Movie quote of the day:
“I think there’s more to this hobbit than meets the eye.”
– Gandalf, “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
I’m trying to contain my excitement that the NFL draft is a little over two weeks away. I’ve mentioned before that I think I enjoy this time of the offseason more than the regular season. The NFL combine, several pro days, and free agency have come and gone and a new mock draft is overdue. This time, I decided to make it about the first two rounds. Enjoy.
1. Tennessee Titans – OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
6’5 310 pounds
Marcus Mariota looks like he’s going to be the Titans’ franchise quarterback. He was sacked 38 times despite only playing in 12 games. Tennessee is going to have to keep Mariota upright if he’s going to be successful.
2. Cleveland Browns – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
6’5 237 pounds
Cleveland has had 24 starting quarterbacks since 1999. The organization and fanbase is desperate for stability. Wentz is becoming the popular pick for the best quarterback in the class.
3. San Diego Chargers – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
6’1 209 pounds
Ramsey has been considered the best player in this draft recently. He’s a very versatile player and can line up at cornerback and safety. With Eric Weddle gone, Ramsey could be his replacement.
4. Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
6’5 269 pounds
Bosa has slid down the draft board in recent weeks, but this guy can play. Boss recorded 26 sacks in three years, and 51 tackles for loss. In a division with Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins, Dallas needs edge rushers.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
6’1 245 pounds
Jacksonville is kind of in “No Man’s Land” with this pick. It’d be a little early to draft any of the Jaguars’ needs at No. 5. Jack is the best player on the board and will elevate the Jaguars’ linebacking unit.
6. Baltimore Ravens – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
6’6 312 pounds
Baltimore lost Kelechi Osemele in free agency. That’s a huge hole to fill on the offensive line and Baltimore needs to protect Joe Flacco. Stanley will be able to help the Ravens’ offensive line.
7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Jared Goff, Cal
6’4 215 pounds
It’s unclear what the 49ers are going to do with Colin Kaepernick. Either way, I think the 49ers need a quarterback and Goff is the best option on the board. Plus, he’s a local guy from the Bay Area.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami) – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
6’0 225 pounds
I think Philadelphia needs to draft a running back now that it traded away DeMarco Murray, even though it might be a little early. The Eagles struggled to run the ball last year and need to bring some youth to the position (Ryan Mathews is going to be 29 and Darren Sproles will be 33). Elliott is the best running back in this class and will be a weapon for the Eagles.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT DeForest Buckner, Oregon
6’7 291 pounds
Buckner isn’t the edge rusher that Tampa needs, but he’s the best player available. He’s a versatile player and will be a force with Gerald McCoy in the interior of the defensive line.
10. New York Giants – OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State
6’1 232 pounds
The Giants spent a lot of money on defense during free agency. The only position the Giants didn’t spend money on was linebacker, which is probably their top need now. Lee had a strong combine and has been rising up the board.
11. Chicago Bears – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
5’10 204 pounds
Chicago is another team that spent a lot of money in free agency. Cornerback is arguably the team’s biggest position of need now, and Hargreaves is the best option. He’ll make a solid pair with Kyle Fuller.
12. New Orleans Saints – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
6’4 307 pounds
With Lee and Hargreaves off the board, the Saints need to look for help in the trenches. This draft class is deep with interior defensive linemen, and Robinson is one of the top prospects.
13. Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia) – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
6’3 269 pounds
Miami lost Olivier Vernon in free agency, but did sign Mario Williams to help replace Vernon. However, Williams had a down year in 2015, plus, Cam Wake is 34. The Dolphins need a plan for the future at edge rusher and Lawson will help them.
14. Oakland Raiders – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
5’10 190 pounds
The Raiders aren’t in a division with top-tier quarterbacks, but they still need help in the secondary now that Charles Woodson retired. They lack playmakers and Alexander is one of the best in this class.
15. Los Angeles Rams – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
6’7 244 pounds
The Rams have been desperate for a quarterback ever since the organization released Marc Bulger in 2010, and Lynch has the capability to be a franchise quarterback. What better way to break in Los Angeles than to get a new, young quarterback?
16. Detroit Lions – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
6’2 221 pounds
The Lions have several needs, but now that Calvin Johnson retired, they need to replace his production. This isn’t a great wide receiver class, but Treadwell is without question the top receiver on the board.
17. Atlanta Falcons – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
6’3 294 pounds
Atlanta ranked last in the league in sack defense in 2015. It’s too early to draft an edge rusher, but a defensive tackle would be prudent. A lot of questions surround Nkemdiche’s personal life. He’s from the Metro Atlanta area, maybe he needs to be closer to home.
18. Indianapolis Colts – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
6’6 308 pounds
Since 2012, Andrew Luck has been sacked 115 times and taken 375 hits in just 55 games. For the love of God, Indianapolis, please protect your franchise quarterback. Conklin is the best one available at this point.
19. Buffalo Bills – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
6’1 299 pounds
I believe Rex Ryan is ready to make Buffalo’s transition into a 3-4 defense. Rankins would fit that scheme because he played in a 3-4 defense at Louisville.
20. New York Jets – OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
6’6 244 pounds
The Jets lack edge rushers. Lorenzo Mauldin is still young and will develop, but they need more. Floyd is a versatile linebacker who can play both inside and outside. Either way, both are positions of need for the Jets.
21. Washington Redskins – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
6’1 311 pounds
With Terrance Knighton gone, Washington needs a big body to help with its run defense. The Redskins ranked No. 26 in run defense last year, and Billings is probably the best run-stopper in the class.
22. Houston Texans – WR Josh Doctson, TCU
6’2 202 pounds
Houston signed its quarterback (Brock Osweiler) during free agency, and they have DeAndre Hopkins, who was second-team All-Pro last year. The next best thing for the Texans would be to get a complement receiver for Hopkins, and another weapon for Osweiler.
23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
6’3 212 pounds
Stefon Diggs isn’t a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t going to be an elite quarterback, and will need more talent around him. Thomas is a big-body outside receiver that will help the Vikings’ passing attack.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
5’11 194 pounds
Cincinnati has All-Pro receiver A.J. Green on the outside, but they lost Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones during free agency. Coleman has blazing speed and will be a threat at slot receiver that will take pressure off Green.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
6’1 199 pounds
Pittsburgh began its reloading process at cornerback last year by drafting Senquez Golson and Doran Grant. Plus, the Steelers still have veterans William Gay and Cortez Allen, but they need more. Apple is the best cornerback available.
26. Seattle Seahawks – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
6’7 310 pounds
With Russell Okung gone, that leaves a big hole to fill to protect Russell Wilson’s blind side. Since Wilson is an elite quarterback, it should be a top priority to draft an offensive tackle. Decker played left tackle for Ohio State so it shouldn’t be too tough of a transition for him.
27. Green Bay Packers – ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
6’1 247 pounds
Green Bay’s run defense has ranked toward the bottom the last few years. It improved last year, but Clay Matthews is going back to being an edge rusher. I don’t think either Jake Ryan or Sam Barrington are the future of inside linebacker for the Packers. Ragland will be the starter on day one.
28. Kansas City Chiefs – CB William Jackson III, Houston
6’0 189 pounds
Sean Smith is gone and now – outside of Marcus Peters – the Chiefs are thin on playmakers at cornerback. Jackson had a strong combine and and his draft stock has risen.
N/A. New England Patriots – Forfeit first-round pick due to Deflategate scandal.
29. Arizona Cardinals – DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
6’3 307 pounds
Arizona would have a mediocre defensive line if it weren’t for Calais Campbell. The Cardinals need to add another man to help Campbell. Reed was one of the key pieces to Alabama’s very talented front seven, in 2015.
30. Carolina Panthers – DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
6’2 251 pounds
Carolina’s defensive ends have dropped like flies. Kony Ealy had a breakout performance in the Super Bowl, but he’s still only tallied nine sacks in two seasons. In a division with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Jameis Winston, you need a lot of quality edge rushers, and Spence can help apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks.
31. Denver Broncos – OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
6’4 301 pounds
Denver’s offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL last year. The unit allowed 39 sacks, and the run game struggled – ranking No. 17. Whitehair is a versatile offensive lineman that will help protect the quarterback and improve the team’s rushing attack.
32. Cleveland Browns – WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
6’0 186 pounds
Cleveland needs to make its new quarterback happy with a new toy. It’ll only help, especially if Josh Gordon doesn’t get reinstated into the league.
33. Tennessee Titans – CB Xavien Howard, Baylor
6’0 201 pounds
Tennessee needs to bring more talent into its secondary. Howard would be a nice compliment to Jason McCourty at the other starting cornerback.
34. Dallas Cowboys – RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
6’3 247 pounds
Henry is a one-cut running back that is perfect for Dallas’ offense. Maybe not in year one, but he’ll be an All-Pro behind the best offensive line in the league.
35. San Diego Chargers – DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
6’3 314 pounds
San Diego’s defensive line needs improvement, and its run defense ranked No. 27 last year. Clark will be a solid addition that will help solidify the Chargers’ run defense.
36. Baltimore Ravens – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
6’4 323 pounds
Baltimore already has a great defensive line, but Brandon Williams is set to be a free agent. Drafting Butler would be a smart move just in case the Ravens aren’t able to re-sign Williams.
37. San Francisco 49ers – OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State
6’3 243 pounds
San Francisco ranked No. 29 in the league in sack defense last year, and Ahmad Brooks just turned 32. The 49ers need to get a better pass rush and bring some youth to the position.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars – C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
6’4 311 pounds
Even though Blake Bortles took a huge leap last year from 2014, he was still sacked 51 times (most in the league). Kelly will be able to protect Bortles and improve Jacksonville’s rushing offense that ranked No. 27 last year.
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
6’5 277 pounds
Tampa Bay was slightly above average in sacks last year – ranking No. 14. Dodd recorded 12 sacks for Clemson last season and will be able to bring pressure to the quarterback.
40. New York Giants – SS Karl Joseph, West Virginia
5’10 205 pounds
The Giants look to be moving forward with Landon Collins at free safety, leaving a spot open at strong safety. Joseph is coming off an ACL tear, but he’s still the best strong safety in this class.
41. Chicago Bears – OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
6’6 324 pounds
Chicago released Jermon Bushrod in the offseason and it looks like Kyle Long will take over his spot. Ifedi will be able to take over Long’s spot at right tackle.
42. Miami Dolphins – CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
5’11 187 pounds
Miami had below average cornerbacks before trading for Byron Maxwell. Now, the unit is slightly better but needs more talent. Fuller will be able to help.
43. Los Angeles Rams (from Philadelphia) – TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
6’5 250 pounds
The Rams released Jared Cook in March, and Lance Kendricks is never going to be a starter. Henry is the best tight end in this class and will be a weapon for the Rams’ new quarterback.
44. Oakland Raiders – ILB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
6’2 224 pounds
Oakland’s run defense wasn’t bad, but it could use improvement. Smith was considered a top-five pick before he tore his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl. His injury has caused his draft stock to fall. If he’s healthy, he’ll be the steal of the draft.
45. Los Angeles Rams – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
6’4 273 pounds
Outside of Robert Quinn, the Rams pretty much have no one to get after the passer. Ogbah will be able to drift attention from Quinn from the opposing offensive line.
46. Detroit Lions – DT Jonathan Bullard, Florida
6’3 285 pounds
Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley left Detroit last year and the Lions need to replace their production. Haloti Ngata isn’t a long-term solution, and the Lions need to be thinking ahead.
47. New Orleans Saints – CB Artie Burns, Miami (FL)
6’0 193 pounds
Delvin Breaux had a huge first year for New Orleans last year, and the Saints need to add another shutdown cornerback in their secondary. Burns has potential to be that type of player since he managed to grab six interceptions in 2015.
48. Indianapolis Colts – DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
6’4 251 pounds
Indianapolis whiffed on Bjoern Werner, and Trent Cole and Robert Mathis have a combined age of 69. Calhoun is a talented, young player who registered 10.5 sacks last year for Michigan State.
49. Buffalo Bills – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
6’6 301 pounds
Buffalo’s offensive line gave up 42 sacks last year so it needs help in that area. Plus, the Bills need to think ahead in case they aren’t able to retain Cordy Glenn.
50. Atlanta Falcons – WR Tyler Boyd, Pitt
6’1 197 pounds
Julio Jones is an outstanding player but not having a second wide receiver is causing Matt Ryan to struggle. Boyd is a very talented player that can bring different dimensions to Atlanta’s offense.
51. New York Jets – QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
6’4 217 pounds
The Jets don’t look like they’re going to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but they’ve needed a quarterback for years. Cook should be available at this point.
52. Houston Texans – DT Austin Johnson, Penn State
6’4 314 pounds
Outside of J.J. Watt, Houston doesn’t have a lot of playmakers on the defensive line. Johnson is versatile and will be able to play opposite of Watt, or he’ll be the replacement for Vince Wilfork at nose tackle.
53. Washington Redskins – OG Nick Martin, Notre Dame
6’4 299 pounds
Washington’s offensive line surrendered 27 sacks last year. While that’s not horrible, the Redskins lack a quality center. Martin is probably the best interior offensive lineman in this class that can play both center and guard.
54. Minnesota Vikings – OLB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
6’4 254 pounds
Chad Greenway is 33 and Minnesota needs to be prepared to replace him. Perry can be that player. With Perry, Minnesota will arguably have built the best 4-3 linebacker unit led by Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
55. Cincinnati Bengals – FS Vonn Bell, Ohio State
5’11 199 pounds
Cincinnati was able to retain George Iloka, but let Reggie Nelson walk in free agency. The Bengals need a free safety and Bell is the best cover safety in this class.
56. Seattle Seahawks – DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
6’3 301 pounds
Seattle did sign Sealver Siliga in free agency, but the Seahawks still need more playmakers in the interior of the defensive line. As deep as this class is with defensive tackles, Seattle can’t pass the opportunity.
57. Green Bay Packers – DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State
6’6 310 pounds
B.J. Raji retired and Green Bay moved Datone Jones to outside linebacker. The Packers lack depth on the defensive line, and need more playmakers outside of Mike Daniels.
58. Pittsburgh Steelers – SS Keanu Neal, Florida
6’0 211 pounds
It doesn’t look like Shamarko Thomas is the future strong safety in Pittsburgh. The Steelers need to find a replacement for Troy Polamalu. Neal is a hard-hitting safety that has been rising up the board.
59. Kansas City Chiefs – ILB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
6’0 245 pounds
Kansas City needs to be thinking about a replacement for Derrick Thomas – who is going to be 34 in November. Brothers can be a safety net in case it doesn’t work out with Ramik Wilson.
60. New England Patriots – OT Shon Coleman, Auburn
6’5 307 pounds
New England finally gets its first pick. After the AFC Championship loss to Denver – when Tom Brady was sacked four times and hit 20 – the Patriots need help on the offensive line.
61. New England Patriots (from Arizona) – RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
5’10 215 pounds
The Patriots ranked No. 30 in rushing offense last year. New England did re-sign LeGarrette Blount and they already have a plethora of running backs, but I don’t think it could hurt to add more.
62. Carolina Panthers – SS Jeremy Cash, Duke
6’0 212 pounds
It doesn’t look like Carolina is bringing back Roman Harper. That means the Panthers have no strong safeties on their roster. Cash is a big-body safety that registered 332 tackles – 38 of them for a loss – in his final three seasons at Duke.
63. Denver Broncos – QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
6’4 223 pounds
Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left for Houston. What has the organization done to replace them? Trade for Mark Sanchez. That won’t cut it. The Broncos need to draft a quarterback and Hackenberg is the best one of the board at this point.
Thanks for reading
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