Insiders

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Bowl Season Edition

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1. Tennessee Titans: 3-12

The Pick: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

The best offensive tackle in this draft class goes to one of the teams that needs an offensive tackle the most. With Marcus Mariota at the helm for many years to come, Laremy Tunsil would be a great investment to protect the franchise quarterback. Tunsil is an elite tackle in pass protection with a ton of room to grow. He has the potential to become an All-Pro offensive tackle in the NFL.

2. Cleveland Browns: 3-12

The Pick: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The direction that the Cleveland Browns will go in the NFL draft is a huge mystery at this point. Their coaching and front office situations are in flux; therefore, it is hard to predict what scheme they will be utilizing, let alone what type of player they would target. In this situation, the Browns decide to go with the best player available as they bring Joey Bosa into the fold.

3. San Diego Chargers: 4-11

The Pick: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

The San Diego Chargers are a mess this year as they have been riddled with injuries and subpar play. They will likely let one of the best safeties in football, Eric Weddle, walk in free agency and they decide to add another versatile cog in their secondary with Jalen Ramsey. The Florida State defensive back has the ability to play in the box, center field or in the slot and he will be a key piece to the Chargers defense for the next decade.

4. Dallas Cowboys: 4-11

The Pick: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

This year proved how important it is for the Dallas Cowboys to find Tony Romo’s heir and eventual replacement. Luckily for them, they get the pick of the litter in this scenario, which allows them to take the talented quarterback from Memphis, Paxton Lynch. He would have the opportunity to sit and learn behind Romo, which would give him a great opportunity to develop into the type of quarterback the Cowboys could win with.

5. San Francisco 49ers: 4-11

The Pick: Jared Goff, QB, California

Benching Colin Kaepernick put the San Francisco 49ers in the quarterback market and they could opt to select hometown hero Jared Goff. While he isn’t as great as he was billed to be early on, Goff is one of the most accurate passers in college football and the 49ers could be a good spot to see him develop. Goff needs to add some bulk to take the pounding the NFL throws at you, but he has the highest ceiling among draft-eligible quarterbacks.

6. Miami Dolphins: 5-10

The Pick: Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Even though the Miami Dolphins have Brent Grimes, they are void of any other competent cornerbacks, which makes Vernon Hargreaves, III the easy pick here. Hargreaves is one of the most talented cornerbacks to come into the draft since Patrick Peterson. The only knock on him is that he isn’t the biggest cornerback and there are questions about whether he can cover the monster receivers like Dez Bryant in the NFL.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-10

The Pick: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that is on the rise; yet, they are still in need of a talent influx in the secondary. Mackensie Alexander is a perfect cornerback for the Jaguars’ scheme as he thrives in Cover-3 and in press-man coverage. Alexander’s length, speed and intelligence would be a great addition to Jacksonville’s secondary.

8. Baltimore Ravens: 5-10

The Pick: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

The Baltimore Ravens have one of the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL. Luckily for them, the best receiver in the draft, Laquon Treadwell, is available here. Treadwell is a physical specimen at the receiver position and he uses every bit of it to dominate opposing defensive backs. Treadwell would give Joe Flacco a legitimate No. 1 receiver and allow their offense to operate at their optimum level for years to come.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-9

The Pick: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

There is a lot to like about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season and this draft will be huge for them to continue the progress they’ve made. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley would be a great pick for the Buccaneers to shore up the offensive line. He’s athletic, quick-footed and intelligent. He would instantly improve the Buccaneers offensive line and allow Jameis Winston a little more time to throw.

10. New York Giants: 6-9

The Pick: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

The New York Giants need a dominant pass-rusher and while Shaw Lawson may never be that, he will be a very good defensive end for years to come. Lawson may have the highest floor among the edge-rushers in this draft, but his ceiling may not be as high as others. Lawson is a fantastic run defender who uses his hands and power to win as a pass-rusher.

11. New Orleans Saints: 6-9

The Pick: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

The New Orleans Saints have been hampered by poor play on defense for quite some time. The easiest way to change that is by getting a dominant linebacker to man the middle of the defense, which is what Myles Jack can do. Furthermore, Jack is the best coverage linebacker to come out in the draft in a long time, his ability to cover tight ends and receivers is truly special and will be a valuable skill set for the Saints defense.

12. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-9

The Pick: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

There will be a new head coach in Philly and why not look for a new quarterback in this draft?  North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz is flying up draft boards and will further jump up as the draft process goes on. He has the ability to move and gain ground with his feet, which would give them an additional threat that Bradford doesn’t have. Wentz may not be ready to be a full-time starter right away, but in the long run, he could have the Eagles offense operating at a higher capacity than Bradford.

13. Detroit Lions: 6-9

The Pick: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Taylor Decker may be the most pro-ready offensive tackle in this draft, outside of Laremy Tunsil. Decker is a dominant run-blocker who utilizes his length and strength to stop opposing pass-rushers. He isn’t the most polished blocker, but he is a tough and hard-nosed player who can utilize his grit and toughness to get by when his technique is off. The Lions would get an immediate upgrade on the offensive line, which would help them in the run and pass.

 14. Chicago Bears: 6-9

The Pick: Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

The Chicago Bears potentially get the best value in the entire draft with Carl Lawson at pick No. 17. If he could stay healthy, Lawson would be fighting Joey Bosa for the best player in the entire draft. Lawson is the best pure pass-rusher in this draft with his ability to win in a variety of ways.

15. Buffalo Bills: 7-8

The Pick: Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida

The Buffalo Bills have been severe underachievers on the defensive line this year; therefore, you can expect that head coach Rex Ryan will look to find players who fit his scheme better. Florida’s Jonathan Bullard is a versatile and explosive defensive lineman that can play inside at defensive tackle or outside at defensive end. He would improve the Bills’ defense and help them transition to Ryan’s defense.

16. Oakland Raiders: 7-8

The Pick: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

The Oakland Raiders have a great, young nucleus to build around and they will look to add to that core in this draft. There isn’t a better player to add to the fold than Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith. The young linebacker is an athletic freak that can make plays that most professionals can’t even make. He closes on the ball quicker than anyone else and he is extremely adept in coverage. Coupled with Khalil Mack, Smith would give the Raiders a fantastic young core on defense that would compliment their explosive offense well.

17. Indianapolis Colts: 7-8

The Pick: Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State

Frank Gore has been very productive for the Indianapolis Colts this year, but it is impossible to expect this trend to continue with his age; therefore, they will likely be in the market for a running back in the draft. There is no other running back better in this draft than Ezekiel Elliot. He would give the Colts and explosive runner who can win in every facet of the game.

 18. St. Louis Rams: 7-8

The Pick: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

The St. Louis Rams have been plagued by poor receiver play since Torry Holt retired, and their latest attempt to rectify that by selecting Ohio State’s Michael Thomas. The Buckeye’s wide receiver is a talented and refined receiver who does all the little things extremely well. He isn’t as flashy as other receivers, but he gets the job done as well or better than any other receiver in this class.

 19. Atlanta Falcons: 8-7

The Pick: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

The Falcons started the year well, but they were plagued by poor linebacker and defensive line play down the stretch. Alabama’s Reggie Ragland is the best run defender in this draft and he uses his excellent size and intelligence to always be around the ball. He would give the Falcons a tone-setter on defense and bring a toughness that the Falcons have lacked in the last few years.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-6

The Pick: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

The Pittsburgh Steelers get the steal of the draft at this point as Oregon’s DeForest Buckner falls all the way to them at pick No. 20. Buckner is one of the most talented and dominant defensive linemen in this draft, but his size and the scheme he played in at Oregon will make evaluators typecast him into a box as a 3-4 defensive end only. This allows the Steelers to get a player who perfectly fits their scheme and will be a potentially dominant 5-technique for their defense.

21. Seattle Seahawks: 9-6

The Pick: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Robert Nkemdiche may be on a similar slippery slope as Randy Gregory was last year. He was seen as a top-10 lock, but off-field concerns have led to many wondering if he will even get selected in the first round. Luckily for him, the Seattle Seahawks have proven that they aren’t afraid to take talented players with character concerns, which is why they select him here.

22. New York Jets: 9-6

The Pick: Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky

The New York Jets have surprised everyone with their play. Last year, they improved their defensive line with Leonard Williams and this year they look to improve their pass-rush with Noah Spence. The Eastern Kentucky edge-defender is an electrifying pass-rush who has the potential be a 15 sack a year type of player. He has the speed to get around the edge and the counter moves to work off it. He needs to get a little more powerful, but Spence has the ability to be the best player in this entire draft.

23. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-6

The Pick: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t a ton of success at evaluating offensive tackles over the last couple of year, but they hope to get it right here with Jack Conklin. The Michigan State offensive tackle is limited athletically, but he does great work in the run game with his strength and utilization of leverage. Conklin would give the Chiefs a player who can play at right tackle or down at guard.

 24. Minnesota Vikings: 10-5

The Pick: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

The Minnesota Vikings are an up and coming team that is a couple of pieces away from becoming a perpetual Super Bowl contender. Josh Doctson has the ability to be one of the pieces that could push them over the top. Doctson is the best vertical threat in this draft and he would work well in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense.

25. Washington Redskins: 8-7

The Pick: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

The Washington Redskins have made it out of the awful NFC East and even though they made the playoffs, their team is full of holes. At this point, they decide to get the best player available at one of their needs with A’Shawn Robinson. The Alabama defensive tackle is dominant against the run as he utilizes his length, strength and deceptive quickness to disrupt opposing running plays.

26. Houston Texans: 8-7

The Pick: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

The Houston Texans have a very talented team, but they’re are missing a competent quarterback. Head coach Bill O’Brian will be tempted to pick his old protégé, Christian Hackenberg, but he will ultimately choose the more refined Connor Cook with this pick. Cook isn’t very consistent, but when he is one, he is the best quarterback in the country.

27. Green Bay Packers: 10-5

The Pick: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

Kenny Clark is a physically dominant defensive tackle, who’s talent suggests that he should go much higher than this. However, he has shown to be extremely inconsistent with his effort level and hand technique; therefore, the Packers have the opportunity to get a great player here. Clark can be a Pro-Bowler or a huge bust, it will be up to the Packers to get the full potential out of him.

28. Denver Broncos: 10-5

The Pick: Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU

The Denver Broncos have the best talent in the NFL outside of quarterback and offensive line. Since there aren’t any quarterbacks worth selecting here, the Broncos opt to strengthen their offensive line with Vadal Alexander. The LSU offensive lineman can play at tackle or guard, but his best position is on the inside. He would be able to give the Broncos’ quarterback a better pocket to throw from and he would improve the running game with his ability to open up holes.

29. Cincinnati Bengals: 12-3

The Pick: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

The Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the best teams in terms of implementing their draft strategy with a specific goal in mind. This year, they will try to improve their defensive line with the versatile Jonathan Allen. The Alabama defensive lineman can play at any spot of the line at a high level. He has an amoeba-like quality to utilize different skills at each position to be successful. He will be a great chess piece for the Bengals to use in the future.

 30. New England Patriots: 12-3

The Pick: Forfeited. 

31. Arizona Cardinals: 13-2

The Pick: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

The Arizona Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they don’t have many pass-rushers who can consistently get after the quarterback. Georgia’s Leonard Floyd is an extremely raw and athletic pass-rusher who can be developed into a great outside linebacker in the Cardinals scheme.

32. Carolina Panthers: 14-1

The Pick: Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson

Kam Chancellor has laid waste to the Panthers for years, but the Panthers will look to return the favor with their version of the Seahawk safety with Jayron Kearse. The Clemson safety is a physical safety who can play in the box, but who can also cover in space. Kearse has the potential to be the next great safety in the NFL, which is extremely rare to come by.

 


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com