Sure, it’s early—massively so—to reboot the 2016 NFL Draft. As we watched the end of the San Diego Chargers-Joey Bosa mess, though, it made us wonder if the Chargers might have made a different choice, knowing what they know now.
For that matter, what other teams might take a different tack based on their preseason? Would teams stay with their picks? Or would they move in a different direction?
Let’s put on our thinking caps and find out. We’re resetting the order to what it was at the first pick of the draft and we’ll go from there. There are no trades here, either, so teams are set where they were as we kicked off the actual draft.
- Los Angeles Rams (from Tennessee Titans): Jared Goff, QB, CAL- You don’t spend the picks the Rams did and then not pull the trigger. I don’t think they were ever considering Carson Wentz, not seriously. They seem all-in on Goff, even at a slow boil.
- Philadelphia Eagles (from Cleveland Browns): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State- As with the Rams, the Eagles didn’t move up this far prior to the draft just to grab anyone but Wentz. If you had any doubt, the trade of Sam Bradford should have sealed it, along with the announcement that Wentz was starting in Week 1.
- San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon- Maybe they’d still pull the trigger on Bosa, but knowing what they know now, more than likely they’d save themselves a headache. Buckner can also play in a 3-4 and would be a nice addition to the edge. Maybe he wouldn’t hold out.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State- I’d like to think Owner/GM Jerry Jones would look at the state of his defense, say “hmmm maybe I should help that out” and draft a defender here. But aside from trading up one spot for a quarterback—which I don’t think the Eagles would do, expect Jerry to be Jerry and address a problem he doesn’t have.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State- So we end the first five picks having been mostly “chalk” because the Jaguars are completely happy with Ramsey. Yes the torn meniscus was a setback, but he is healthy now and played well when he finally got some snaps in the preseason. Now, there is little chance Myles Jacks ends up dropping to the second, but we don’t think they’d change a thing. He’s also an early pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
- Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley, tackle, Notre Dame- From here on out, if there is an offensive line in need, Laremy Tunsil is in consideration. However, the Ravens didn’t err selecting Stanley instead, as he has had a tremendous preseason. Stanley has looked impressive during the preseason, and we think the Ravens wouldn’t change a thing.
- San Francisco 49ers: Laremy Tunsil, T/G, Mississippi- You could make a strong case for Myles Jack, if the Niners wanted to stay on defense. However, this is a team that moved back into the first for a guy who, while solid, isn’t the best of the offensive line group. Tunsil dropped because of a stupid video, but by all accounts is a solid guy as well as arguably the best player in the draft. The Niners offensive line is a tire fire, and Tunsil would help fix that at guard or tackle.
- Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles through Miami Dolphins): Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor- With Robert Griffin III in the house, we’re pretty confident they would still get Coleman, since they were desperate for an impact player. And before you point out that Josh Gordon is coming back in Week 5, ask yourself: for how long? Even if Gordon never screws up again, this team needs a player like Coleman.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State- Sure the secondary is important, but the defense has some talent. The offensive line lost Logan Mankins and Donovan Smith isn’t all that great. You could kick Demar Dotson to left tackle and Conklin to right or let Conklin hang on the left side. Either way, you want to see Jameis Winston protected, and Conklin does that.
- New York Giants: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State- How much of a train wreck is the offensive line? Sure, they have Ereck Flowers, but he’s been struggling and even if he wasn’t, he’s only one guy. He and center Weston Richburg can’t do it all and Marshall Newhouse is a dumpster fire at right tackle. Decker could step right in and improve that spot. You spent all your cash on defense—why spend your first pick on that as well when the line is a mess?
- Chicago Bears: Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA- It was silly for Jack to drop out of the first round. Yes, there were concerns about his knee, but they were overblown. Even if you just get three or four years out of him, a player of his skill isn’t easy to come by. This defense needs a playmaker, and Jack would be that guy. Leonard Floyd is passable. Jack could be transcendent.
- New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville- The Saints were terrible on defense last season and Sheldon Rankins is a quick defender who can pass rush. While his broken foot gave me pause, I think the team would see his upside and still be happy. He will be back on the field this year, perhaps by Week 6. Plenty of time to make an impact.
- Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia Eagles): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida- With Tunsil no longer gifted to Miami, they have to look elsewhere. We could easily see them still go offensive line, but the state of their cornerback position leaves a lot to be desired. Hargreaves is a fantastic corner, easily the best in the draft, and could have stepped in right away without concern.
- Oakland Raiders: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia- As he’s sitting here and the Raiders are pretty happy with the pick as we sit here, we’d say they would make the same selection. His long term health is a concern because he abuses himself as well as other players, but his competitive fire and physical style are a good fit for this team.
- Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State- As we’re not trading here, the Titans will miss out on the tackle they’d covet. That’s fine, since they need a defensive end as well. They have actual pick Kevin Dodd at linebacker, but we think Bosa would be at end in this 3-4 defense—a great fit for him. And he might show up on time here.
- Detroit Lions: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi- As with the Titans, the Lions missed out on the tackle run. Losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley created a huge hole in the middle of the defensive line which is only temporarily filled by Haloti Ngata. Robert Nkemdiche has struggled this summer with a high ankle sprain, but his athleticism and versatility (he can play both tackle and end) would be highly attractive to this team.
- Atlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal, SS, Florida- Sure, he’s banged up and will miss the first week (and maybe the second) but he’s a hard hitting safety and someone beat writers believe head coach Dan Quinn sees a bit of Kam Chancellor in. He’d be their pick again.
- Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama- Kelly was one of the better interior linemen in the draft and the Colts needed some help along the line, so this pick remains the same. Indianapolis seems pleased with their first round selection, so why change?
- Buffalo Bills: Darron Lee, DE/OLB, Ohio State- Given how badly things have worked out for Rex Ryan’s new defense—with injuries to Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland—I’d imagine he would want the Lawson pick back, especially since they knew back at the Combine his shoulder was bad. Now he might miss the season. Meanwhile Lee has been very effective for the Jets. We think Ryan would take that switch.
- New York Jets: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis- After the nonsense of the summer, the Jets still have no real answer at quarterback. We know they like Hackenberg, but looking back on this pick, Lynch would have been a smarter way to go and less of a project. We know the franchise loves defense in the first, but this is the future of the franchise at stake.
- Washington Redskins: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame- Given that Doctson can’t get on the field (although they knew he was hurt in April) and Fuller is blowing up in Houston, we think Washington would change their pick. Fuller would be a great weapon for Kirk Cousins and the offense and the bonus is, he actually is healthy!
- Houston Texans: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss- We think Houston would also avoid Doctson, and think Treadwell could be huge across from DeAndre Hopkins in this offense. Treadwell isn’t burning up tracks with his 40 time, but he plays with tremendous ball skills and a physical attitude which would be a big help to quarterback Brock Osweiler.
- Minnesota Vikings: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU- Minnesota has two solid receivers in Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs, so Doctson being banged up isn’t a huge deal. He needs to add some muscle and mass, but plays faster than he looks on film and his routes and hands are tremendous.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama- While they felt otherwise in April, picking up the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in the draft seems like something they would want to get with Domata Peko on the wrong side of 30 and not exactly a titan in the middle. Reed should have been in the first round anyway, and is showing why with the Seahawks.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: William Jackson III, CB, Houston- Now we get to correct the biggest panic move of Day 1. When the Bengals grabbed Jackson, the Steelers reached for Artie Burns who has largely been invisible for them. The team needed secondary help, but didn’t really get it. Jackson is an aggressive defender and ballhawk – what they really wanted here.
- Seattle Seahawks: Josh Garnett, OG, Stanford- With no Lynch here, the Broncos aren’t trading up, so the Seahawks are going to select at No. 26. And as Garnett is sitting and waiting – and they are desperate for line help – this makes all the sense in the world.
- Green Bay Packers: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA- The Packers love Clark, though he has struggled with injuries this preseason. He’s penciled in for either the defensive tackle or nose tackle on a rotational basis and it sounds like he will see a ton of work early.
- Kansas City Chiefs: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama- Since they still have this pick, the Chiefs don’t have to wait for Chris Jones to fall to them in the second round. Robinson was a first-team All-American in 2015, and had 22 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a 30-game starter with the Crimson Tide.
- Arizona Cardinals: Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky- Clearly there were still some questions about Spence off the field, because from a talent standpoint he should have gone in the first round. He’s done well for the Buccaneers despite lacking ideal size. He’d be a great replacement for the aging ends they have now. The team has overlooked off-field issues before (like with Tyrann Mathieu) and should have here too.
- Carolina Panthers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State- Not so much a replacement for the departed Josh Norman, Apple is a solid athlete who is still growing both physically and as a player. He began the preseason slowly, but has come on recently and would be a big help to this secondary.
- Denver Broncos: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech- Since a trade up for Paxton Lynch didn’t happen, the Broncos are left to shore up pieces of the offensive or defensive lines. They added some offensive line help in free agency, so our expectation is for them to attack the defensive side. Butler can play all over the defensive line – he was a three- and five-technique and moved inside to nose tackle in passing situations- and give defensive coordinator Wade Philips a ton to work with. The rich get richer here.
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Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk
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