With the Combine now behind us, it’s time to put up a new mock draft. Players like Carson Wentz and Jalen Ramsey had terrific combine performances, and left a lot of general managers and coaches impressed.
Pick 1: Tennessee Titans
Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
Last year, the Titans selected their franchise QB in Marcus Mariota. Now they need a franchise left tackle to protect him. Laremy Tunsil has all the tools- size, quickness, power- that equate to being a great left tackle. The Titans have other needs (that’s why they’re picking first) but Tunsil looks to be the clear-cut number one pick at this time.
Pick 2: Cleveland Browns
Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State
At what point does Cleveland’s quarterback struggle stop being funny and start being sad? They need somebody with no off-field issues and big upside to revitalize their fan base. Carson Wentz is that man. He has the best arm of anybody in the draft, ran sub 4.8 at the Combine, and played in a pro-style offense in college, with Peyton Manning-like control of the play calling.
Pick 3: San Diego Chargers
Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
San Diego’s offensive line was REALLY bad last year. The Chargers need to beef up their protection of Philip Rivers, and Ronnie Stanley has the potential to be a franchise left tackle for years to come. They could also use a 3-4 end like DeForest Buckner here, but right now offensive line is the bigger need.
Pick 4: Dallas Cowboys
Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State
The Dallas Cowboys have quite a conundrum with this pick. They have two glaring needs right away, edge rusher and secondary. Joey Bosa makes the most sense as a 4-3 end to get after the passer, but Jalen Ramsey looks like a stud at free safety or corner as well. Ultimately, pass rusher appears to be the bigger need, so Bosa slots in at number four.
Pick 5: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jalen Ramsey, Defensive Back, Florida State
Jacksonville’s young offense shows a lot of promise, but the defense was awful in 2015. The Jaguars need a playmaker in the secondary, and Jalen Ramsey is absolutely perfect for them here. Ramsey was an All-American at Florida State, and blew up the Combine with his elite athleticism.
Pick 6: Baltimore Ravens
Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback, Florida
The Ravens would love to have Jalen Ramsey fall to them here at six, but with the needs of the Jaguars and Cowboys that seems to be a pipe dream. As far as consolation prizes go, Vernon Hargreaves is as good as they get. Hargreaves has elite ball skills, as shown by his four interceptions last season. Hargreaves also showed off the athleticism necessary to play in the NFL, when he posted a 37″ vertical leap and a 10’10” broad jump.
Pick 7: San Francisco 49ers
Jared Goff, Quarterback, Cal
This pick will be heavily determined by what happens in free agency. Blaine Gabbert is not the quarterback of the future for the 49ers, and Colin Kaepernick has given several indications he wants out of the Bay area. If that happens, look for the 49ers to pick Goff here. Goff has great feet and a quick release, and is probably the most pro ready quarterback in the draft.
Pick 8: Miami Dolphins
Myles Jack, Linebacker, UCLA
If the Dolphins are going to go inside linebacker with their first pick, which they should, they’ll be picking between Reggie Ragland and Myles Jack. As of right now, I think Jack is the better choice, but by the time draft day gets here Ragland could take this spot.
Pick 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DeForest Buckner, Defensive End, Oregon
What a day for the Buccaneers. They need a versatile end in their 3-4 defense, and DeForest Buckner fits the bill perfectly for them. Buckner is a top five talent, but the teams ahead of the Bucs have other needs. Along with Gerald McCoy, the Bucs could have a dynamic defensive line to go with their talented young offense.
Pick 10: New York Giants
Noah Spence, Linebacker, Eastern Kentucky
Noah Spence has his fair share of off the field concerns after being kicked off the team at Ohio State for failing drug tests, but this kid is a ridiculous athlete. His Combine measurables compare to Khalil Mack and Von Miller. The Giants are also in need of a pass rusher at outside linebacker and Spence has the potential to be an All-Pro for years to come.
Pick 11: Chicago Bears
A’Shawn Robinson, Defensive Line, Alabama
For a team picking 11th the Bears have a lot of draft needs. They may just go with the best player available on the board. A’Shawn Robinson played for Nick Saban at the talent factory that is Alabama, and has the size and power to disrupt both the running and passing game at the next level.
Pick 12: New Orleans Saints
Mackensie Alexander, Cornerback, Clemson
The Saints’ secondary was atrocious last year, so corner will be far and away be their biggest need this year. Mackensie Alexander is the best one on the board. Alexander showed all the skills to be a top tier corner in the NFL, but he never intercepted a pass while he was at Clemson
Pick 13: Philadelphia Eagles
Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
By signing Sam Bradford to a two year deal, the Eagles are putting off the need for a quarterback. Although Jordan Mathews is a promising young receiver, Philadelphia has not yet filled the hole left by DeSean Jackson, and Laquon Treadwell is far and away the best receiver in this draft. He showed his skills at Ole Miss by dominating the SEC. Treadwell is not the best pure athlete in the draft, but he is very effective at using his body to get open and he possesses great hands.
Pick 14: Oakland Raiders
Eli Apple, Cornerback, Ohio State
The Raiders’ biggest need is at corner, where David Amerson is the only real playmaker they have. Eli Apple is the top corner on the board, and after Apple the talent begins to drop off. The Raiders could also use a versatile defensive lineman, and Robert Nkemdiche would be tough to pass on. If the Raiders are comfortable with Nkemdiche’s character, don’t be surprised to see Oakland pull the trigger here.
Pick 15: Los Angeles Rams
Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis
The Rams have a fantastic defensive line, anchored by playmaking defensive tackle Aaron Donald. What they need to do is retool their offense. Todd Gurley looks to be the running back of the future, but the passing game needs help. Nick Foles is not the answer moving forward and Paxton Lynch is clearly the number three quarterback in this draft. Lynch is a bit raw but has terrific potential.
Pick 16: Detroit Lions
Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Line, Louisville
The Lions would really like to have Treadwell here as a replacement for Calvin Johnson. However, after Treadwell there is a drop in talent to players like Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas, and Will Fuller. This draft does have great depth at defensive line, and Sheldon Rankins can be a monster at defensive tackle.
Pick 17: Atlanta Falcons
Reggie Ragland, Linebacker, Alabama
The Falcons need help at both outside and inside linebacker. They got a talented young pass rusher in Vic Beasley in last year’s draft, and could use somebody like Darron Lee to pair up across from him. However, the Falcons also need somebody at inside linebacker to lead the defense for the next decade, and Reggie Ragland gives you huge value at 17.
Pick 18: Indianapolis Colts
Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle, Michigan State
The Colts need to protect Andrew Luck and improve the running game so he doesn’t have to drop back and throw 55 times a game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ezekiel Elliott go here, but I think Michigan State’s Jack Conklin is the better option. Scouts were impressed with him at the Combine, with some comparing him to Andrew Whitworth.
Pick 19: Buffalo Bills
Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive Line, Ole Miss
Robert Nkemdiche’s slide stops at number 19. It looks like Mario Williams will be on his way out of Buffalo, and Nkemdiche could be the perfect replacement. Personally, I think his off the field issues have been really overhyped and that he’ll be a steady guy in the NFL. Rex Ryan is going to love this guy if they can get him.
Pick 20: New York Jets
Darron Lee, Linebacker, Ohio State
Darron Lee’s athletic ability was on full display at the Combine. Lee ran the 40 yard dash in a ridiculous 4.43 seconds. He also broad jumped over 11 feet and had a 35.5 inch vertical. The Jets already have a stout defensive line (assuming they keep their pieces), and adding an athletic freak like Lee at outside linebacker makes them even more dangerous.
Pick 21: Washington Redskins
Shaq Lawson, Defensive End, Clemson
The Redskins have to feel happy about getting Shaq Lawson at pick 21. Lawson is built like a tank with great power, and can fit into a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. What really impressed scouts was his 4.7 40 yard dash. Lawson’s power, which enables him to handle double teams and control the line of scrimmage, and speed bode well for him in the future.
Pick 22: Houston Texans
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Ohio State
I don’t think Ezekiel Elliott will fall past number 22 in the draft. He had a strong showing at the Combine and is the consensus number one running back in this year’s class. Arian Foster is old and the Texans need a new running back. However, don’t be surprised if the Texans take Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State. When Bill O’Brien coached Hackenberg during his freshman season, Hackenberg was sensational.
Pick 23: Minnesota Vikings
Taylor Decker, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
The Vikings need help at offensive line, particularly offensive tackle. Taylor Decker is a proven leader and has a great chance of earning a starting tackle spot from day one. He has great size and arm length, however he may not be able to handle the pass rush as a left tackle and move to the right side. Decker didn’t blow anybody away with his Combine numbers either, but I expect him to do well in the interview process.
Pick 24: Cincinnati Bengals
Jarran Reed, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Bengals have a pretty solid team on both sides of the ball. They could use another receiver opposite AJ Green, but an upgrade at defensive tackle wouldn’t hurt either. Jarran Reed is a great value pick late in the first round. He is one of the best in this draft at stuffing the run, which is good to have in a division that features Le’veon Bell.
Pick 25: Pittsburgh Steelers
Kendall Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Pittsburgh can light up a scoreboard offensively, but the defense needs work. Corner is far and away the number one need for the Steelers this year, and Fuller is the best one available at this point in the draft. Not only does he have NFL bloodlines, he was also a terrific playmaker at Virginia Tech. Fuller’s drawback is his injury concerns. He injured his wrist as a sophomore and only played three games as a junior due to a torn meniscus.
Pick 26: Seattle Seahawks
Cody Whitehair, Offensive Line, Kansas State
Seattle’s biggest need is at offensive line, and if Russell Okung leaves in free agency that need will be amplified. Cody Whitehair was a four year starter at Kansas State and played both tackle and guard positions. He has short arms, even for an interior lineman. However, Whitehair possesses good quickness and strength and a tireless work ethic.
Pick 27: Green Bay Packers
Hunter Henry, Tight End, Arkansas
Aaron Rodgers needs weapons, as shown in this year’s playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals which had Jeff Janis being a featured receiver. The Packers have good wide receivers when healthy, but I’m not convinced Richard Rodgers is a starting tight end in the NFL. Hunter Henry is not a spectacular athlete or a great run blocker. Despite that, he won the Mackey award and is the number one tight end in this class due to his hands and route running.
Pick 28: Kansas City Chiefs
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Prior to the Combine, Will Fuller was not in the top tier of wide receivers. That is no longer the case. Fuller ran a blazing 4.32 4o yard dash and had a 33.5 inch vertical leap. Many scouts were worried about his hands, but he consistently caught balls away from his body. Fuller is now flying up draft boards, the only question is whether he will pass Baylor’s Corey Coleman and Ohio State’s Michael Thomas.
Pick 29, Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Dodd, Defensive End, Clemson
Despite losing the national title game to Alabama, there was one person from Clemson who had himself a hell of a night. Kevin Dodd had five tackles for loss and three sacks against the vaunted Alabama offensive line. Dodd has 34″ arms and ran a 4.86 4o yard dash at the combine. Arizona will probably try to use Dodd as an outside linebacker if he shows the ability to drop back in coverage.
Pick 30: Carolina Panthers
Jason Spriggs, Offensive Tackle, Indiana
Ron Rivera is praying that Jason Spriggs falls to Carolina at 31. Carolina’s biggest need is at left tackle. Michael Oher inspired a fantastic movie and has had a solid pro career, but he is no longer good enough to protect Cam Newton’s blindside. Jason Spriggs was one of the most impressive linemen at the Combine, where he had the best 4o time and was among the leaders at the bench press. Spriggs played in a run-heavy system at Indiana, similar to Carolina, and he could be exactly what the Panthers need to make a serious run in 2016.
Pick 31: Denver Broncos
Jonathan Bullard, Defensive End, Florida
The Denver defense was so good, they won a title in spite of Peyton Manning’s quarterback play. Unfortunately, many of Denver’s front seven are free agents this year. Jonathan Bullard can give you the versatility you need up front in a 3-4 defense. Bullard has a good mix of quickness and power, but will probably need to add more strength if he wants to be featured often in Denver’s defense.
New England does not have a pick in the first round of this year’s draft due to their role in the “Deflategate” scandal. Special thanks to my good friends Alex and Sean for helping with this project. Look for another mock draft after pro days are over with.