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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Bosa a fit for Bucs

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The Sports Xchange

It’s too early to determine the strongest position in the 2016 NFL Draft, but defensive tackle looks like a viable candidate to be the most represented position in the first round, depending on underclassmen. Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche has top 10 potential, UCLA’s Kenny Clark is flying under the radar and Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington seems to make himself money with every game this season.

Team needs will change, the draft order (which is the inverse order of the latest CBS power rankings) won’t end up this way and the prospects below will help and hurt themselves throughout the 2015 season. But if the draft was held tomorrow, here’s how it might play out:

FIRST-ROUND MOCK DRAFT

1. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-2): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: The Bucs invested heavily on the offensive side in last spring’s draft, but that theme should switch to defense in the 2016 class. Bosa isn’t the quick-twitch edge rusher that most teams covet, but he is more well-rounded than most 20-year olds with a great blend of power, quickness and smarts.

2. CHICAGO BEARS (0-3): Jared Goff, QB, California: The Bears are currently locked into a long-term deal with Jay Cutler, but if they are able to find a way out of that contract, Goff should be priority No. 1 in the draft. The Cal passer might not have elite physical tools, but he’s off-the-charts above the neck.

3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-2): Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss: The Jaguars’ coaching staff and front office value versatility on the defensive line and Nkemdiche offers just that with his athletic ability to line up inside as a three technique or outside at end. He isn’t yet a polished product, but his potential is enticing.

4. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (0-3): Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State: The Saints are holding the secondary together with patchwork players and need a playmaker with difference-making potential like Ramsey, who can line up at cornerback or safety.

5. CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-2): Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: The No. 1 goal in Cleveland is to get the quarterback position figured out because the front office knows the organization won’t be successful without a winner under center. Is Cook the answer? Maybe. His skill-set reminds scouts of a mix of Carson Palmer and Ryan Tannehill.

6. OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-1): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: Oakland has some momentum as a team on the rise, and a big reason for that is the promise of recent first round picks Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Can the Raiders nail the first round three straight years? Tunsil is a plug-and-play left tackle with tremendous body control for a player his size.

7. DETROIT LIONS (0-3): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: While Riley Rieff has one of the offensive tackle spots locked down for the Lions, the other side isn’t nearly as secure. Stanley isn’t a flawless prospect as he needs refinement to his game, but the natural tools cannot be coached.

8. TENNESSEE TITANS (1-2): Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame: With Zach Brown in the final year of his contract, linebacker could be a need area this offseason. Smith needs to do more to shed blocks, but he’s a special athlete for the position who can drop in coverage and blitz the pocket.

9. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-2): Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: The San Francisco roster has been weakened the past few seasons, especially on defense. It will be tough for any player to replace the impact Aldon Smith made for the 49ers, but Floyd has similar athleticism off the edge to threaten the pocket.

10. HOUSTON TEXANS (1-2): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: With Goff and Cook off the board in this mock, would Bill O’Brien pull the trigger on Christian Hackenberg, his former quarterback at Penn State? It’s possible, but assuming he doesn’t, Buckner would give Houston a terrific bookend defensive end with J.J. Watt.

11. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-2): A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: The Eagles have impact players on the defensive line with Bennie Logan and Fletcher Cox, but Cedric Thornton and Brandon Bair have battled injuries and defensive line depth isn’t a team strength. Robinson fits coach Chip Kelly’s mold for “bigger, faster, stronger” players on defense.

12. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-2): Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan has an eye for talent, but also smart, disciplined players. And although slightly undersized, Hargreaves is a polished cover man who trusts what he sees.

13. BALTIMORE RAVENS (1-3): Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: Baltimore re-signed Justin Forsett and drafted Javorius Allen last offseason, but is still missing that playmaker in the backfield. Elliott has rushed for 100-plus yards in 10 consecutive games and has the skillset to be an impact starter at the NFL level.

14. NY GIANTS (1-2): Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Prince Amukamara is a free agent after the season and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has struggled to stay healthy for a full season, so cornerback looks like a potential offseason need for the Giants. Fuller is still developing, but the raw traits are a great foundation.

15. MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-2): Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA: The Dolphins have some question marks at linebacker and Jack might be too good to pass up here. He is currently on the sideline with a knee injury, but as long as his rehab is on track, he’s worth a top 15 pick.

16. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-2): Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: With Eric Fisher struggling and Donald Stephenson eligible for free agency after the season, offensive tackle could be the top priority this offseason for the Chiefs. Decker’s height can hinder him at times, but he moves well laterally with a balanced anchor to handle any type of rusher.

17. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (1-2): Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA: Arguably the best run defender at the college level, Clark is now the leader of the Bruins defense with Jack going down with an injury. He is a perfect fit for the Chargers’ three-man front rotation.

18. ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-2): Su’a Cravens, OLB, Southern California: The Rams have to face Kam Chancellor twice a year and Cravens is a player in the similar mold. He would be an upgrade at strong safety and Jeff Fisher hasn’t met a USC safety he didn’t like.

19. BUFFALO BILLS (2-1): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: With Cordy Glenn set for free agency and Cyrus Kouandjio not a reliable option, the Bills might look to the draft to fill a need at offensive tackle. There isn’t much flashy about Conklin, but he is well-rounded and doesn’t make mistakes.

20. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-1): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: With Cordarrelle Patterson a non-factor on offense, the Vikings need to find that go-to weapon for Teddy Bridgewater. Treadwell won’t be a target who consistently creates separation, but with his body control and ballskills, he doesn’t need to – think of a less dynamic version of Dez Bryant.

21. ATLANTA FALCONS (3-0): Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame: While he’s not on Aaron Donald’s level, Day will be dinged during the draft process for similar reasons with his lack of height, length and growth potential for an interior player. But he has rare athleticism for the position and Dan Quinn can use him up front to create interior pressure.

22. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (1-2): Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State: The Colts need to get better and add depth in the trenches on both offense and defense. Washington returned to Columbus for his senior season and is showing improvement with each game, pushing his draft value higher and higher.

23. NEW YORK JETS (3-1): Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: Playing the Don’t’a Hightower role for Nick Saban at Alabama, Ragland is a hard-nosed run defender and fits what Todd Bowles wants to do on defense.

24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-2): Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU: The Steelers drafted two cornerbacks in the top four rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft, but Doran Grant has been cut already and Senquez Golson was shelved due to injury. White is a good-sized cornerback with the athleticism and toughness for the NFL.

25. CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-0): Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State: The Panthers have invested several high draft picks in recent years to upgrade the front-seven and that might continue in the 2016 class. Calhoun has steadily developed the past four seasons in East Lansing and would give Carolina another pass rusher for the rotation.

26. CINCINNATI BENGALS (3-0): Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: The Bengals had high hopes for Margus Hunt, but his development stalled once Mike Zimmer left for the Minnesota Vikings. Oakman has similar issues, but is already further along in his development than Hunt was at this stage of his career.

27. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-2): Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State: With Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette hitting free agency after the 2015 season, Thomas would give the Seahawks a dependable X, Y and Z with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Thomas.

28. DENVER BRONCOS (3-0): Max Tuerk, C, Southern California: NFL scouts seem split on Tuerk and his pro projection, but some see him as a top 40 player. And the Broncos’ need at center is substantial enough that this wouldn’t be a reach for that offense.

29. DALLAS COWBOYS (2-1): Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State: Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott are options for the Cowboys in the first round, but both are off the board in this scenario. The Cowboys were ready to draft Ryan Shazier in the 2014 NFL Draft before he was drafted the pick before so Lee, who replaced Shazier at SAM linebacker for the Buckeyes, will likely be high on Dallas’ draft board.

30. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-0): Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor: The Cardinals allowed former first-round pick Dan Williams to leave via free agency last offseason, losing a key piece to the run defense. Billings would provide a legitimate replacement at the nose as a tough two-down run stuffer.

31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3-0): Pick forfeited as part of Deflategate penalties.

32. GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-0): Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia: With Nick Perry in a contract year and Julius Peppers getting long in the tooth, the Packers will be looking to upgrade at outside linebacker. Jenkins isn’t a quick-twitch mover, but he’s plenty athletic with the point of attack power to generate movement.

–Dane Brugler is a Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.


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