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2016 NFL MOCK DRAFT
The countdown to the 2016 NFL draft is closer than you may think. Dynasty owners are eager to see where these rookies will land while the teams at the top have exhausted all options for which blue chip players would fit the best.
This will be the 81st annual meeting of NFL franchises to select newly eligible football players and the big day is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, and will end on Saturday, April 30. I’ve been asked to take on Gridiron Experts second NFL Mock Draft, here’s goes!
1. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
After drafting Marcus Mariota last season and trading for DeMarco Murray not too long ago, it’s clear the Titans plan to run the ball. Mariota missed time last season with knee issues and constantly faced pressure. Tennessee did improve its offensive line by adding Ben Jones from Houston, but they still need much better tackle play. Drafting Tunsil allows Taylor Lewan to move over to right tackle, where he might be better suited. Protecting their franchise quarterback is key, and Tunsil is undoubtedly the best offensive tackle in this draft.
2. Jared Goff, QB, Cal
Even after the Browns signed Robert Griffin III, Cleveland still remains in need of a quarterback. There are no guarantees that RG3 can still play at a starting quarterback level, and even if he can (short term) the Browns need to change how they build their team by starting to think about grooming for the future rather than throwing QB prospects into the fire.
Goff is arguably one of the best prospects at the position in a long time. He is also the more pro-ready quarterback compared to Carson Wentz in my opinion. Hue Jackson has gushed about Goff in the past and it would seem more likely to me right now that Goff is picked instead of Wentz.
3. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida St
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Arguably the best prospect in this class, he has the ability to play both safety and cornerback. While the Chargers are not in terrible need of a cornerback with Casey Heyward and Jason Verrett, the loss of Eric Weddle opens up a big need at safety. Having Ramsey there shores up an important portion of the defense along with coming into make an immediate impact.
4. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
This could be the perfect spot for Joey Bosa, but it’s also possible that Dallas takes another defensive end. Buckner is not a finished product yet and could have a higher ceiling than Bosa at his peak. Giving Rod Marinelli a player of Buckner’s caliber and ceiling that can play multiple places on the field. With DeMarcus Lawrence coming off back surgery, Randy Gregory serving a four game suspension, and the team likely not bringing back Greg Hardy, defensive end becomes a huge need for Dallas. Buckner could that high reward prospect that the team goes after.
5. Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS[the_ad id=”58837″]The Jag’s opened up their check book and spent big on Malik Jackson in free agency they also have last years 1st round pick Dante Fowler coming back from injury, making the defensive end position not as much of a priority as people are making it out to be.
Myles Jack is a rare prospect, as he has all of the qualities you look for in a future star. A knee injury caused his stock drop slightly, but not enough to keep him out of the top five.
Jack played safety and running back at UCLA and has the strength, speed and athleticism to cover tight ends, running backs and even some slot receivers at the next level. While some think Jacksonville should look to building their offensive line it’s hard to pass up such a great talent like Jack.
6. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
After losing Kelechi Osemele to Oakland, Baltimore is need of an offensive tackle. The Ravens are disputing who will be their left tackle, but regardless, Eugene Monroe isn’t the long term option. Stanley has the upside to be a solid if not great offensive tackle for years to come. With Joe Flacco coming off a major knee injury, it’s obvious that protecting him is a main priority.
7. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Colin Kaeparnick could still possibly be traded to another team, which would make quarterback the top need for the 49ers (if it isn’t already).
Blaine Gabbert proved to be adequate at best, but there is no way he is anything more than an above-average backup, despite praise from new Coach Chip Kelly. Some teams have Wentz as their top NFL Draft quarterback prospect and considering Wentz’s size, arm strength, and upside, it may be hard for GM Trent Baalke to pass on him.Random Stat: Wentz scored 40 or 50 on the Wonderlic Test
8. Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio St
This just makes too much sense. The Eagles traded away DeMarco Murray and may also trade Ryan Mathews if the opportunity arises. Darren Sproles still has wheels but can’t handle a full workload but would be an excellent mentor. Ezekiel Elliott is by far the best running back prospect in this year’s draft and may only rival Todd Gurley as the best running back in recent years. Philadelphia also made an improvement to solidify their offensive line by adding Brandon Brooks in free agency.
Ezekiel Elliott Career Highlights
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9. Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Besides Jalen Ramsey, Hargreaves may be the most pro-ready secondary prospect in this draft. While he faces some size issues, he tends to make up for it in his excellent play. Along with added nostalgia of being a local prospect, Hargreaves has the means of being a potential #1 cornerback in this league and Tampa Bay could sorely use that. Along with Robert Ayers, Gerald McCoy, and Lavonte David, Tampa could have reliable playmakers at all three levels of the defense. That’s hard to pass up.
10. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St
NEW YORK GIANTS
As much as wide receiver is a need for the Giants opposite Odell Beckham Jr., their offensive line is a mess. Ereck Flowers struggled in his rookie season, Will Beatty is gone, and Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger. Whether Conklin slides in at left tackle or at right tackle, he is a brute with great size (6’6”) and long arm length (35”) and can be an immediate upgrade to either tackle spots.
11. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio St
CHICAGO BEARS[the_ad id=”58808″]This is an absolute coup for the Bears, as they get a potential top five pick in the draft at number 11. The team added Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathian and Jerell Freeman to their front seven. With the addition of Bosa, this could be a very young and scary defensive front for Vic Fangio and the Bears. They surely need some pass rushers and Bosa could be the best one of them all in this draft.
12. Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Saints need some serious help on defense, as they finished nearly last or near it in every statistical category. Rankins is argued by some as the best interior defensive lineman in this draft class and could provide some immediate disruption in the trenches for other teams. You have to start somewhere in improving a whole defense, but Rankins would be a nice first move.
13. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
After releasing Brent Grimes and adding Byron Maxwell really leaves them in the same spot as they were in last season. Grimes was their number one cornerback but his play was declining. Maxwell can be a solid number two corner, but isn’t suited well in a number one corner spot. Alexander definitely has the upside to be a number one corner and could help turn a big weakness into a potential strength.
14.Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
The Raiders have made some great additions this offseason on defense adding Bruce Irvin and Sean Smith. Adding a playmaker in the middle could be all that’s left to make this team a potential playoff contender in 2016. Cornerback could be another need but considering Ramsey, Hargreaves, and Mackensie are off the board, there is no need to reach here. Ragland is a great run-stopping presence who needs some work on passing downs, but Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, and Mario Williams will be putting constant pressure on the quarterback. This gives Ragland the ability to get better at pass defense and hold down the fort on the run.
15. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
LOS ANGELES RAMS
As much as Jeff Fisher and Les Snead seem to be in love with Case Keenum, he is not the long term answer for the Rams. Paxton Lynch is last of the “top three” quarterback prospects in this draft and could fit a need for a team that is trying to regain its offensive identity after grabbing Todd Gurley a year ago. Lynch may not start or even play much his rookie season, but even so, he has franchise quarterback upside who could use some seasoning after playing at Memphis for his college career. It would be hard for the Rams to pass up on Lynch if he is there at 16.
16. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
The Lions lost a huge playmaker when Calvin Johnson retired earlier this offseason. They signed Marvin Jones, but he will never come close to replacing Megatron. The addition of Treadwell would help Matthew Stafford immensely, providing him with Golden Tate, Jones, and Treadwell as his top three wide receivers. Along with Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, and Eric Ebron, Stafford will have a plethora of playmakers at his disposal. This could help make Detroit’s passing attack a strength with Jim Bob Cooter getting a chance at his first full season at offensive coordinator. This could be a pipe dream more than a reality, but it’s a need and stranger things have happened.
NFL Mock Draft Picks: 17-31
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL