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2016 NFL Draft: Mock Draft April 23rd

The Los Angeles Rams made the first big move of the draft by moving up to the number one overall pick and now the Eagles have followed suit


The Los Angeles Rams made the first big move of the draft by moving up to the number one overall pick and now the Eagles have followed suit by swapping places with the Cleveland Browns. With those trades now finalised, how will the first round pan out? 1. Los Angeles Rams (From Tennessee) – Jared Goff, QB, Cal The Rams made it pretty clear that they are drafting their QB of the future when they gave up so many draft picks to move up, and that guy will be Jared Goff. I believe that the Rams coaching staff and front office will feel as though Goff will be more like the QB they want; a guy that will sit in the pocket and rip you to shreds. Not to say that Wentz can’t be that, I just think Goff will be able to do that to a higher level, and sooner. 2. Philadelphia Eagles (From Cleveland) – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State With one QB definitely coming off the board at number 1, the Browns now effectively hold the pick that will decide the direction of this draft. They also hold the pick for the 1b option at quarterback, meaning any team that wants him is going to have to go through Cleveland, and Philly evidently agreed. What’s more, Bradford’s deal is effectively a one year deal with an option, so if Wentz isn’t ready to start this year, they can roll with Bradford for 2016 as they build Wentz for 2017. 3. San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss The Chargers offensive line has been an absolute shambles for the last few years, so when an o-lineman as talented as Tunsil drops to them they would be idiotic to not take him. Tunsil would immediately be an upgrade for this team and he would also add a little depth to the unit, which has been another weakness for this o-line. 4. Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State A couple of years ago, Jerry Jones held himself back from making the flashy choice of Johnny Manziel, and instead opted for now All-Pro guard Zach Martin. This year, I think he will make that same move. He could go for Ezekiel Elliot, and I’m sure he wants to, but Joey Bosa makes too much sense here. With both Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence facing suspension, an already beleaguered pass rush becomes an even bigger problem and Bosa will help fix that and more. 5. Jacksonville Jaguars – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA If the first round falls like this, the Jags will find themselves with one of the toughest decisions ever, but in the best possible way, and in that situation I think they will opt for Myles Jack. Having seen what a player like Bobby Wagner does for a defense – Gus Bradley’s defense, even – I think he would find it hard to pass up on a player like Myles Jack. Plus, I think his knee is and will be A-OK. 6. Baltimore Ravens – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State Like the Jags, the Ravens will be loving the discussion they’ll be locked up in; Ramsey, Buckner or someone else? Ultimately, I think they’ll go Ramsey. Why? Simply, he is my number 1 player in the draft and DB is possibly the Ravens biggest need of the 3 they could fill here. Ramsey will be able to start at safety alongside Weddle or at cornerback with Jimmy Smith. Think Tyrann Mathieu when it comes to how he can be used, and I think the Ravens would cherish a player like that. 7. San Francisco 49ers – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon This offseason the 49ers hired Chip Kelly, ex-Oregon head coach, and last year they selected Arik Armstead in the first round, former Oregon defensive end, so why not go all out on Oregon Ducks? Not only would there be a familiarity and chemistry between the three, but Buckner is a better prospect than Armstead and the 49ers defense is in dire need of an identity. Building a huge, physical and athletic defensive front would be a good place to start. 8. Cleveland Browns (From Philadelphia, from Miami) – Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State In all honesty, I think there is a good chance the Browns trade back again as I legitimately believe Hue Jackson may like his chances to start a rebuild with RG3, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see him pick Ezekiel Elliot. Jackson is an offensive man, and seeing a player like Ezekiel Elliot available to him will likely get him pretty amped up. Every position is a need on this team and Elliot is the best player available at this point. I could get behind this pick as a turning point for the Browns. 9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida The Buccaneers would certainly like to follow up the success of their last 2 first round picks with a third, but this time I’d imagine they’d want it on defense. If Hargreaves is available, they should leap at the opportunity to take him. With Verner and Grimes both getting older and coming off down years, this is the perfect time to add your cornerback of the future. Not only would he be that, but he would instantly be able to take CB 2 role for this team. 10. New York Giants – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame The Giants have always been big on getting bigger in the trenches early in the draft, couple that with their need on the o-line and the quality of Ronnie Stanley and this is an easy choice for the Giants. With Stanley and Flowers – last year’s first round selection – the Giants will have what could be their bookend tackles for years to come. 11. Chicago Bears – Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia Since John Fox’s hire the Bears have transitioned to a 3-4 defense, and one of the biggest parts of a 3-4 defense is its edge rushers. The Bears restocked in free agency, but they didn’t find themselves an edge rusher. Floyd is exactly that. He needs time to develop the rest of his game, but he’ll be able to contribute immediately as a pass rusher, which the Bears desperately need. 12. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville Throughout draft season, the Saints have been one of the teams that I have had taking a similar player in every mock, and that doesn’t change now. In fact, I’m going back to my Mock Draft 1.0. The Saints biggest priority has to be their interior d-line. Rankins is a force in the interior and will be an excellent complement to Cam Jordan on the Saints defensive front. 12. Miami Dolphins (From Philadelphia) – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State The Dolphins may have acquired Byron Maxwell but I don’t believe he can be their long term number one cornerback. What I think he can be is a stop gap number one corner whilst Eli Apple develops into their long term guy. 14. Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama I’ve said previously that I feel like Ragland just screams “RAAAAIDERRRRRS” to me. He’s a hard-nosed wrecking ball who will be able to fit right in with this defense. He may not be the guy you want in pass coverage but the Raiders have other players that can come in in those situations. If the Raiders can roll out Khalil Mack, Reggie Ragland and Bruce Irvin they’ll be one of the scarier linebacker corps in the league. 15. Tennessee Titans (From Los Angeles) – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State Having moved out of the number one spot, the Titans still get a tackle, just a different one. The consensus opinion was to move Lewan out to right tackle to accommodate Laremy Tunsil, but Lewan has never played on the right, and that is a bigger transition than people assume. Conklin, however, has played on the right. So as the Titans seem comfortable with Lewan on the left they can slot Conklin on the right and have their team set up at tackle for years to come. 16. Detroit Lions – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama Not that long ago the Lions had one of the most formidable defensive lines in the NFL, but with the departure of both defensive tackles, it hasn’t quite been the same. Yes, they’ve since acquired Haloti Ngata, but he isn’t quite the player he used to be, and he certainly doesn’t make up for the loss of both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Adding Robinson would not only give you someone to start alongside Ngata this year, but it also gives the Lions his replacement when he retires or they get rid of him. 17. Atlanta Falcons – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State Darron Lee is one of many athletic freaks in this draft. He could play strong safety if need be. So I’m sure the Falcons would run the draft card in if he falls to them. They need to improve their pass defense and they need a linebacker and they get the best of both worlds with Lee. 18. Indianapolis Colts – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State This team has a few big needs, but offensive line has been one for many years and I’m sure Andrew Luck would agree. He’s been taking a beating for a number of years and he’s going to want all the time in the world coming off his injury. Decker will be able to play right or left tackle, shore up this o-line and keep Luck on his feet, happy and healthy. 19. Buffalo Bills – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson Like Detroit, the Bills recently had what could have been argued the best defensive lion in the NFL, but a down year last season and now the departure of Mario Williams and Kyle Williams age, is isn’t quite as scary. Luckily for the Bills, this years draft is rammed full of very talented interior lineman, so Kyle Williams’s replacement can be found later. As for Mario’s? Well Shaq Lawson is probably the second best 4-3 defensive end in this draft and he’ll be an instant asset to Rex and Rob Ryan’s defense. 20. New York Jets – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis Seeing as negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick are seemingly going nowhere, and I doubt the Jets actually want to end up with Brian Hoyer, Geno Smith or Bryce Petty as their starters for any more than this year, I’d imagine the possibility to draft Lynch would be very welcome – especially as most, if not all, of their preferred options are gone at this point. In Lynch they get a developmental QB, but one who has tremendous upside. And you never know, he may be more pro ready than everybody thinks – stranger things have certainly happened. 21. Washington Redskins –Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama The loss of Terrance Knighton has left a huge hole – literally and figuratively – in the heart of the Redskins defensive line, so they desperately need someone to fill that. Jarran Reed would be able to do just that. Reed was a technician at Alabama, using his hands and leverage to be an absolute nuisance to opposing offensive lineman. He is a pure run stuffer who’ll be able to eat up space for the Redskins, leaving other players free to make plays. 22. Houston Texans – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor Coleman has seemingly closed the gap on Treadwell as the draft process has gone on, and I’m not surprised. I love this guy, not only because I liken him to Steve Smith Sr, whom I also love, but because he is a genuinely talented guy – not to say the others aren’t. He may have a limited route tree and he may not be able to make pro style adjustments to coverage, but he knows how to get in the endzone. Furthermore, they have Hopkins, so they can leave Coleman as the number 2 or 3 guy as he develops into a more rounded receiver, eventually giving the Texans a down right terrifying pass catching duo. 23. Minnesota Vikings – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss Treadwell, despite his disappointing 40 yard dash time, is the best receiver in the draft. And, honestly, I don’t think his 40 time is going to matter come game day. You know why? Watch his film and you’ll get the answer. Not only can he still separate from DB’s in his routes, but his other skills and abilities mean that even if he isn’t separated from a DB he can come down with the ball in any situation. He has the tools to become a Dez Bryant-esque receiver, so who cares if he is a little slower. 24. Cincinnati Bengals – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU The Bengals have had possibly the best pass catching group in the NFL for a couple of years now in AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu but with the last 2 now elsewhere, the Bengals are in need of a receiver to pair with AJ Green. So why not go back to the pool that gave you your QB? Doctson is a redzone monster and was been for his whole career with the Horned Frogs. He has excellent hands, he high points the ball regularly and can produce after the catch. If the Bengals add him they’ll undoubtedly have one of the scarier redzone offenses in football. 25. Pittsburgh Steelers – William Jackson III, CB, Houston The Steelers have one of the most intimidating and explosive offenses in the NFL, but their defense hasn’t been able to hold up it’s part of the bargain over the past couple of years, in large part due to its backfield. Both at safety and at cornerback they have lost linchpins in Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor, so they have to strengthen their defensive backfield to get that seventh Lombardi. Adding William Jackson III gives the Steelers their next shutdown cornerback. 26. Seattle Seahawks – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson Alexander was the definition of a shutdown corner at Clemson. In his two years of playing he allowed just a 29.6% completion rate and the last touchdown he gave up was on September 27th 2014 – week 5 of his freshman year. He might have no career interceptions and just ten passes defensed, but he completely shut down a receiver every week. Furthermore, he’d fit perfectly with the Seahawks. Can you imagine Sherman locking down one side of the field with Alexander on the other, with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor roaming the middle of the field? Yes please. 27. Green Bay Packers – Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor The Packers received a blow when BJ Raji announced he was hanging up his cleats at the end of this season, leaving the Packers with a gap in the middle of their defensive line. I’m pretty sure that hole could be filled with Andrew Billings. Billings is immensely strong, has great reactions and he can use his hands relatively well for an inexperienced player. He is raw, but his upside will make him an exciting prospect for the Packers to plug into their defense. 28. Kansas City Chiefs – Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky Justin Houston’s injury and Tamba Hali’s age – and health – has plunged one of the more productive pass rushing duos into uncertainty, making a pass rusher a big priority for the Chiefs. In Spence, they would be getting the best pure pass rusher in the draft, they just have to be comfortable with his off-field issues. Though his interviews have apparently not been great, I think he has shown that he has cleaned up his act and is willing to work incredibly hard to not throw away his opportunity. And with that mentality, he could invigorate the Chiefs pass rush for years to come. 29. Arizona Cardinals – Germain Ifedi, OG, Texas A&M Texas A&M continue their run of offensive lineman to be drafted in the first round. Unlike Joeckel and Matthews, Ifedi is not a left tackle, nor is he as polished, but he is very athletic and offers more versatility than either of the others, having played at both right guard and right tackle for the Aggies. He projects as a guard in the NFL, but he would be capable of playing right tackle if need be. Seeing as the Cardinals traded away last years starting right tackle, Ifedi fills a need and adds priceless o-line depth. 30. Carolina Panthers – Artie Burns, CB, Miami The Panthers shook the NFL landscape by rescinding their franchise tag from star cornerback Josh Norman. In itself that is unheard of, but considering the fact that CB was already a need for the Panthers even with a top 10 guy on the team, this puts them in desperate need of a new CB. Luckily for them, Artie Burns will be available to fill that void. Burns has all the tools to be a great cornerback, he just needs to refine his skills, but on a team like the Panthers I’m sure he’ll be able to do just that. 31. Denver Broncos – Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State Jones is perhaps one of the more overlooked defensive tackles in this incredibly deep draft class. He has incredible natural power in his upper body and lower body, he has strong hands, shows some hand quickness and he has sneaky quick feet thanks to a basketball background. With the departure of Malik Jackson, the Broncos need to find another presence for their interior d-line, Jones could be that and more.

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

2016 NFL Draft: Mock Draft April 23rd

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