By now you have read hundreds of mock drafts for the 2016 NFL Draft and have pretty much zero clue what anyone is doing outside of the first two picks. Well, here is one more for you—as this is the only first round mock draft I will do this season in advance of the No Static Radio 2016 NFL Draft show live tonight at Scoreboards in Northfield.
Feel free to come on out at 6 p.m. and tell me how wrong I was on all of my picks all night long as I co-host the show from 8 p.m. throughout the end of the first round. Until then, enjoy my only mock!
1. Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, California
This pick is pretty simple. Goff is the best quarterback in the class, and the Rams traded a fortune to move up to No. 1 to take a QB. California college QB leading a new Los Angeles Franchise? Yeah, that’s a marketing dream.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Just like the pick above, the Eagles paid a pretty hefty price to the Cleveland Browns to move up from No. 8 to No. 2. Despite having Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel on the roster, it seems they are going up to get whichever QB the Rams do not take. In this case, that QB is Wentz.
3. San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss
The Chargers could be a surprise trade down candidate here, but they should stay put and take the best overall player in the class to protect Philip Rivers. Tunsil is a monster on film, and aside from a couple of red flags because of an injury and some off the field, he should be a long-time starter at LT in the NFL.
4. Dallas Cowboys – Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State
There has been a lot of talk about the Cowboys having an obsession with Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, but with Darren McFadden and newly signed Alfred Morris on the roster, they opt to go with the best defensive player in the draft in Ramsey. He can play corner or safety at the next level, but I think he has the ability to be an elite safety.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
The Jaguars are in an intriguing spot here. They could very well trade down here as well, but if they stay I’m going to say they shock some people and take a corner to try and get some play making ability in their secondary to go with newly signed safety, Tashuan Gipson.
6. Baltimore Ravens – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
A few months ago, Bosa was thought to be the hands down No. 1 pick in the draft. Since then, every analyst has tried to tear him down. Bosa is going to be an elite talent in the NFL, and the Ravens will find a way to get the most out of him.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Jack is one of the biggest wildcards in this entire draft. His knee injury reports get worse and worse as time goes on, which means he could go take a tumble in the draft. The 49ers are one of the teams to host Jack on a private visit, and were at their best when Patrick Willis was roaming around the middle of their defense.
8. Cleveland Browns – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Let me preface this pick by saying, ultimately I think the Browns trade back and draft Treadwell. Since I am not doing trades in this mock, he goes here. Treadwell is a special talent at WR who reminds me of Dez Bryant on film. The Browns haven’t had a real No. 1 WR in years, and Hue Jackson knows the importance of having one. Seems simple, right?
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
The narrative surrounding Tampa is that they will draft someone to protect Jameis Winston, but reports are coming out they really like Rankins. Even though DeForest Buckner is still on the board, Rankins next to Gerald McCoy would give the Buccaneers a scary middle of their four-man front.
10. New York Giants – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
How do you prolong the career of your franchise quarterback? Give him a bell-cow running back who is coming off back-to-back 1,800-yard rushing seasons, can catch passes out of the backfield and blocks better than some fullbacks in this class.
11. Chicago Bears – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
John Fox and the Chicago Bears cannot believe their eyes when Buckner falls in their lap at No. 11. He is perfect for DE in their 3-4 defense and has drawn comparisons to Calais Campbell.
12. New Orleans Saints – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
The Saints have had a lot of difficulty stopping offenses the last few years. If they are not going to take a cornerback, the best thing they can do is take one of the best players in the entire draft at getting to the quarterback. Lawson has drawn some lofty comparisons from the metrics community, and will give the Saints a scary duo with Cameron Jordan.
13. Miami Dolphins – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Some think after trading for Byron Maxwell, the Dolphins do not need to take a corner. But the team let Brent Grimes go, and they play in a division with Tom Brady. Apple was someone they had a private visit with, so he makes a lot of sense here.
14. Oakland Raiders – William Jackson, CB, Houston
Jackson is someone who has been mocked to the Raiders a lot this offseason and had a private visit with the team. Jackson has natural instincts and is good in man coverage. He is a long, physical corner who will start day one across from newly signed Sean Smith.
15. Tennessee Titans – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Many thought the Titans were going to take Tunsil with the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, they got paid a king’s ransom to move back to No. 15, and land the second best tackle in the draft to protect Marcus Mariota. That’s an A-plus start for their new GM if you ask me.
16. Detroit Lions – Jaran Reed, DT, Alabama
Though I am not extremely high on Reed, the Lions have had a lot of contact with him this offseason and many mocks around the web have him going here. The Lions once had Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle of their line, but with both gone they need to get back to beefing up the middle of their defense—and Reed does just that.
17. Atlanta Falcons – Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Another player I am not extremely high on, reports have linked Floyd to the Falcons for weeks now and they have had a lot of contact with him as well. Floyd played both outside and inside linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 defense and is experienced dropping into coverage, but would likely fill in at outside in Atlanta’s 4-3.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky
Most people think the Colts are a lock to take a tackle here, but if you look around their division the teams have one thing in common—young, franchise quarterbacks. This means you need a guy who can pin his ears back and get to the quarterback coming off the edge in your defense, and Spence (a guy they have had a private visit with) does just that.
19. Buffalo Bills – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
This offseason, the Bills lost Nigel Bradham and Mario Williams in free agency. Head coach Rex Ryan knows the value of having a versatile linebacker who can move around the field, so he lands one of the best ones and a Top 10 player on my board here.
20. New York Jets – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
With the Ryan Fitzpatrick talks going nowhere this offseason and rumors the Jets are considering moving up in the first round to land Lynch, they are ecstatic he falls to No. 20. Though many feel he will need a year to acclimate to the pro game, if they throw him into the fire early he will have plenty of weapons to help him along the way.
21. Washington Redskins – Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
Despite reports coming out about his enlarged aorta, the Redskins take the Alabama thumper here in the first round. After inking Josh Norman to shore up their corner issues, the Redskins address the center of their linebacking unit with one of the best in the class.
22. Houston Texans – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
The Texans could certainly go offensive line here after losing Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones from their interior in free agency. However, Doctson being available is too good to be true—as the team will be able to pair him with DeAndre Hopkins to give their new QB Brock Osweiler a potent duo to start his Texans career.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
A lot of talk this offseason has surrounded the Vikings drafting a wide receiver, so that is exactly what we are going to give them here. With Stefon Diggs already there as the resident speed guy, the Vikings go with one of the best separators and pure route-runners in the draft in Thomas. Many think he will be a better pro than he was in college because he can be the guy, and he will have the opportunity with Teddy Bridgewater.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Stanley’s fall finally ends, as the Bengals find their man to replace Andre Smith. There has been a lot of talk about Stanley going Top 10 and even Top 5 in this class, but there were things on film that do not make me feel like he is ready to start at LT from day one. Going to the Bengals, he can start at RT and work his way into being ready for next year, when Andrew Whitworth’s contract ends.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
The worst kept secret in the draft is that the Steelers need to add a cornerback to their roster. Many consider Alexander a Top 15 prospect, so for him to be available at 25 would be a major coup for the Steelers.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Seahawks already needed offensive line help heading into the offseason, and Russell Okung leaving via free agency did not help matters. Decker has the ability to start on either side of the line from day one, and proved himself time and time again for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
27. Green Bay Packers – Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
This one should be simple. The Packers need to replace B.J. Raji in the middle of their defense, and Billings is an absolute beast in the middle. At 6’0” and 311 pounds, he man-handles offensive lineman, and throws them around with one arm on film. This is a home run pick at No. 27.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
Joseph is one of my favorite safeties in this draft. He can lay the wood, has range to cover all over the field and is vastly underrated in this class because he is coming off a knee injury. The duo of Joseph and Eric Berry is going to terrorize quarterbacks for years to come.
29. New England Patriots – **Pick Forfeited
30. Arizona Cardinals – Robert Nkemdiche, DT/DE, Ole Miss
Once considered a Top 10 pick in this draft class, Nkemdiche has tumbled down draft boards due to a number of red flags. If any team in this class knows how to handle a guy with red flags, it is Arizona—who rolled the dice on Tyrann Mathieu a few years ago and have been rewarded greatly. Though they acquired Chandler Jones from New England, Nkemdiche is a guy who has shown flashes of greatness on film, and I think the Cardinals can get the most out of him.
31. Carolina Panthers – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
After losing Josh Norman, there has been a lot of talk about Carolina targeting a cornerback in the first round. However, with all of the top ones off the board the Panthers turn their attention toward adding more firepower to their offense. Though Ted Ginn played well last season, the team needs a long-term option to pair with Kelvin Benjamin who is returning from a knee injury.
32. Denver Broncos – Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
The Broncos will likely be linked to a QB at this spot of the draft, but after losing Malik Jackson this offseason they will likely look to add a defensive end to the mix. Bullard is a versatile, powerful defensive lineman on film and can play in any scheme at 6’3” and 285 pounds.