It’s that time of year again, the NFL Draft is tomorrow and that means my 2nd annual NFL Mock is today. I again will be giving you guys a two round mock, with trades in round one, here we go.
1. Los Angeles Rams- Jared Goff, QB California
Trade: Rams send picks 15, 43, 45, 76 and 2017 1st and 3rd round selections to Titans in exchange for picks 1, 113, 177
With the first overall pick the Los Angeles Rams select, Jared Goff. While I feel Carson Wentz is the better prospect, and the better fit for LA, all signs are pointing to the Cal QB going first overall. Nonetheless, Goff is a remarkable talent, and LA can’t go wrong with either QB. Goff made some unbelievable plays in Cal’s RPO style offense, and showed off his pocket presence, ability to make great throws under pressure, and his overall amazing arm talent. My biggest concerns with Goff are that he tends to under throw players on his deep ball, and might have trouble learning an NFL playbook and adjusting to taking the ball under center, after being in a quite simple shotgun spread offense at Cal. Though he has flaws, Goff should have a successful rookie season with star halfback Todd Gurley behind him to relieve him of having to carry the offense on his own.
2. Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Wentz, QB North Dakota State
Trade: Eagles send picks 8, 77, 100, 2017 1st round selection, and 2018 2nd round selection to Browns in exchange for pick 2 and 2017 4th round selection
There isn’t much thought in this one for the Eagles, they will take whichever quarterback that the Rams do not take, which is likely to be Carson Wentz. The Eagles plan to sit Wentz in year one to learn behind QB Sam Bradford, which could get complicated since Bradford has requested to be traded in light of the Eagles moving up to pick number two. Wentz has the higher upside of the top two quarterbacks, with big size, large hands, and great athleticism, Wentz has all the physical tools to be a star. Wentz’s pluses are his very good arm talent, his knowledge of NFL schemes due to the offense he ran at North Dakota State, and his overall intelligence, as he is said to have never gotten a B in his life. His major minus, which arguably is the reason he will not be the number one overall pick, is that he played at an FCS school, facing competition that is not up to par with the competition in the FBS. Had he gone to a team in the FBS, it is very possible Wentz would have been the first overall selection.
3. San Diego Chargers- Laremy Tunsil, OT Mississippi
This is where the mock draft truly starts, as anyone could have predicted that the QBs would go 1-2. Tunsil probably had the worst luck of any player leading up to the draft. After the Rams-Titans and Eagles-Browns trades, Tunsil went from being the favorite to go number one overall, to third overall at best. Either way, Tunsil is an amazing prospect. The Chargers are desperate for some consistency on their offensive line, which is constantly plagued with injury, and at 3rd overall Tunsil will be a steal. He was an outstanding pass protector at Ole Miss, and has the athleticism and size to be an elite offensive tackle at the next level.
4. Dallas Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey, DB Florida State
Jalen Ramsey is regarded by most as the best defensive player in the draft. His combination of cover skills and ability to help stop the run make him a unique talent. His versatility also makes him unique, as Ramsey projects as a potential pro bowl player at both cornerback and safety. His passion for the game makes him unlikely to bust, as he clearly wants to be the best, and is very vocal about it. The Cowboys will get a great player here, and shore up a hole in their secondary.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Myles Jack, LB UCLA
The Jaguars would prefer to go with Ramsey here, but he will not be available so Jack will do. Jack is the best pure linebacker in the class, but injury concerns could cause him to fall a bit in this deep draft. If the Jags to pick him up here, he will be the perfect eventual successor to Paul Posluszny in the middle of the Jaguars defense.
6. Baltimore Ravens- Ronnie Stanley, OT Notre Dame
With this being a deep class of offensive tackles, Ronnie Stanley meets value and need here for the Baltimore Ravens. Stanley is a very good offensive tackle, and like Tunsil is better at pass protection than run blocking, and is very agile. Stanley projects to step in right away for the Ravens, plugging in as their starting left tackle after three years of being the starting left tackle for Notre Dame.
7. Chicago Bears- Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
Trade: Bears send picks 11 and 41 to the 49ers in exchange for pick 7
Like defensive lineman Leonard Williams last year, Joey Bosa is arguably the best player in the draft, but does not have a good fit among the teams holding the top six selections. Last year I projected the Bears would move up to take Williams, that didn’t happen, so now I believe they will make the move this year and grab the best player available in Bosa.
8. Cleveland Browns- DeForest Buckner, DE Oregon
1. Eagles send LB Kiko Alonso, CB Byron Maxwell, and pick 13 to Dolphins in exchange for pick 8
2. Browns send pick 2 and 2017 4th round selection to Eagles in exchange for picks 8, 77, 100, 2017 1st round selection, and 2018 2nd round selection
The Browns decided that they were more than a QB away from being a playoff football team, so they made the wise move of trading down and gaining premium picks in the future. Last year the Browns decided to take DT Danny Shelton, now they will take DE DeForest Buckner to create a young, scary combination on their defensive line.
9. Tampa Bay Buccanears- Vernon Hargreaves III, CB Flordia
The Buccanears signed Alterraun Verner a couple years ago hoping he would be their star corner, he hasn’t been. The Bucs could use a top corner, and Hargreaves has the potential to become one. Very good in man coverage, Hargreaves is the best in this class at shadowing a wide receivers movements. On the downside, he is undersized and doesn’t have elite speed, which could make it difficult for him to keep up with NFL wide receivers.
10. New York Giants- Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State
Last year Todd Gurley was the first running back off the board at number 10, this year the same thing happens with Ezekiel Elliot coming off the board. Elliot doesn’t have the same upside as Gurley, but is not coming off an ACL tear like Gurley was, which keeps his value this high. However, Elliot has great balance, and a good combination of power and speed to break off big runs. He is also the best pass blocker of any running back in the draft in quite a while, and will serve as a very valuable pass protector for Eli Manning and the Giants.
11. Tennessee Titans- Jack Conklin, OT Michigan State
1. Bears send picks 11 and 47 to 49ers in exchange for pick 7
2. 49ers send pick 11 to Titans in exchange for picks 15 and 76
The Titans need to keep Marcus Mariota upright, and the 49ers have a lot of holes to fill, so this trade makes sense for both sides. The Titans have the ammo to move up after their big trade with the Rams, and likely will, as they would love to get a tackle to help protect Mariota. After giving up the most sacks in the league last season, getting one of the top three offensive tackles needs to be the Titans number one priority. While Conklin is considered to be better at run blocking, he can develop into one of the Titans best pass blockers as well.
12. New Orleans Saints- Leonard Floyd, OLB Georgia
The Saints are desperate for defensive help. Last year they allowed the second most yards per game, and the most points per game in the NFL. One factor of their defense that was lacking was the pass rush. The Saints were tied for sixth worst in the NFL in terms of sacking the quarterback, and Floyd is an immediate solution to their problem. Floyd will be a perfect player in the Saints 3-4 defense, as he is an above average pass rusher, but still has the ability to drop back into coverage and hold his own, which he will be asked to do a lot.
13. Miami Dolphins- Darron Lee, OLB Ohio State
Trade: Dolphins send pick 8 to the Eagles in exchange for pick 13, LB Kiko Alonso, and CB Byron Maxwell
The Dolphins made a very good trade with the Eagles, picking up LB Kiko Alonso who still young has loads of potential, although coming off an ACL tear, along with CB Byron Maxwell, and only had to move back five spots to do it. Now the Dolphins decide that they want to find someone to play alongside Alonso, selecting the speedy linebacker Darron Lee. Lee is the fastest linebacker in the draft, running a 4.47, which makes him a perfect fit in todays NFL where teams are always looking for speedy linebackers to help in pass coverage. Lee fits in well with the Dolphins, and should have immediate success playing behind their ferocious defensive line.
14. Oakland Raiders- Sheldon Rankins, DT Louisville
The Raiders had a very busy offseason, headlined by the signings of CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, OLB Bruce Irvin, and OG Kelechi Osemele. One thing they didn’t add however, is a defensive tackle. They added DT Dan Williams last season, but he is getting up there in age, and Rankins is the defensive tackle in this draft. Rankins will get valuable experience learning under Williams his first year, and will eventually turn into a solid run stuffer in the middle of the Raiders line.
15. San Francisco 49ers- Paxton Lynch, QB Memphis
1. Rams send picks 15, 43, 45, 76, 2017 1st and 3rd round selections to Titans in exchange for picks 1, 113, and 177
2. Titans send picks 15 and 76 to 49ers in exchange for pick 11
The 49ers have a lot of needs, but most of all they need a quarterback. Kaepernick wants out, Gabbert is not the long term answer, and after the Rams and Eagles traded up to spots 1 and 2, it was clear they were not going to get one of the top two quarterbacks in this draft. Instead, the 49ers decide to trade back twice, picking up extra selections to aid their needs, and still addressing their biggest need in the first round. Paxton Lynch was originally slotted by many to go 15th, except it was to the Rams. After they traded up, his draft position was in question, but he winds up right back where he started at 15. Lynch has loads of potential, having one of the strongest arms the NFL has seen in a long time. However, he is going to need time to develop, as he is very raw, and will need time to learn a much more complicated offense than the one read spread offense he ran at Memphis. This situation is perfect for Lynch, as the 49ers can use Blaine Gabbert as their bridge quarter back next season, and prepare Paxton Lynch to be their starter for the 2017 season.
16. Detroit Lions- Reggie Ragland, LB Alabama
Reggie Ragland is the best natural inside linebacker in this class. While guys like Myles Jack and Darron Lee have the potential to move inside, Ragland already has the experience of commanding a defense, as he was the MLB for Alabama, last years BCS Bowl national champions. The Lions recently recently released Stephen Tulloch, leaving a hole in the middle of their defense that can immediately be filled by Ragland.
17. Atlanta Falcons- Shaq Lawson, DE Clemson
The Falcons were the worst pass rushing team in the league last season, being the only team to not meet the 20 mark, with a league low 19 sacks. Needless to say, they need help. Last year they drafted DE Vic Beasly, and they need to go right back to the DE market to further support their pass rush. Lawson has good power, and will provide immediate help to the Falcons pass rush, along with potential to be a solid run defender as well.
18. Indianapolis Colts- Ryan Kelly, C Alabama
The Colts have been on record of having one of the worst offensive lines in the league over the last few years. Ryan Kelly is the best interior lineman in this class, and can help both Indianapolis’ running and passing games. Kelly has received comparisons to the Atlanta Falcons’ center Alex Mack, and if he lives up to that hype he will be a steal at this spot.
19. Buffalo Bills- Kevin Dodd, DE Clemson
The Bills decided this offseason that it was best to part ways with DE Mario Williams and his hefty contract. Their replacement for him is Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd. Dodd is a very good pass rusher, putting up 12.5 sacks in his final season at Clemson. He should translate well to the NFL, especially with most of the attention from opposing teams on the Bills two beasts in the middle Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams.
20. Pittsburg Steelers- Taylor Decker, OT Ohio State
Trade: Steelers send picks 25 and 89 to Jets in exchange for pick 20
The Steelers are in need of an offensive tackle, and get a steal this late in the draft. Decker is a very good prospect that has gone under the radar due to the top end talent at his position in this draft. Decker is a very good run blocker, and while he doesn’t have elite athleticism should be an above average tackle in this league, providing good holes for Le’Veon Bell and holding up his side protecting Ben Rothlisberger.
21. Washington Redskins- Jarran Reed, DT Alabama
Had the Redskins not signed CB Josh Norman last week, I likely would have slotted a cornerback to them in this slot. However, now that they have signed him, a defensive tackle would be a welcomed addition to their roster. The Redskins line isn’t great, and has nobody truly capable of gaining the offenses attention. He is a very good run stopper, and should add a much needed boost to a sub par Redskins defense.
22. Houston Texans- Will Fuller, WR Notre Dame
DeAndre Hopkins had a breakout campaign last season, and was arguably the best receiver in the NFL, winning almost every one on one match up and providing much needed consistency in a Texans pass attack that rotated through many different quarterbacks. After finally finding Hopkins a QB, signing Brock Osweiler to a luxurious contract, it is time to find him a partner as well, and Fuller is the guy. While Fuller may not be the best receiver on the board, he fits what the Texans need as a true speed threat. Fuller ran a 4.3 forty yard dash at the combine, and provides a different threat than Hopkins, who is not the fastest player but is a great possession receiver. Fuller is 6’2, giving him a good combination of size and speed, along with the ability to stretch the defense and open things up in the middle.
23. Minnesota Vikings- Laquon Treadwell, WR Mississippi
While he may not be the first off the board, Treadwell is the best receiver in this class. The Vikings struck gold last season drafting Stefon Diggs late, as he provided a quality target for Bridgewater. However, outside of Diggs, the Vikings don’t have a receiver to lean on. Treadwell will never be the fastest player on the field, but he is great at high pointing the ball and will win most contested battles, providing a great red zone threat for Bridgewater.
24. Cincinnati Bengals- Josh Doctson, WR Texas Christian University
The Bengals lost both Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason, and now need a receiving threat to line up along side AJ Green and Tyler Eifert. Doctson is very good at creating separation, as well as having the ability to play the ball in the air. In the Bengals offense, the number two receiver has often been a very important piece, as defenses try to lock up Green, Eifert, and the two headed monster of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard at halfback. Adding Dawson will give the Bengals a better number two than Jones or Sanu ever were, and make a scary offense even scarier.
25. New York Jets- William Jackson III, CB Houston
Trade: Jets send pick 20 to Steelers in exchange for picks 25 and 89
The Jets released Antonio Cromarti and now could use a corner opposite of Darrelle Revis. In a CB class that doesn’t have great high end talent, the Jets decided it was best to move back and see who falls to them. Jackson is a physical freak, with very good height for a cornerback at 6’1, and a very impressive forty time of 4.37. With his athleticism comes a combination of above average ball skills and cover ability, which gives him the potential to be one of the best corners in the league one day.
26. Seattle Seahawks- Cody Whitehair, OG Kansas State
The Seahawks have been neglecting their offensive line a lot over the last few years, but have gotten away with it thanks to Russell Wilson’s elite ability to evade pressure. However, they won’t be able to get away with it forever. After trading C Max Unger, and letting OG James Carpenter and OT Russell Okung walk in free agency over the last two years, they are getting very thin at offensive line. Whitehair is the best guard in this class, and will immediately be one of the best offensive linemen on the Seahawks.
27. Green Bay Packers- Chris Jones, DT Mississippi State
Outside of Mike Daniels, there are no proven players on the Packers defensive line. In Chris Jones, they can get a defensive tackle that will plug in and be solid against the run, which is much needed after being in the bottom half of the league giving up 119.1 rushing yards per game last season. He doesn’t have the best pass rushing skills, but on a defense with Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, that will not be necessary.
28. Kansas City Chiefs- Noah Spence, DE/OLB Ohio State
Tamba Hali resigned this offseason after being released, but he isn’t getting any younger. To go along with that, Justin Houston is fighting a knee injury that has put his 2016 season in jeopardy. With these circumstances, the Chiefs would be wise to draft Noah Spence to rotate in and out with Hali and Houston. Spence is a very good pass rusher and would likely be drafted higher if not for his off the field issues which caused him to be dismissed from Ohio State.
29. Arizona Cardinals- Robert Nkemdiche, DT Mississippi
The Cardinals have a very good defense, but lack a true man in the middle that can dominate. Nkemdiche is a steal at this spot, if he can put aside his off the field issues. Nkemdiche is considered a top 10 talent by many of the NFL’s top analysts, but his major off field issues have caused him to drop far down the board. He is very quick and is good against both the run and pass, and if he proves everybody wrong about his off field issues, he will be the steal of the draft.
30. Carolina Panthers- Eli Apple, CB Ohio State
It is well known that the Panthers rescinded their franchise tag on Josh Norman last week, and now the Panthers must look for a cornerback to replace him. Apple possesses good size at 6’1, and runs an impressive 4.4 forty yard dash, giving him room for error as he can catch up to a receiver who got by him, or use his size to get up and break up a pass. Apple is a good cover man, and should succeed on a very good Carolina defense.
31. Denver Broncos- Connor Cook, QB Michigan State
The Broncos are in one of the weirder situations of reigning Super Bowl champions. With Peyton Manning retired, and his expected successor Brock Osweiler bolting to Houston for a large sum of money, the Broncos find themselves without a quarterback. They traded for Mark Sanchez, who is not the answer, and have been in talks with the 49ers about Colin Kaepernick, but it doesn’t seem like anything is going to get done. Connor Cook was a winner at Michigan State, going 34-5 over his three years as the starter. He has the arm strength and mobility to succeed, but his leadership has come into question, as he wasn’t voted a captain for his senior season. This would be an ideal situation for Cook, as Mark Sanchez could be the bridge quarterback for him for a half to full season, then when the Broncos feel he is ready, he can step in and succeed with the help of Denver’s league best defense.
32. Cleveland Browns- Corey Coleman, WR Baylor
33. Tennessee Titans- Karl Joseph, S West Virginia
34. Dallas Cowboys- Derrick Henry, RB Alabama
35. San Diego Chargers- Vernon Butler, DT Louisiana Tech
36. Baltimore Ravens- Vonn Bell, S Ohio State
37. San Francisco 49ers- Germain Ifedi, OT Texas A&M
38. Jacksonville Jaguars- Artie Burns, CB Miami
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Jonathan Bullard, DE Florida
40. New York Giants- Kamalei Correa, LB Boise State
41. San Francisco 49ers (via Chicago)- Michael Thomas, WR Ohio State
42. Miami Dolphins- Jason Spriggs, OT Indiana
43. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles and Philadelphia)- A’Shawn Robinson, DT Alabama
44. Oakland Raiders- Hunter Henry, TE Arkansas
45. Tennessee Titans (via Los Angeles)- Mackensie Alexander, CB Clemson
46. Detroit Lions- Tyler Boyd, WR Pittsburg
47. New Orleans Saints- Jihad Ward, DE Illinois
48. Indianapolis Colts- Kenny Clark, DT UCLA
49. Buffalo Bills- Deion Jones, OLB LSU
50. Atlanta Falcons- Joshua Garnett, OG Stanford
51. New York Jets- Christian Hackenberg, QB Pennsylvania State
52. Houston Texans- Nick Martin, OG/C Notre Dame
53. Washington Redskins- Chris Moore, WR Cincinnati
54. Minnesota Vikings- Christian Westerman, OG Arizona State
55. Cincinnati Bengals- Andrew Billings, DT Baylor
56. Seattle Seahawks- Austin Johnson, DT Pennsylvania State
57. Green Bay Packers- Nick Vannett, TE Ohio State
58. Pittsburg Steelers- Cyrus Jones, CB Alabama
59. Kansas City Chiefs- Braxton Miller, WR Ohio State
60. New England Patriots- Alex Lewis, OT Nebraska
61. New England Patriots (via Arizona)- Austin Hooper, TE Stanford
62. Carolina Panthers- Sterling Shepherd, WR Oklahoma
63. Denver Broncos- Sheldon Day, DT Notre Dame