|Date & Time||Tuesday April 26, 2016, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
the Line: -- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Start your 7-day free trial today!|
The first round of the 2016 NFL draft will take place Thursday night on ESPN. This year may be as difficult as ever to predict how the first round will shape up simply due to team needs and the lack of overall great players. Besides the top two picks being quarterbacks, anything else could really happen, making Thursday night a must watch to see how things unfold.
But before we get to that point, let’s take a stab with a first round mock draft. My mock is based on what I would do with the pick if I was that team in that situation.
So, here goes…
1. Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff, QB, California - I made it quite clear I think Goff is easily the top quarterback in this class, and him being from Cali just makes this pick that much easier. Congrats, Rams. You got yourself a franchise quarterback.
2. Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - You don’t give away a truckload of draft picks unless you’re Mike Ditka wanting Ricky WIlliams or you need a quarterback. Carson Wentz is the second-best QB in this draft. Eagles select him.
3. San Diego Chargers - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - It wasn’t that long ago when Laremy Tunsil was going to be the top pick to the Tennessee Titans. Chargers need to go best player here due to so many holes, Tunsil provides a quality lineman for the next 10-plus years.
4. Dallas Cowboys - Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State - The Dallas Cowboys need help defensively in order to take that Super Bowl step. Jalen Ramsey may be the top defensive player in this draft and has shutdown corner potential. Ramsey makes the Cowboys a better team from day one.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - The Jaguars continue to build their defense with the selection of Joey Bosa. Having Bosa across from a healthy Dante Fowler Jr. has Jacksonville cooking with gas.
6. Baltimore Ravens - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - The Baltimore Ravens have serious offensive line issues, especially at left tackle. Ronnie Stanley can contribute from day one and is a smart player who can plug the hole.
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon - DeForest Buckner reunites with former teammate Arik Armstead and helps give the 49ers a defensive duo that takes this team back to its roots on this side of the ball. San Francisco needs to establish its toughness.
8. Cleveland Browns - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - The Cleveland Browns simply need to add good football players regardless of the position. One can argue Ezekiel Elliott is a top-three talent in this draft and one of the rare running backs who can take over from day one. Elliott makes the Browns a better football team the second he’s drafted.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - Keeping a Florida player in Florida is nothing new for the three NFL teams. Hargreaves to me is the best corner in this draft and is a guy who has elite potential. Hargreaves will look good across from the newly signed Brent Grimes.
10. New York Giants - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - Knee injury or not, Myles Jack is too talented to have slip this far in the draft. Jack is a quality linebacker and can do a ton of things for an NFL team. The Giants are in a position to take the risk on such a quality football player.
11. Chicago Bears - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson - The Chicago Bears lost a lot of talent and leadership on the defensive side of the ball over the years. Shaq Lawson is a terrific edge rusher and can help the Bears take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball.
12. New Orleans Saints - Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia - The Saints are expected to add to their subpar defense, and Leonard Floyd is a versatile playmaker who can certainly help out. Maybe a bit of a reach here, but Floyd is still one of the top pass rushers this draft has to offer.
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State - With the running back off the board, the Dolphins look to replace Grimes by drafting their big, physical corner in Eli Apple. Apple fits Miami’s scheme and also address a team need.
14. Oakland Raiders - William Jackson III, CB, Houston - The Oakland Raiders are no strangers to drafting corners out of Houston, and William Jackson III has the speed the Raiders like as well. Jackson is a solid selection for the Raiders in the middle of the draft.
15. Tennessee Titans - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State - The Titans miss out on Tunsil but get their offensive lineman with Jack Conklin. A quality lineman, Conklin will be able to help keep Marcus Mariota upright for the next 10 years.
16. Detroit Lions - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama - The Lions have shown a lot of interest in Reed, and he’s a big physical tackle the team usually likes. Reed isn’t Ndamukong Suh, but he’ll do his job well and help this Detroit defense stop the run.
17. Atlanta Falcons - Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State - Another Ohio State player off the board, Lee has the build and athleticism that the Atlanta coaching staff likes. Lee could have been a top-10 pick due to his playmaking ability, so the Falcons aren’t complaining when he falls into their lap.
18. Indianapolis Colts - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky - The Colts need playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and it doesn’t get much better than Noah Spence. The former Ohio State recruit is a natural pass rusher with upside. The Colts could hit a homerun with this selection.
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama - The Buffalo Bills are likely thinking defense due to their head coach Rex Ryan, and Reggie Ragland is the big, physical linebacker he’ll go after. The Bills need linebacker help, and Ragland does a lot of things well on top of being mature for his age.
20. New York Jets - Robert Nkemdiche, LB, Ole Miss - The Jets need pass rushers and playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, and it doesn’t get much better than Robert Nkemdiche. Issues off the field or not, Nkemdiche is simply a football player and seems to be a Todd Bowles guy.
21. Washington Redskins - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor - The Redskins need to replace Terrance Knighton, so selecting Andrew Billings wouldn’t be a bad idea. The Redskins need help in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball.
22. Houston Texans - William Fuller, WR, Notre Dame - The Texans need a deep threat to go along with DeAndre Hopkins, and Fuller is a guy who can help stretch the field. Just like that, the Texans offense is starting to take shape heading into the 2016 season.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - The Vikings are another team that could use help on the outside, and Treadwell is a sure handed kid who finally gives Teddy Bridgewater some stability at the wide receiver position.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor - The receivers are flying off the shelf like hotcakes in the later rounds, and Coleman would be a great complement to A.J. Green on the outside due to his playmaking ability and sure hands. Coleman would simply thrive in a pass-happy offense with one-on-one coverage just like he did at Baylor.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Keanu Neal, S, Florida - The Steelers continue to add to their youthful defense with the selection of physical safety Keanu Neal. Neal is someone who has been climbing up draft boards, and his enforcer style will rub the Steelers the right way.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State - As we saw in the playoffs, the Seahawks have serious questions on the offensive line. Decker is somebody who could come in right away and start on the right side.
27. Green Bay Packers - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech - Butler is a defensive lineman with terrific upside and fills in an area of need after the Packers watched B.J. Raji retire. The Packers get a promising prospect they can be patient with if they make this selection.
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia - Jospeh can cover, help in run support and has ball skills to be a difference maker in the defensive backfield. The Chiefs secondary that has talent already gets even better and even scarier for opposing quarterbacks.
29. Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama - The Cardinals tried to address the center position during free agency but couldn’t quite get it done. Kelly is a smart player who is also one of the better players available at this point in the draft. Kelly and Arizona make sense, and he’s somebody who could see playing time right away.
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson - The Carolina Panthers never seen to have enough pass rushers, and this is their chance to snag another quality end with Charles Johnson on a one-year deal. Kevin Dodd makes a feisty Carolina defense that much more nasty.
31. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis - The Denver Broncos are coming off a Super Bowl win but have serious questions at the quarterback position. Lynch has a lot of upside and potential. This would be Denver’s chance to snag a top quarterback prospect and give him time to grow the next couple of years. Certainly wouldn’t hurt.