Insiders

NFL AM: 2016 Final NFL Mock Draft

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It’s NFL Draft Week and it’s time to give my opinion on who goes where.  As always, trades are on the table.

  1. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff, QB, California- The Rams moved up from No. 15 all the way to the top spot and it’s time to get their signal caller of the present and future.  Goff has elite arm strength and there are fewer questions about him than Carson Wentz.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State- The Eagles had to have known who the Rams were taking when they pulled the trigger with Cleveland to move up to the second-overall pick.  Clearly Philly is comfortable with Wentz and he will be part of one of the most expensive, least productive three-headed quarterback monsters in the NFL.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Trade w/ San Diego)- Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State- The Jaguars needed an impact player and the trade was a situation that made sense for both Jacksonville and San Diego.  The Jags get the best player in the draft and one of the best defensive back prospects since Darrelle Revis.  (If Jacksonville stays at No. 5, they will take Ramsey and if he’s off the board they’ll select Myles Jack).
  4. Baltimore Ravens (Trade w/ Dallas)- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss- With the Chargers moving back, Ozzie Newsome knew he needed to move up to have a shot at the best offensive tackle prospect in years.  It’s worth spending some trade compensation to avoid another potentially catastrophic injury to starting quarterback Joe Flacco. (If the Ravens stay at No. 6, Myles Jack or Ronnie Stanley would be the pick).
  5. San Diego Chargers (Trade w/ Jacksonville)- DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon- The Chargers believed when they traded down that Laremy Tunsil would be available, but grabbing Buckner will certainly help their defensive line which was pretty mediocre last season. Bucker is one of the best players in the draft who hasn’t received as much publicity among the media as he has among scouts. (If the Chargers stay at No. 3, they’ll select either Tunsil or Ramsey).
  6. Dallas Cowboys (Trade w/ Baltimore)- Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State- With the suspension of DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys have virtually no talent at defensive end to start the season unless they offer Greg Hardy a contract, which will fracture the locker room.  Jerry Jones is tempted to take Ezekiel Elliot, but need at a premium position trumps another running back. (If the Cowboys stay at No. 4, Bosa is still the pick).
  7. San Francisco 49ers- Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA- Although there were reports of Jack’s medical re-check worrying teams, the 49ers are quick to turn in their draft card as they get one of the most explosive players in the draft.  Jack is ultra-talented and can play anywhere and he is a great replacement for Patrick Willis.
  8. New York Giants (Trade w/ Cleveland)- Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State- It’s normally not great business to trade up for a running back, but Elliot is not your typical back.  He’s the best running back prospect since…..Todd Gurley.  New York has complementary backs, but having a guy like “Zeke” can take all sorts of pressure off Eli Manning. (If the Giants stay at No. 10, Elliot or Ronnie Stanley would be the pick).
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson- This may be a bit of a reach for Lawson, but Tampa is desperate for a pass rushing defensive end to line up opposite Robert Ayers. Lawson is a decorated collegiate who will benefit greatly from playing with Gerald McCoy.
  10. Cleveland Browns (Trade w/ NYG)- Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State- This is a tough call for the Browns, but their analytics tell them that a running back in the Top 10 doesn’t maximize value, and neither does a wide receiver in a class where four different guys could be the top player off the board.  Cleveland gets faster at linebacker and still manages to get a local guy.
  11. Chicago Bears- Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame- Some have suggested that Stanley is actually the best offensive tackle prospect in this draft, and the Bears have a major need at the position.  They get a local guy who is a very talented pass protector.
  12. New Orleans Saints- Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky- Spence is too much of a pass rushing threat to overlook, especially on the fast track of the Superdome.  The Saints are in desperation, win-now mode and they will take a chance on the talented, yet troubled edge rusher.
  13. Miami Dolphins- Vernon Hargreaves, Jr., DB, Florida- The Dolphins tried to trade up to get Ezekiel Elliot, and when that didn’t work they addressed a major need in the secondary with Hargreaves.  He is a little undersized, but is one of the best pure cover corners in the draft.
  14. Oakland Raiders- William Jackson, DB, Houston- The Raiders have addressed most of their issues in free agency, but there is a gaping hole in the secondary.  Jackson may not be the best value, but in true (late) Al Davis fashion, they take the best available athlete at the position of need.
  15. Tennessee Titans- Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State- Tennessee has a major need at offensive tackle and they are fortunate to get a haul of picks for their former No. 1 overall pick, as well as a starting caliber offensive tackle.
  16. Detroit Lions- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State- With the retirements of Rashean Mathis and Megatron, the Lions have a choice to make with their first-round pick.  Knowing that there is some depth in the wide receiver class, they went with an elite cornerback.
  17. New York Jets (Trade w/ Atlanta)- Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis- The Jets need to find an answer at quarterback and we’re pretty sure that Geno Smith isn’t it.  New York needed to move in front of Buffalo and the Falcons were willing to accommodate them.
  18. Indianapolis Colts- Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville- Aside from the no-brainer pick which was Andrew Luck, Sheldon Rankins falling into Ryan Grigson’s lap was the best selection he’s made.  Value meets need on this one.
  19. Buffalo Bills- Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama- When was the last time that the first Alabama player went off the board this late?  2008 when they didn’t have a player selected.  With Kyle Williams getting long(er) in the tooth, Rex Ryan gets another big run-stuffer to line up next to fellow Crimson Tide alum Marcell Dareus.
  20. Atlanta Falcons (Trade w/ NYJ)- Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama- The run on the Crimson Tide has begun, and the Falcons get their guy despite moving back a few spots.  Ragland will immediately captain Dan Quinn’s defense and give Atlanta a durable option in the middle.
  21. Minnesota Vikings (Trade w/Washington)- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss- Minnesota had to move up ahead of Houston to grab what they believe is the best wide receiver in the draft. Treadwell has No. 1 wide receiver potential and will assume that role from day one and hopefully help Teddy Bridgewater take some more shots down the field.
  22. Houston Texans- Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor- The Texans will tell us that Coleman was their man all along, and we’ll never know if they’re lying.  New quarterback Brock Osweiler gets another new toy, as he will hand the ball to Lamar Miller and Coleman won’t have a ton of pressure on him playing opposite Deandre Hopkins.
  23. Washington Redskins (Trade w/ Minnesota)- A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama- With two first-round DT’s and a first round linebacker, is it any wonder why ‘Bama’s defense was so dominant?  The ‘Skins find a nice replacement for Pot Roast and have another piece to an ascending defense.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals- Josh Doctson, WR, TCU- The obvious pick is rarely the pick this far down in the draft, but with the departure of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, the Bengals would like to give Andy Dalton a complement to A.J. Green and why not a former Horned Frog?
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers- Mackensie Alexander, DB, Clemson- Alexander doesn’t seem like a Steelers type of guy on the surface, but a strong locker room will keep the talented defensive back in check.  This is most certainly a need pick.
  26. Seattle Seahawks- Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama- The Seattle offensive line struggled for much of last season after trading away center Max Unger.  Now they have Jimmy Graham and a younger Unger, in the two-time national champion.
  27. Green Bay Packers- Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor- This is a need type of pick as B.J. Raji will miss at least the 2016 season.  Billings will help against the run and make everyone on the defense better.
  28. Kansas City Chiefs- Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia- The Chiefs live by the moniker, “you can’t have enough pass rushers.”  They hope to find another Justin Houston with another Georgia alum in Floyd, and although it isn’t a huge need, there’s no way they can pass on a player this talented this far down in the draft.
  29. Arizona Cardinals- Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson- Dodd will play opposite Calais Campbell on the Cards defensive line and hopefully give them more of a pass rush this season to get back to the NFC title game.
  30. Carolina Panthers- Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State- With a run on cornerbacks pretty much depleting the first round, the Panthers select an offensive tackle that will compete with Michael Oher and Mike Remmers to avoid a repeat of what happened in the Super Bowl 50.
  31. Denver Broncos- Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss- Although conventional wisdom says that John Elway will select a quarterback here, he refuses to reach.  Nkemdiche would have been a Top-5 pick if not for the off the field concerns and the Broncos get a great value in a strong locker room.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.