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NFL Mock Draft Day Mania Continues

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Just over 24 hours remain until the 2016 NFL Draft takes place in Chicago and mock drafts disappear from our lives for at least six months. But before then, there’s still time for us to take a shot at who will land where come Thursday evening.

This particular mock draft has some predictability at the top, but things get shaken up on the fringe of the Top 10 and four previously uncompleted trades follow. Several teams fill immediate needs while others sit back and let their board come to them. It’s the 2016 NFL Draft, through one more person’s prognostications.

  1. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff, QB, California: Just a few years removed from being the team to reap the benefits from a big quarterback trade up, the Rams are on the other end. Goff is far from the best player in this draft class, but quarterback is king and the Rams wanted someone to kick off their Los Angeles era with. They hope and pray that Jared Goff is that guy. I’m not so sure.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State: The Eagles continue to be a mess even after Chip Kelly’s departure, and their grand scheme to draft Wentz and then let him sit for a year behind Sam Bradford is already unraveling before they even get to take him. If they’re right on Wentz, no one will remember all that, but they better be right because they gave up a boatload in the present and future to get here.
  3. San Diego Chargers- Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State: As the smoke clears on all the quarterback shenanigans, the Chargers sit positioned to take the best player in the draft, and they’ll do just that if they land Ramsey. The Seminole star is probably best suited as a safety, but whether San Diego uses him there or at corner, he has the talent to change the way the Chargers play defense.
  4. Dallas Cowboys- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: If the Chargers pass on Ramsey to take a pass rusher or offensive lineman, Ramsey is the pick here for Dallas. If not, consensus seems to be they’ll pass on a pass rusher and look to get back to what brought them deep into the 2014 playoffs, an offense based around ground-and-pound that keeps their defense off the field. Elliott is a brilliant fit for the scheme and could approach 2,000 yards behind the vaunted Dallas offensive line.
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA: This is a calculated risk for Jacksonville, given some recent reports about Jack’s health, and the initial thought would be they would shy away after what happened with Dante Fowler last year. But reports indicate that the Jags are enamored with Jack, and why not, he’s a world class potential No. 1 overall pick talent without the injury question marks. Coach Gus Bradley loves his linebackers and he’ll have a great one to mold that defense around if Jack can stay on the field.
  6. Baltimore Ravens- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: Christmas comes early in Baltimore as the best player in the draft at their biggest area of need falls right into the Ravens’ laps at No. 6 overall. Tunsil is easily a Top 5 talent, but with quarterbacks clogging up the top two picks, a perfect storm brings him to Baltimore. There, Joe Flacco will finally have the blind side protection he needs to get the Ravens back on track in 2016 as he returns from injury.
  7. San Francisco 49ers- Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis: This pick is a total wild card because the 49ers have so many needs they could fill here, and a trade down seems like a great choice. But the guess is Chip Kelly wants a quarterback to run his system from the start this time around. The over-drafting of Goff and Wentz moves Lynch, who is probably a late first round talent at best, into the Top 10, making the Memphis quarterback perhaps the biggest benefactor of all from the trades of the top two picks.
  8. Cleveland Browns- DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: It would be a classic Cleveland Browns move to take the Ohio State product Joey Bosa here to “address” their pass rush need, and get a cheap hometown pop. But I want to believe the Browns have truly changed this time, and if they have, they’ll realize it’s Buckner, not Bosa who is the best fit for their scheme among the available pass rushers. Buckner would thrive as a 3-4 DE in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme and could be Cleveland’s best first round pick since Joe Haden.
  9. New Orleans Saints (Trade with Tampa Bay)- Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: If Bosa falls this far, teams will be knocking down Tampa’s door to try to move up and grab him and the Bucs would be wise to listen. New Orleans ends up with the best offer, as the first round drop from 9 to 12 isn’t too steep for Tampa to take. With Lynch, who the Saints appear to covet as a Drew Brees replacement plan, off the board, New Orleans relishes the opportunity to team Bosa with Cam Jordan and start building up a defense that ranked near the bottom of the league across the board in 2015.
  10. New York Giants- Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: Giants fans will likely be less than thrilled with this pick after the way the Ereck Flowers pick worked out last year, but with Ezekiel Elliott off the board early to Dallas, it’s the best they can do. For the Giants to have success, they need to keep Eli Manning upright and book-ending their line with two Top 10 tackles in Stanley and Flowers should got a long way toward accomplishing that.
  11. Chicago Bears- Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: The Bears might be tempted to move up in front of New York to get Stanley, but they have too many needs to sacrifice even the slightest draft capital. So they stay put and land a comparable talent in Conklin. Like the Giants, Chicago’s offense is going to need significant production from their passing game, and that starts with protecting the quarterback. Conklin and free agent signing Bobby Massie can help do that.
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Trade with New Orleans)- Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida: The Bucs swap picks with the Saints and still manage to land a player they covet at a position of need, bringing the Tampa high school product home. The Tampa defense needs to get better on the backend and adding Hargreaves to their offseason haul in the defensive backfield makes plenty of sense.
  13. Miami Dolphins- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State: For the least several years, the backend of the Dolphins defense simply hasn’t been up to snuff to compete with the vaunted passing attacks in the AFC East. That could change this year if, after adding Byron Maxwell, they double down on the defensive backfield and take a cornerback here. With Hargreaves gone, it’s between Apple and William Jackson III and Miami opts for the big game player.
  14. Indianapolis Colts (Trade with Oakland)- Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: After the Bears take Conklin, the Colts are forced to make a move up or likely get left out in the cold at the tackle position by the division-rival Titans picking in front of them. Decker is the last of the four tackles with first round talent and Indianapolis desperately needs help at the position if they hope to keep Andrew Luck healthy this year. It’s worth the sacrifice of some short term draft capital.
  15. Tennessee Titans- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss : The Titans are going to be able to fill a lot of holes with the haul they acquired from the Rams, but they’ll have to be patient in the first round to avoid sending some of it right back out the door. Absent an offensive line pickup here (they can get one at the top of round two) they nab the best wide receiver in the draft, a true No. 1 to put Dorial Green-Beckham and Rishard Matthews in a better position to succeed and give quarterback Marcus Mariota even more options.
  16. Detroit Lions- Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: The Lions aren’t going to get a Ndamukong Suh replacement this late in the first round, but Rankins can clog the middle of the Detroit defensive line in a way an aging Haloti Ngata simply can’t any more. The Louisville standout has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald and although that’s a lofty best case scenario, Rankins is a disruptor, something the Lions have lacked up front since Suh’s departure.
  17. Atlanta Falcons- Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: This is among the best fits of the first round, as for the second straight year the Falcons find themselves with an edge rusher out of Clemson. Despite selecting Vic Beasley last year, Atlanta ranked dead last in pass rush. Adding Lawson allows them to divide and conquer with pressure from both sides and might do wonders for Dan Quinn’s defense.
  18. Oakland Raiders (Trade with Indianapolis)- Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: These aren’t your father’s Raiders, which is why trading down in the draft to continue to collect assets instead of taking the best athlete on the board makes a lot of sense here. Despite their slow rise last season, Oakland still has quite a few holes to fill. Here, the Raiders gets a strong player, who can slot nicely into the middle of their linebacking corps, where the team remains weak.
  19. Buffalo Bills- Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky: This seems like a tailor-made Rex Ryan pick. Spence’s value has peaked and valleyed over the last several months, but if he falls here, he’ll be in a great situation for himself and for the team. The Mario Williams debacle behind them, the Bills need guys who will provide pressure and Spence could be a great new toy for Rex to allow his brother Rob to unleash.
  20. New York Jets- Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: The fifth Buckeye off the board in the first round, Lee is one of the safest bets among the bunch. An incredible athlete with sideline-to-sideline speed, Lee would help the Jets complement their ferocious front with strength at linebacker and has the versatility to fit all the exotic schemes defensive coordinator Todd Bowles likes to play with.
  21. Washington Redskins- Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia: The addition of Josh Norman was a significant upgrade for the Washington secondary, but there’s still one big piece missing here to make that group a top defensive backfield, and it’s a true strong safety. Enter Joseph, to provide the combo of thunder and lightning needed among the last line of defense in today’s NFL, especially in the NFC East going against the likes of Beckham and Bryant.
  22. Cincinnati Bengals (Trade with Houston)- Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: The Bengals leapfrog the receiver-needy Vikings to grab the coveted Coleman, who is right on par with Treadwell in discussions about the best wideout in the 2016 draft class. With the departures of both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason, Cincinnati needs all the help they can get at the position opposite A.J. Green. Coleman gives them a dynamic 1-2 punch.
  23. Carolina Panthers (Trade with Minnesota)– William Jackson III, CB, Houston: After seeing Coleman go before they got the chance to take him, the Vikings look to move their pick and find a taker in the Panthers, who make it worth Minnesota’s while to move down seven spots. The impetus for moving up for Carolina is an opportunity to replace the aforementioned Norman with an excellent talent in Jackson. The standout corner immediately slots into a starting role in the Panthers’ secondary.
  24. Houston Texans (Trade with Cincinnati)- Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State: Houston filled a lot of their needs through free agency, but one of their key losses was the departure of guard Brandon Brooks. To make sure the offense can run smoothly with new quarterback Brock Osweiler and new running back Lamar Miller, filling that gap is a necessity and Whitehair has the size and skillset to do so from Day 1.
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers- A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: The Steelers get an interesting choice between the two talented Crimson Tide defensive tackles, and go with the more youthful of the two in Robinson, who also has the slightly larger frame. Robinson’s ability to engage blockers, clog the lane and the burst to get by into the backfield make him a solid fit in the middle of the Pittsburgh 3-4 defense.
  26. Seattle Seahawks- Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss: The Seahawks have made it no secret that character concerns don’t bother them much, so while Nkemdiche’s past has turned off many potential suitors, Seattle is waiting with open arms once again at the bottom of the first round. Nkemdiche has Top 10 talent and if the Seahawks can keep him in check, he could be the steal of this draft class.
  27. Green Bay Packers- Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia: Here’s another case of the right fit at the right time. Floyd has been compared by observers to a young Clay Matthews and with Matthews getting long in the tooth, it makes sense for Green Bay to pursue a player in the same mold to fill their need outside. And who better for Floyd to learn the ropes from before taking the spot over full time than the man himself?
  28. Kansas City Chiefs- Josh Doctson, WR, TCU: The Chiefs have some other needs on the backend of the defense and up front on offense, but Doctson provides the best bang for their buck and gives the team a necessary complement to Jeremy Maclin other than Travis Kelce. Alex Smith finally got over his aversion to throwing touchdown passes to receivers last season, and with Maclin and especially Kelce drawing red zone attention, the 6-4 Doctson would be a great weapon to have in touchdown territory.
  29. Arizona Cardinals- Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: The Cardinals are in full BPA mode here and in the process get to add a stud prospect to their defensive front. Ogbah has high boom/bust potential, but the system in Arizona and the leadership on that defense should allow him to shine in a way that could make him one of the best picks of this first round when all is said and done.
  30. Minnesota Vikings (Trade with Carolina)- Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame: The Vikings get a solid haul from Carolina to move down from 23 to 30 and still land one of the first round talents at wide receiver in Fuller. The Fighting Irish product isn’t the all-around talent that Coleman is, but he’s an outstanding vertical threat to stretch the defense, something offensive coordinator Norv Turner loves to do. The threat alone would open things up for the rest of the Vikings offense to have success in the intermediate areas as well.
  31. Denver Broncos- Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: The Broncos really have no choice but to emerge from draft weekend with a legitimate candidate to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job. Smart money remains on a trade for Colin Kaepernick, but even that might not stop Denver from taking a long, hard look at drafting a backup plan. Cook has his flaws, but he proved at Michigan State he can be the type of quarterback Denver needs right now, and with tutelage from Gary Kubiak and his staff, perhaps even more than that.

About Devon Jeffreys

Devon Jeffreys