety or corner. There has been talk that Jerry Jones wants to take Elliott with the fourth pick, but if the executives of the Cowboys have any sense, Ramsey will be the selection.
- 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: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Ravens’ pass rush was not horrible last year, but it also wasn’t good. Baltimore gets a high octane defensive end who can improve their pass rush, as well as the run defense. At 6’7”, 291 lbs, Buckner is already a physically imposing lineman to any offensive tackle.
- San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
San Francisco’s offensive line was atrocious last year. Stanley is an immediate upgrade over current starting tackle Trenton Brown. The Notre Dame product excels in pass protection, an important part of the offense in which the 49ers finished 27th in 2015. As balanced and talented as prospects come, Stanley will be able to contribute to the Golden Gate City’s offensive line from the moment he steps on the field.
- Miami Dolphins: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
(Mock trade with Cleveland Browns) After trading back up to the 8th pick in the draft, the Dolphins will be able to select Ezekiel Elliott. Miami did not attempt to pursue free agent running back Lamar Miller in free agency, and now they have a glaring hole at RB. Elliott is one of the best all purpose backs in recent draft history, and should be part of a dangerous offense in Miami.
- 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: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
After upgrading multiple positions during free agency, the Giants address one of their last defensive needs. Though New York usually passes on linebackers early in the draft, Floyd’s athletic abilities are too much for them to pass up. Out of Georgia, Floyd is also a rangy tackler, and who can change direction quickly. Floyd is a great 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.
- Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Chicago brought in talented MLB Danny Trevathan and now they address the rest of their linebacking corps. Drafting Jack would solidify the Bears linebacking corps. If not for a nagging knee injury, it is likely the UCLA alum would be the consensus #1 ranked prospect. Jack moves like a defensive back, yet he has the pass rush skills of a defensive end Chicago’s linebackers struggled last year, and Jack will be a decent fit for their 4-3 scheme.
- New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DE/DT, Louisville
Aside from Bosa and Buckner, Sheldon Rankins has the most potential of defensive linemen 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.
- Cleveland Browns: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
At this point, Cleveland would have traded down twice, likely possessing a plethora of picks through the first few rounds. One of Cleveland’s most pertinent needs is a young, powerful offensive lineman, which is exactly describes Conklin. Protecting one’s quarterback should always be a first priority, and the Browns will not be able to do so without Conklin.
- 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: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
After trading down 15 picks, the Titans will still select an offensive lineman. Out of Ohio State, Decker is a powerful and smart offensive tackle. Plugging him in across from Taylor Lewan will keep Marcus Mariota safe for the coming years.
- Detroit Lions: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
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. Kelly has high football IQ and the physical tools to be dominant in the NFL. The Alabama alum 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: William Jackson III, CB, Houston
Indianapolis’ biggest need is strengthening their offensive line, but after Kelly’s selection at 16, drafting a staple offensive lineman here would be a reach. The Colts secondary was equally horrendous, allowing 257 yards a game. Jackson is one of my favorite players in the draft due to his size and closing speed. Chuck Pagano would get a steal here with Jackson, and he would be a potential cornerstone alongside Vontae Davis.
- Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Bills parted with Mario Williams after four years, and now they have to address the needs on their defensive line. Lawson is scheme versatile, and makes an impact with his pass rush and run defense. His skills translate well to the NFL, and he is likely going to be a future pro bowler.
- New York Jets: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Here the Jets select Paxton Lynch, a 6’7” quarterback out of Memphis. Lynch has good accuracy and pocket presence, but he will need to improve his mechanics if he wants to succeed in the NFL. If he is able to sit a year or two behind a veteran, there is a good chance he ends up being the most successful quarterback in this draft.
- 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: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Even with the emergence of Maryland product Stefon Diggs last year, Minnesota still does not have an adequate target for Teddy Bridgewater. Doctson has the highest ceiling for wide receivers this year due to impressive hands and inhuman ability to win jump balls. The enhancements the TCU product would bring to the Vikings would make them contenders for an annual playoff berth.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
Due to Mohamed Sanu’s signing with the Falcons, Cincinnati only has two receivers who played over ten snaps. Treadwell is able to adjust to deep balls well, and is a threat once he has the ball in his hands. As he is the safest WR in his class, Cincinatti should be ecstatic with this pick. 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: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
Addressing their pass rusher needs early would bolster Kansas City’s defense and make the group even more elite. Though undersized, Lee has ideal agility in coverage, and can also flow to the ball well.
- 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: Karl Joseph, FS, West Virginia
Throughout the past week Karl Joseph’s name has been included in the first round conversation an increasing amount of times. Joseph has impressive reactionary speed, and if he becomes more disciplined he could be a future NFL star.
Note: Due to Deflate Gate the New England Patriots no longer have their 1st round pick.