Rebecca Rennie 1.0 With the Super Bowl concluded, attention on April’s draft picks up now, which means mock drafts! There’s a long way to go in the process with the combine, medical and interview reports, pro days and more that will see prospects rise and fall. In addition, free agency additions will cancel out needs too. However, he’s a look at a potential scenario with how things look at this early stage, and my first mock of what will be several over the next few months.
- Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss – This is in no way a particularly exciting or original selection to go with for the Titans, but it’s the clear and obvious one. Tunsil is quite simply the best player in this year’s draft class, and fits a need. Lewan can shift to the right side, slot Tunsil in on the left, and protect your franchise QB Marcus Mariota.
Check out the Titans full season schedule preview HERE
- Cleveland Browns – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State – I’m on the record that I don’t think any quarterbacks are really deserving to go this early in the draft, but it’s looking more than likely that that’s the way the Browns shall go. If they do, Wentz would be my choice of the big name three. The rise up the board recently is relatively justified; the upside with this small school prospect is huge. There’s work to do and a lot of growing pains expected early, but there’s a chance this finally ends the run of poor play at the position that Browns fans have endured, even if it takes a year or two to get there.
Check out the Browns full season schedule preview HERE
- San Diego Chargers – Jalen Ramsey, S/CB, Florida State – This is a tricky spot for the Chargers. They really could use an offensive tackle, but with Tunsil off the board, they likely will have to address that in the second round instead. Here they can snap one of the most talented prospects in Jalen Ramsey. I like him more at corner, but Ramsey is equally able at safety too. Weddle at least isn’t going to be back, and they may lose others, leaving them weak at the safety spot.
Check out the Chargers full season schedule preview HERE
- Dallas Cowboys – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA – While a new QB is an interesting storyline, the idea of giving them Ezekiel Elliot was even more tempting. Dallas needs offensive playmakers beyond Dez, and Elliot is the best “skill position” player in this draft. However, Jack would be just as big an addition to the defence. It remains difficult to trust Sean Lee to stay healthy, and regardless they could use another linebacker. Jack’s ability in space and coverage is rare and instantly upgrades the unit.
Check out the Cowboys full season schedule preview HERE
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Joey Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State – Sure, they went pass rush last year too with Dante Fowler who will be back, but even so he’s unproven, and the Jags need more help getting in to the backfield regardless. Bosa is built for the NFL, and is also exceptional versus the run. The decision becomes tougher if Ramsey is also on the board at this spot, but they won’t go wrong with either.
Check out the Jags full season schedule preview HERE
- Baltimore Ravens – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon – Going offense seems to be popular for the Ravens, but the bigger needs are defensive. At WR, a healthy Perriman and Smith to go with Aiken is suitable, with another day 2 or 3 addition; they don’t have to go there in the first again. At 6ft 7, 290 lbs, Buckner is just scratching the surface of what he can do as a pass rusher, and is a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end. Chris Canty’s play isn’t what it used to be.
Check out the Ravens full season schedule preview HERE
- San Francisco 49ers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – I get the desire for a quarterback. Again though, not keen on a quarterback this high, and we’ll see if Kelly wants to try and revive Kaepernick’s career first. Trent Baalke likes to invest in linemen, and pass protection is a massive need. The 49ers gave up 53 sacks last season, the retired Anthony Davis still needs replacing, and Joe Staley turns 32. This is a sensible long term investment.
Check out the 49ers full season schedule preview HERE
- Miami Dolphins – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida – A coverage linebacker like Jack would be great if he reached this spot. Otherwise, cornerback ought to be in play. Opinions on Hargreaves are divided, but if the Dolphins are keen on him, he’d have a chance to be a starter straight away. The former Gator has been fantastic on an island in the SEC the past three years, and brings much-needed athleticism and playmaking ability to the Dolphins secondary.
Check out the Dolphins full season schedule preview HERE
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky – The Bucs would love Ramsey, but it would be a shock if he made it here. Instead, how about grabbing the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Getting to the QB has been in desperate need for years in Tampa and Spence provided the violent explosiveness that this unit needs. Satisfying the off-field questions is required first, but reports are that Spence has been hugely impressive in his interviews; this is not too high for him to go.
Check out the Bucs full season schedule preview HERE
- New York Giants – Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame – This works out great for the Giants. Improving the linebacker group is essential for the Giants this off-season. Smith is recovering from a knee injury suffered right at the end of the 2015 season, but it doesn’t have to factor in much. He might not be available to begin next season, but there’s no complications in his recovery and the patience will pay off big time. Smith was legitimately in play for the top pick in the draft, so this is a steal.
Check out the Giants full season schedule preview HERE
- Chicago Bears – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – I’m not as keen on Alexander as some, and prefer Eli Apple, but for the purposes of this mock accept that plenty teams think otherwise. There’s so many possible directions the Bears could go here. An offensive tackle such as Shon Coleman would fill a big need. Adding Alexander is a nice fit though, and Porter had his troubles last year. Alexander isn’t the biggest but has deep speed and superb man coverage skills.
Check out the Bears full season schedule preview HERE
- New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville – Rankins is flying up draft boards, and it would now be a surprise if he didn’t go in the top half of round one. His explosion at 304 lbs is frightening and offers some much-needed interior pass rush to this Saints D and a lot of versatility. He is much more than a Senior Bowl stand out, having played at a very high level the past two seasons. His game film vs Florida State in particular is scarily good.
Check out the Saints full season schedule preview HERE
- Philadelphia Eagles – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis – New head coaches often means new quarterbacks, so this could be a possibility, especially with some uncertainty on how the Eagles will proceed with Sam Bradford. Everyone has the three top quarterbacks in different orders. I’ll take the better upside of both Wentz and Lynch over Goff personally. Lynch has improved every single year as a starter, which will encourage that he will continue to improve going forward too, despite certainly having some developing to do.
Check out the Eagles full season schedule preview HERE
- Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama – The Raiders have hit on the majority of their early picks in the last couple years. Adding a run-stuffing linebacker in Ragland would be another nice addition and hits a big need. He won’t wow at the Combine with the measurables, but he’s tough, and offers a bit of pass rush threat too on third downs.
Check out the Raiders full season schedule preview HERE
- Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff, QB, California – This seems on paper like a rather nice fit! Presuming the Manning suggested possibility doesn’t come to pass, this team needs a quarterback. Having just moved to a new location, adding a star college passer from the state makes this feel a little too perfect should he be on the board.
Check out the Rams full season schedule preview HERE
- Detroit Lions – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss – This pick has constantly felt like it should be an interior defensive lineman, and that still could be the eventual choice. With the impending retirement of Calvin Johnson though (they might have re-negotiated a more team-friendly contract), another target is certainly in play. Treadwell lacks some elite traits, but has size, a great catch radius and a highly competitive character.
Check out the Lions full season schedule preview HERE
- Atlanta Falcons – Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson – The Falcons took a pass rusher from Clemson in the first last year, perhaps they’ll go there again. The team still needs help there, and while Lawson may not have ideal prototype length, he’s a relentless force and a nightmare to handle.
Check out the Falcons full season schedule preview HERE
- Indianapolis Colts – Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State – More protection for Andrew Luck feels like the way to go, but how to pass on a bargain like Elliot at this point? He’s one of the top 5 or 10 prospects in this class, and is a complete runner. He’s not quite as good as Gurley was entering the league, but not far off, and Gurley’s success helps Elliot’s cause to also go high. A stronger running game in some respects still helps protect Luck, but they will still have to look at a lineman in the next few rounds.
Check out the Colts full season schedule preview HERE
- Buffalo Bills – Kevin Dodd, EDGE, Clemson – I’m not quite this high on Dodd, but this just feels like it could happen. Mario Williams is probably gone, and Rex Ryan invests in defensive lineman even when it’s not a need. Williams didn’t like to play in space when asked – Dodd is great in pursuit and played from a two-point stance often this year. For someone as inexperienced, Dodd is impressively disciplined at setting the edge versus the run, and is improving as a pass rusher all the time.
Check out the Bills full season schedule preview HERE
- New York Jets – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State – Linebacker is arguably the Jets’ biggest area of need to strengthen. If they don’t pick up someone in free agency, using their top pick is an option. Lee is certainly small, but is exactly the type of modern linebacker than teams need, who can excel in space which Lee certainly does.
Check out the Jets full season schedule preview HERE
- Washington Redskins – A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama – A wide receiver to help the soon to be invested in Cousins, or a corner opposite Breeland are both good options for Washington. This is a stacked class at defensive line though and I think they take advantage of that with most still on the board to pick their favourite. Robinson is raw, but is incredibly strong and athletic for his size, plus has the flexibility to line up at every spot across the line.
Check out the Skins full season schedule preview HERE
- Houston Texans – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State – This is a rough spot for the Texans to be in. They need a QB, but none really fit here. They need help at guard and running back, but this is too early for Derrick Henry for me or a guard. Whatever way they go it surely has to be on the offensive side at least. Another target to take some pressure off Nuke Hopkins could be the way to go. For me, Thomas is the top receiver prospect in the 2016 class, and will be a better pro than he got to show in college.
Check out the Texans full season schedule preview HERE
- Minnesota Vikings – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor – Nice value here for the Vikings. Despite the simplistic system he played in, some see Coleman as the top player at the position this year. He is such a threat to take the ball the distance on any touch of the ball and gives Bridgewater another target across from Stefon Diggs, who was a great addition himself last year.
Check out the Vikings full season schedule preview HERE
- Cincinnati Bengals – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss – It’s a bit too stereotypical to give the falling prospect with off-field concerns to the Bengals, but it’s a position of need who will be a step up from Peko should things go smoothly. He’s a top 10 talent on the field, but even there has under-performed with the Rebels, only flashing his upside rather than being consistent.
Check out the Bengals full season schedule preview HERE
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State – One of the easiest choices in this mock. The Steelers will be getting some injured players back for next season, but they still must add help at the corner position regardless. Apple is up there talent-wise with some of the defensive backs who went earlier, and so is good value.
Check out the Steelers full season schedule preview HERE
- Seattle Seahawks – Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech – Butler feels like the kind of player that the Hawks will love. His movement at 325 lbs, with length and power tick all the boxes. He dominated at the Senior Bowl but was a first round prospect even before then. There’s a very good chance this ends up being an offensive tackle. Wilson played great in the second half of the season, so if they can re-sign Okung and use their second round pick on a talented lineman (of which there should still be) then they could go this way. The one thing that’s been clear in recent years, Seattle never seem to do what is expected of them on draft day.
Check out the Seahawks full season schedule preview HERE
- Green Bay Packers – Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor – The Packers might not resign Raji, and could be losing Guion too from their defensive line. Billings is great value here, and is possibly the strongest player in this entire draft class. He’s talked about as a run defender, but think he will offer more as an interior rush threat than he gets credit for as well.
Check out the Packers full season schedule preview HERE
- Kansas City Chiefs – Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn – A real bargain here! I’m a big fan of Coleman and consider him one of the best ten prospects in this class. He’s a little raw but has so much upside and excelled for the Tigers at left tackle this year. His medical will be key to satisfy teams he’s definitely over the cancer he recovered from a few years ago, but on the field is up there with the likes of Ronnie Stanley. The Chiefs haven’t had great play from their tackles, and Reid likes to invest high picks in the trenches.
Check out the Chiefs full season schedule preview HERE
- Arizona Cardinals – Jonathan Bullard, EDGE, Florida – The Cardinals have declared publically that their primary focus this season is to improve the pass rush, so a 3-4 LB such as Leonard Floyd might be considered. Bullard is a better prospect though and still fits a need, as after Calais Campbell there’s not much else at defensive end.
Check out the Cardinals full season schedule preview HERE
- Carolina Panthers – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State – Even before taking a heap of sacks in the Super Bowl, something the Broncos do well regardless who they face, the tackle position is probably the team’s biggest need. The way things have played out in this scenario, there are still a bunch of worthy OT’s to take here. Conklin isn’t as athletic as some of his peers, but has barely given up any sacks in his three years with the Spartans.
Check out the Panthers full season schedule preview HERE
- Denver Broncos – Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana – The above applies for Denver too. Number one need is another lineman on the edge. Spriggs needs a little time to improve his core strength, but is a stud pass protector who could turn out to be better than many of those at his position who end up going above him.
Check out the Broncos full season schedule preview HERE