Now what in the 2016 NFL Draft after the Los Angeles Rams traded up to get the No. 1 overall pick? Just two weeks away, here’s what’s going to happen.
NFL Mock Draft No. 3: Picking Every First Round Selection
It’s been an okay NFL Draft offseason with a deep group emerging at several key positions, but all the talk is about the quarterbacks.
It’s a step back overall from Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, but Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be the signature calls of the 2016 Draft.
After what Los Angeles had to do to get up to the top spot, everything just got kickstarted into gear and it’s about to get really, really fun. Here’s what’s going to happen in the first round.
1. Los Angeles Rams
Team Needs: 1) Quarterback, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Linebacker
The Pick Will Be: QB Jared Goff, Cal
You don’t trade the 15th overall pick, two second round selections, a third-rounder, and next year’s first and third round picks unless you’re going for a franchise-making quarterback.
Since there isn’t one available in this draft, the Rams will take Jared Goff.
Carson Wentz is the pet project everyone fell in love with throughout the offseason process, but he wasn’t trade-the-house unbelievable.
You know how you can tell when NFL types like a guy? Things get very, very quiet, and that’s been the world when it comes to Goff. Wentz is the far more interesting story – and he has the bigger upside – but there are just too many variables to make this type of move for him.
Goff makes more sense.
2. Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: 1) Quarterback, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Linebacker
The Pick Will Be: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
If it’s remotely possible to get decent value with the No. 2 overall pick, Cleveland is doing it with a take-a-chance-on-greatness selection.
It’s an easy scenario – Robert Griffin III comes in and does a little better than expected while Wentz starts to get his feet wet. And then, with the season lost midway through November, it’s Bison Time.
3. San Diego Chargers
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Tackle, 2) Defensive Back, Defensive End
The Pick Will Be: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
It’s been assumed for weeks that Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey would be the easy option here, but there was just enough activity in free agency to keep the safety position from being a major issue. Of course the Chargers will take Tunsil here. Desperately in need of offensive tackle help, they luck out on getting the best player in the draft.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Team Needs: 1) Wide Receiver, 2) Quarterback, 3) Safety
The Pick Will Be: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Tony Romo bruises like a peach and can’t last much longer, but if the Cowboys are going to win now, they can’t afford to mess around with the quarterback situation. Bosa steadies the flaky defensive end situation with a nice-timed pick for the four.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Back, 2) Linebacker, 3) Offensive Line
The Pick Will Be: CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
The Jaguars will be coming into the draft hoping Myles Jack falls here, but instead they’ll get an even bigger present. Ramsey, and last year’s first round pick, Dante Fowler, provide an insta-boost to the defense that did a nice job in free agency. Jacksonville will go defense no matter what on the way to being everyone’s “it” team.
6. Baltimore Ravens
Team Needs: 1) Linebacker, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Cornerback
The Pick Will Be: LB Myles Jack, UCLA
There’s no wrong answer here. The two big quarterbacks will go early, and the Ravens will sit and groove on whatever superstar prospect falls to their spot. DeForest Buckner would be an easy pick, but considering the defense needs a new linebacking star to build around, Jack is a steal here.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: 1) Quarterback, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Defensive Tackle
The Pick Will Be: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
San Francisco can’t get away with Blaine Gabbert as its starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. This is way, way, way early for Lynch, but that’s apparently the going rate considering where Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will go. The pressure is on Chip Kelly to turn the panic-pick into more of a Ryan Tannehill than a Christian Ponder – two relatively recently drafted quarterbacks taken by freaked out teams desperate for a passer.
8. Philadelphia Eagles
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Quarterback, 3) Defensive End
The Pick Will Be: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
Active in the free agency world, the Eagles are playing around with the post-Chip Kelly era and trying to start relatively fresh. A quarterback would be great if one of the better options drops, but grabbing a freakish pass rusher makes more sense considering the defensive end issues.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Defensive Tackle, 3) Cornerback
The Pick Will Be: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
Dirk Koetter has his franchise quarterback (Jameis Winston), and he has his well-paid free agent running back (Doug Martin). Now he needs someone to block for them. This might be a smidge early for Stanley – and it might be at the end of a terrific run of non-quarterback talent – but there aren’t any complaints with a top tackle. Michigan State’s Jack Conklin might be in the mix for the selection, too.
10. New York Giants
Team Needs: 1) Running Back, 2) Offensive Tackle, 3) Safety
The Pick Will Be: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
No, Bobby Rainey isn’t the answer.
They’re the Giants, so an offensive lineman is always going to be a possibility. How do you help an aging Eli Manning? Give him an elite running back to upgrade the offensive balance in a gigantic way.
11. Chicago Bears
Team Needs: 1) Defensive End, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Defensive Back
The Pick Will Be: LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
Shea McClellin is Bill Belichick’s problem now. The Bears could use a little bit of an upgrade everywhere, but first and foremost, they need to crank up the pass rush in the 3-4, and Floyd is just the prospect to do it. He’s a perfect fit for what the coaching staff is trying to do.
12. New Orleans Saints
Team Needs: 1) Defensive End, 2) Defensive Tackle, 3) Offensive Line
The Pick Will Be: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
The Saints did a nice job in free agency, but is Nick Fairley enough for the defensive interior? Not really. Another defensive tackle is a must, and Rankins has continued to be the hot prospect throughout the entire offseason process.
13. Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Cornerback, 3) Linebacker
The Pick Will Be: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
What? Hargreaves fell here? Yup. Byron Maxwell might have been a decent free agent get, but the Dolphins desperately need a playmaking corner. They’ll get amazing value here in Hargreaves.
14. Oakland Raiders
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Back, 2) Linebacker, 3) Running Back
The Pick Will Be: CB William Jackson III, Houston
The Raiders went strong on defense in free agency, helping the secondary by getting CB Sean Smith and S Reggie Nelson. However, they still need more corner help, and Jackson has the ability to be an instant starter, and a little cheaper than Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves.
15. Tennessee Titans
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Tackle, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Defensive Tackle
The Pick Will Be: OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Laremy Tunsil is going to be a perennial Pro Bowl player, but what have we all learned about the NFL Draft in recent years? More picks = more freedom = better picks. Conklin and Taylor Decker won’t be close to Tunsil talent-wise, but they’re better than consolation prizes for a desperate need.
16. Detroit Lions
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Tackle, 2) Cornerback, 3) Center
The Pick Will Be: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
This might be a wee bit too early for a receiver, and the Lions will get them later on. Taylor Decker and Jack Conklin might be in play here – Detroit needs an offensive tackle and will be more than fine to whichever one is available. It would be nice to start keeping Matt Stafford from being beaten to a pulp.
17. Atlanta Falcons
Team Needs: 1) Tight End, 2) Safety, 3) Corner
The Pick Will Be: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
This is where the draft really starts. Atlanta is one of the X factor picks considering it could go one of several directions, but defensive back takes the lead after getting decent free agent help for other key areas. Apple is a good, sound pick with little downside.
18. Indianapolis Colts
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Linebacker, 3) Center
The Pick Will Be: LB Darron Lee, Ohio State
The Colts didn’t do too much to help themselves in free agency. Fortunately, this is a good value spot for several needs depending on how the offensive linemen start to fall. Lee is the better option for a defense that needs to crank up the pass rush again.
19. Buffalo Bills
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Tackle, 2) Quarterback, 3) Offensive Tackle
The Pick Will Be: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Boom. Rex Ryan has his tone-setting, nasty big man for the interior of his defense. It all starts on the D line for Ryan, and Robinson is the type of anchor to build around.
20. New York Jets
Team Needs: 1) Linebacker, 2) Quarterback, 3) Defensive Tackle
Key Free Agent Signing: RB Matt Forte
The Pick Will Be: LB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
The Jets will be hoping beyond all reasonable hope that Paxton Lynch starts slipping, but it’s not going to happen. They filled a huge void at offensive tackle with Ryan Clady, and they got their running backs. Now they need their pass rusher, and Spence is easily the best on the board.
21. Washington Redskins
Team Needs: 1) Linebacker, 2) Defensive Back, 3) Offensive Line
The Pick Will Be: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Perfect time, perfect pick. The Redskins need some thump on the inside, and no linebacker in this year’s draft brings that more than Ragland. He’s not the outside linebacker or pass rusher he was trying to be in workouts, and that’s okay – that’s not what the Redskins need him for.
22. Houston Texans
Team Needs: 1) Wide Receiver, 2) Tight End, 3) Defensive End
The Pick Will Be: WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
Speed, speed, speed, speed, speed. DeAndre Hopkins has grown into an elite receiver, but he’s not a blazer. The Texans need home run hitters to stretch the field for Brock Osweiler, and that’s Fuller.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Team Needs: 1) Wide Receiver, 2) Defensive Tackle, 3) Safety
The Pick Will Be: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The Vikings did a really, really nice job in free agency filling some major holes. Now they need receiver help for Teddy Bridgewater. Treadwell will slide because of his speed – there isn’t any – but he’s a talented No. 1 target who’ll be a great value pick here.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Tackle, 2) Defensive End, 3) Center
The Pick Will Be: DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
Reed is just enough of a tweener to do everything the Bengals want. He can line up as a big outside end, or be a brick wall in the interior. Geno Atkins is still excellent, but he needs help. That’s Reed.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Back, 2) Defensive Tackle, 3) Linebacker
The Pick Will Be: CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Cornerback, cornerback, cornerback. The Steelers need lots of help in the defensive backfield, even after resigning William Gay. Alexander is a Pittsburgh type of DB with a great attitude and big-time toughness for his size. He fills a big, glaring need.
26. Seattle Seahawks
Team Needs: 1) Running Back, 2) Offensive Guard, 3) Cornerback
The Pick Will Be: OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
The Seahawks will have to get creative. They signed J’Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell at offensive tackle, but that’s not an answer for a possible disaster of a position without more help on the way. Spriggs was one of the stars of the combine – he can move. Early on, though, he could kick inside to guard if needed.
27. Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: 1) Defensive Tackle, 2) Defensive End, 3) Linebacker
The Pick Will Be: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Green Bay just doesn’t really do free agency in a big way, but now it needs lots and lots of help on the defensive front. Nkemdiche might be a dangerous pick considering all the concerns, and he might not fit a Green Bay franchise that doesn’t take risks on character, but there’s too much upside not to take the shot.
28. Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Wide Receiver, 3) Defensive End
The Pick Will Be: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
The Chiefs need wide receiver help. They have their pick of the litter here, but they could also use another tone-setting pounder at defensive end after signing Jaye Howard in free agency. Lawson will slide, but he’s not getting past here.
29. Arizona Cardinals
Team Needs: 1) Cornerback, 2) Defensive End, 3) Quarterback
The Pick Will Be: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
The Cardinals know they need defensive ends – badly. They got Chandler Jones in a trade, and they should have a shot of some good end options depending on just how big they want to go. Dodd was more than just Shaq Lawson’s running mate at Clemson.
30. Carolina Panthers
Team Needs: 1) Wide Receiver, 2) Offensive Tackle, 3) Safety
The Pick Will Be: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
Offensive tackle might be the biggest overall concern, but even with Kelvin Benjamin returning, the Panthers need to be more talented at receiver. And that’s where the value at this spot in the draft. Coleman is the gamebreaker who should work very, very well with Cam.
31. Denver Broncos
Team Needs: 1) Offensive Line, 2) Running Back, 3) Tight End
The Pick Will Be: QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
You have to, Denver. Mark Sanchez might be okay for a little while, but no. Just, no.
Colin Kaepernick? Might as well give it a shot. But Cook is the ready-made guy with the swagger and the skills to be exactly what the Broncos need.